Going to the gym to teach and take group exercise classes is a huge part of this client’s life. When the COVID pandemic forced gyms to close, she and her adult children now temporarily living at home all needed space at home to exercise. The room with the most potential to become an exercise space was currently used to store items needed for outdoor activities. A pegboard on the wall for life jackets, portable chairs, tote bags, and other items had worked for a while and was a handy spot. However, it had become so full of items that it was difficult to find what was needed. There was no way to keep all of these supplies in this area and also turn it into a functional and aesthetically pleasing exercise space.
The COVID pandemic presented other challenges. Organizing in other peoples’ homes wasn’t an option. With donation centers being closed, any unneeded items would need to be kept out of the way for a while until they reopened. Kellie decided to schedule a Zoom virtual organizing session for help with this project.
We began the virtual session with her showing me the entire space using her tablet. Then we began talking about her goals for the space. She wanted to have enough space to store all of her exercise supplies and to move around during exercise. She also wanted the space to be appealing and inviting. She knew that most of the items currently stored in the space would need to be relocated to other areas. The only item that she wasn’t sure where to put was the life jackets. Because this entrance was where they would enter and exit to get on the lake, this was the ideal place to keep the life jackets handy. Ideally, the life jackets would be moved outside to dry before entering the house but then taken back inside soon after they dried. She needed a solution to this challenge as well as some general guidance.
Talking through each of these challenges, together we made a plan. I encouraged Kellie to talk to her family about the goals for the space and to get them involved. Since she wouldn’t be the only one using it, the other family members could be helpful for doing the work and coming up with ideas. We talked about some options for the life jackets. I suggested using a clothes hanging rack with wheels. The rack would be stored inside when not being used but could easily be moved outside while the jackets dried after use. I told her she would next need to remove anything not related to exercise or to lake sports and find appropriate places for the items. We discussed some options for the items that needed to be relocated. As far as unneeded items, she set those aside until they could be donated. As far as how to store the exercise supplies, I encouraged Kellie to wait until she had everything in the space before deciding on the best way to arrange them.
After our Zoom session, I typed up a summary of our discussion points, a step by step plan for the work, and links to some organizing supplies she might consider. Kellie kept me updated on the project with texts and pictures as she progressed. One of the best things about the project is that she didn’t have to buy very many things but was able to repurpose items from elsewhere in the home. The finished space is so neat and inviting and has worked perfectly for the family. I am so proud of the work she did! We are both thrilled with how well we were able to work together virtually, and we are looking forward to more virtual and onsite sessions.