How to organize a small office

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Today we’re going to talk about how to organize a small office. But first, I must set the stage.

I thought the car ride was surely the worst of it. Trapped in a stuffed vehicle with a toddler, a husband inhaling and exhaling energy drinks, and a very-crammed 36-week-pregnant belly made for a miserable five hour journey.

The misery primed my body and mind for an oasis. A respite. Our new home.

I based my preconceived ideas of the new apartment solely upon a few snapshots on the website. I know now that the photographer used a very kind and forgiving lens on the dinky and and somewhat dingy “model” apartment. Because nothing in those photographs prepared me for the pitiful dwelling that awaited me. I’ve seen chicken coops with better accommodations. Whether it was the ugly gray of the linoleum, or the fact that I could take in kitchen, dining-room, living-room and toilet from the front door, I can’t be sure. All I know is that whatever nesting hopes I had were dashed the instant I took in my new home.

Two and a half years later, I still look upon that frazzled pregnant version of me with both pity and fondness. She had no idea what she was getting herself into, poor thing. She knew nothing about small-space living, and she had no knowledge of the resources that awaited her rescue. In the first six months I found that shelving, wall hooks, and some rugs made a world of a difference in both the appearance and functionality of our apartment. With shrewd organization my apartment is my home.

Now, it doesn’t matter what the size of the space, messes happen everywhere. However, in a small space things escalate in an expedited way. What starts as a few pieces of mail, some toy blocks, and an un-hung purse and coat can easily become a disaster of epic proportions. Add to that no dishwasher or laundry appliances and you’ve got yourself a splendid slice of mayhem. We have learned that everything needs a place–with a place for that place. Ha. For the most part, our home is organized and chaos is avoided for the majority of the week. All that to say, give my children five minutes and we’re back to square one. Since our move, I have tackled every imaginable space except one: my office.

Actually, I don’t really have an office–but I need one.

And with small space you have to be inventive. So I’ve claimed one corner of our bedroom and dumped my books, notepads, calendars and pens and staked it as my blogging territory. Because, believe it or not, I actually need certain office essentials to effectively map what is now an actual business.

Truthfully, I’ve been rather stumped about how to proceed with organizing this space. I cannot really afford a new desk right now (plus I just use the kitchen table at night) and I really hate trying to hang shelves by myself. My husband isn’t too keen on such work either. Therefore, the space remains a dumping ground and I sift through the papers and piles whenever I need something. It’s not the most productive method, but I couldn’t figure out how to change it. So, when I was approached to review a new home-office organizational product I immediately knew where to use it. My office! My corner? My corner office? My office corner. Yes, that makes most sense. I am actually excited about this space now. I feel like it really is my own little office. Squeeee!!!! Martha Stewart office wall organizer

Here’s what I love about the Martha Stewart Home Office with Avery Wall Manager {yes, that is a mouthful, but it’s worth it.}

1. You don’t need a ton of space to accommodate this product. Some of us do not have an abundance of empty wall space to hang large and elaborate constructions. The Martha Stewart/Avery Wall Manager will work in even the smallest of spaces.

2. You can customize it to fit your needs. Because it is sectional, you can hang the pieces however you want. Put it up in a traditional square, lay it out horizontally, intermix it with other office/decor–whatever you want! The arrangement possibilities are endless.

3. No matter what your “home-improvement” skill-set may be, installing this sucker is EASY! The backside of each piece comes apart and operates as a mount.

  • Unlike most hangy-things, this mount has arrows telling you which is side is up or down.
  • There are temporary adhesive strips that hold it in place while you hammer or turn to see your child swinging from the curtains. Also if you have an itch on your face, the adhesive will save you from starting all over again.
  • There is a level. built. in. BOOM! That alone would sell me. I HATE hanging something only to find that it’s crooked. You cannot go wrong with this product.

  • The illustration in the instructions features someone with a clubbed thumb. I, too, suffer from club thumb and appreciate any and all recognition. But that’s neither here nor there.

4. It allows and accounts for the inevitable, cluttery pieces that always work their way into an office. There are pockets, little shelves, baskets, hooks, and magnetic clamps to keep every bit of your office tidy. 5. It looks great. I mean, come on! It has the Martha Stewart endorsement. All the functionality of office supplies WITH the aesthetic features of a cozy, Martha Stewart home. I feel like I can be completely organized and accessorize to my heart’s content with the sleek design and clean appearance.

I love my new office! Having this space makes me feel so much more put-together. It feels good to sit down at my little makeshift desk, and look up at all my notes and schedules. I finally have a real place to put all those lists and hair-brained ideas that I wake up with in the middle of the night! I have a good feeling that I am going to be so much more productive now that my work is organized. Whereas before I felt scattered and overwhelmed with this growing pile of paper, I now feel in charge and empowered.

Plus, it’s pretty. I think it looks dang cute. So, you wanna get one? They come in both black and white and are sold exclusively at Staples and staples.com If you have any doubts just watch this video and go along with tour guide barbie. She’ll show you all the ins and outs of this fabulous product!
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to head back to my office and do very important things like watch videos of silly cats and drool on my

keyboard as I peruse Pinterest.

 

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How about a whopping $100 gift card to Staples to kick off your organizing extravaganza? Simply answer this question and use two of the entry methods for a chance to win:

How does organizing your office help you become more productive?

Rules:

No duplicate comments. You may receive two total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:a.) Leave a comment in response to the prompt above. b.) Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post. c.) Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post. d.) For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

  • This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.
  • The Official Rules are available here.
  • This sweepstakes runs from 4/1/13-4/30/13.

 

174 thoughts on “How to organize a small office

  1. Melinda

    I’d use it in our kitchen to organize our keys, chargers, stamps and envelopes and dog leashes

    Reply
  2. ky2here

    My home office needs rescued. I’m ready to ditch my mismatched college dorm room big lots crap for Martha’s coordinated collection.

    Reply
  3. Madeline

    I’m more productive because I know what I have and where it is when it’s organized. I can find things quickly.

    Reply
  4. Georgia

    Great idea, I would use it next to my computer and I could use it next to my refrigerator.

    Reply
  5. Liz

    We’d put this right by the door in the kitchen so that every member of our family can check schedules, write messages and reminders, and leave important documents and papers.

    Reply
  6. Katie Contests

    Organizing makes me more productive because I get less distracted when there isn’t clutter everywhere.

    Reply
  7. Answers to the important questions

    […] wield my magical Martha powers in my own home. Wait…except for the actual Martha Stewart and Avery Wall Manager project I just did. THAT was something that really did change my home. I need more of that type of […]

    Reply
  8. Elena

    organizing makes me productive because I know where I can find everything I need.

    Reply
  9. Tabathia B

    I would use it to enhance my home office (which is in my bedroom) and keep appointments organized

    Reply
  10. Amy Tong

    I love how organized and cute your area is. ???? I need the help from these products to organize a small area in my kitchen! My recipes, kid’s pictures and drawings are all over the place. These products would help me a lot.

    Reply
  11. Debbie B

    organizing your office makes you sooo much more productive because you spend less time

    searching for what you need!

    Reply
  12. Angie in the Thick of It

    I thought my desk was organized until i saw your wall. It’s awesome! i love that it is vertical and doesn’t crowd the table-top or floor space. I’d love to be better organized as far as scheduling my blog work goes, so if I can’t get a good calendar/visible list system down, that would be awesome. this is a cool giveaway! thx, babe ????

    Reply
  13. Lisa Garner

    I would love to use the Martha Stewart Home Office products in my home office!

    lisalmg25 at gmail dot com

    Reply
  14. ashley

    organizing my office helps me to feel less stress which makes me more productive

    Reply
  15. Madonna

    I have a little cubbyhole in my bedroom that is my computer area and it always is such a mess because of being so small and not really having a place for everything. I would fix that spot up and make it neat and cute.

    Reply
    1. hillary

      Thank you! I think I’m going to start showing the rest of my house. Not that its really impressive, but it is only 632 square feet, so that in itself is sort of cool.

      Reply
  16. Tamar

    I’d love to organize the home office. I have so much clutter on my desk.

    Reply
  17. Kelly D

    Organizing my office helps clear my mind and lets me concentrate on my work. If I look around and see a mess, or go to find something and there is too much clutter, it takes a lot longer for me to be productive.

    Reply
  18. steph

    id put it up by the front door for keys and knick knacks! scg00387 at yahoo dot com

    Reply
  19. Lesley M.

    When I am organized, I am definitely more productive. I spend less time searching, and more time doing. Unfortunately, organizing has never been my strong suit ????

    Reply
  20. Ariella Mirvis

    I try really hard to keep my “office” area organized. Luckily I have a great boyfriend that motivates me to do so. Since have started organizing it, I can certainly save so much time by not having to look for everything. So happy. Yay.

    Reply
  21. rachel

    I work from home so keeping my work separate but organized is a MUST!

    Reply
    1. hillary

      You would think this is a no-brainer for me, but it has taken me a long time to get there!

      Reply
  22. Elena Brohmer

    Great post, Hil!

    As for my office, well… Husband and I are moving out of our 3-bedroom with the USAF and getting ready to join civilian life again. So what was once a bedroom and TWO separate offices for two very different people (I’m organized, he has pizza boxes from 18 months ago) will be merged into a bedroom and a joint office. Clutter and mess–not good for sanity OR productivity!

    Reply
    1. hillary

      Haha! Polar opposites are always the most interesting couples. I’d love to see photos of your side-by-side desks ????

      Reply
  23. KIM H

    This would be great in the studio to help organize supplies

    Reply
  24. Mendy Dinsmore

    making my office space more organized would help me get more work done and not have to dig and look for items I need.

    Reply
  25. Sarah L

    I’d use the Avery Wall Manager products to organize the stuff around my computer so I don’t have to hunt for everything.

    Thanks for the contest.

    Reply
  26. Stephanie V.

    get rid of clutter to think more clearly and create higher quality work product for my clients

    Reply
  27. Shirley Zolenski

    Well it sure helps me to find things quickly and I feel more efficient with a clean office.

    Reply
  28. cw

    When things are disorganized, my brain is scattered and I lose things. I also can’t focus. When things are organized I have a clear head and can focus on work

    Reply
  29. latanya

    I know where everything is located so it save me time and I can get what I need to done faster

    Reply
  30. Anne (@notasupermom)

    Loved seeing your office!

    When my office is organized, I waste less time chasing paper.

    Reply
  31. Leslie

    My office looks very similar to yours in the first pictures. I’d like to know what organization could do for my productivity.

    Reply
  32. D SCHMIDT

    I would use them in the nook between my kitchen and laundry room to better organize every family member and their hectic schedules

    Reply
  33. Danielle

    When thing are disorganized(always) I feel like I need to take care of that before I do real work. So I spend time shuffling and stacking papers and little odds and ends instead of actually being productive.

    Reply
  34. Kate

    IF I’m organized, I can find things and don’t have to dig through the piles instead of being truly productive.

    Reply
  35. Shannon

    Wow this is awesome! I would use it in the kitchen to help organize the never ending pile of stuff that ends up on our kitchen table!

    Shiebs24[at]gmail[dot]com

    Reply
  36. Thomas Murphy

    I would use them to organize my office and desk

    rounder9834 @yahoo.com

    Reply
  37. Jessie C.

    I love the wall manager for our home office, it will help a lot to declutter the desk and even coffee table which we have paper and files all over.

    Reply
  38. susan glazer

    i’m so disorganized. paper everywhere. help!!!

    Reply
  39. Maria Cantu

    It saves me time when I don’t have to look everywhere for something I need.

    Reply
  40. Jennifer Irving

    My office is a corner of the living room. I don’t have things easily accessible and it drives me batty. I would love to be more organized so I can do my work quicker.

    Reply
  41. Kellie B.

    My husband says I have “pile-itis”. All my papers, mail, daily detrius winds up in piles and while I know what’s in each pile, HE thinks it is just all garbage. And then he comes home and “cleans” which means everything goes into the trash bin. Including our marriage certificate! While threats of bodily harm have somewhat curtailed his cleaning habits, he still occasionally disposes of something important. This system would definitely help me “appear” more organized and remove the piles from the countertop (a corner of our kitchen serves as my home office corner. This is probably the most effective office organizer I have seen. Thank you for sharing your space with us!

    Reply
  42. Tracy p.

    Cleaning my office space makes me feel better and feeling better equals production.

    Reply
  43. taraocity

    Martha Stewart and Avery are a match made in heaven! Love the dedicated space and how you added your “loves” to personalize it. And as to your question: I have a crazy quirk that I have to clean an entire room that I would be using just to balance my checkbook. Maybe it was procrastination from doing concentrated work, but I have to clear clutter before I can be productive. Cheers to your home projects!

    Reply
  44. angie lilly

    It is always easier to be productive when you don’t have to search for things and remember where you put things. If everything has a home and stays there, then productivity is a no-brainer!

    Reply
  45. Jennifer

    we are short on space, especially my desk area, and this would be perfect for adding extra storage vertically! love this!

    \

    Reply
  46. susan smoaks

    I would use the Martha Stewart Home Office with Avery Wall Manager products to get my home office organized. I have a tendency to be messy and that leads to a lot of time wasted searching for things, this would be a lifesaver!

    Reply
  47. steve weber

    it saves time because you know where everything this.

    Reply
  48. Allison

    I would use this in my classroom to get more organized.

    Reply
  49. ron

    i’d use a gift card to buy a huge travel drive for use to back up my files easy peasy.

    Reply
  50. Anastasia Alexander

    I would LOVE to win this organizer!! I don’t have any space for an office so I have piles of bills, coupons, monthly calendar on my bedside table. Everything else (checks, new pads of paper, paperclips, envelopes, etc are in a box at the end of my bed. It would be so handy to be able to organize everything so I don’t have to go through my piles every time I need something.

    Reply
  51. Jammie

    It helps me be more productive because I am not thinking about the mess, and losing focus by the clutter. sweepmorey at gmail dot com

    Reply
  52. Elizabeth Owens

    Wow! Your office space looks so much nicer. I love the new look

    I would use it in my office. I have a glass desk which means no drawers or storage. I think this would help me get organized and make the feel of the room better

    Reply
  53. Stephanie

    Organization is totally key! Clutter makes it hard to concentrate. Plus, the cuter your space, the more you work – that’s gotta be scientifically proven, right?

    I could really use this for my new office at work. I have barely any office supplies and everything is just messy and unorganized, which makes it hard to be productive all the time. I especially love that wall organizer you got!

    Reply
  54. Margaret Smith

    Organizing my office helps me to have a place for everything and makes it easier for me to find what I’m looking for. By being organized, I save lots of time.

    Thanks so much.

    Reply
  55. Elena

    Organizing the office definitely increases productivity because 50% of the time, I’m looking for something because I don’t have a set place for it and can’t remember where I put it.

    Reply
  56. Margie Young

    Wow, I love the before and after photos ! It looks great now and so much more functional .

    I’d love to be able to transform my little area too and make things easier to find.

    Reply
  57. Cori Westphal

    I can’t focus if my desk is a mess, and I totally have anxiety if I can’t find something. I HAVE to keep organized!

    Reply
  58. Karina Lee

    i would use this by the front door to organize keys, mail, etc.

    Reply
  59. Rebecca Graham

    Organization would help me become more productive by not having to spend time going through scattered papers on my desk looking for what I need.

    Reply
  60. SYoder

    This would be a great addition to the blank walls in my home office. With “stuff” ranging from work to school, it would be a great way to give those papers a home.

    Reply
  61. Betty C

    I definitely need to get organized. I’m not productive because I spend too much time searching for things that should be right at hand. I could really use this.

    Reply
  62. TIA BEVERLY

    I would use it in my home office to help keep things more organized

    Reply
  63. Cynthia C

    Being organized saves me time because I don’t have to stop and look for what I need.

    Reply
  64. catherine copeland

    My home office area is my kitchen table but Lord knows I need to organize all my information!!!! I desperately need to get all the important paperwork together & have a central place of the keys, etc.

    Reply
  65. Daniel M

    can’t find anything when all the supplies are in a big pile in the desk

    Reply
  66. Anastasia

    Everything is easier to find! You save hours of searching just by having a place to put everything and have it ready at hand! This is really cool ???? Thanks for the chance ????

    Reply
  67. Emily N.

    I would be helpful in my den to put weekly papers, shopping lists, ad circulars, coupons and notebooks I need to reference regularly.

    Reply
  68. Betty Baez

    i would use it above my desk to add some flare and a place to keep note of appointments

    Reply
  69. Janice Cooper

    I need more organization in my office. My desk space is limited and being organized would really help me be faster and able to find things easier,

    Reply
  70. Anna @ Gone Banannas

    This is my first time visiting your blog and what luck, I land on a giveaway day ???? My “office” is also a part of my bedroom and in order to get the desk to look less like a crime scene and more like a wonderfully organized place of creativity, I implemented a strong use of manilla folders and magazine holders turned manilla folder holders (ha!). But this little diddy right here would make things much lovelier to look at!

    Reply
  71. Nadine L

    Unorganized surrounding make me distracted. Keeping things organized makes me focus on what I am doing rather than on the things around me

    Reply
  72. madamdreamweaver

    Cool story about that tiny living space. (I take it you still live there?) Love the organizer. Count me in on the drawing, since it’s not april 30th yet.

    Reply
  73. Sylvia Zajis

    I am moving into a new home next month and would love to be able to organize the area above my office/craft desk with these Martha Stewart and Avery products! My area is usually messy and cluttered due to not enough organizational tools. Fingers crossed that I could really use these to get my space clean and neat!

    Reply
  74. Lisa G.

    love your updated space! This would be perfect for my home office. Thanks for the chance to win!

    Reply
  75. Jason

    Being organized makes me more productive by making things easy to get and do so I don’t have to look for or dig for them.

    Reply
  76. joni

    I save time by knowing where everything is.

    dolniaks at consolidated dot net

    Reply
  77. Susan Chester

    I would hand them in the corner of my dining room I laughlingly call my office. I would use them to sort bills and other important papers.

    smchester at gmail dot com

    Reply
  78. Susan Smith

    This would be great in my home office. My desk gets so cluttered and this would get me more organized and make it easier to find stuff

    Reply
  79. One Frugal Girl

    My husband’s home office is a mess. I’d love to get organized with Martha Stewart products. onefrugalgirl AT gmail DOT com

    Reply
  80. Ellie W

    If I’m organized my mind just functions better, which means more, and better work gets done.

    Reply
  81. Jamie

    Due to the birth of our (now 11 month old ) son, moving our bedroom downstairs, and converting my craft room into our guest room/son’s room, my craft area is now located under the stairs. Having a place for everything and everything in its place is a must!

    Reply
  82. Denise S

    I’m always looking for more ways to be more organized and this would be a great help.

    Reply
    1. hillary

      Wow–a minute saves an hour? Brilliant. I need to be organized in ALL areas of life! I wish Avery and Martha would come up with a project for each aspect I need help with ???? Wait, maybe they already have…

      Reply
  83. diane Baum

    It saves me time, so I won’t spend 30 minutes looking for my reports

    Reply
  84. Marti B.

    Organizing my desk/office space helps me to concentrate on my work instead of sifting through piles of junk looking for the things I need! I waste hours just trying to find stuff.

    Reply
  85. Mary Hall

    I’d use it in my home office–I need some serious help keeping everything organized!

    Reply
  86. LAMusing

    Wow – what a difference! My space is about the same size ???? Not having to spend time digging through stacks of paper would make me more productive for sure!

    Reply
  87. Rhoda Jane

    Looks fabulous! An organized “office space” (which is a corner of our dining room) is essential for a homeschooling Mom. I need to be able to organize (a.k.a find) grocery receipts quickly, pull up and enter grade records, pull new curriculum books or tests to administer, and also find the printer to print out worksheets (or coloring sheets for the little ones). And really, who wants to sit down and work in a space that is pilled high with stuff that has magically appeared there? In other words, organization can keep me moving and motivated.

    Reply
  88. Sarah Hirsch

    having everything in a designated place saves me the time and trouble of having to search around for it, plus having a neater, more organized space just makes me feel better!

    Reply
  89. Mimi

    What a wonderful product. I am in desperate need of something like this to help with my lack of organization. Everything from signing tests and permission slips, to keeping a grocery list & coupons, to planning out the month’s activities…this wall manager would help me be on top of everything as a mother and my 4 kids would probably love me a lot more because of it. ????

    Reply
  90. Michelle

    I can be more productive because I can spend the few minutes I have during nap time doing what I need to do, instead of looking for what I need.

    Reply
    1. hillary

      Thank you! Wow, love that someone misses my horrible handwriting ???? I miss yours too! We need to start up a snail-mail ritual just to bring back the “for your eyes only” thing. Sound good?

      Reply
  91. Brenda Elsner

    I could use this to help with organizing mine and my kids stuff on the computer desk!

    Reply
  92. Stephanie Larison

    I work from home so it’s important to have everything where it should be when I need it. I can’t have the clients on hold forever while I’m searching.

    Reply
  93. S.K.

    I’d have it in the kitchen and I’d purchase another one for the bedroom.

    Reply

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