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!


My Dream Office

Sorry I didn’t get a post up yesterday (my loosely-adhered to schedule is MWF). I was going to continue that sentence with a “but it’s because I…” excuse, but I don’t have any! I spent yesterday cleaning up after having a friend over this weekend and ordering our family Christmas cards.  One of the nice things about being a blogger is being able to set my own schedule… and that includes staying up late at night putting together my dream office on Pinterest!

Quiana at Harlem Love Birds has touched on the idea of multiple profit centers and I love the idea. Perhaps you could call it restlessness,  but I have always liked multitasking and the idea of doing a few different jobs (some from home) has appealed to me more and more in the past year or two.

And if that’s the case… well then, don’t I need a fabulous office to spend my waking hours in?

I daydreamed about it all day, then I went on the internet and pulled all the elements together, and now I’m ready to show the world! …Of course, in my fantasy, I have a whole room to set my office up in, instead of my current nook.

Desk: I love the sturdy simplicity of this Crate & Barrel Sentry work table. I know that according to Pinterest, bloggers should have white parsons desks, but I think the medium-toned wood would hide scuffs and dings better, and continue looking good for the long haul.

Chair: I have been pining away for this West Elm Spindle chair for months, and it is currently marked down. Perhaps I should me-gift it to myself sooner rather than later…

Supply cart: I’ve checked out this IKEA RÅSKOG in person– it seems sturdy and the wheels roll smoothly. The teal color is just beautiful. It will be perfect for holding note cards, design catalogs, and other items that would otherwise clutter up my desk top.

Couch: I will use the couch given to me by my grandma. The one pictured is similar. (This will allow us to get a more nap-friendly couch for the living room).

Storage Cases: I have long promised myself that when I have an office, my college textbooks (which I can’t bear to part with) will live in a smart-looking storage setup like this. I’ll keep books in the bottom part and pretty seasonal decor items in the top part, ready to be pulled out and distributed around the house on any whim.

Rug: I have had my eye on this fluffy Istanbul rug for some time now. I am not a shoe-wearer if I can help it, and I think the yummy texture would be just the trick to keep my creativity flowing.

Paint: It is so hard to tell paint colors over the computer screen, so I’m not going to tell you what brand and shade this yellow is. To pick the perfect color, the best plan of action is to buy a couple test pots and paint swatches in the room. Evaluate how it looks with other items and make your decision after careful consideration.

Accessories: Curtains, Clock, Nespresso machine (wink), Rifle Paper Co. calendar, Sputnik Chandelier, Art.

I think in an office like this, I could be very productive indeed!

PS: If you want an inspiration board to get the ball rolling on a room of your own, be sure to check out the Design Services page! 

The “Office” in Progress

My old office was a large bedroom which doubled as the guest room.  My new office consists of a $40 desk, two bins, and one dresser drawer. Here’s the surprise… I get more work done at the new one than at the old one! The new desk is an appropriate height–the old one was a vanity, not a desk, and several inches taller– I can now type longer without arm fatigue. Ergonomics for the win!

So, here’s the blank area now inhabited by my mini-office. I left the picture woefully un-cropped because here you can see the entrance to the kitchen (right) and the hallway with the front door (left). Context, people. It may not be pretty but it gives one a better sense of space.

Above you can see the desk legs nabbed at IKEA for $10 each. The desktop came in at $20, so the total was $40. This is perfect for a temporary solution. Ideally I want something with a file cabinet involved… and drawers… but for now the thin legs are perfect for the small space–anything heavier would make the corner look too crowded.

I spiffed it up a bit by hanging my colorful Morocco canvases and adding a ceramic version of Mosey. I like my vintage inbox/file divider, but need to thin down and reorgainze some of the folders. I’d like to hang a magnetic square in the blank gap beneath the Moroccan mirror canvas to create a little bulletin board. My mother sugguested thrifting an appropriately sized cookie sheet and hanging it on a cute hook. I will see what I come up with :) If not, there’s always The Container Store… Man, do I love living in a city with lots of stores in it!! 

If I wasn’t renting, I would probably wallpaper this little section with something cute. I might try hanging fabric or something a little ways down the line, after I have given other parts of the apartment some attention. So stay tuned…

I love this little nook for the desk. It fits perfectly. I told Libby that I was searching for my favorite nook of the new apartment, and although I need a more comfortable chair, for now, this nook is the front runner. :)