My computer spent Thursday and Friday visiting with my husband’s computer. My operating system was being kind of twitchy, and my incredible, amazing, techy god of a husband very kindly offered to swap the OS on it for me. So he spent 2 days backing everything up, installing a new OS and putting everything back for me. He’s a total sweetie! Now, I get to have some fun relearning this OS and getting into my groove. With my computer unavailable, I was a little lost. I spent some time getting caught up on housework, and then I turned my attention to a little space that was in desperate need of some organizing. One where the systems I thought would work, weren’t working at all.
My almost emtpy, office nook. I had to move the desk out of there for now. The light from the afternoon sun was shining right on my computer, and I’d rather have the blinds open during the day. But that left this space empty and an undefined space is a magnet for clutter.
The cluttered buffet. Not too bad, but being on the wall by the entrance to the kitchen made it an easy target for those random items to start collecting. And finally, the reason my husband found it painful to watch me have to pack everything up at the end of the day when I was using the dining room table…
Scary right? Actually, this is pretty normal when I’m in the middle of a major project, or three. That pile of stuff on the right hand side, is actually stuff I was using. It may look like a hot mess to you, but that’s the physical manifestation of my creativity at work. Strangely, I function better like that than I do with everything in neat piles or filed away. However, once the project is complete, everything goes away. For the most part I like a neat work space, the messy times are reserved for creative stuff.
But as you can see things weren’t working as well as I had thought. That meant, back to the drawing board. Some times it takes a few tried to get everything just right. I had been meaning to do a minor update to this space, but with computer busy getting all new and shiny, I thought I would tackle some major changes to the space.
Step one: I used my room organizer and spent some time figuring out what this space needed, and how I could make it work for me.
Step two: Empty out the space.
Nothing to see here….
Step three: Sort, sort, sort. With all the hubbub from getting the house ready for sale, then the selling of the house (yes we did finally sell it… yay!) I’ve pretty much pared down as far as I can go. Everything I have, I use, or have a planned use for, with a few extras thrown in for surprise projects like “help your child build a wagon for their teddy bear at the teddy bear picnic next week”. But I still didn’t skip this step. Though I didn’t get rid of anything, I did find a new way to store it. 🙂 I didn’t take pics of this process, I kind of figured you didn’t want to look at more mess.
Step four: Clean the empty area and create a plan for putting it all back together.
Step five: Put it all back together.
So what did I come up with? Well, I finally gave up on trying to keep it pretty. Functional was the name of the game all the way. So the first items to go to a new home elsewhere were my wedding bouquet, and the two statues on the buffet. They were taking up too much space. In their place I dressed up some magazine holders.
Here’s a side by side before and after comparison.
I’ve been pricing out pretty magazine holders, and decided to just two that I already had (here they are in the last photo on the post) and dress them up. I picked up a pillow case from the dollar store, and finally joined the club, and bought some of the Martha Stewart bookplates. I figure there are enough tutorials out there for covering things, you probably don’t want to see another. I just traced out the holders, added about 2cm extra (about half an inch) cut out and glued in place. Added the bookplates and was done. Best part, the pillow case was $2.00 and I only needed half of it, the bookplates were $4.99 for 6, total cost cost of updating the magazine holders was http://orgjunkie.com/2012/11/favorite-organizing-links-command-central-decluttering-tips-free-printables-more.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed:%20ImAnOrganizingJunkie%20(I’m%20an%20organizing%20junkie!)http://orgjunkie.com/2012/11/favorite-organizing-links-command-central-decluttering-tips-free-printables-more.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed:%20ImAnOrganizingJunkie%20(I’m%20an%20organizing%20junkie!)under $2.00/each. Love that!
Since I was already on a DIY roll, I dressed up some empty coffee tins with scrapbook paper and ribbon that I already had on hand. Added some stick on labels, again that I already had, and instantly had pretty holders for my sharpies and scissors.
And here is what the buffet is looking like now.
I moved the file-box off my desk. I wasn’t using it as often as I thought I would. It was taking up valuable work space. I still need access to the files, but not often enough to warrant desk space.
The peel and stick calendars really help fill in some wall space. More importantly they’ll help keep me on track. Right now I’m testing having one for household stuff, one for blog stuff, and am using the middle for our actual schedule, kind of like my own copy of our family calendar. Hopefully it will help me plan out my time better. These were another Staples buy, I found them in the clearance section. Regular $14.98 marked down to $9.99 with an additional 50% off because they wanted them gone. Total cost $4.50 before taxes, I don’t think I could have DIYed 3 dry erase calendars for that price. And if they don’t work out in the office, I have a few other homes picked out for them.
Inside, I changed things up a bit.
Since I stole our paper storage (magazine holders) I needed to find a new way to keep our paper neat and tidy. I opted to use the drawer. I can find what I need quickly. The box on the left hand side is holding some odds and ends. It’s mainly there to help keep the paper from sliding around. Down the road I plan to pick up more trays like the black one.
Inside the cupboards I moved things around, some items found new homes elsewhere in the house.
I already had these white containers, I just popped on the bookplate so I can label them. They’re holding spare notebooks and paper samples.
With the extra space I was able to fit in our accordion file and my scrapbook paper storage. I love that they are now tucked away, but easily accessible.
This little rolling cart has been moved over to the window wall. All I really did with this was dress up an old magnetic board with some left over pillow case fabric, and put in on the front to hold some extra little office supplies.
They’re now within easy reach.
And last, but not least, my desk!
I am in LOOOOOVE!
Remember my Office Inspiration post? Well, I picked up my first item off my wishlist, this pretty little mail sorter from Martha Stewart Home Office. It’s holding everything I need and use daily. It can also stack onto other items from the same line, which means that down the road I can add to it. Gotta love an organizer than can grow with you. It was the biggest splurge at $14.99, but let me tell you, I wandered down the office storage aisle at our local Staples, and similar products were more expensive, or were made out of that cheap, ugly black plastic, and would have ended up costing me around the same after DIYing them. So, it was well worth it!
I tucked my pens into a pretty cut glass vase I already had.
I needed to raise the computer up a bit, it was too low sitting on the desktop. The little wire shelf was one I already had on hand. The bonus with the shelf is that it frees up some space underneath.
I already had the little wooden tray and I picked those little bowls up for $1.25/3 at the dollar store. They’re perfect for holding the little items I use most often. Paperclips, binder clips, and then in the center are page flags, post-it notes, as well as some stick on divider tabs. They’re right where I can get to them.
And here is the space as a whole.
I’ve still got things I want to do. I have some plain sheets that I’m hoping to dress up with fabric paint and turn into a desk skirt or cover to make the folding table look pretty. The rolling cart is going to get a few coats of spray paint, and I’m toying with ideas for the window, and new window coverings. Right now I’m thinking a faux roman shade might do the trick, but we’ll see. And the blank wall needs some sort of storage system, perhaps a book case or two, I’m not sure yet. I plan to dress up some clipboards to hang up on one of the small walls by the buffet, and possibly do a memo board on the other. So, I still have a ways to go, but I’m getting closer everyday.
And you know something? I’m totally in love with it. Once I gave up trying to use the top of the buffet as more of a decorative space and embraced it as essential office real estate it freed up so much more space on my desk and inside the buffet itself. Now this space is really feeling like an office. More, it’s feeling like MY office, and I’m loving that.
Total cost to get it to this point: $27.23 (plus all applicable sales taxes) It’s a win all around!
Do you have a space you just can’t leave alone? Do you ever find yourself changing things up alot until you find what works for you? Any suggestions what to do with the window?