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I have been ignoring our home office closet for way too long. Now that fall is here I have been motivated make our home office uncluttered, minimalized & esthetically pleasing. I loved the simplicity of our home office since removing things from the walls and giving it a paint treatment–that is– until I would try to open a desk drawer or look for something in the closet. We we’re to the point where drawers were not closing, closet shelves were falling down, and closet doors were not closing! It was time to focus in and tackle it, and I did just that on a cool fall-like Sunday afternoon.
I started on Saturday, tentatively opening drawers and closet doors, taking in what was causing the clutter, and taking note of the things I knew we would be keeping in the office. This step was important in order to visualize what the best use of the space in the closet would be. I ventured out on Saturday, visiting Walgreens and my favorite dollars store for supplies. I looked for a variety of bins of different sizes and textures. I wanted to keep the color scheme simple, so I chose white, orange, black & a touch of natural brown wicker color. I thought this color combination would go great with the new deconstructed chevron wall I just painted in our home office.
I also bought supplies to create labels. I knew in order to keep this closet looking great, the first step would be getting rid of everything that is not used or necessary, and then label containers for all that is left, giving each item a clearly marked home.
I bought some fun yellow washi tape. I couldn’t find an orange to match the containers I purchased, and I knew this yellow would be a fun pop of color, just as my special yellow chair is that is in the study.
I bought some chevron grey, white and black note cards, some white 3×5 cards, and my favorite Stainless Sharpie Pen 1S. I’m a bit of a pen snob, and I wanted a pen that would work well, look & feel sleek, & make my handwriting look somewhat decent. Isn’t it funny how a good pen can actually do that? I also wanted a pen that would be permanent like a marker but write like a pen; without smearing. Walgreens has the Stainless Sharpie Pen 1S for $5.29. I also grabbed the Sharpie Pen Grip RT Black, this is my second favorite. I love that it has a comfortable grip & is retraceable and does not have a lid. My girls tend to lose lids quickly, which is why the Stainless Sharpie Pen is MINE. For older kids and teenagers, retractable Sharpie pens rock!
I bought the wooden clothes pins from the dollar store, and some binder clips. I decided I am done with sticky type labels–washi tape does not count as it is super easy to remove. I like the idea of being able to quickly change out a label depending on the need at the time. This is why I went with very inexpensive 3×5 cards–they were .50 cents for 400! Can’t beat that price! The chevron cards I picked up would be the perfect backing to these 3×5 cards to make them pretty! I used the chevron notecards to back my 3×5 cards, then clipped them right to the container with a clothes pin. When I need to change the label, it will just take a matter of seconds to write on a new card and clip it back onto the container. Easy!
Armed with my supplies, I started clearing out the closet. Oh my. It is amazing how much stuff gets thrown in there! Our home office is a very central location of our home and it just seems to be a magnet for clutter.
While I cleared things out, I made a pile for donating, had a trash bag handy for trash, and made another pile for items that belong elsewhere. There was also a nice big basket full of papers that need sorted, but I didn’t allow that to distract me from the mission. I set them aside and will go through them slowly throughout the week, maybe while watching Dr. Oz!
I spread all my containers out on my kitchen table, and as I cleared out the closet, it became apparent what items needed grouped together and a home. I brought those items out and put them in the appropriate container, labeled it, then carried it back into the closet and put it together in the most practical,efficient, and beautiful way I could think of– kind of like a puzzle. I wanted the closet to be appealing to the eye, but also as functional as possible, as this would be key for keeping it organized.
Before I carried all the labeled containers back into the closet, I made sure to sweep, dust and clean the shelves. I also had to fix the base of the shelves, as it had come apart from the wall and was leaning heavily to one side. That alone kept my procrastination in full gear when I thought of organizing this closet. I’m pretty good with power tools but I don’t like the process of using them. I can’t tell you how happy I was once the base was screwed back into place and the shelves were straight and usable again. That gave us almost a 1/3 more closet space then we had before when it was broken. Thank you drill and electric screwdriver! I am woman…hear me roar.
I put my power tools (and my roaring) away and got out the tools I am more comfortable with:
I had great fun making the labels. Like I said above, I kept it simple enough to be able to do a quick change of label if needed, just by grabbing a 3×5 card, a clip and my Sharpie pen. I stored the 3×5 cards, cut in half, in an envelope and taped it to the inside of the closet door with washi tape. I utilized the inside of the closet doors by hanging a few bulletin boards. The board marked ‘Truth’ will hold a weekly scripture verse to keep front and center in our minds throughout the week.
I’m super excited about how the closet turned out. I can’t believe the difference. Because the closet is in such a central location in our home, and because we do not have a coat closet, I decided to make this closet an office/coat closet. This is why you see coats hanging & bins marked for mittens, gloves, scarves & hats. I even kept an open square of the wire shelving open for storing my snow boots.
I’m trying to keep our office free from paper piles, so I made each family member a magazine file holder with their name clearly marked on the front. I like that these are big enough to not only hold paper, but also any projects or items I find lying around in the office. I also made one for my receipts & for papers that need filed.
I did give in and use some stickers on a few larger bins that hold items that I know we will always need for storage & whose labels will not need changed out. I just couldn’t pass up how cute they were.
One of my favorite areas of the closet is the wire shelving that holds bigger bins. We have had this for a while, and have been utilizing it in this way, but the closet got so full you could not see it, and the bins were not clearly labeled. I now have 4 clearly labeled bins.
They are marked:
Are you wondering about the sock bin? Our laundry room is downstairs which is just to far to go whenever someone cannot find socks. This bin holds those dreaded missing socks that everyone is always asking for. Now I just send them to the sock basket.
The library bin keeps the books we get from the library in one place. I love that I can quickly make another label and jot down when they are due and clip it right to the bin.
The donate & deliver bins are pretty self-explanatory. I am always collecting items that people left at our home, especially my kids’ friends. I love having a place to put this stuff and will tell said friends to go check the deliver basket when they come. I will also use it to keep track of what I need to return to people and deliver myself. The donate bin is a great place to keep items I want to get rid of. Minimalizing is an ongoing process in this house, so I always try to have something in that bin!
I can now get to my vacuum quickly, and the attachments are all in one place stored above the vacuum. I hung them in a bucket on a tension rod that I found in the back of the closet. I also found a hook that is perfect for hanging my camera bag. I take photos constantly for New Nostalgia and now my Colsie has an interest in photography, so I like having a specific place for the camera where everyone knows where it is and where to put it away.
On to the desk. Cords were an issue…but not anymore! I used my Sharpie pen and marked plastic zip bags with what specific cord wasis inside. Make sure to use a Sharpie, other markers will smear. Earbuds also got a home. No more tangled mess!
I bought a bunch of little round containers from the dollar store & used them to corral all those small items that make a mess in drawers. I also moved printer paper & lined paper from the closet shelf to a drawer. I found when my girls would grab a piece, more than one would come and my closet would be littered with paper. A drawer should solve this problem. This is an example of how important it is to always look for the most efficient way to store items. Put items that are used regularly front and center. Keep ‘like’ with ‘like’ and when one item is always creating clutter, figure out another way to store it or give it a specific home.
I am so very happy with how our home office is shaping up. I have a couple more fun project planned for it–an artistic wall piece that doubles as a way to display photos, a fun project with clipboards, and a homemade light fixture. Look for those posts coming to New Nostalgia this fall.
Suzanne HoltSeptember 26, 2014 at 2:18 pm
I know that if I followed the tips in this article that it would definitely help my home business to run more smoothly. Thank you so much for all of the ideas and especially for showing all of the pictures!
AnonymousSeptember 15, 2014 at 9:26 pm
Impressive Amy, I love organized everything!!m
AnnieSeptember 15, 2014 at 8:01 pm
Oh wow, I am so inspired to finally organize the MESS that is my home office. Thank you for the motivation <3
AmyNewNostalgiaSeptember 15, 2014 at 8:33 pm
You are welcome! It will be worth it.
Liz cooperSeptember 15, 2014 at 6:04 pm
WOW Ms. Amy of New Nostagia!!! Not only am I inspired to organize and simplify and “get rid of” – but it has been fun to read it. And you write so well. Thank you.
AmyNewNostalgiaSeptember 15, 2014 at 6:29 pm
Why thank you Ms. Liz! It is so freeing–now I’m ready to tackle our storage closet.
Kelly GreerSeptember 15, 2014 at 2:31 pm
You just motivated me…..now if I can just get up and follow through. Thanks Amy!
AmyNewNostalgiaSeptember 15, 2014 at 4:11 pm
Do it! I can’t tell you how good I feel getting it done! Starting is always the hardest..
Jen SandbulteSeptember 15, 2014 at 2:24 pm
You inspired me! Our office has been needing some love for a while now! This is just the motivation I need to “get at it!” I’ll have to post my before and after photos!
AmyNewNostalgiaSeptember 15, 2014 at 2:30 pm
Please do Jen! I love a good before and after transformation…and then I won’t feel alone in my disorganized before mess! Thanks for reading.
Thomas CooperSeptember 15, 2014 at 1:52 pm
Wow, nice work, Amy!
AmyNewNostalgiaSeptember 15, 2014 at 1:58 pm
Thomas! So fun seeing your name at New Nostalgia. Thanks for the props.