An Office in a Drawer

You’ve seen my desk before, but today allow me to share a photo of the rest of my office:

Office in a Drawer

Whenever I can, I try to think of my experience living here in 850 sq ft and share what I’ve learned with other apartment dwellers. One of my small space solutions is paring down office clutter and keeping a streamlined system of the most useful items! I certainly don’t have a spare room to function as an office and guest room anymore, so I decluttered a lot of things I used to think were office essentials.

Items I now consider essential for my “office” are as follows:

  • Pens, Pencils, Sharpies
  • Stapler
  • Envelopes
  • Sticky notes
  • Blank paper (printer paper and lined paper)
  • Checks
  • Stamps
  • Tape (scotch tape and packing tape)
  • Ruler
  • Blank cards for all occasions
  • (Honorable mention: three hole punch. Not a necessity, I find it useful.)

I know the list will be different for many people, but even working in an actual office for a year, I still feel like this minimal list will meet the basic needs 99% of the time.

Having a dresser smack dab in the living room is something many might consider unconventional, but I am really pleased with how well it has functioned in storing all kinds of things. I highly recommend it as a storage solution for those living somewhere small. All of my dishtowels, cloth napkins, and placemats are in one drawer. Packing and shipping materials for my Etsy store live in another drawer (along with some random board games). Anyway, today I am going to focus on the top right drawer and share with you how I maximized the space to hold all of my office essentials.

Slightly messy office drawer

Every now and then, it’s good to reorganize a space like this. Even though I threw away very little, it’s a good refresher to know where everything is and to straighten up a little bit. I started by taking all of the items out of the drawer:

Items that live in my office drawer

As you can see above, my desk is made up of a wooden top and a set of two legs. There aren’t desk drawers to speak of! The crate turned on its end holds files and techy gear (charger cords, software CDs, etc). Everything else lives clear across the room (oh, the horror of getting up and walking across the room!) When I do need to make the interminable trek of about 12 feet, it’s nice knowing that everything will be exactly where I expect it to be.

So, I set about putting everything back into the drawer in a orderly manner. I even emptied out the white box, and placed things back into it thoughtfully. Seldom-used items like a box full of new checks are on the bottom layer, and frequently used items like tape and stamps are easily accessible. I condensed two of the boxes of envelopes. A few things like the swiffer and the cube with prom photos on it (!!) got moved to other places in the apartment. I do have a separate craft drawer in another room, so from there I took out this woven box of notecards for all occasions and replaced it with a ream of printer paper and some lined paper. Those are essential, but I found I don’t use access as often as I use these cards.

Everything got put back in neatly:

Office drawer organization

Office drawer organization

Don’t have a spare dresser in your living room? Go back and look at the list at the beginning of this post. All (or most) of these items would fit very easily in a milk crate, in a paper box, in an under-bed box, or even in a kitchen drawer! It’s easy to run a tight ship if you simply keep just the essentials on hand (and avoid the siren song of the school supply section of Target in the fall).

I’m certainly no expert on eliminating clutter altogether, but in this realm I think I’ve got it whipped.

Any things you consider essential that aren’t on my list? Do you have a smart way to hide boring stuff like office supplies? Please share in the comments!


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Staci blogs about travel at

2 thoughts on “An Office in a Drawer”

  1. Shoeboxes are great for storing things in semi-plain sight! I just shove my shoeboxes in the closet or under the bed, but I bet you could modge-podge them and make them decorative stand alone storage!

  2. I am mentally pinning this away for when I move in less than a month to my new apartment. Being a student for the past 16 years, I have considered office supplies to be more important than food and sleep, basically. Since I am no longer a student and do not need notebooks upon notebooks and three ring binders, it will be interesting to see what kind of office things will become essential!

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