Office Progress Week 4B: Desk Shelves | From Overwhelmed to Organized: Office Progress Week 4B: Desk Shelves
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Saturday, March 30, 2013

Office Progress Week 4B: Desk Shelves


Do you have any shelves that are overcrowded and make the whole area feel cluttered and overwhelming?  Do you use shelves to store items other than books?

This week as part of my office organizing, I tackled the totally overwhelming shelves above my desk in the basement this week.  In this post I'll show you before and after pictures and give you some tips to organize your shelves.

Today's post is part two of my progress in my "office" this week.  If you missed yesterday's post on organizing my dining room desk drawers, you can read that here.

Ready for more before and after pictures?  Me too :)


Here's how my desk shelves looked before I organized them.


I've had these shelves on my desk for many years and I love the look of the bricks holding them up.  And I like how they make great use of the vertical space above the desk.

But I do NOT like how cluttered they make the whole area feel.  Our basement is crowded enough!

But they get cluttered because I have a hard time purging books.  Anyone else have that problem?

We have a LOT of books in our house and I'm slowly but surely de-cluttering them.  This time I purged some books that we've read and will likely never read again.  I also focused on giving away books that I know we can get at the library and/or those that don't have a lot of sentimental value attached to them. 

Which means I still kept my Anne of Green Gables series :)  I can't wait until my daughter's older so we can read them together!  But some other books that we bought at garage sales or library sales can go, even though I'd love for my kids to read them some day.  I'm also giving away a bunch of home repair or household tips books since I can look up a lot of the same information online if necessary.

Here's what my desk shelves look like now!


Definitely less cluttered looking.  There's even some empty space!

I took down a bunch of the little knick knacks that were in front of the books before and that helped create a less cluttered feel.

Of the books I kept, I organized them loosely by category (reference, fiction, etc.) and partially by size since the bottom shelf is taller than the one above it.

I put our memory boxes on the top shelf since we don't go through them very often and I don't want one of my kids accidentally knocking them down and mixing everything up.  {I'm still in the process of organizing them better.  I'll write a post on them when I'm finished!}

I debated for awhile on changing how to organize our books.  Have you seen pictures of bookshelves organized by colour?  Looks pretty but I'm not sure I could handle not having my books grouped by genre, series, author, etc.

I've also seen pretty bookshelf pictures with some books placed vertically and some books stacked horizontally.  I thought about organizing these shelves that way, but I guess there's too much of the teacher in me and not enough of an interior designer, because I just prefer having all my books vertically.

I like how they turned out :)

Here's my purge pile after organizing the shelves.


And my relocate pile.


I actually ended up using that blue box in one of the desk drawers... you'll see it in the next post.  The books in this pile are ones that I think my kids are at the right age for so I'm moving them upstairs so we can read them.  I'll use that bookmark upstairs too.  And the golf things will be moved up to my hubby's dresser with a few other golf knick knacks.

So, those are my desk shelves.   I love how much less cluttered the whole area looks just by having less on these shelves. You'll see in the big reveal post how much of a difference it makes to the whole basement office area too.

Do you like seeing before and after pictures!  I love them because it really helps me see the difference organizing has made.


Here are a few more tips for organizing your office:

  • Purge books that you can get from the library and those you don't read often.  You can keep a few special ones with sentimental attachment or that you read frequently.  But if you have books you've read once, and you know you'll never read them again, then give them to someone else who will enjoy them, rather than have them collecting dust on your shelves.  You can also sell some that are in great condition.  There are lots of places you can donate books too.  {Note:  Honestly, I'm still struggling with this one - but I'm getting there :) }
  • Take before pictures of your spaces when you organize.  It reminds you of how far you've come, which is really helpful if you're feeling overwhelmed in the middle of a big project and can't see the progress you've made.
  • Take after pictures of your organized spaces.  Even if you don't share them with anyone.  Those pictures will help remind you of all your hard work and will motivate you to keep your space organized.

One more post coming soon on how I organized the basement desk drawers, including some more tips to help you get your desk drawers organized.  And then I can't wait to put everything together and show you the big reveal tomorrow!

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'm doing this series as part of OrgJunkie's 31 Day Organizational Challenge.


In case you missed any, here are the other posts in the series so far:



How do you organize your book shelves?  Do you have a hard time purging books?  Do you have any other office organizing tips to add?


Happy organizing!


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

Update: Here are all the posts in this series:





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I love hearing from my readers! This is a great place to ask questions, answer questions, and share your organizing tips. Thank you so much for commenting! I look forward to getting to know you better :)