Happy new year!
I can barely contain my excitement during the transition to a new year. I love the concrete dividing line between old and new, diving into new projects and tackling organizing improvements. I type all this as a mountain of laundry I haven’t folded lurks in the background, but… still. I’ve really gotten control of certain parts of the house, while others are still utter chaos. So, I’m excited to take part in a couple of organizing challenges since the gauntlet has been thrown. Happily, one room in our house is in pretty good shape as the new year arrives:
The office is one area that DOES work in our house. And by office, I mean sitting room/office/bar/pantry access. It has a window, doors on three of the walls and a giant opening into the kitchen on the fourth wall… needless to say, a challenging room to set up in addition to the fact that it’s a major thoroughfare as a pass-through room with access to the backyard, a hallway/bathroom and the kitchen/back door. Somehow it works amazingly well as an office, though!
Above is the sitting area some of you caught sight of when nwaFoodie did a tour of my kitchen recently. You should see the “before” pictures of this room over on my food blog in all its hunter green/burgundy wallpapered glory! My husband added all that awesome beadboard and the tall ledge, refinished the original hardwood floors, added the mocha color to the walls and basically turned the room into one of my very favorite places in the house.
Right beside the chair (where I tend to sort mail) but mostly hidden from sight are a shredder and a red file box for items that need to go upstairs to the big file cabinet. The canvas caddy has kids’ binders for art and school work worth keeping, a binder for menus and one for warranties and product manuals. The red accordion organizer under the side table has extra notecards, envelopes, stamps, pens and address labels, but I keep a few notecards on the desk for easy access. The basket on the table is for current action items – school papers to sign, mail that requires follow up, etc. This system works phenomenally well when I actually stay on top of it, but I’ve been hit and miss lately.
Rounding the corner (yup, right there with the backyard door opening against it) is the actual desk/office area. I’m actually super proud of what we’ve accomplished in terms of a functionality in such a small space. There is no drawer on the desk, just one of those keyboard pull-out trays. This office set-up forced me to streamline down to the basics. Since there is no storage for caddies full of paper clips, rubber bands, countless pens and so forth, I have only what I actually use: a tube of lotion, a small business card holder and stationary box, a French mustard jar with only a handful of my favorite pens, Sharpies and a pair of vintage scissors I love and a few items (like the handmade clock I gave my husband a few years ago and the little cloisonné bee on top) that I really love to have in sight.
There is a little more display space on the ledge above the desk, and I’ve maximized the limited real estate! An old pencil sharpener from my grandmother’s house (functional + nostalgic), a little wrought iron business card holder used for blank index cards (I use them like they’re going out of style) and that nifty red metal drawer storage piece (scooped up for $8 because the far left drawer is dinged, but it doesn’t bother me a bit!) all work on the ledge.
I resisted the urge to hang a big wall calendar – made easier by my husband’s hard work on that bead board – but there is a small wall storage pocket for stamps and envelopes. Because the space is limited, the photos and mementos on display are really special and make me smile: Thelma in a red frame (that tale is here, if you’re interested), my oldest daughter in a Radio Flyer wagon (have you noticed my thing for red?), a picture of my mom and me as a toddler, some artwork by my daughter).
To the right of the desk is the entry to the kitchen, also seen above with the pantry door. My friend Lyndi (aka nwaFoodie, a far more talented photographer) captured the pantry and its inspiration perfectly in the aforementioned kitchen tour. Then, the final wall of the room is the bar area. Yes, it’s incredibly handy to be able to pour a glass of wine and relax in that nearby chair. :)
So, why am I giving a tour of my office? It’s one of the few spaces in our house that actually functions just about perfectly, so it seemed like a perfect addition to the OrgJunkie New Year’s Organizing Challenge! I think the only thing missing is a Neat scanner, which I’ve been coveting for ages. Vote for my office, won’t you? I promise most of my other rooms are closer to “before” than after candidates.
Happy new year and happy organizing!