This week I spent time helping a family of five declutter their home office. This family loves drawing, painting, making crafts together, and reading. All of these hobbies and more are stored in the office space, located adjacent to their family room.
For today’s post, I will focus on their desk. A three-drawer wooden writing desk serves as the command center for the client, who uses the space to meal plan, organize family schedules, write cards to loved ones, and archive papers for her school-age son.
Over time, busy schedules and the addition of their third child had caused the desk to become more of a dumping ground for papers. Our goal for our time together was to help the client regain control of this piece of furniture so that she could use it as a command center again.
Both parents work outside the home, so work totes, laptop bags, and planners were given a dedicated home on a nearby shelf. Having a space just for these items guarantees that there is always a place to put them after the workday, without creating clutter.
We sifted through a catch-all stack of papers on top of the desk to put important documents away in files, put bills and action items into a paper sorter, set aside coupons with the meal planning supplies, and discarded things that were no longer relevant.
The upper side drawer of the desk was used for supplies storage. There were plenty of bins and boxes to keep items corralled, but over time the drawer just became cluttered. Duplicate supplies were also kept in other areas of the room, like scissors, so we consolidated those items into this one drawer so that the pens, pencils, thumbtacks, rulers, index cards, hole punches, and scissors all had designated homes. (Note the above photo was taken before we anchored bins in the drawer to prevent sliding.)
The lower side drawer served as storage for artwork and school papers. Not knowing exactly how to efficiently archive these papers, the pile just got bigger and bigger. Together we sorted through the stack to pull aside artwork and unique school projects that went into a three-ring binder “lookbook.” The labeled binder is stored on a nearby shelf so her son can easily share his art with visiting friends and family.
School work and report cards from the year were pulled aside into an accordion folder to be filed. During this time the client was able to purge some series-type worksheets that were similar to others to keep a good sampler of the year’s work, while also reducing the stack by 50%. She now has dedicated places to file away school papers that come home each week. School assignments go into the accordion file, and art projects go into the lookbook.
Since the lower drawer was now empty, we devoted that space to art supplies for her sons. Crayons, markers, and sketchbooks now reside in the drawer. We found markers in several different places in the office, and they all are now consolidated into this one drawer.
The top center drawer (not pictured) is very shallow and became another place for papers to accumulate over time. Since the client loves writing notes to friends and family, we transformed this space into her stationary drawer. Shallow boxes were affixed to the bottom of the drawer to separate various types of note cards, postage stamps, her church directory, and address books.
An attractive wall calendar was hung for scheduling, and a clipboard holding meal planning charts will be stored near the desk for easy access. As items were consolidated from other areas of the room to assemble this command center, precious storage space was freed up throughout the room for our remaining project areas.
In this area, all materials used were sourced from the client’s home which made a very cost-effective project. Total project budget = $0!
Check back next week as we reveal a craft cupboard declutter for this same room.
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