Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Reader Tuesday - Office Closet

For my inaugural Reader Tuesday we are going to dive into the world of Heather's office closet.

First, I want to say what a true pleasure it was for me to work on this. I feel so honored that Heather and others have allowed me to peek into the inner workings of their homes. I truly hope that my evaluation and suggestions can provide some level of order for your to put together your own thoughts on making your home work for you.

Now, on to the good stuff:

The "before"

First Impressions:
- There are lots of unlabeled boxes
- There are two totally empty available walls just waiting to be put to use
- What is that rod for?
- The closet isn't actually overwhelmed with stuff, just disorderly
- This space serves several purposes

My first thought here was that this space is actually large enough to serve as a small office or crafting space if necessary. But given that this is the closet that is already IN THE OFFICE I'm making the assumption that is not necessary.

The Basics
- Purge, purge, purge. There are probably quite a few things in here that you may no longer need or want. Don't waste valuable real estate on things that no longer serve a purpose in your life.
- The carpet remnant - If you have a foreseeable use for it in your home roll it up tight and bind it with some strong packing tape and move it to a less desirable storage space in your home like the attic or basement. If not, find else someone who might need it.
- Remove the hanging rod. It makes the space seem smaller

The Zones
You seem to have 5 distinct types of storage needs in this closet.
  • Ironing
  • Gift Wrapping
  • Photo Storage
  • File Storage
  • Miscellaneous Storage
How often do you iron? If it's not that often it's probably fine to keep the ironing supplies in here. If you iron more regularly, you might want to move the board and iron where most of your clothes are. This suggestion will work just as easily on your bedroom closet door as it will here.
Over-The-Door Board & Iron Holder ($11.99)

Gift Wrapping

If you want to use this space to actually wrap gifts then this might not be the best solution for you. But to use it as a storage area for wrapping supplies, I think you'll find it quite suitable.

I am quite familiar with that wrapping paper holder. I actually have it in my own basement. And you know what, in my opinion, unless it's used only to store holiday season paper, it stinks. It's not portable enough to move around the house to the places you actually want to wrap. And the upper compartment for tape & scissors is much to small. And there is no room for ribbon and bows.

Here's a nice, and inexpensive alternative I loved (and adapted) from the latest issue of Better Homes & Gardens special storage magazine.

Tie a sturdy tool apron around a 5-gallon bucket. Use a drill to make a hole big enough for a small dowel rod through each side of the bucket. Insert the dowel rod through one side of the bucket, put your ribbon rolls on the dowel rod (inside the bucket) and finish putting the dowel through the other hole. Use small rubber gaskets to keep the dowel rod in place.

Use the bucket to hold your wrapping paper and the tool apron to hold your scissors, tape, gift tags, etc.

Bucket ($2.97)
Tool Apron (1.29)
Dowel ($3.98)
Rubber O-rings ($4.96)
That still leaves bows, gift bags and empty boxes
For gift bags, a wall mounted magazine holder might work well. Like this ($12.77):

For bows, another wall mount unit:

And finally for all those empty boxes to wrap gifts in - a plastic tub ($29.99 for four) or stylish tote ($27.99) (that can only hold so much. When the tub is full, it's time to stop saving boxes.

Photo Storage
Yes, we all have plans to get those photos hung or in albums right away. But with a family, sometimes "right away" might be 10 years from now. In the meantime, keep your photos safe with archival boxes. Shoebox style ($46.75 for 2400 photos) for the small prints and flat ($18.80) for the larger ones.

File Storage
You could always add a small 2-drawer filing cabinet to the corner but for the number of files you have a small file box might work just as well.

Miscellaneous Storage

For all of the other items you have, using milk crates situated so the opening is facing out (like the black & white ones) would divide the shelves and help you group like things together. You could also easily remove the crates if you wanted to take the entire box of things to another room for a project.

Now about that teapot. It's beautiful. I'm guessing it is some kind of family heirloom because most of us nowadays aren't running out to buy beautiful ceramic teapots. Do you love it? If you do, find a place to display it. If you don't love it or it's just not your taste that's okay. Are you just holding onto it because it was your grandmother's or Great-Aunt Millie's? If so, maybe there is another member of you family with a yellow & blue french country kitchen just waiting for a piece like this to display. You can still keep it in the family. And if you hate to part with the memory, I bet you could take some gorgeous art-style photographs of it that could hang somewhere in your home.
Good luck Heather! Any organizational undertaking can be quite a task. But I think this space has lots of potential.
And if you do make changes - let us know what the results are.

*Disclaimer - I have absolutely no affiliation to any organization, company or product suggested here or in any of my posts. Any advice or suggestions made are based on my own personal opinion and do not constitute an official endorsement of any such product or company.

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