I am quite possibly one of the least organized people on earth… At home. I have no idea if we have olives in the pantry; I can never answer “What’s for dinner?”. I can tell you that I saw a thing you were looking for, but have no idea where it is now. It’s the complete opposite of how I am at work, where I show up for meetings with extra copies of presentations, annotated with my thoughts before the meeting. I have an extra battery for my BlackBerry and I can tell you without question where a specific piece of paper is in my filing cabinets.
I’ve been trying for years to somehow have my work organization spill over into my personal life and I think our last home renovation might have hit the nail on the head: we created me my very own home office. Not where I can do my “real” job (I work from an office) but where I can organize my home and blog lives and keep things in some semblance of order – and try to in turn create an organized life.
I decided there was no way I could start my new organized life with my mess, unorganized office cabinet. Here’s what I looked at every time I went in to my office to do something:
Yuck. Makes you just want to close the door and go back to bed, let alone do something organizational. So I gathered up some existing storage containers I had lying around, made a jaunt to my local Ikea and set aside a couple of hours to create…
Tada! Here’s what I did, shelf by shelf.
- TOP SHELF: On far left, you’ll see some clear plastic Ikea organizers (I used the KUPOL line) which I use to organize things like cables, cords and memory sticks for my computer. Next to it, I decided to use an old Cohiba cigar box my husband had laying around to display my colourful Sharpie collection and added some pencils to fill it out. I culled my book collection and only kept the books I had read more than twice or referenced on a regular basis.
- SECOND SHELF: Ikea struck again with four KASSETT white boxes with lids so I can keep greeting cards (1), CDs (2), coins (3) and supplies (4) in clearly marked boxes and looking neat while still being able to track down what I need quickly.
- THIRD SHELF: FLYT Magazine folders from Ikea ($1.99 for 5) may be the smartest $2 I’ve ever spent. They keep separate areas of my life’s paperwork from overlapping. I used one for taxes, one for keepsakes, one for my business papers, one for printer paper and the other for miscellaneous. Then once these get full, I move them to my larger and more detailed filing folder located in my desk. I also used three clear containers to house my flat notecards, craft supplies and other various keepsakes with aesthetic appeal.
- BOTTOM SHELF: I had all kinds of room left over after putting things in their place so I was able to fit a small wireless printer into the bottom shelf so it didn’t need to clutter up the desktop any longer. I kept my ancient Ikea wooden organizer to sort things like stamps, my trusty label maker and other things.
And of course, the most important part is making it visually appealing to me, meaning I added a small black elephant my mom brought back from India for me in front of my marker box to remind me of my mom and an elephant is a symbol of wisdom and luck… Something you can never have too much of. I also Topped off the cabinet with plants as well as a painting of Paris, a happy slogan about the ocean and a small picture of my husband and I from close to a decade ago.
Sticking with the visually appealing part, I thought I’d share with you a snapshot of the top of my desk (above) which reminds me of the 4 most important things in my life. Can you tell that I think it’s important to keep what’s important to you in plain sight at all times? A key in all my home décor.
Perhaps the worst sign of my disorganization though is in the amount of time it took me to find the camera to take these pictures. I’m still searching for a device/gadget/box/system that will be able to store all of the power cables for my numerous devices in a stylish way so it can sit on the top of the cabinet and my gadgets can always be juiced up and ready to go. I guess my organized life is still just a work in progress.
Here are some of our favourite organization products: