At the beginning of the year, I gave you the 1st step in getting organized & staying organized for good. The most important thing was to start with a system. A system of how to use your space efficiently so that you organize in a way that makes sense & that makes it easier to stay organized.


Then I showed you how I came up with a system in 1 of the hardest rooms to keep organized – my own kitchen. If you missed it, you can check it out here then come on back for today’s simple organization tip that I’m tackling in another tough space – the office.

Deciding how you will use your space is the key to your office organization system.

It doesn’t matter if your office is in the corner of the family room or a fully dedicated room with a closet & a view, the concept is the same as in the kitchen. The only difference is that the “zones” are not already defined by the layout. So space planning is a big part of creating your “system” in the office.

Think about what you do the most in your office. That will be your biggest focus. Then think about everything else you do & where it would make most sense to do them. That will dictate how & where you store things.

Of course it’s also important to purge & sort, but only you know whether something important enough for you to keep in your office or not. This is more about how you store & use those things.

My home office


I’ll use my own office as an example. I have a small (12×13) dedicated home office. If you’ve been here before, you know that I am an interior decorator & I work from home most of the time. Most of my time is spent online; the rest is split between laying out materials for projects, working on DIY projects, & handling personal household business. I do see clients in my home office from time to time. It doesn’t require special storage but does mean I need an extra surface & seating.

The most important things for my home office are:

    1. my desk & the area around it
    2. flat surfaces for planning, laying things out, & working on DIY Projects
    3. storage for samples of textiles, hardware, etc & for paint chips/kits
    4. paper storage – all that personal, household, & small business “business” still generates a lot of paper no matter how hard I try to decrease it
    5. seating

And I really don’t want to have to look at ANY of those things (except when I’m working on them of course) other than the furniture & some decorative items. Tall order, huh?

Well, I can tell you it’s totally doable. And without a lot of excess furniture storage pieces.

Have a look at the photos below to see the layout of my home office & some of the storage solutions I use, including DIY custom storage boxes.

As you can see, my desk is the centerpiece of my office. This is where I am most often, whether I am working online on eDesign, on the blog, collaborating with other bloggers, or on SM. Or am working on traditional design elements for a client or on a discovery call.

My home office

My desk is the most critical part of my office. I use Feng Shui throughout our home & especially in my office.
I move things around a lot, but my desk has always come back to the ultimate power position – {almost} center of the room facing the entrance with my back against a flat wall, where I can see out the door & the window. No openings are behind me at all.


I try to keep my desktop as clear as possible when I can. Having a drawer in the desk helps, but even then I am very strategic about keeping that clutter free too. That’s where drawer dividers can come in handy. Just to be completely transparent, here’s what that looks like right now.

Behind my desk is a little table from IKEA that’s just big enough for a lamp, plant, & reference materials & catalogs that I use most often. It’s out of the way but still easy to get to. And it still looks good. Tucked beneath are my little trash/recycle can, tool bag, & a couple of designer paint kits (out of many that I have to store in here).

You may also know that I have a love hate relationship with cords. I go out of my way to hide them in any & every room or project. In here, the power strip is hidden under the table too – can you spot it?

The main storage piece in both my office & our kid’s media room this IKEA Liatorp sideboard. Again, I like to keep the top as uncluttered as possible & I prefer as little visual clutter down below. This sideboard was “leftover” from the family room in our previous home & works out perfectly here too. I store everything from craft supplies to files to fan decks & color files.

I made some DIY custom storage boxes to perfectly fit behind the doors of the sideboard & then covered the doors with fabric on the inside so I don’t have to look at all the “stuff” all the time.

The look is very clean & kinda zen actually. Even if the glass doors weren’t covered, these storage boxes & the World Market crates keep everything nicely stashed anyway.

In the 1st post on this organization series – in the kitchen – I talked a lot about how handy hooks are in organizing any & everything. I use them in my office too. There’s 1 on the side of the sideboard for extra cords & my camera remote, and a few behind the door.

Also behind the door is an extra little wall storage pocket – it’s cute enough to be out in the open but like I said earlier, I don’t want to have to look at these things all the time. Behind the door storage is perfect for all those little things like fabric swatches, to the trade materials, & even my bulky camera & tripod bags.

The last piece of furniture in my office could be used as a desk – I do my Bible reading here every morning – AND as storage. I love this old school secretary for so many reasons, but since we’re talking storage let me just say that it has come in handy for keeping decorative items at the top & everything from school & postal supplies to extra cabinet hardware in the drawers. Because we all have those things laying around, right?

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Plus it really brightens up this corner of my office. With the room being mostly white with serene blue walls – Sherwin-Williams Jubilee – the pop of orange gives it life & an extra dose of energy. This was the perfect thrift store find, especially since it was already painted for me!

So there you have it – a real life organized office that doesn’t cost an arm & a leg or have a lot of bulky storage furniture. Shop your home for pieces that can do double duty in your office & that you aren’t really using for anything else. Things like:

  • side tables & night stands
  • wall pockets & small shelves
  • hooks (of course)
  • drawer dividers
  • boxes (to make your own custom storage boxes)

Plan out your space for how you really use it – even make a rough sketch if you need to. Then have fun organizing & stashing your things in plain sight with where you need them.

Don’t forget to pin this post for reference when you need some encouragement & inspiration.

The secret to an organized office

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