My Home Office Reorganization~ Tips for a Neat Space

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Does your home office ever get a little out of control? Too much paper that you can’t find a home for. Me, too. As I’m working on a home office reorganization (so that I can share it with you), I thought you would like some of the tips from my home office reorganization.

It’s been 2 years since I moved in and outfitted my office after a 2 1/2 month construction. I showed you every little step we took, from the vision to the construction to the selection of everything from lighting to floors to a window to installing a workstation and shelving to the big reveal. IT was the home office reorganization of my dreams.

It was so much fun and I enjoyed every minute of designing my space. But over time, I had let things get a little sloppy, somewhat messy, and I hate to admit it, downright cluttered and stuffed.

Before I let another week go by, I decided that last weekend was the time for some serious home office reorganization. It was time to take charge, tackle the paper and ribbon and glitter and show them who was the boss of this office.

I love to organize ~ a closet, a kitchen drawer, under the bathroom sink ~ it’s all therapeutic and eye~opening and stress~relieving to clean out, throw out, and set things in order.

Since I have an office now and spend more time in my office than any other room in the house (I used to spend more time in the kitchen.), I guess it’s natural that things get out of hand. Paper builds up, craft supplies get thrown into bags, filing gets put on the back burner, and soon the neat, organized home office space I started with has turned into my own worst enemy.

The need for a home office reorganization was staring me in the face, thumbing its nose at me, taunting me since the beginning of the year. Finally, I accepted the challenge and got to work. However long this office reorganization took, I was going to be victorious.

Has that ever happened to you? Everything is neat and orderly, filed away properly and easy to find, and then one day, there is a pile of paper and you can’t find that “how~to” course you just printed or that receipt you needed for taxes is nowhere to be found? You have not a single inch of storage space available and every drawer seems stuffed with glue, glitter and gunk. Well, join me as I show you how I tackled this chaos and started an office reorganization that brought back my serenity and senses. Not to mention uncovering that darn receipt.

My Home Office Reorganization ~ Tips for a Neat Space

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Reorganizing the Bookshelves

I’ve told you that my office is small ~ about 62 square feet. I can roll around on my office stool and touch everything. That is why every square inch of storage is valuable real estate.

I basically have 3 sides to my office with the 4th being the cased opening to our butler’s pantry. One side is mostly my computer, counter space and a cube filing drawer. That area is actually in good shape. It’s the other 2 walls that are not being utilized. One wall is 50% 3 Ikea Billy bookcases ~ packed to the gills.

See any open space? Room for growth? Nope, me neither.

home Office Reorganization

Think of the shelves this way: there are 18 “cubbies”:

  • 3 of them are filled with binders of recipes from my days at Sur La Table and the Viking Cooking School.
  • 7 are filled with magazine holders.
  • 2 are filled with books.
  • That leaves 6 cubbies for things that I use on a daily or weekly basis.

Not a good use of space. I’m not counting the plastic tubs above the bookcases. That’s holiday decorations that come out once a year and are rightly stored out of the way. Plastic scrapbook containers are perfect for my paper and vinyl for Cricut projects.

home Office Reorganization

On the back wall of my office is my Elfa wall storage from The Container Store. I love the look and the open accessibility of the components ~ except for the lack of accessibility of the things I need to reach on a daily basis. I could easily reach the paint jars, but I don’t need them very often. Some shelf space was empty and I had craft supplies (glue, glitter, punches) that were stored in drawers that need better access.

home Office Reorganization

One problem is that I couldn’t reach the paper towels and painter’s tape that I use all the time. My workspace counter is deep and the rod was high and I’m short. I had to get out a step stool to reach. Not very efficient. So moving the rod was a high priority.

home Office Reorganization

How to Start the Office Reorganization

First, I thought long and hard about what was taking up space and what I didn’t need. It was really so obvious ~ magazines. Years of magazines that I never looked at. 6 years of Southern Living and 3 years of Garden and Gun and Bon Appetit and Saveur.

It was hard to let go, but eventually, I filled 6 brown paper grocery bags of magazines and emptied 5 magazine holders ~ 20 inches of usable storage space.

TIP: Decide what you really need and what you don’t. That’s the first step to reorganizing. Purge, purge, purge.

home Office Reorganization

I did keep my 7 years of Fine Cooking, Cuisine at Home, and Cook’s Illustrated. Those are like cooking textbooks to me. I almost threw out my HGTV (2012 ~ now), but I decided that I couldn’t bear to let them go. A dozen Veranda and a few odds and ends magazines went in the recycle bin too.

I couldn’t believe how much space that freed up. I reorganized the magazines that I did keep, switching out magazine holders for the ones I like. The Ikea ones are my favorites. Instead of 7 cubbies filled with magazines, I was down to 5.

home Office Reorganization

Next, how could I utilize the storage bins I had, like the Ikea “shoe boxes”? I used them for things I need all the time, like printer ink, gift bags and stickers. Stacking all 3 also saved space. And, of course, everything got new labels. Look at all that extra space!

TIP: You don’t have to buy cute shoe boxes; cover empty shoe boxes with contact paper or spray paint them.

TIP: Stacking lightweight containers is a good way to save space.

home Office Reorganization

I’ve had 3 wicker rectangle baskets for years and I finally feel that I have utilized them to their best potential. Jars of glitter, my punches and ribbon ~ craft supplies I use all the time ~ came out of drawers and into the light.

I found things I didn’t remember I had, such as these cute labels from The Container Store ~ labeling everything makes the space seem neater and more organized.

TIP: Label as many items as you can. Not only does it make it easier to find things, but it gives a good feeling of being organized. And cute makes you just feel better.

home Office Reorganization

Last year I found these fabric bins at Lowe’s in the perfect color for my office. I had only been using 1 because I didn’t have room for 2 ~ but now I do.

home Office Reorganization

I filled one fabric basket with fabric swatches, which I’m always picking up, and the other with a variety of decorative embellishments for crafts and home decor. The Container Store labels came in handy again. I printed out the labels on my label maker from The Container Store and attached them to the sticker labels. I was able to use some of the excess space for tall, skinny craft and paint books.

TIP: Use excess vertical space to store books or anything skinny. Don’t let space go to waste.

TIP: Unless you have great handwriting, invest in a label maker, one that is easy to use and has options for fonts and styles. It is money well spent. I love the one made by The Container Store.

home Office Reorganization

A large shoebox that I had painted pink and never used (It was sitting on the floor under my workspace.) came out of hiding and was just right for large notepads and packages of cute stickers.

TIP: Oversized boxes are a great way to gain storage and save money. You can cover them in paper or spray paint them to match your decor.

home Office Reorganization

I also started moving the books in 2 of the cubbies to shelves on the other 2 walls in my office. That freed up 2 more cubbies and didn’t affect the storage on the other shelves.

home Office Reorganization

The only cubbies I didn’t touch were the 2 at the bottom with my binders of recipes and 1 at the top with more cooking information. In total I went from 12 cubbies with non~essential stuff down to 8, gaining 4 cubbies devoted to blogging/craft items and I have 3 cubbies that are empty ~ for now. The other 3 cubbies have my Cricut paper and vinyl.

They say it gets worse before it gets better!

home Office Reorganization

home Office Reorganization

Reorganizing the Utility Wall

The first thing I did here was to add books from the bookshelf to the top shelf. Then I took down the rod with my paper towels and painter’s tape and added another shelf that I had bought on sale last fall ~ just in case. I adjusted all the shelves and moved all the paint jars to the higher new shelf. I attached the rod at the lowest point on the shelving unit. Now I can just reach out my hand and grab a towel. My label maker is also lower and easier to reach.

home Office Reorganization

Above the rod, I placed 3 pink plastic containers from Dollar Tree. Again, I used them for supplies that I use often and are now easy to reach and more visible. I made labels for them using my Cricut and my label maker.

home Office Reorganization

I now also had room to take different kinds of glue out of a drawer and put them on the open shelves.

home Office Reorganization

Reorganizing Piles of Paper

At this point, I was almost ready to clean up, declare victory and congratulate myself for a job well done. The bookshelves and the utility wall looked neat and uncluttered.

I had bought another plastic drawer unit at The Container Store ~ a really inexpensive one. It holds my burlap, cardboard letters and some Cricut equipment.  On top of it was a pile of paper ~ dozens of PDF files on blog information that I have printed off for reference.

home Office Reorganization

home Office Reorganization

home Office Reorganization

Oh gosh, do I just shove the papers back where I found them? No, I thought, I’ve come this far; I have to finish the job. I went through the papers and organized them by subject matter. Fortunately, I had several hanging files for my cube file drawer. My label maker went to work again.

home Office Reorganization

Eventually, I had all the papers in labeled file folders and alphabetized in the cube drawer. I threw away papers that were out of date and no longer relevant, but most were filed: E~Mail Marketing, Photography, SEO, WordPress, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter.

home Office Reorganization

TIP: For reference materials that you download, make a hard copy too for times when being on your computer is impractical. Great bedtime reading. Just be sure to label and file them rather than let them stack up as I did.

TIP: Check periodically that materials are still current for the subject. If they are not, toss them.

At the end of the day, (actually, I worked on the office over a period of 3 days), I feel so good about my home office reorganization. Everything I use daily or weekly is easily accessible and things I use only occasionally are labeled and on a high shelf or a low shelf. The good stuff is front and center.

I love the empty space on the bookshelf. It’s like having some breathing room. I will probably add a few more scrapbook bins for more Cricut paper and vinyl which I like to organize by color.

home Office Reorganization

One Big TIP: Don’t let your office get out of hand. I’ve decided that once a month I’m going to take a quick inventory of my space and fix any clutter immediately. A 5~minute office reorganization is less stressful and time-consuming than tackling an entire year’s worth of disarray as I did. It’s on my calendar.

Also, I didn’t spend one penny. I used storage boxes I already had. It was really about purging, rethinking the space and moving items to better spaces that made a difference.

I hope my office reorganization helped you think about your space and these tips will help you ~ maybe not new ones, but it helps to be reminded. Did you have some office reorganization tips you would like to share? Put them in the comments for everyone to see.

home Office Reorganization

home Office Reorganization

home Office Reorganization

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19 Comments

  1. Carol, I don’t know how you accomplished so much in a short time! Your office looks great! I am totally inspired and wish I could redo our office to be more efficient. Maybe my husband will read your post and get on board. The main problem I have is a ginormous lazer printer that looks like it belongs in Office Depot! My husband loves it so what’s a girl to do? It takes up the entire desk!

  2. First off, Carol, it looks beautiful. So light and happy with the pink, so bravo!

    And your tips are excellent. It’s a chore (and yes, it IS a chore) that I need to tackle again. I made good progress last fall but your words on once a month are valuable. I really have to consider, “what do I think I will not want to do again.” And revisiting the magazines… you’re right — that one is tough~!

  3. You are an inspiration! My “studio” was once a thing of beauty and organization, now I’m afraid to go in there!Your space looks so clean and inviting, it’s lovely. Thanks for sharing at Vintage Charm! xo Kathleen|Our Hopeful Home

  4. All four-star wonderful tips. Thanks, Carol. The finished product is looking just marvelous and I can see where it would inspire your creative muse!

  5. I don’t have an office but I do have a craft room that I have been avoiding like the plaque because it is such a mess. Would you like to come to Connecticut and spend a week in my craft room? You have done a beautiful job and given me hope that I can organize too. Thank you.

  6. Wow! You did a great job reorganizing. I would love for you to come to my house & organize supplies. Have you ever thought about putting your recipes on a flash drive or CD? It would free up more space. Thanks for all your ideas.

  7. Goodness! Your office looks wonderful. I’m sure it is a pleasure to just be in this area and work. Thanks for the tips.

  8. I think you have a marvelous use of space in here. Despite computers there are still so many things in Print. I did a magazine purge two years ago—and let all my subscriptions run out—-That alone has helped immensely. I go to the library once a month and peruse my favorites(Veranda/SouthernHome—etc.) And take a note here and there to look them up online. Great ideas here!

    1. Sandi, that is a good idea. We’ve let some magazine subscriptions go, too. But still have 5 or 6 ~ and I’m always way behind in reading them. Veranda and Southern Living, HGTV are some of my favorites, too.

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