Monday, October 27, 2014

Home Office Organization, Or, The Most Productive Sunday Of All Time

I really love an organized house. I mean, who doesn't, right? 

But between a job that sometimes seems like way more than full time, a 50 minute commute to and from work and all the other life bits, instead of cleaning things up I'm all, let me just eat this delicious snack and binge watch all the TV and forget about the mounds of clutter lurking in the corners.

Sure, the areas of my house that people actually see, like the living room and the kitchen, seem pretty clean and well-kept - and they actually are - but look just a little below the surface like, say, into any closet with a door that closes, and well, let's just say it's not for the faint of heart.

Almost exactly two years ago we moved into our house. It was a tumultuous time filled with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, a freak early November snowstorm and an unfinished kitchen, along with the standard-issue complexities that come with leaving one life behind and moving to another. So when it came time to unpack the million boxes that the movers hauled from our apartment and deposited in the various rooms of our new house, I took a fairly laissez-faire attitude towards the whole thing, meaning I unpacked all the things that were absolutely necessary, and left the rest in boxes, figuring I would get to it in a few days or weeks when everything settled down.

But because this is life nothing every really settled down and one day bled into the next and I realized that tripping over boxes on my way to the bathroom at 6:30 in the morning is no way to live, so something obviously had to be done. So I took everything still left to unpack, threw it into the small office off the living room, closed the doors and designated it "someday." 

Since I have an office where I go to work every day, I didn't see much need for an office in my house anyway.

But the thing about not having a home office is that there is nowhere to put things that belong in an office, like laptops and power cords and all the paperwork that one generates when they own a house (spoiler alert: owning a home kills a lot of trees). But every time I thought about cleaning out that room and turning it into an actual office, the size of the job just intimidated me, especially since the office started to become the dumping ground for everything in our lives that we didn't know what to do with, so the laptops and power cords lived on the coffee table, and things like insurance policies and utility bills became a huge pile on the radiator right inside the front door.

Not exactly ideal, but for awhile there it became normal and sometimes I didn't even see the piles, or notice that we even had doors in between the living room bookshelves.

But, after 720 days of living in our house, I had finally had enough. My distaste for piles of paper around my house combined with David's construction of his Man Cave in our garage spurred me to action, and I decided it was long past time that I carved out a space of my very own. I'm not exactly an organizational expert or any kind of home improvement writer, but today, even I'm impressed with me. 

It went something like this.

Yesterday morning after my run I got to work. When I opened the double doors to the office I had a minor panic attack when I was confronted with this disaster of our own making:

I thought about never letting these pictures see the light of day, but
we're all friends here, right?

We made this mess. We're talented like that.

For a minute I considered scrapping the whole project, but my better angels prevailed, and I dug in.

The first order of business was to find something on TV to entertain myself while I waded through two years worth of clutter. Enter the incomparable year 2000 Freddie Prinze Jr. and Julia Styles masterpiece Down To You. Spectacular.

 The next step was taking absolutely everything out of the room, throwing away what needed to go and making piles of everything else depending on where in my house it belonged.

Empty boxes

Office supplies

Way outdated technology belonging to David. All this went to the basement in about 15 trips and
is probably the reason why I can't move my arms today

When the room was empty but for the furniture I attacked the entire thing with a bottle of Windex Multisurface which is basically a miracle cleaner, a roll of paper towels, a vacuum and a mop. It was more cleaning than I have done in the entirety of our tenure in this house, and I have the empty Benadryl bottle from my dust-induced allergy attack to prove it.

Once it was all clean I took stock of what I had and what I needed, and decided I had to hit the road in search of some decor for my brand new space. Luckily I already had all the furniture, but obviously I needed some things to make this space mine (and to maybe try and rival David's tricked-out Man Cave). Trips to Target (note the plural), Amazing Savings (people who live in NY/NJ will appreciate the glory of this store), and a restaurant for sustenance to keep me going through another round ensued.

Once the day was over and the furniture moved to where I want it and a major Steelers victory witnessed, this is what I ended up with:

Because no girl's home office is complete without
a 3D printed bust of her man, amiright?

Not bad for a day's work I'd say.


  1. Whoa! Now that was a transformation! Coming from someone who recently moved (me!), I am so impressed because I know the task at hand was daunting (and you provided photo evidence). Love your new room. It's so much better than a man cave anyway. Loved "but my better angels prevailed", by the way! And I never knew you could get your man 3-Ded like that!!!!! Enjoy!