Before and After Home Office Organization

Home-Office-Organization-Main

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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I put my power tools (and my roaring) away and got out the tools I am more comfortable with:

washi tape

paper

note cards

letter stickers

binder clips

wooden clips

scissors

Sharpie pens

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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They are marked:

Library

Donate

Deliver

Socks

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!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

Organizing My Pantry & Some Tips For a Efficient & Simple Kitchen

New Nostalgia's organized pantry
 

Now that the kids are back in school, I am eager to continue on in my series of Minimalizing Our Home.  I can’t tell you what a difference it has made in the areas I have already organized/minimalized. It has been so very easy to keep those areas clean and tidy.  It motivates me to get busy and continue on in my mission of embracing the slow life.  Part of living life to the fullest is eliminating that which takes up precious time, and for our family, that means anything excess that I would have to deal with.  
Everything we bring into our home will need attention, whether it needs to be put away continuously, dusted or cleaned, or simply sitting there taking precious space in our home.  Because of this, I have become very thoughtful about what is worthy of my time and attention, and have enjoyed getting rid of anything that does not fit in that category…hence my minimalizing series!
Before and After organizing a large pantry
Back to the pantry, it is a space that really is important to keep tidy.  In my pursuit of health, I need to know what I have available to feed my family, and make sure it is accessible so we will actually eat it or I will actually bake with it.  
I love mason jars for this very reason.  With a glance I can see what we have and how much of it we have.  My kitchen is plastic free for the most part.  I don’t trust what is in plastics, and mason jars are just so cute and easy for me to store and use.  I keep all the lids in one big bowl, and the empty jars on one shelf.  The small jars can stack which really helps with storage.  I love not having nasty, stained plastic containers and lids of every color and size.  I love the simplicity of mason jar lids.  One bowl, very accessible.
Basket and spices

As you can see, I use mason jars to store my dried goods.  They are great for rice, nuts, seeds, coconut, & nutritional yeast.  I also love using a lazy susan in my pantry for the few things that come in their own resealable bag.  I also keep my peanut butter there, which I use every day so it needs to be in an easy- to- grab place.

The basket holds all my tea.  I like that I can quickly grab it and have everything I need for tea.

Under my tea basket are my place mats.  Again, easy to see and grab when needed.

Shelf for foil and wax paper
This little shelf works great for storing my foil & wax paper, etc.  I keep my extra boxes of tea underneath.

Using containers for certain foods

I like using containers to corral certain foods.  I have 2 white tubs on this shelf.  One is for pasta, the other is our snack bucket.  I keep bagels and bread in between the white tubs and the brown wooden tub holds all our nuts.  See the wooden clothes pin sticking out of that wooden box?  This is another way I simplify my kitchen.  I keep a large mason jar full of wooden clips and use them as chip clips.  I like that they are all the same neutral color, and it gets rid of bright colored- plastic chip clips that are all sizes and hard to store.

Salad spinner and rice cooker

This shelf holds some of my larger items.  My salad spinner, rice cooker and large salad bowl.   I keep clipped bags of chips in that large wooden bowl.  I also keep our cereal and oatmeal on this shelf.

The very top shelf holds any paper products we have, and I have put hooks up to hang our mop, broom, dust pan, mop bucket (in corner, not seen) and a plastic bag dispenser.  The wire basket holds my hand blender and potatoes when I buy them.  I have a large lazy susan for small appliances up top.

Organized pantry with trash can and mops
We recently invested in a larger trash bin with a swivel lid.  It works SO much better than this one in the picture.
Door to kitchen containing a hanging shelf
This door is in our kitchen right next to our pantry.  It leads to the garage and to our downstairs.  Our kitchen does not have much storage space, and our pantry is small, so I bought this over-the-door organizer about a year ago.  I keep hand towels & dish clothes in the bottom rack, as we only have 2 drawers in our kitchen…yep…I said 2!  I will share with you in an upcoming kitchen post how I deal with that!  Kids straws (Momma uses glass!) and our daily vitamins in the rack above that. Coffee & coffee filters on the next shelf. Above that are ingredients that I use often in my baking…baking powder, baking soda, salt & cocoa powder.  I usually keep vanilla there, too.  And again, extra tea boxes!  I love tea!
White organized kitchen and sink
While we are on the subject of baking, it is really helpful to be super purposeful about where to keep  ingredients if you want baking to be a “piece of cake” so to speak. I keep my flours and sugars out on the counter, then just need to turn around and grab the rest of my dry ingredients from the door organizer in the pic above.  My measuring cups and spoons are all right there.  Having everything so accessible has made a BIG difference in my motivation to be more purposeful in whipping up healthy foods for my family.  It makes me WANT to bake.
Recap of tips:
~Use mason jars–they are good for environment, they replace stained plastic, are see-through, and use the same lids which can be stored in one area and simplifies the kitchen.
~Use wooden clothesline clips as chip clips.  They are cute, small, and can fit in a mason jar for storage. Get rid of those big, multi-colored plastic chip clips!
~Use hooks to get your mop, broom and feather duster off the floor.  I have added more hooks against the pantry wall that is hidden for my girls lunch boxes.  Hooks are great for using vertical space.
~Use a holder to corral plastic bags.  This frees up a drawer or shelf/cupboard.
~Keep things that you use often front and center.  Be thoughtful and purposeful about where you place each thing.  This keeps your kitchen running efficiently and simplifies the baking/cooking process.
~Keep like with like.  Pasta together, nuts together, cereal together, vitamins together, snacks together, small appliances together….I really should put all my boxes of tea together…seeing them separate in the pics above is now driving me crazy!
~If you are low in drawer space, get creative with storage.  Use racks for foil, etc.  Use baskets for dish towels/dish cloths.
For More Minimalizing/Simplifying Posts:

Got any more kitchen tips for me?

Are any of these tips helpful for you or “jive” with you?