I wasn’t kidding when I said our home office was a disaster area! It had been a mess since we moved in.
I sent out a plea for help and my plea was answered! I am partnering with GoodHousekeeping.com as part of its Spring Cleaning Challenge! So as not to keep you in too much suspense, here’s the “after”!
I know, right?!? It doesn’t even look like the same room!
Here’s how it went down.
Before I had even heard back from GoodHousekeeping.com, I decided to move the desks from the middle of the room to the wall with the big window, and my work table to the other side of the room.
This opened up the room and made it look so much bigger! Plus, now Dear Husband and I have a gorgeous view while we’re
staring out into space working.
Then, Good Housekeeping sent advice from professional organizer Jeni Aron from Clutter Cowgirl. She suggested:
So, with that advice, I went to work. Here’s how I tackled each point.
(1) Relocate all the tools.
Done. This was actually the easiest part! I had power tools in the office that I had used on a project and never put away. Now, they are in the shed, where they belong. I did keep my tool box and my drill in the office, at the work table.
I use my drill in the house all the time, and it’s easy to move if I want to use it in the shed. And the tool box holds small tools, like my hammer, screwdrivers, and pliers, all of which I use in the house.
My work table is actually this kitchen island from IKEA. One side of the table has shelves for great storage.
I used plastic bins I already had (originally from Target) to organize all my project parts and pieces. All are labeled so everything is easy to find.
I had bought this organizer (at Home Depot) a while ago for hardware, but had never used it. Now, I love how easy it is to find everything. I may move it down to the shed eventually, but for now, it’s on the file cabinet behind my work table.
Each bin is labeled – so much easier for me to find what I’m looking for!
I keep my magic wand on my work table, just in case. This organizer (from Home Goods) corrals paint brushes, paint pens, pencils, and scissors.
I still have a bin under the work table with project materials…
But it’s better because (a) it’s all contained in one bin; and (b) it’s all stuff that I plan to use on projects in the very near future.
Yes, my Pottery Barn knock-off tripod lamp is back there – Elvis Parsley ran into it and broke it, so I have to fix it. Also on my to-do list for the near future.
(2) Create closed storage areas… Sort through desk items and move non-essential [stuff] to the shelving.
I took Jeni’s advice and moved the barrister’s bookcase that was behind my desk to another part of the house. It wasn’t good storage there.
I moved the bookcase that was on the other side of the room to that corner.
While it’s not closed storage, it is better organized. The stuff that was on the barrister’s bookcase is now either in bins on the work table shelves, or in the bin of project materials. Everything else was either thrown out, recycled, or donated.
For the rest of it, it was really just a case of putting things away. Photos went upstairs to photo albums and boxes, where they belong. Papers got filed into file cabinets…which brings me to…
3. Deal with the paper.
Well, what Jeni actually said was to go digital as much as possible, and put the remaining paperwork into a filing system without buying a bulky file cabinet.
My bottom desk drawer is actually a file cabinet. All I had to do was install the rails that came with it, buy some cute file folders (organizing is more fun that way!), and file everything away!
I also went through the two big filing cabinets (now behind the work table) that hold our family files, and I cleaned that out. There’s a free paper-shredding event this weekend, so I was motivated to tackle that and get all that paper gone!
For the papers that I need to still deal with or have at hand, I bought a metal file organizer for $1 at the thrift store and put those files there, on the corner of my desk:
I always have a spiral notebook – it’s where I keep my to-do lists, project lists, blog ideas, etc.
For my desk, I cleaned out the drawers and put things away, then labeled all the drawers.
Let’s hear it for a clean, organized desk!
4. Mount the dry erase board.
Done! I do actually use it, so it needed to be hung on the wall.
I also finally framed my features from This Old House Magazine and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and hung those on the wall, too. I’m really proud of these features and they provide me with inspiration!
I found the “Do what you love” art at a thrift store for $1.91! And the newspaper page next to it celebrates my favorite college basketball team (insufferable Duke fan that I am). You can tell I’m old because it references Barney Miller re-runs!
By our desks, I re-hung our mail/paper sorter:
The last thing on Jeni’s list of advice was to add shelves on the wall with the dry-erase board. I didn’t do this because we have plaster walls and they are HARD to drill into to mount shelves. Instead, I used the bookcase, as shown above.
Dear Husband and I are so, so happy with the office now! From The Land of Unfinished Projects…
…to an organized, clean, calm room!
And would you believe that this whole makeover cost me about $5?? I had everything already in our home or in the office, except for the pretty new file folders! Sweet! It’s amazing how you can transform a space just by getting an objective view of it.
A BIG, HUGE, AMAZING THANK YOU to GoodHousekeeping.com and Jeni from Clutter Cowgirl for taking on our office and giving great advice!
What do you think?!?
Christina in FL says
Karen, this is fabulous! I mean it looks magazine pretty! 😉 You have to be thrilled with your new space. Thanks for all the details and links. (Hugs to Elvis Parsley… I bet it was scared to pieces when he broke the lamp)
Karen Cooper says
Thank you! Yes, I do love it. The organization and order makes me so happy! Oh, and yes, Elvis was totally freaked out when he knocked over the lamp! He looked really apologetic. 🙂
Marty Walden says
You did a great job! Isn’t it amazing how we just need someone to kick us into gear? I just did the same thing with a corner of our den which started out as the homeschooling area many years ago, then was just shelves and the computer, then my desk and now is officially my office. I still have my craft room but this is little nook is da bomb! It’s all shabby chic and rustic and so me! Makes me even want to work 🙂 Love ‘ya girl!
Karen Cooper says
Thank you!!! Love ya back!!
I love your ideas regarding using the area in the “middle” of the room (i.e., moving the desk out from the wall where you faced the wall). That one idea is going to save me TONS of room in my jewelry studio & office. It also gave me the idea of doing the same in my walk-in closet in the same room. Currently, I have cabinets, bookshelves, etc. lined along the wall. If I move them out like you did the desk, I’ll have a lot of extra storage space. Thanks a million!
I do have a question: where did you get the large lamps with the moveable heads? I could really use something like this, that is if you get great light from them. Like I mentioned, I have a jewelry studio & needs lots of light for the small things. I’d love to get your, or your readers, thoughts on this.
Again, many thanks,
Karen Cooper says
Hi LouKYMom, Thank you! I got the lamps at IKEA. They weren’t too expensive, and give a ton of light! Glad you got some good organizing/furniture arranging inspiration! Thank you!!