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When I start a new project with my clients, I always ask what they want the room like when we’re done. I don’t believe it is a coincidence that all my clients want their home offices to be a simple, peaceful space with self-maintaining systems. Not so shockingly, that is what we want for our home office too. There are so many tactics to help a home office be all those things and more! The most obvious place to start is to get rid of all the non-office related clutter. I’ll share some other tactics below, and more details in posts to come, because some of these things deserve articles all to themselves.
Did you miss the before pictures of my office? Granted, it isn’t the most dramatic before and after, but when you live with a space day in and out, it is an enormous change! We have really appreciated the difference.
Our office is one of the first rooms you see when you enter our home. It is also my view from my desk (which is just inside that doorway to the right). The whole family is in and out of here for various reasons, to play the piano or this is the computer the kids use too, but really this room is primarily used by my husband Matt. And because I consider this space his that he shares with the rest of us, I wanted to give it a look and feel that he would enjoy. And also, I wanted to set up organizational systems that would make his life easier, while keeping the room a more enjoyable place for all.
Ta-da! Here it is!
The piano nook got a little cleaned up. That basket now holds all the children’s piano books and the headphones.
My advice for baskets are to wait for a specific need and then buy the right basket. That way you’ll end up with a basket that is the right size and type for your needs. I’ve noticed that sometimes when people feel disorganized, they go out and buy baskets and containers as an effort to organize, then these baskets and containers become part of the excess clutter. Never buy a basket or a container if you can’t tell yourself exactly where you’d use it and what problem it would solve!
I love curtains on windows. I just do. It always feels like the room is more polished.
I found a really cool navy burlap material to make the curtains. While burlap is both beautiful and itchy, I think it has just the right feel for a man’s space. All the kinds of designs I like (floral, paisley, damask) didn’t seem manly enough. I gave Matt options between this navy burlap material or blue and white chevron. He chose this (and then I decided to get the blue chevron for the boy’s nursery). Good choice, Matt! Love the texture.
The ceiling didn’t change. I still like it.
Remember how these were all asymmetrically positioned next to the window. I moved them here and am much happier. I think the clock is actually even visible to see the time now. It’s the little things.
Matt has real diplomas now! Way to go, me, for finding them. I was getting a wee bit nervous. They were in the very last box that had remained unpacked since last September.
I’m happy to say Matt’s desk has been clean ever since we gave his common clutter issues a place. I also decorated the tops of the shelves. These were things we already had collected for years (Matt and I are a bit of suckers for anything that says BYU on it), so I just had to arrange them nicely on top. I ordered little stands online for the soccer and football and used a photo easel for the checkers board game.
Matt got a new chair for his birthday. Doesn’t it look regal? It is way more comfortable! It is my chair of choice when I teach piano lessons. I’d probably steal it if it would fit in my desk. (You can see a glimpse of my desk in the kitchen tour.) Speaking of desks. I love Matt’s desk. It was the first piece of furniture I picked out for our new home. I love everything about it.
The shelves got a make-over. Here are all of our pictures in one place. I still print out 4 by 6’s and put them in albums. I know this is a shocking revelation in the digital age. I take a lot of pictures of my kids and the #1 reason I still print pictures: I go through and label which of my identical twins is in each picture. I really want them to know that kind of thing in the future! I think I’ll always know who was who, but the girls can’t tell which one is themselves in their pictures, especially their early pictures. Just one of those little things I do because I am a mom of identical twins.
Do you notice the back of the shelf? That’s right, it isn’t white anymore. We cut foam board to fit in each shelf and wrapped that foam board with fabric, then pushed that wrapped foam board to the back of the shelf and it just stays in without any adhesive. It was a pretty big project, because there are a lot of shelves, but I think it adds so much depth to the look of the shelves.
Remember how some of the shelves had storage that wasn’t really shelf-appropriate? I decided to use framed family pictures to fill in non-book space. Original idea, right?
That white hat is signed by Chad Lewis because Matt was the first person in the state of Arkansas to sign up for the Touchdown club this season.
Hidden right behind his desk chair is Matt’s inbox. This is where I put mail and papers that might have otherwise crowded his desk. He gets to go through these at his leisure (usually when it gets full), which works for me, because now there is no clutter on the desk and these things eventually get handled. Win-win!
These are the girls memory boxes that hold keepsake papers. I use file folders inside to separate type of keepsake item and keep them in chronological order.
This plastic file folder has all our user manuals and warranty information. The opportunity cost of organizing these is not worth it to me, as we almost never look for anything inside. So yep, when a new manual or whatever comes in the house (such as, we just got new humidifiers that came with user manuals and limited warranties … weird to just throw it away … so), it goes straight in that box and doesn’t junk up anywhere else.
Our printer station. We keep the printer paper nearby in that little drawer right underneath the printer. We taped down the cords. I ran out of creativity here, though I do like having them grouped and pinned down. Do you have a better way of handling floor cords that need to cross a path?
A view of this area from behind the desk. I like to have a recycling bin right in the office, because that is where most recyclable papers are opened and managed. My friend made me that cute vinyl recycling symbol.
This is a wooden bowl that I spray painted this brushed nickel. I put little plastic pads on the bottom so the desk top wouldn’t get scratched. These are my sunglasses and keys (Matt is at work with all of his stuff), but I wanted to showcase the purpose of this bowl. Matt uses this to empty his pockets when he comes home, and then all the stuff that goes back in his pockets the next morning. He was already using his desktop for this purpose, so I wanted him to have a little bowl to make it tidied looking and to protect his desktop from being scratched by keys.
Oh, happy BYU rug. We are a bit of super-fans over here, so we like the decorative statement this rug makes.
I hope you enjoyed seeing our home office. Were you inspired by any ideas you could duplicate for your home office? What things would you like to know more about organizing? Do you struggle with files – what to keep, how to keep it? Our files are in the office desk and very accessible. What about the kids memory boxes? Want to know more? What about the inbox? Are you interested in the rules of thumb for dealing with in boxes so they don’t get out of control? Want to know more about how I handle all of our pictures, even the awkward larger ones that don’t fit in the photo album, but don’t have a place on the wall? Tell me what you want to know about!