Organizing Our Home Office

As promised, we’re back with the details of how we organized the six new shelves and eight new drawers in our office, along with the drawers in my floating desk and the filing/printer cabinet on the other side of the room. In other words: what went where.

It’s awesome to have so much more storage space, both out in the open and behind closed doors, so let’s spin over to the left and face our new desk/bookcase wall first.

Here are the animated GIFs that John mentioned on Monday. You were on the edge of your seat for these, right? Or were you excited about donuts? I can’t remember. Here’s the bookcase to the left of John’s desk coming together in GIF form:

And here’s the one to the right filling up in fast motion:

Between both sides of the open shelves, we managed to work in eight magazine storage boxes (from Target). We used them to hold our press stuff since we’ve saved magazines with a mention/feature of our site or any column that we’ve written. Now instead of shoving them all into various cabinets in our dining room buffet (where we used to keep them) we finally have them all organized by year with little tabs on that page. It makes it a lot easier to find things.

We also brought out a bunch of books that we had stuffed into our kitchen cabinets, and added a few decorative boxes that we already had (the blue ones are from Bed Bath & Beyond when I was in college, and the cream one is from HomeGoods last year). They’re loaded up with various office supplies that we didn’t want crowding the surface of our desks.

We also included some of our hook designs (some in the packaging, and some out) along with a few copies of our book (the English version and the Korean one) since we figured an office is a good spot to display some of the stuff you’ve made, and if we ever have anyone over for a meeting we can grab a few copies of our book or a product or two from the office shelves.

A too-pretty-to-hide-in-a-drawer stack of notebooks and post-its ended up in the mix too…

… along with an “inbox” for the magazine tear sheets that used to collect on the kitchen table or the back of the couch. I have binders with clear sleeves where I eventually file them, but now they have a drop zone until I do that, which is nice. Even got to use one of our octopus hooks as a paperweight.

There are also deceptively decorative things that are actually up there multitasking for hidden functional reasons, like the spiky yellow HomeGoods vase which is where we stash our wires (extra chargers, headphones, uploading cords for the camera, etc). It’s nice to keep those less-lovely things (like a big mass of wires) incognito, but easy to grab. And the little zebra dish holds magnets for our magnetic frame wall along with a pink vase full of dry erase markers for that zone.

And we finally have a spot for my yellow horse head bookends (remember these?) which add color but also do good equine work (way to hold those books up, stallions).

There are also a few purely decorative objects in the mix, just because they make us happy. There’s my wonky little painting of our first house along with a painting by my friend Lesli of our second house (she surprised me with it as a holiday gift shortly after I painted our first one). And we can’t forget about the awesome replica of our fireplace that Lisa made us.

I also put our little bee painting up there along with a catalog tear-out from Boden that says “Squeeze the day” to add a little office cheer/inspiration – and I found a spot for our family yearbooks. I love seeing that colorful little stack of them, complete with a cup full of Young House Love pencils in every color of the rainbow (a super sweet book tour gift from 2012).

Speaking of bees and stuff that makes us happy, it was pretty hilarious to have our little bumble girl playing dress up and making bead necklaces at her little desk while we sorted and filled our shelves and drawers.

In the drawers to the right of John’s desk, we have two empty ones (room to grow = the best feeling ever) along with one that’s half full of paint decks, and one that’s full of the magazines that I love too much to throw away (like every original issue of Domino) and some catalogs that we reference from time to time.

The drawers to the left of John’s desk are where we have the more office-related things. The two that are closed in this photo are full of design prototypes that we’re currently developing/tweaking, and the top open one is full of tax stuff (receipts, file boxes of back taxes, quarterly stuff to fill out and mail in, etc). The bottom open one has back-up external hard drives, old notebooks full of info that we still need, and a large ziplock bag full of miscellaneous instruction books and warranties for things like our printer, camera, etc.

As for the printer/file cabinet, that’s also full of documents and other tax/work-related stuff. Here’s a shot of it closed (it’s the Ikea Effectiv cabinet, which they discontinued a while back).

And here it is opened up. We keep the paper and our camera case on the top left, our wireless printer lives on the top right, and all of our files are in that bottom drawer.

My floating desk by the window (remember when we found it for free on criagslist?) has four more drawers for me to use, as well as a nice big top that I’m attempting to keep pretty clear except for a few notebooks and two vases full of writing paraphernalia (we use the pencils for book edits).

I put things like my scissors, stapler, and other use-a-lot stuff in the top right drawer, filled the right middle drawer with stationery/thank you cards, and kept the skinny middle drawer and the bottom right drawer empty for “space to expand.” There’s also a cabinet on the left side of the desk that’s empty (more remaining room = happy tingly feelings inside).

So that’s our little where-it-all-went rundown of the office. Only took us a year to find a spot for the stapler and the receipts… but I gotta admit, it feels better than it probably should.

That rush you get when you have a spot for everything is pretty addicting… even if your brain knows it’s only a little while before things start to multiply/explode. I’m soaking it up while I can.

Psst- Teddy’s eight week photo is up (we couldn’t resist that Spoonflower fabric).


  1. says

    What a wonderful space and worth the wait! We downgraded to a 2 bedroom from a 3 bedroom last year and while we increased our square footage by over 500 feet I’m sorely missing my 3rd bedroom as the office. Now I have just a corner office in my bedroom and am hoping to do another mini work station/filing space outside the bedroom on our landing overlooking the 2nd floor. I think the low shelving options you share just might work there – thank you as always for such a detailed post full of inspiration!

  2. Laura says

    I am shopping for a new printer, and I love how compact and sleek your wireless one is. I can tell it’s HP but not the model.

    Do you remember the model and approx price? Store? Staples?
    Thanks! Love your blog and your super organized office. It gives me hope that someday mine can look like that….


  3. Mia says

    Looks great!
    There are French doors going to your office, right? Prepare for them to get a workout once T starts moving :-)
    Also, you may want to start brainstorming a way to raise Clara’s table. My 3 year old loves to do projects on her little table, too, but her just-turned-one pesky little brother also loves to come along and do his own type of project, which involves trying to eat tiny little-girl items and sweeping everything to the floor. For now, our daughter has to do projects mostly at our dining room table. Fair warning!

  4. says

    Such a neat space. So organized. I do start organizing but it gets messed up in couple months. And then I take couple more months to get it organized. Clara looks so cute.

  5. Megan says

    Oooooh, so great! When it comes to housework, there is NOTHING better than feeling organized and on top of the chaos. I say you have a good year or two before it spins out of control. ;-) I just cleaned my daughter’s bedroom (2 day process) and I find myself lingering in there for no other reason than to appreciate the tidyness! 1 down, 3 to go.

  6. says

    Oh what a clean, organized, and fresh office space! It must feel so good. I especially love that you have a space for the kiddos to hang out and “work” on their projects. It really is a fully functioning family office!

  7. says

    Whoohoo, love the organization!

    Faithful reader for many months (a year, maybe?) so if you’ve mentioned this and I forgot, forgive me! What planner do you use? I see it’s very colorful!

  8. Reenie says

    That is so colorful… cheerful ~ ~ love it. Love the green chair at John’s desk better too.

    Where’d you get the bright-colored pot with the big tree/plant? (sorry if you have mentioned it ~ I missed it, if you did)


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