Inspired by my new organization book, House Works, I decided to create a small office space. As our family grew, we had to move our office downstairs. The problem with this set-up is that we lost a central hub for all of our paper and office needs. Consequently, the kitchen counter became a paper hot-zone. By day's end, the kitchen counter collected the day's mail, receipts, to-do-lists, etc. I was constantly battling the paper mountain to get a clean counter where I could prepare meals. Since the desk was out of sight downstairs, the office work got neglected and piled up. I needed a space where I could organize the daily mountain of paper, store reference books that I access frequently, pay bills, and write any correspondence. In theory I could have continued to have that space in the basement, but it wasn't a practical solution for me. Since I need to access the office materials frequently, and I can't always get downstairs with the kiddos when I need to, it's far more convenient having my office space within reach. That way I can write a quick thank you note, pay a bill, or sort the mail while keeping an eye on the kids. We settled on a corner in the front living room. I'm sure I'll keep adding to it or making changes, but here's what it looks like for now.
This is an old table that Philip used in his apartment kitchen before we got married. I added a cushion to one of the chairs, and we folded down one side of the table to push it flush to the wall. The lamp was in Philip's sister's old room. I may change the shade so that it goes better with my blue/green color scheme.
This is my "action file." Each day, I sort the day's mail and other papers into these 3 categories: to do, to file, and memorabilia. Each week, I file the papers from the "to file" folder in our downstairs filing cabinet. "Memorabilia" contains mementos like Jane's art work or other precious memories to add to our scrapbooks. "To do" contains things to read, bills to pay, correspondence to return, etc. To make sure the folders don't become another bulging mess, I built appointments in to my new weekly schedule to take care of these items. I purchased the teal file holder and the file folders at Target.
The magazine holders are Vera Bradley "book keepers" in the pattern Rhythm and Blues. I love the cheerful pattern! They hold my unread magazines, prayer journal, Bible, Catechism, House Works, and a few other books. The yellow book next to them, Home Comforts, is also a must-read! I consult this home encyclopedia very frequently.
This box was a big mess before I decided to add dividers. I sorted through all of our stationery and greeting cards, separating them by family member or category.
The dividers are 5-tab Avery plastic write-on dividers. They were actually made for planners, but they work perfectly on their sides in a photo box like this to divide your stationery.
My only complaint with this workspace is that I don't have a place to store tools like pens, scissors, stamps, a calculator, etc. I fear leaving them out for little hands to discover. I can picture our living room walls and furniture covered in ball-point pen. Any brilliant storage solutions for my office tools?
I love having this new "home" for our office needs. Having an office on our main floor is making a big difference in tackling the mountains of paper. While we still have the printer/scanner/copier, filing cabinet, and other office materials in the basement, this small work area serves most of our needs with the bonuses of being small and within reach.
Hooray for tackling the paper mountain!