Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Home workspace organizing: Part 1

In preparation for a new year of working from home most of the time, I decided to streamline my desk.  It is often easy to forget about spaces that you look at all the time.  This desk is one of the first areas that I set up when we moved into this house as I always have an immediate need for a designated workspace.  It is tucked into a nook of our guest room, and while we were redecorating our bedroom, we had to spend a few nights in the guest room.  The bed directly faces the desk, and it struck me that my usual conglomeration of desk necessities and interesting tidbits looked a bit cluttered and overstimulating from the standpoint of a guest room bed.  This, coupled with the fact that the basement "studio" is up and running, inspired me to take a fresh look at my office space.

My desk is actually a workbench purchased from Menards for about $70, and it functions fantastically in this capacity-large worktop, pegboard back, big shelf underneath and a small shelf on top.  Unfortunately, this also leaves more room for clutter.  My goal was to separate my studio goods from my desk goods, and create a more peaceful, productive everyday work space.  This space is now dedicated solely to computer work and paperwork.  If you have trouble organizing or focusing when you are working from home or paying the bills, it's a good idea to pare your workspace down to the essential tools in order to avoid distraction.

First, I cleared spools of ribbon, hole punches and crafty bits off the pegboard and moved them down to the studio.  I hung a couple of mirrors from my collection stashed in the closet (yes-another collection!), and kept small stuff to a minimum. This really simplified the backdrop, and reflects a bit of light back into the room (and I can check my hair while I'm typing). 

Next, anything that seemed better suited to the studio got hauled off, and I moved a small gathering of white pottery in.  Again, this simplifies things, introduces a calm palette, and unifies the desk with the rest of the room.

Only desk and computer necessites remain, enabling me to immediately grab whatever I might need, instead of wading through a bunch of craft supplies.  This saves time and makes paperwork a more pleasant chore (ok-really, oddly, I love paperwork, but I know that most of you don't).  To keep your super streamlined desk from looking too drab, use funky containers for your supplies.  Here are some of my own examples.

One of a kind cups and mugs for business cards, scratch paper or paper clips.

Wood cheese boxes for envelopes and computer accessories.

Metal hardware bins and boxes to keep any small pieces tidy and handy (I use old labels to remind me what's inside!).  Oh, just an aside-that big rubber stamp says CAULIFLOWER, and is one of my most favorite silly finds.

This vintage doily stretcher makes a perfect bulletin board.  I've cleared it off for the new year so I can start loading it with inspirational bits, appointment cards and "things to do" lists.

Coordinated cardboard file boxes (IKEA always has an inexpensive supply in various prints)
and labeled three ring binders keep things in order.

And.....a few simple planners make keeping organized a cinch.

As I'm writing and looking at these photos again, I can already see a few more things that I would like to send to the studio, which brings me to an extra little design tip.  If you have a problem room, or just something nagging you that you can't put a finger on, take a photo of the room.  Sometimes a photo will point out something that you don't see with the naked eye.  As I mentioned at the start of this post, often we can't really see those things we look at all the time. 
I am still hunting for the perfect chair for this desk (tall and adjustable), so if you see anything, let me know!
Happy Organizing,


  1. i love your desk and cannot wait for you to redesign my home office!