March is here! Month of spring, joy, and my birthday. To celebrate this month, I’ll be posting home office organizing inspirations. Offices are a space to work, but also a space to dream, and they are a jumping off point for sharing our gifts with the world.
Join me every Wednesday as I post on everything from how to create a file system that won’t give you brain dance, to how to design a more inspiring office using what you already have. My friend, CPA Jillian Plank will also answer all of your burning tax questions, as well as guide us in which paper to keep and which we can toss.
Reply to this post, or write me here, with your questions for Jillian. I’ll post the questions along with her answers in a fun interview feature, “Ask an Accountant,” later this month.
And, now for today’s post! Read on to see how I turned my catch-all office into a magical space, and how that led to a major transformation in my life.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from organizing, it’s that home offices are notorious catch-all rooms. I’ve heard clients compare them to storage rooms, junk rooms, and even black holes. Yikes! My own office used to be what I call “the shove-it room.” As in, if company was coming over, and we couldn’t find a place for something, we’d just shove-it in there and shut the door!
This worked just fine until that company also happened to be spending the night, in which case we were in a pickle. Because, you see, our home office was also our guest room AND my craft room! We’d look at each other and think, “Now what? Can we book them a hotel?”
Around the same time we were running out of space in our home, I also started to feel like there wasn’t space for my dreams. Carving out space for my home office became about more than just de-cluttering my desk, or our files, it became about re-claiming a life I was excited about. My colorful pens, manuscripts, mail, and favorite books were all buried under a heap of I-don’t-know-what-to-do-with-that. It’s no coincidence that I also felt uninspired, broke, and had writer’s block. I’d buried the very tools that would get me unstuck!
So I decided to make space for what I love and value. I came up with a system for our mail and bills, which you can read about here. I tackled the dreaded file cabinet, and paired four file drawers down to one portable file box. (That had been hanging over my head for years, and it only took me an afternoon to solve the problem.) I made space for my planner, inspirational books, and my favorite art print to sit on my desk. I put my colorful pens in a jar on my desk, next to a vase of fresh flowers. Everything I love and need for my work finally has a place!
It felt so good, I didn’t stop there. I organized all my craft supplies into a tidy supply closet that makes my heart sing every time I open it.
Here it is:
I do still share my home office with my youngest son, who keeps his toys on a shelf, and the craft closet also houses their art supplies, but I’ve zoned it and set it up in a way that is so joyful and purposeful it has stayed organized. I want to keep it organized, because I want to keep what I love and need, close at hand.
Here is what his side of things looks like:
Amazingly, re-organizing my home office last year has led to some pretty major changes in my life. It led to me starting an organizing business, which has been one of the most unexpected and exhilarating things I’ve ever done! I made the space for dreams, and God sent me a new one!
It also led me to start writing this blog, which I’ve now been writing weekly since August. It feels so good to write again, to have a dedicated place to do so, and to have readers. For a long time, I thought I wouldn’t be able to have those things until I wrote a best-selling novel. Not so!
I also thought there wasn’t space to work on something I loved while my kids were little and I was home with them. It turns out what I wanted was there all along, and I just had to find it under the clutter.
Okay, now me a favor and go to your own home office space. Maybe it’s just an accordion in your kitchen cupboard– that’s fine too. Know that you can set up a home office anywhere, using things you already have. Everything in my office was repurposed from somewhere else in my house, including the shelves in my supply closet! Go shop your house, and I bet you will find some amazing treasures.
But before you get started on moving things around and de-cluttering, I want you to ask yourself these questions:
- What do you want more of in your work and creative life?
- What inspires you?
- What colors and objects and words make you feel most energized and alive?
- What tools do you need to do your work?
- What do you most value?
Once you finish writing down your answers, I want you to make sure you find a place for these things in your home office. If you only have a cupboard in your kitchen, make it great! Why not tape a quote you love inside the cabinet door along with a jar of your most loved pens? I recently read about a woman who devotes an entire desk drawer to confetti, and it makes her so happy. Get crazy! Uncover what you love, and see what happens!
I’d love it if you would reply to this email and let me know what accounting questions you have for Jillian. Or, post your question in the comments section on Facebook, or this blog. As always, if you liked this post, please share it! And, if you re-organize your office please send me a picture! I want to see it. My son, Otto, just created an outdoor home office! For him, this is the ideal office. I think he may be onto something!
To your dreams,