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managing the mess | organizing a messy home office
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Managing the Mess | Organizing the Home Office

January 2, 2012

My husband and I divided and conquered today. He started in on packing up the Christmas decor early this morning and I went upstairs to finish cleaning and reorganizing our home office space. I don’t know who got the easier job. It took me nearly all day to go through baskets and bags (I have a bad habit of throwing everything in either of these two and never going through them again). Plus, I have file folders, binders, envelopes, stacks of gift cards and rewards cards, photos, stationery, and cable cords in every nook and cranny of that office. I joke with my husband that the office might look like his (lots of college football memorabilia) but the guts are all mine.

A few days ago I went to The Container Store to get what I thought I would need to get the office re-org done. Looks like I need to go back tomorrow. I severely underestimated the amount of storage containers I needed. My goal isn’t to pack away my crap but instead organize it so it’s not sitting in old Trader Joe’s bags collecting an obscene amount of dust. A side note: how addicting is The Container Store? And why am I oddly fascinated with putting every itty bitty knick knack in a see-through box? What a gold mine that place is. Oh, and do you know they have a pretty kick-ass wrapping paper selection? Yes, I have a mild obsession with wrapping paper too.

Like I said, I got a couple of things to help manage my mess.

I finally decided it was time to toss out the pencil organizer I had from a job I left almost ten years ago. It was bittersweet because I had taped a bunch of Chinese fortunes on the bottom of the tray. One read “a good friend will soon marry” – well, yes that came true. The others were pretty insignificant. None read “you will be diagnosed with cancer.”

containers for pens, pencils, paper clips

I’m obsessed with cork and burlap lately. I like they way they look but texturally they both kind of give me the willies. Anyway, I got this cork liner for the desk drawers so my containers don’t slide around when I open and close the drawers. I’m wondering what else I can do with this cork paper?

Cork liner paper

I have a problem throwing away things with sentimental value. My girl started preschool this year and I have every little scrap of paper that was stamped, glittered, cut, strung, colored, and written on. What am I to do with all of it. My hubs says toss it. I can’t. So I picked up one of these art storage boxes and I need like three more. I read about an idea to take pictures of the art projects and make photo book online. Great idea but I still can’t bear to send these precious pieces off to the dump. What do you do?

Flat storage boxes for art

I wish I could claim this idea as my own – and it has nothing to do with my office re-org but rather the playroom re-org I did months ago. But since I bought it at The Container Store I thought I’d share it with you too. Does your princess have a million dress up outfits? Yeah, so does mine. After seeing a friend’s, I drove probably way too fast to go get one of our own. Instead of stuffing costumes into overfilled boxes we have fairy and princess dresses perfectly hung. Those boxes are now filled with matching accessories instead. Best idea ever.

clothes hanger

I’m still finishing up the office details. Like, I’m currently compiling a family “brain book” and a blogging notebook to keep all my notes and calendars in one place. I need to find some kind of folio for all the computer and photo disks we had laying around. And I desperately need some kind of box to store photos in because who fills photo albums anymore?

What organizing project have you taken on in the first days of 2012?

I was not compensated to write about The Container Store. I just kinda like it and the products.

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Carolyn West January 2, 2012 at 10:48 am

I’ve been working all week clearing out junk drawers and trying to organize my vanity table. I usually use it as a desk with my laptop and everything but I really need to clear off my real desk in our home office and start using that. I think I’m banned from the Container Store because I tend to buy up tons of stuff and then never use it. My big goal this year is to get my house organized. My biggest fear is that I’ll start 2013 the same way I’m starting 2012.


Wendy January 2, 2012 at 11:46 pm

Fear is the best motivator, isn’t it?
I hear you on buying stuff from The Container Store and not using it. I had bought a ton of those OXO clear containers for food storage and they sat in the garage for nearly a year before I transferred all my sugar, flour, and stuff like that into them. But when I finally did it I was pleased.
Thanks for the comment Carolyn!!


Megan January 2, 2012 at 4:18 pm

I’m kind of amazed at the chaos I’ve created with a house that isn’t totally moved into yet (still have stuff at parents property). For my organizing it’s really the office/craft room. it’s always closed away when people come over, and right now it’s strewn with paper wnd crochet goods.
ALSO- my mom will drive to San Diego just to go to Container Store, even though there’s a closer one in Costa Mesa. That place is fun!


Wendy January 2, 2012 at 11:47 pm

I so so so wish I could have a craft room. I’m so jealous.


Mama Bub January 2, 2012 at 7:26 pm

We still print and fill photo albums! Well, I order the pictures and my husband is responsible for the albums because I’m lazy.

Also, I toss 99% of the stuff Benjamin brings home from school. His teacher makes a book highlighting his year, and we keep that, and we keep anything that seems significant, but the rest gets recycled.


Wendy January 2, 2012 at 11:48 pm

Doesn’t it hurt your heart a little when you “recycle” all his little projects?
I guess I’m too much of a softy.


Maegan January 2, 2012 at 11:39 pm

Cork! I love that stuff! Brilliant use of it. And I love the container store too…. Oh la la!


Wendy January 2, 2012 at 11:48 pm

Oh la la. More like $Cha-Ching$!


Wendy Wise January 3, 2012 at 12:50 pm

I find that preschool sends kids home with every piece of paper imaginable, so I started taking pictures of Caden’s work/art projects then tossing it. I the idea is to turn it into a photobook by year. Also bought a large frame at Target that is specifically for displaying children’s art. I pick an art piece that fits in it and leave up for a few wesks. When he comes home wigh another I change the art piece.

Hope this helps! :)


Wendy January 3, 2012 at 8:35 pm

Thanks for commenting Wendy!
I’m leaning toward photographing her projects and then making a book as well. In terms of displaying her work, I hung tension wire running the length of the wall in her playroom and we clip on our favorites by season.


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