Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Monthly Organising Challenge: Home Office

I love being organised.  This is partly a necessity because I have four children and partly because I'm a little OCD.  Mainly, though, it's because my environment affects my mood.  I'm sure I'm not the only one.  I spend the majority of my time at home and I feel calmer and more in control when my surroundings are clean, tidy, beautiful and organised.

It's no surprise that one of my favourite blogs is iheartorganizing.  Jen Jones is the creative genius behind this site and she shares some really fantastic ideas that, quite frankly, make me giddy with excitement!

This year she's running a monthly organising challenge which appeals to me greatly. So, this month my challenge was to organise our home office. See Jen's Home Office Challenge here.

We don't really have an office, per se.  It's more a desk for the computer.  Shoved in a corner.  And a filing cabinet that has to live near my scrap-booking desk, because it doesn't fit out here (I've tried!)  As my "in-basket" had become a bit of a dumping ground, it was in desperate need of an overhaul.

The first thing I had to come to terms with were the things I can't change due to budget constraints.  The desk is pretty ugly, but functional.  The chair is falling apart (the kids like to pick at the cracked vinyl-Grrr!), but comfortable.  The boxes that I'm currently using are a little dented, but most of the systems I have in place are doing their jobs nicely.

Jen recommends clearing everything out and reassessing what goes where.  With this desk I'm restricted as to where the monitor, cpu and printer can go.  The rest needed a reshuffle.

I moved the magazine files to the top shelf.  These only have bookplates on the open side, so I added Martha Stewart adhesive bookplates on the back to neaten them up a bit.  They house paperwork "To File", scrap paper and printing papers (plain paper, sticky labels and photo paper too).

I also turned to trusty Pinterest to provide me with some inspiration.  This gave me some great ideas to add a few things.

Firstly, a clock, in the vain hope that my adolescent will restrict his computer time (Ha!)

Secondly, a charging station for phones and somewhere to pile the mail before I sort it:

These are stacking trays from Martha Stewart I found at Officeworks.  To avoid putting holes in the trays (in case I ever re-purpose them) and to prevent the cords from falling behind the desk, I added adhesive cord storage clips. 

Finally, somewhere to put the kid's job charts and my daily organiser and cleaning checklist.

I planned on covering some plain clipboards with patterned contact paper, but I found these cute leafy boards at Officeworks and preferred their streamlined clips and hooks. The colours also worked well with my black storage boxes and the family portrait!

It also made sense to move our calendar from the side of the refrigerator and our pinboard/key hook into this space.  They are all now housed on this unused bit of wall.  As it's located near the front door, my hope is that it'll be easy to walk past and drop everything where it should go.  I've attached everything using Command adhesive hooks.  Those things are genius!  We have concrete interior walls, so screwing things in is a pain.  These hooks hold a lot of weight and come clean off.  No holes!  (They don't adhere when it's really humid, as I discovered on the weekend, but they stay on without issues once set.)

Recently, I needed more cupboard space in the kitchen, which led to me needing to rehouse some general household items like light bulbs, picture hanging hooks, my mini tool kit etc.  So, I added more storage to the desk.

These baskets used to be in the baby's room and I really wasn't using them efficiently.  To make  them look super cute finding things easier I added some labels.

I colour photocopied the clipboards to use the same pattern, added a label and slipped the paper in a cut-down plastic scrap-booking page protector.  Then clipped them to the baskets with a mini wooden peg.

The final step in my home office challenge was to organise the little things... to make life easier.

All cords (that we actually needed to keep) have been bundled up with reusable cable ties and placed into a box with separate compartments for each type.  I made the compartments using a base that fell out of one of the magazine files!  Just cut it to size and sticky taped it to the bottom and sides of the box.

After opening the mail, our paperwork will now go in one of three places: the shredder basket to be destroyed, the "To File" magazine file or our "Family Organiser".

I've set up this concertina file to have one section for each month.  When a bill arrives I make note of it on the calendar, then file in the appropriate month.  When it's time to pay the bill, I simply remove it, pay it online, note the receipt number and put in "To File".

What do you think?  I'm loving that everything I need to be organised, open and sort mail and pay bills is now in the same place.  I'm sure that as this blog business continues I'll need to rethink things, but for now it's working fine.  I just need to train the hubby to leave his keys, wallet, phone, sunglasses etc. etc. here.  Instead of everywhere else!!

 What are your tips to keeping home office items organised?



  1. Hey Sarah! Belated hi, and great blog! (Although I admit this particular post intimidated me. I would be horrified to show a picture of my home office with the public. I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED your first post, though. I could completely relate.) Can't wait to read more. xo from Colorado.

    1. And much love to Colorado! Be assured the rest of the house is an absolute pig-sty!!

  2. Oh sarah I'm super envious! Running the 'business' on my household can be the bain of my existence.
    Did you find the planners on Pinterest?
    I'm sure I've seen you post one on IG before?
    Ps the blog is looking fabulous!
    Kelly in Melbourne

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Kelly. The planners were things I saw online that I've customized for me. Can find the links if you'd like?

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  4. If it has enough space, I think you can consider that corner as your very own home office. ^___^ All you need is a desk with ample surface space for your office supplies and computer, of course. And what’s nice about it is that it’s near the window, which makes your desk well-lit in the morning.

    Clayton Steadham

    1. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment, Clayton! Yes, in this day and age even a desk with a pc is becoming obsolete, isn't it? Great light in the morning, though my boys don't like the glare when playing their computer games!

  5. I am so smitten with your great use of wall space! And kudos to you for that super tidy desk! Love it all!


    1. Hi Jen,
      Thanks so much for visiting! And thank you for the monthly challenges- I'm loving the extra motivation to get things done and all the inspiration of your great ideas to do things efficiently and to make it look pretty!
      Great timing on the Linen closet too- My once highly organised space is now jam-packed. Wish me luck!
      Sarah x

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