The Office Reveal

Well the office reorganization is finished….for now! I made a lot of changes and I can’t believe how much more calm of an environment it is to work in. Here’s the breakdown:

Remember this?

Ok, so I couldn’t see the top of my desk and my shelves were completely non-functional. I had some decent ideas going on with the shelves, but none of them were working right. My drawers and cabinets were a mess and I hardly used the space at all. Time for some changes!!!

First I took every single thing off the desk, shelves, out of drawers, etc. As I looked around, I realized how much unnecessary stuff there was. I had a huge box of stuff that didn’t belong in the office at all. And then another box of stuff that just needed to GET OUT OF MY HOUSE! I realized I could have literally opened my own office supply store (how many pens does one girl need?) so I got rid of a lot of stuff I didn’t have a real use for. Clutter be gone!

After I got rid of all unnecessary items, I reevaluated what I needed access to most. In this case, it was folders for work, my stapler, my shredder and better access to files. Those were my priorities. Let’s take a tour of the new digs!

Top Drawer – Before & After

Most of the stuff in my top drawer I didn’t use regularly (wait, are you saying I don’t need constant access to 6 rolls of packing tape???). So I designated this area as a place for my most frequented supplies. One basket is just for ‘mail’ and includes my address stamp and labels, letter opener and stamps. Then there are a couple of the other usual suspects. Notice the stapler is no longer there. It is on top of the desk now because I use it all the time.

Bottom Drawer – Before & After

Wow, this bottom drawer was a disaster. I didn’t use a single thing in this drawer on a regular basis. Correction…I didn’t use a single thing in this drawer…ever. Useless stuff out, file folders in! I took all of the stuff which was previously housed in harder to access storage and put them hanging files. So much easier to reach and sooo much prettier to look at!

Desk Cabinet – Before & After

Ok, so this cabinet technically didn’t change a lot. But let’s keep in mind that some of these boxes were previously stacked elsewhere in the office. Now all of my envelopes and blank folders are in one place. Should have done THAT a long time ago.

Desk – Before & After

I really have nothing verbal to add here. The picture says it all. Clearly I needed to just get that stuff off the desk and put it where it belongs. 🙂 Note the addition of the file cabinet which also gave me a great place to set my shredder. Yeah!

Shelf – Before & After

Ok, here’s the big change, so take note. At first glance the actual shelf organization doesn’t look much different between the before and after. It really looks like I just got stuff off the floor. However, what you might not know is the function of the space. In the before picture, I had stuff for my regular day job and then… a lot of other useless fluff. In the after picture, I not only have all of my day job stuff, but I have 4 drawers for extra office supplies, I have folders for the new Neaten Your Nest Organizing business, I have a file cabinet for all of my personal files and I have all of my scrapbooking supplies! I cannot believe how much I was able to fit into this shelf! It is amazing to me how using space efficiently can change your life. Not only was I able to use this space so much more effectively, but I was able to clean up several other areas of my house. Before, I stored my craft supplies in my room. I stored my personal files in my closet. I stored misc papers on my kitchen table. I stored extra office supplies on my kitchen counter. So the before picture at the beginning of this post isn’t completely accurate. Here is what the ‘real’ before picture should look like:

And here is the official ‘after’ picture:

I love, love, love it! It’s easy to use, easy to clean up, and let’s admit it, a lot easier on the eyes than the ‘before’ picture. Now I have a clean office, a clean kitchen counter, a place to hang my clothes in my closet, a place to access my craft supplies easily and a place to be efficient. I could not have asked for more in this reorganization. I would say that it took me about 7 total hours, which includes cleaning, purging, filing, shredding and reorganizing. I probably spent an additional 1 1/2 hours just staring at the space to figure out what I needed to do.

Lessons Learned:

-Don’t put off an organization task because it seems daunting. Large tasks can be broken down into a series of smaller tasks and be made much more manageable. Also, progress encourages you to continue so just get started!

-Create easy access to the things you use the most. This will save you time and sanity!

-Consolidate! There’s no need to have office supplies in 4 different rooms. There’s no need to open mail in one place and sort it in another. There’s no need to make a pile on the stairs, to be put in the room on a box, to be filed later. If you can consolidate like items, you are MUCH more likely to keep them organized and clean.

-Take time to look at a space. Even if you feel like you’re not being productive because you are just sitting there, you will actually save a lot of time because all options are carefully considered before you dive in. This was absolutely invaluable in this project!

So I’m going to take some time to live with all of the changes and see what works and what doesn’t. I also plan on revisiting this room to ‘gussy it up’ a bit. I’m going to eventually get some fun wall decor and make it just prettier to look at. But for now, I’m going to be uber excited about how much an improvement I have made. I actually love working in the office now!

~Erin

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Introducing ‘Things I Love Thursdays’

There are so many things that I love: people, food, gadgets, places, the list goes on and on. However, when it comes to Neatening the Nest, there are some that make a bigger impact than others. To start off the Things I Love series, I present to you:

Ode to My Shredder:

Oh shredder, gadget of plastic and razor sharp teeth!

How you simplify my life, how you clean off my desk!

Ok, I can’t continue with the Shakespearean feel for more than 2 lines with a straight face. But I do love my shredder. It is one investment that has made itself worthwhile again and again. Now it doesn’t actually save me money in the strictest sense, but it saves my peace of mind. And it could save me money if it helps to prevent people from stealing my identity.

Now data varies on how many identity thefts actually occur per year, but it’s no secret that there are a lot and the number is growing. While you can’t prevent every piece of personal information from falling into the wrong hands, it’s important to do what you can. That means keeping certain info out of your trash can, such as social security numbers, credit card #s and passwords. The way I do that is through shredding them.

Several shredder tips:

1) My number 1 tip is to get a cross cut shredder. This mean that the paper is not just cut into vertical strips, but it is also cut horizontally. That makes papers exponentially harder to put back together.

2) Get a decent shredder. It doesn’t have to be top of the line, but if you plan on using it, you should get one that will work hard for you. My shredder will do 6 pages at a time and I have had it for about 7 years. It’s still going strong!

3) Shred the obvious stuff (like items with your social and credit card #s). However, consider some of the other items that might not be so obvious. I shred every credit card offer I get. Though the only information they have on them is my name, the thought of someone using one of these applications to open an account in my name is enough to freak me out. I also shred old utility bills and anything else that has identifying information. I probably go overboard, but I don’t care. I have a shredder and I’m using it!

4) Keep it where you will use it. If you keep your shredder in the bottom of the closet, chances are you won’t be shredding as often as you should. If you have kept up with my posts this week, you will notice that I just moved my shredder from the office floor to the top of a file cabinet. I now can shred things the instant I realize they aren’t needed and they are out of my life and mind forever! Yeah!

Trust me, this is a worthwhile investment that can actually save you a lot of hassle in the long run. Happy Shredding!

~Erin

Let’s get personal

I have always kept my personal files in my bedroom. There are several reasons:

-I felt it was a safe place to keep them away from tiny kiddos.

-I have never had a home office that was  structured to handle both work and personal files

-I didn’t want to put anything else in the office. I think this was because my office wasn’t a pleasant place to be before I started this organization. Who wants to try to work and sort in a cluttered, frustrating environment?

Now, technically none of this made any sense.

-My kids are in my closet a lot more than they are in my office.

-And my home office is definitely big enough to accommodate both work and personal things.

-It doesn’t make sense to have all files in different places. They should all be where the envelopes, pens, stamps, etc.are.

-If I had organized my office a long time ago, it would have been a great place to work and be from the beginning!

-When I kept my personal files in my closet, I would go through the mail in the kitchen, then I would put ‘stuff to file’ on the stairs for when I went to my room. Then I would put other papers in the ‘to shred’ box for when I finally got around to that. Then I would have a ‘to do’ file on my kitchen counter. Way too many steps, right? So incredibly inefficient and very time-consuming.

So as the ‘Great Office Organization’ continues, I have consolidated everything into the office!

Here is a picture of my file box in my bedroom before:

These are not clothes…So why are they in my closet???

Notice the pile of papers on top that I had yet to file. Oh, and the box on top of the papers, which I thought I might use as a ‘to file’ box. Not anymore friends! Time to downsize!

I have moved the files upstairs and put them into a file cabinet. This file cabinet has been my only purchase in the office reorganization and cost less than $40. The bottom half of the cabinet is personal files and the top half will be for my Neaten Your Nest organization business. I already had a file cabinet for my regular work files. Is this all confusing enough for everyone!

So here’s the wrap up.

-I was able to get my files OUT of my closet. I feel the calm coming back to my room already.

-Not only are my personal files upstairs, but all of my office supplies are too. This makes it so easy to go through mail there. I open everything and put it in piles: Recycle, shred, file, pay or take other action. Since I also put my shredder on top of the file cabinet, I can do every single one of those things within minutes. No more boxes, no more piles on the stairs, no more waiting. So, so easy breezy!

Lessons learned:

-When organizing, efficiency is key. Removing steps from a process can save time, money and sanity.

-Sometimes you have to be selective when making purchases for organizing. But it’s important to consider what will make the most impact. Buying one file cabinet helped me consolidate files, save time, it makes going through mail easier, elevates the shredder, and looks nice.

-Organizing something that needs it soooo much can bring a lot of calm to your life. I can’t tell you how much of a difference this change has already made in my life.

Sunday Survey time!

~Erin