Big Entrance Into 2015: Reorganizing and Restyling the Home Office



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Katie Hellmuth's picture
All #SmallBizDiary Entries by Katie Hellmuth
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Like a good girl, the Sunday night before the big Monday, January 6th, 2015, which was the first official day of the work week of the new year, I plotted out my todo list items for the week in my calendar on my iPhone. However, when I got to work, my office had been bombed. Bombed by never-ending unloads of Christmas presents and errand unloads from the car. You see, my office is at home, and doubles as the sunroom/back-room. So for the past two days, I've dedicated my time to taking back my office.  My thought process is outlined below (and a video outtake of the results!)

Step One: What Is the Issue?
When I stepped into my office, I remembered that I didn't like stepping in there anymore. I've been avoiding it for a few months, and set up shop in the kitchen, which I became a fanatic about cleaning and making pretty. Right away, I had to acknowledge that avoidance was not the answer, and that I had to face it head on.

Step Two: Listen to Your Yearnings
I had to be true to my desires, and hear what I wanted. And what I wanted was pretty silly in my opinion, but you know what? It's a real desire, and I need to listen to that and go with it. I wanted buckets of markers near me at all times. I set this up for my daughter and I realized that I wanted an art closet of my own. I actually have one, in the basement, that I don't touch. So I guess I needed a smaller, fresher version upstairs.

Marker buckets and binder for new organization in 2015

Step Three: Identify What is Bothering You
The easiest thing of all is to remove what is causing you angst. Yet, it's often unrecognized by you because you've been living with it for so long. So when you're looking at things, and you do that internal sigh, stop right there and remember that sigh, and tackle the item that caused it. For me, it was 8.5x11 pieces of paper and recycled paper that I take notes on during phone calls. There are some pretty darn good ideas on them, but I am not able to execute on them right away, so I save the paper. Which has caused paper buildup. Solution? A pretty binder from greenroom at Target! And dividers to separate the types of notes I take. Was it notes from a sales call? From a meeting? New things that I need to take care of? Binder-ed! Then rip out the page when it's done and put it in the trash.

Step Four: Maintain the Clean and Discuss with Your Spouse
We all know that desks at home are usually piled high with mess. And it's usually members of the entire family who put the mess on  top of the mess. And that's not fair to you or your desk. So you do need to protect your space, respect your own boundaries, and discuss with your family about where things go. But you have a responsibility too: system development. You need to devise your own systems so that things can be put somewhere. If that means you go to Target or dive into Amazon and order things, then do it. Greenroom is one of my favorite brands for standing filing systems, and Pottery Barn has beautiful filing cabinets. Trash picking bookshelves and repainting them also works. 

My Fun Organizing Gifts to Myself:
When I listened to myself, here's what I heard I needed:

  • Buckets of Markers and Colored Pens. Buckets were in the $1 isle at Target, pens were at Drugmart, and paint-markers from ek tools were at target.
  • Chalkboard Paper. Yeah, I needed it. Already made an Instagram video with it. It can be erased, and I can put it up on my bulletin board with a giant message on it for when I'm doing a live #TuneUp.
  • Binder. That inner school girl in me wanted a binder, but I didn't see the need for it. Until I identified the problem of piles of paper. Then I needed a binder so that I could hole-punch the paper and file it away in a temporary place!
  • Curtains. Curtains were originally bought for our living room, and I stole them for my office. A real problem was the light, as much as I love light. And I really love light. But the afternoon sun was intense and gave me dull headaches. Plus, I would stare into my backyard and want to garden. So I covered the windows in pretty fabric!
  • Clean Out the Bookshelves. I may have had things on bookshelves, but they had become a mess. Because I understood what was in the mess, I never noticed it. Until yesterday when I realized that the wires from the modem were colliding with the hugely tall ruler that was sticking out from the bookshelf. A ruler that I rarely use so does not warrant such behavior or exception to a rule of looking nice.

Now that I'm done, which took two nights and two mornings, I can get back to work!

Here is what my home office mess looked like the day before: