When I first entered my friend's Man Cave, I IMMEDIATELY felt the need to organize everything! I didn't even know where to begin, my head was spinning. I said to him "Yo, this is sooo cluttered!" He had a huge grin on his face, full of pride, and said "Nooooo, I love it! You know what I notice? Women never like my Man Cave but all the guys love it." After speaking with him and his wife for a little while, he did want me to help him make it look better because their daughter sometimes goes down to the Man Cave to hang out with Dad and has tripped over things, or touches memorabilia he doesn't want her to touch.
So here was my challenge: How do I make a space that has A LOOOOOOOTTTTT of sports memorabilia PLUS his alma mater's (which he continues to buy more items of) be organized without any items being donated, tossed, or put away; everything is to be seen and appreciated.
First I had to categorize everything he had, but not necessarily by sport. Since the room was FULL of items, I used different color post it notes to place on the items for categorization.
Categories: Alma Mater, Priceless/Museum, Books, Pictures (framed and unframed), Games, TV & Media, and Bar.
Planning the space. I had to plan around architectural details like windows, stairs, and a door that leads to the backyard.
I asked my friend (with the nudging of his wife) to go through items and really decide if he wants it, or if it really is considered memorabilia.
I went to my office with all my notes, measurements, and pictures, and made a plan for the man cave. On organizing day, to my surprise, my friend was excited to work on this project.
I communicated the game plan. I made sure to communicate what was going to happen and how so my friend could feel at ease (people always think organizers just want to throw everything away), and so he can know what to expect.
We split the work. Archival frames and display boxes were bought for some of the memorabilia. I gave him that task, since they were prized possessions. I started with the items of his alma mater. I was able to take all of the items and place on a wall near the TV. We continued to work through the day to get it all done with the help of a few friends.
Architectural details. Luckily, we were able to use some of the architecture to our advantage. The window ledges became display shelves, the space under the stairs became a display case, and angled walls were great for pennants and pictures.
Game zone. A game zone was created for poker, darts, and foosball.
TV and media zone. An area was chosen for the TV, speakers, sofas, and to place remotes, food and drinks, while accommodating a larger amount of people.
Bar area. The bar area was already in place. We went through barware to make sure there weren't any glasses that were chipped or needed to be pitched.
I know every Man Cave is different because it consists of a full collection, several collections, and the items can vary from sports to tools to comics to movies to sneakers. Here are a few tips on making your Cluttercave into the perfect Mancave!
Take inventory of what you own. This will allow you to have a better picture of how much you own in every category.
Categorize everything in the space. All like items are to be placed together.
Get the right tools. Archival items for memorabilia, pictures, and documents. Cases for signed items. Peg boards for tools. Comfy sofas or chairs. Media console for the TV and all things media.
Plan the space. Placement of these items will have to be based on quantity, any architectural details (including sockets), and size of any large furniture.
Get help if needed. Hey that's what I'm here for! Ohh, you thought I was going to say to call your friends and family to help? Yeah, I guess you can do that too ;-)
Be flexible. It is a good idea to be realistic with yourself: are you going to buy more of it? If so, leave some flexibility to make sure it will fit. Also, be flexible while you're getting the Man Cave together. If a plan doesn't work, you can always move things around and rethink the space a bit; take a break if need be so you can see things with fresh eyes. You do not need to tackle the space in one day.
Pat yourself on the back. When you're done, give yourself and those who helped you a pat on the back.
Know that it will look worse before it gets better.
Beware of sunny windows with anything valuable and clothing articles. The sun will make it fade.
Take pictures before you begin. When you're starting to lose sight of it or get tired, look at the difference. You will be surprised at how far you have come!
Go ahead and share this with whomever you know has a Man Cave, has been wanting a Man Cave, or has been talking about organizing and cleaning up his Man Cave.
Have a question? Contact me here.
Organized by Catherine O organizes all areas of your home, maximizes your space, and problem-selves time management and productivity challenges. We are based in New York City and serve the NYC-Metro area.