Back in November I began NaNoWriMo for the 7th year and was pretty confident about finishing a new novel by the end of the month. But then I was quickly sidetracked by anything that I could find as a distraction. Unlike previous years I never did go back to writing, allowing myself that “failure” as I focused on other things.
Here’s what I did.
First up, I emptied the office of everything I could which meant everything except the desk. Then I crawled around the room on my knees, caulking the baseboards that we installed years ago, then painting them, then going back along to touch up the wall paint. Then I grabbed my step stool and touched up the paint along the ceiling too.
Oh and the white paint on the window sill paint had not covered the primer well so I touched that up as well.
All that was fine. It felt good to “finish” the paint and I even had AT&T come out and repair my phone jack. They replaced the yellow cover with a crisp white one so it doesn’t look so 80s.
It was nice to have the room “clear” of all the normal stuff and I stacked stuff up in the guest room so I could go through it all and sort.
Since the guest room was pretty empty to begin with and I had a nice big queen bed, I had space to go through everything. I found books by the dozens that I could donate and began giving them away on a book exchange site. The remainder of the books went to the local library.
In all 141 books left my office in about a month.
Then I went through the office supplies, often spread out in many different places. I found a few hundred pens I could donate, printer paper, blank journals and note cards and gave them away on Freecycle.
Next I went through the boxes from electronics and pared things down. Found boxes I could recycle, papers I could throw away, things I could downsize.
The file cabinet I was using has not been used in ages so I put it up for sale and got it out of the house. The Ikea bookshelves went into the dining area and are holding an endless supply of boxes for photos, clippings, decor and china – all of which I’ll need to make decisions about soon.
So I went about restocking the office – slowly – bringing back in only what I need and will use.
The desk remained so I simply set up the monitor and a new keyboard to make the best use of space. I would like to find a wireless mouse or find a better port system for all my USB enabled devices.
The closet shelves
Even after donating loads of printer paper I still have 6 reams unopened. They’re neatly stacked up here so I can break into a new pack when needed.
Using the wood magazine holders from Ikea, I organized my colored paper that I use for client notes and business planning. Turning the holders on their side makes it easier to get the paper out:
This shallow basket holds my label makers – it’s shallow and open so I can get it out quickly – if you make your tools readily accessible then it’s much easier to actually, you know, use them.
I found the basket above and used it to collect my mail when I was on my 3 week road trip in the fall. I decided to re-purpose it to hold filing.
Next up is the white storage box that holds all my batteries – I’ll have to show you how they’re organized some day.
I used some of the white boxes from Ikea that used to be on my bookshelf for CDs and my business cards.
The top shelf is a little tricky to stock because while the Banker’s Boxes fit there easily, the height makes it hard to get boxes down and thus clutter tends to accumulate. Right now I’ve got the two file boxes (labels pending), some empty boxes and that’s it.
I’m also adding boxes to hold my client gifts and my camera equipment.
Bookshelf for storage
The second part of the mini closet makeover is the bookshelf which is older and not in great shape. The finish matches the desk, however, so I’ve decided to keep it for now.
The bottom shelf holds my flatbed scanner and underneath is a spare laptop cooling pad (which is broken). The middle shelf holds my file folders and hanging file folders, all unpacked so they’re easy to grab and label and my new laminating machine.
The top shelf has my remodeled Ikea organizer (now with labels!) as well as all my business binders.
The top of the bookshelf has (l to r) Post-it Notes storage, wishi tape, pens, colored pencils and dry erase markers:
What else is in the closet?
My 2 zebra striped pop up tables are stored in this closet, they fold up really nicely.
I moved in the green footstool for seating, the dogs like to sleep here when I’m working in the office and it’s a convenient place to sit while shredding papers or laminating.
In this left corner of the closet I store my tripod and lighting kit for shooting videos (see the light hanging on the clothes rod?). Since most of my videos are staged in the office it’s a handy place to keep everything within reach.
Tucked into the right corner of the closet is my shredder which is hiding a whole bunch of cords from the power strip that I need to clean up
Furniture in the room
After making such big changes to the room, I chose not to bring in the bookshelves again. Instead I kept the desk (because it’s too big to go anywhere else) and the desk chair. On the desk is my printer, desk lamp and extra monitor.
I kept just one bookshelf in the room, this tall, skinny one from Ikea. It’s filled with boxes and my journals (which I’m still sorting through slowly). The file box on the floor has all of my tax paperwork and the cardboard box is for collecting my receipts via Shoeboxed.
Finally, the 2 red chair have migrated in here as well – I’d like to replace them with an overstuffed chair but that’s low on my priority list right now. It’s a convenient place to sit for my videos and the dogs tend to like perching up here while I work.
With the exception of my big laminated 2014 calendar not much is up on the walls. Just the pin board behind the desk and a few bulletin boards with notes for my current business projects.
Right now I’m really liking how empty the room feels. I still have a ton of papers (always) that I’m referencing for clients or projects. Half the time I’ll just sit on the red chairs and write with the heater keeping the room toasty warm. Jackson’s older bed is in here as well because I like to have the dogs nearby so I can keep an eye on them while I work.
It’s a far cry from the office I was working in last year which was stuffed floor to ceiling. With so many books gone and reducing my papers and office supplies, It feels like I have more space than ever.