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How to organize the office for the most effective work environment.

Before I organized my office, you had to practically drag me into my office to work. My desk was always cluttered with papers and miscellaneous items which needed to be pushed aside if I wanted to use my computer or the desktop. Once I did start to work, it was difficult for me to stay focused because of all the unfinished projects staring at me. If I needed a pen, I had to look for one, if I needed a stapler, I had to look for it, etc. etc. I tried to combine my sewing hobby into the office space as well as my art shipping materials. It made the room feel small and claustrophobic. There was way too much stuff in it. Paperwork was a whole other topic. I had old bills from the water company that dated back more than 10 years. When I opened the drawer, the whole desk would tilt forward and almost fall over because I had so much paperwork in that one drawer. The 2 metal filing cabinets and a big piece of wood made up my desk. Paper can weigh a lot if you have enough. That drawer was packed so full it was difficult to file. I also found that I would always delay filing. Even though the drawer was right there, it was frustrating to open the drawer, try to keep the desk from falling over as I used my muscles to try to file one piece of paper. Rule of thumb, if it is frustrating, it's less likely to get done.

After I decluttered and organized my office, I find it almost irresistible to not work on my days off, and sometimes I do because the space feels so good, calming and motivating. I added art and elements that I enjoy looking at and now I enjoy working in the office. I also find myself much more focused, not at all claustrophobic, and I even file my paperwork. It took a couple of tries to find the best system that worked for me. It was worth the effort because it gave me insight in other areas of our home.

Here are the before and after photos of our office.

Before photo: My make-shift desk that fell over if you opened the top left drawer full of paperwork.

Before photo: This is the evil drawer that made my desk almost fall over on many occasions.

Before photo: More full drawers of miscellaneous items.

Before photo: More files that won't fit in the other drawer.

Before photo: Cords, keyboards, cameras etc.

Before photo: That bottom wall file is a "to be filed" file that I avoided like the plague.

Before photo: Sewing machines, bookcase, more sewing material in milk crates, a fishing vest.

Before photo: Material for sewing, printers, storage.

Before photo: My husbands side of the office.

After photo: (Below) My clear, inviting desk. Ooooohhh la-la.

After photo: I added some of my favorite artwork I created and organized sharpies in upcycled glass jars. I painted the wall files with a metallic silver.

After photo: (Below) My new filing system that I happily use regularly. It only cost me $1.50. Those standing files were on sale at IKEA and I used black paper for the file folders. I was going to discard that paper anyhow. I love to upcycle and utilize items in innovative ways.

After photo: My office makes me so happy, I get silly.

After photo: Pretty!



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