"Office" Organizing Challenge: The Final Reveal! | From Overwhelmed to Organized: "Office" Organizing Challenge: The Final Reveal!

Sunday, March 31, 2013

"Office" Organizing Challenge: The Final Reveal!

Happy Easter everyone!  And happy last day of March!

At the end of February, I told you I was going to organize my "office" spaces during the month of March as part of OrgJunkie's 31 Day Organizational Challenge.

I'm so happy that I took on this challenge because both of my office spaces where overwhelming me for ages and now they make me smile :)

If you've missed any of the posts this month, here they are:

Progress Week Two:  Surfaces
Progress Week Three:  Manuals and Archive Files Drawers
Progress Week Four:  Desk Drawers {Part One} 
Progress Week Four:  Desk Shelves 
Progress Week Four:  Desk Drawers {Part Two}

I mentioned in my initial post, that I have 2 desks in my house so my "office" is spread between my dining room and part of my basement.

This post will be chock full of before and after pictures so grab a cup of tea or coffee and hang on for the ride :)  

{Note:  I included lots of organizing tips in the posts throughout the month, so if you missed any of the posts listed above, please check them out and don't just look at the pictures from this post.  You'd be missing out on ideas that could help you turn your overwhelming office into a wonderfully organized place!}

OK, I've been promising you the "big reveal" today, so let's get to it!

The dining room desk went from this...

To this!

YAY!!  I walk past this area about 257 times a day, and it's incredible to feel relaxed and peaceful instead of overwhelmed and anxious :)

And the basement desk went from this...

To this!

Also in the basement, the lateral file cabinet went from this...

 To this!

These clean and de-cluttered spaces actually make this overly crowded basement feel so much bigger. 

Here's what the whole basement area looks like now.

You can see our games cupboard on the left and our craft area in the middle.  I even took the stacking trays that I took off the dining room desk and added them to the craft area, so my kids could keep their "in progress" creations {instead of leaving them all around in a mess!}.

Here's another angle of the basement "office" area now.

You can see our entertainment area to the right.

We definitely have a crowded basement, with nearly wall-to-wall furniture.  But, clearing these surfaces and de-cluttering the shelves has made it feel much less overwhelming!

I've got more detailed before and after pictures later in the post, but before I get to those, let me answer the questions Laura posed as part of the 31 Day Organizational Challenge.

1.  What space did you choose to organize and why?  I chose to organize my "office".  It's in quotes because I really don't have an office.  What I do have is a desk in my dining room (for an explanation read here), another desk in my basement, and two file cabinets in the basement.  Together they make up my "office".  All of these spaces evolved over time as our family grew and had become chaotic, cluttered, and overwhelming.  Time to organize them!

2.  What steps did you take to to ensure you completed the space within the 31 day timeline?  This was the best part of this challenge!  Being accountable for updating my progress each week, motivated me to continue working, even when circumstances changed throughout the month and I had less time available than I expected when I signed up for the challenge.  I definitely did a lot in the last week, but if it weren't for the challenge, I would likely have postponed some of these projects.

3.  What was the hardest part of the challenge for you and how did you overcome it?  The most difficult thing was to purge my books.  I love books and we value reading in our family, so getting rid of books that I know my kids will read some day or that my hubby or I will refer to again was hard.  But I know we have WAY too many books in our house, so I decided on a few criteria that I could live with and got rid of 2 stacks of books. 

4.  What did you do with the "stuff" you were able to purge out of your newly organized space?  I shredded (well actually my kids shredded!) 3 large bags of paper.  I also recycled a lot of paper.  Some things were thrown out if they weren't working or were broken.  And I have a large bin of stuff to donate to the rummage sale at my parents' church or list on Freecycle. {You can check out pictures of my purge piles in many of the posts above!} It feels GREAT to get rid of this much stuff! 

5.  Tell me one of your proudest moments during this challenge.  I'm really proud of all of it, but I think I'm most proud of getting to a point where I could purge some of our books.  I still have a lot of books in our house to sort through and purge, but purging as many as I did this month has given me the confidence to do it.

6.  Explain any organizing "tools" you used to help you create additional space and to establish some limits and boundaries.  I incorporated several boxes to help contain loose items in several of the desk drawers (see here and here for examples).  They look pretty and make it easier to keep the drawers organized.  I also used a couple of small mason jars in one desk drawer to contain my Sharpies (click here to see them).  And I had some box lids and drawer organizers already so I just organized them better to keep like items together (see here and here for pictures).  I added a small plastic raspberry container to contain my push pins.  Love the fact that it was free! 

7.  What is ONE piece of organizing advice you've learned on this journey that you could encourage someone else with?  Well, I incorporated tips into each of my posts, so it's hard to pick just one thing.  I think the best advice is to take before and after pictures of your space.  It's easy to get overwhelmed while you're in the middle of a large organizing project but those before pictures really help you see how far you've come!  And the after pictures will help you remember all the work you put into the project, which will motivate you to keep it organized. 

Thank you Laura for hosting this challenge!  My "office" thanks you too :)

OK, ready for some more before and after pictures of the hidden parts of my "office"?

Here are the dining room desk drawers before and after I organized them.

 And here they are after I organized them!

The labels on the files really help keep all my documents organized.  And as a result of organizing the drawers better, I was able to establish places in the drawers for the items that were cluttering up the surface of the desk.

Cluttered Desk Top Before Organizing:

 Clear Desk Top After Organizing:

Crowded Desk Top Before Organizing:

Clear Desk Top After Organizing:

I love how much more space there is in and on this desk now!  And it's wonderful walking through my dining room and not feeling overwhelmed because of all the clutter on top of the desk and lurking in those drawers :)

OK, back to the basement desk area.
I organized the small file cabinet to make it much more functional than before.

Top File Drawer Before Organizing:

Top File Drawer After Organizing:

Bottom File Drawer Before Organizing:

Bottom File Drawer After Organizing:

It's so great to have all our household manuals, receipts and warranty information consolidated on one place now!  And my archive file drawer is much more organized than before so I can quickly find what I need.

You already saw some of the before and after pictures of the desk surface, but here are a couple close-ups and a peek at all the organizing I did inside the drawers.

Desk Surface Before Organizing:

 Desk Surface After Organizing:

Ahh... it just makes me smile :)

Here are the basement desk drawers before I organized them:

 And here are the basement desk drawers after I organized them!

 You can check out the individual posts for more details, but basically I was more intentional about where I put things in the drawers.  I put all the printer supplies in the drawer closest to the printer.  And I grouped other like items together instead of having them scattered in various drawers.  I also purged a lot which made these drawers much less crowded than they were before.  And I added a few boxes to contain loose items.  I'm much happier with how they are organized now and I really think I'll be able to maintain it better than in the past!

And, last but not least, here are those bookshelves that were so cluttered before, but that make the desk area look more open now.

Desk Shelves Before Organizing:

 Desk Shelves After Organizing:

A little purging and some organizing goes a long way :) 

The only things I didn't get to this month, were the 2 drawers in the lateral file cabinet.  I really need to sort through the materials in there carefully and decide what I can get rid of, and I just plain didn't have the time to do that this month.  I'm extremely happy with the rest of the progress though and I don't refer to the files in those drawers regularly so it's not as urgent as the rest of this was.

Well, are you still with me?  WOW!  Crazy long post!

Thanks so much for joining me this month in my office organizing journey from overwhelmed to organized!  I hope you learned some tips along the way that will help you organize your office space(s) too.

If you have any questions about anything I did, or if you want tips on how to deal with an overwhelming space in your home, please feel free to ask them in the comments or email me at (organizerhilda {at} gmail {dot} com. 

Don't forget you can also check out my Offices post from the 31 Days of Organizing Tips series.  Or my Office Organizing board on Pinterest if you're looking for more tips and ideas.

I've enjoyed this challenge and met some great people who were participating in it with me.  I look forward to seeing everyone's final posts! 

Thanks again to Laura (a.k.a. Org Junkie!) for hosting this challenge!

Happy organizing!

I link up at these great parties - Check them out!

Update: Here are all the posts in this series: