Last winter, with her two youngest kids getting ready to go off to college in the fall, Mara Manson was looking for a way to transition her Huntington home to that of an empty-nester. After sending off some photos of her messy dining room and closet to Woman's Day, she was selected for the magazine's regular Project Declutter feature.
Working with Lorie Marrero, creator of the Clutter Diet, a home organizing program, Manson received a home makeover in July that is featured in the magazine's November issue.
Marrero tackled a closet in the entryway of Manson's home, dividing up the items and either tossing, donating or storing the things that were rarely used and adding a rolling cart to hold winter accessories. The dining room table, which had become a catchall for the teens' sporting equipment and other objects, was cleared off. An older console was replaced with a new rustic wood sideboard from Cost Plus World Market, which donated more than $1,700 worth of furniture, including a new dining table and a set of airy shelves to display things such as cookbooks and china.
"The process was really great," Manson says. "Everybody, from the designers and the artists to the photographer, were just so professional. What took them two days would have taken me two months."
Marrero says Manson had "typical" organization challenges. The dining room often served as a place for the kids to do homework or for Manson to pay bills, so Marrero advised her to acknowledge the multiple uses while keeping things like office supplies hidden away in drawers.
Manson was at the right point for a decluttering project. "When you go through a life transition, it really is time to go through the items," Marrero says