The Friday Five: Home Office Storage

Okay – I’m going a little crazy in my home office ever since I had to move out of my work office earlier this week. I had to move all of my books and files home and the chaos is making me nuts! I have a lot of books and files – as do most people in the academic world – and finding room for them in my home office (so thankful I have one!) is harder than I thought. As a result, I’m not being as productive with my organization as I’d like to be. And in the midst of all my reorganization I get mad at myself for (a) having too much stuff and (b) not being able to find a spot for it all in my 1200sq foot apartment. (Honestly – how do New Yorkers do it!?)

So here’s a peek at what I’ve got so far…

In one desk drawer I have my supplies organized in this handy drawer divider. I’ve used mini clear plastic bags to organize little items like band-aids, file labels, and batteries.

In the office closet I have stacked these clear plastic bins to organize everything from office supplies (how many supplies does one girl need?) to books to Christmas decorations to picture frames (Does anyone want small picture frames? I have a bin of them!). Everything is labelled because (a) it looks organized and (b) I love my label maker.

I only have a long two drawer filing cabinet (that I painted white, of course). I think I really need a four drawer cabinet but I’m scared of filling it up. I have designated one drawer for personal things and one drawer for work files.

About ninety percent of the binders I use are white. They are much more appealing on my open bookcase than a colourful group of binders would be. They are filled with PhD-related things (aka my dissertation – no big deal).

Finally, I use IKEA’s magazine folders and labels for current work-related projects. They are lined up and looking good on my bookcase.

I think one of my main problems that I have is that everything is half-size – 2 drawer filing cabinet, short bookcases, shallow desk drawers – so I feel like there’s just not enough room to fit both work stuff and fun stuff in this one space. I was sad when I had to empty all my bookshelves of my for-pleasure books and fill them back up again with work books. Sigh.

How do you manage to have both work and personal items in one space? What rules do you follow to get rid of things?

I’ll be reading Mo + Mo’s advice again this weekend – always a source of minimalist inspiration!

Have a great weekend!

Photos by Jordana.


  1. Johanne July 20, 2012

    Jordana, I feel your pain. I have a lot of office stuff that I don’t even use!! This has only become clear to me since I’ve moved out of my office and turned it into a full-time second bedroom, which means that I don’t have the luxury of that space for office things anymore. Forcing me to work more or less with just a notebook, computer and a few pens has shown me that I use my stapler once in a while, envelopes, and a few clips. Everything else is overkill and I’m going to get rid of it ALL!! I know I don’t need the stuff and looking at your accessories, I’m guessing you could do with much less: two liquid glues?

    As for all the books, I’m going to get rid of many text books- I just won’t ever open them again even though they’re quality and relevant- just not to me. I’m thinking of donating them.

    • Jordana July 20, 2012

      I have two storage bins with office supplies – did you see that? I have way more tape, push pins, staple removers than I really need. It’s ridiculous. And I have at least 6 rulers. 6?! Seriously. I think I use a ruler maybe 3 times a year. And yes – I have two liquid glues because one is almost done. See…there’s a reason! I use my stapler and remover quite a bit actually so I’m not ready to get rid of either (but if I did I’d have a spare set in my closet bin!). Last year I donated a bunch of supplies to a friend who was going to work in schools in South America so that was a good place for some of my extras.

      I donated a few of my for-pleasure books and I know I can donate more but I’m always a bit sad when I have to let books go. So much work goes into publishing them!

      I am sorting through more files this weekend…and I will work on my office supply collection too!


      p.s. My mom’s solution – instead of using my living room bookcase to show off my cake plates and white ceramics collections, I should use it for books. Meh. Not sure about that quite yet! I love having my cake plates on display! And I use them regularly (more often than my ruler collection!).

      • Johanne July 24, 2012

        Yeah I don’t know how I wound up with so many rulers, either. Actually I think I will feature one tomorrow- it’s the most interesting ruler. You’ll see.

        As for your cake plates- I love cake plates, too!! Yeah I like your idea of keeping the office stuff *in the office* but perhaps some things can get drafted to the living room-? A compromise?

  2. Silvia Del Rosso July 23, 2012

    As an administrator I find it very difficult to keep everything
    organized as someone always needs something.
    Whether it’s a file folder, paper clip, staple, or staple remover.
    Every few weeks a do a clean up of what I haven’t used for a while
    and recycle whatever it is to my coworkers who may not have a particular
    item. I try to keep at least one item handy and I always wonder
    how I end up with ten pens, numerous pencils, highlighters etc. at the end of the day!


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