A Space of Her Own

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On a sticky Manhattan summer day, I arrived at Wendy Reimer’s home to organize the overcrowded bedroom of her three young girls. The oldest, a pre-teen, was desperate for her own space, and Wendy hoped I could carve out a niche for her in the large bedroom the girls shared.

As a professional, I rarely feel overwhelmed by a room. Yet, here, I had met my match. Three beds lined the perimeter of the room, and there was almost no clear path to walk. Stuffed animals covered every surface, and toys, games, and books were strewn about the room. Drawers were so stuffed with clothing that many could barely be opened. In an adjacent playroom, clutter filled every visible space with an outdoor playhouse taking center stage.

Step One: Reconfigure Beds

In order to give each girl a space of her own, I proposed converting the playroom into a bedroom for Wendy’s oldest daughter that could also double as toy storage for all three girls. In the shared bedroom for the younger girls, two beds would be stacked to become one bunk bed. The third bed would be moved into the playroom.

Step Two: Purge

Once the beds were in place, we began to sort toys and clothes, grouping like items together and purging what was no longer used. The playhouse that had long been outgrown was disassembled, and games and toys that were missing pieces or broken were discarded. Clothing was temporarily moved out of the room, and each girl’s clothing was separated (it had become commingled as a result of the disorganization). The clothing that remained was grouped by category and properly folded. Outgrown clothing was set aside for donation.

Step Three: Organize

The bedroom was full of storage options; built in bookshelves lined the walls, the closet was outfitted with adjustable shelves and drawers, and large storage drawers existed below the beds. Determining how to organize the room was the fun part.

The huge collection of stuffed animals was moved to drawers under the bed.


Books were organized by size and type on the bookshelves.


Games were placed neatly on the shelves.


Shallow wall mounted shelves were used to display a doll collection.


An arts and crafts area was created in the closet.


The playroom shelves were pared down and tidied.

Step Four: Maintain

Everything was labeled, so the girls would know where to find and put away their clothing and toys.


After 6 hours of working nonstop, the makeover was complete.


The best part was the note I received that evening:

Hi!  The girls are FLIPPING OUT over their rooms!  They LOVE them! They can’t get over the arts and crafts supplies section of the closet and they LOVE their colored boxes for their special stuff. They even cleaned up after themselves last night!!!

Sadie wants to tell you that her “favorite thing is that there is a place for everything and there are labels so we know what goes where. I also like how you gave us our own spaces.”

Skylar says, “THANK YOU, THANK YOU, SO, SO, MUCH!!!!   I love it so much – it is really cool.”

Sylvie says, “Thank you so much. It is so neat that we flipped out. My favorite part is the toys in the closet and the art supplies.  All of the rooms look so pretty.”

Andrew also can’t get over all of it and is going nuts for the way you folded everything.


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