Reader's chaotic space gets a revamp

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This workstation, a project by Home’s DIY expert Deon de Goede, keeps Elize’s materials and equipment close at hand. It consists of two small cupboards joined together to form one unit.
This workstation, a project by Home’s DIY expert Deon de Goede, keeps Elize’s materials and equipment close at hand. It consists of two small cupboards joined together to form one unit.
Elize Potgieter is the third finalist in our Declutter Competition in partnership with Gumtree. Our experts helped her turn a chaotic space into an organised – and creative – studio.

Photographs Francois Oberholster Styling Marian van Wyk

Elize Potgieter was determined to sell or give away all their accumulated clutter when she and hubby Greg moved to Wellington three years ago. “I was always the queen of my garage but every time we moved, I lost a little of my resolve. I could no longer see the floor or work surfaces in my ‘studio’!” she says.

As a hobby, Elize and her mom make quilts, rugs, baskets and other decorative items for special events, and Elize was keen to create a more functional space that would stimulate creativity. “When I was a child, we moved a lot; maybe that’s why I become so attached to sentimental things. But my messy house does not reflect who I am. I strive for a minimalist look where everything has its own place – and everything is in its place!”

Two back-to-back cupboards form a comfortable work surface for Elize.

A moodboard with paint swatches and other useful tools adds colour to the studio.

This nook is set up for taking photos. Here, Elize can style her products and photograph them for online advertising. The cupboards to the left of the photo nook provide storage space for her fabric.

Elize Potgieter

A space that works

With the help of our decluttering experts, Carin Smith and Jani Augustyn-Goussard, Elize identified her various hobbies and created a dedicated zone for each one: painting, embroidery, crochet and sewing. An old cot (there were two) was then advertised on Gumtree to make way for a custom-made workstation built by Home’s DIY guru, Deon de Goede.

Elize loves her ‘new’ studio. “My family is so pleased that I have a beautiful space that works for me. Now they see me at my best: happy and creative!

“The most valuable lesson I have learned is that decluttering isn’t just a physical process – it also teaches you to make space in your head,” says Elize. “Now I don’t spend so much time trying to find stuff because I know exactly where everything is. This exercise has taught me to look critically at everything and decide what category it falls into before it ends up on a shelf for ‘one day in the future’. When I bring in new fabric or yarn, I categorise it immediately!”

A strip of chalkboard paint above a chest of drawers is convenient for making notes on the wall.

Elize’s daughter Nicolene enjoys spending time with her mother in her studio. This cot was converted into a child-size desk where Nicolene can sit and draw or paint while her mom works.


If you run a small business, Gumtree is a great place to sell your handmade items. Thanks to Gumtree’s free classifieds, anyone can make the most of their talents to earn extra income.

The chances of making a quick sale are so much better if you take quality photos that give potential buyers a clear picture of the items. Follow these tips for taking the best photographs of your creations:

• Take photos during daylight hours, as far as possible, and ensure that the object is well lit, with no distracting shadows that will impair your advert.

• You don’t need a professional camera – today’s cellphone photographs are of excellent quality.

• Make sure your photos are clear and in focus. If people can’t see what you’re offering, your advert doesn’t stand a chance.

• Pay attention to what’s in the background and avoid anything that will distract from your product. As Elize has done, set up a photo nook with a simple background – in her case,aroll of paper on a stick.

• A good advert needs at least three photos but you can post as many as nine. The more photographs, the greater your chance of a quick transaction.



Paint & Decor 021 976 0114

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April 2023

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