Alrighty then! I have succeeded in organizing one facet of our household (for which I am EXTREMELY proud): OFFICE.
Once upon a time I had one, maybe two, boxes of “office supplies” and paperwork. This is what I THOUGHT at least… until I finally moved all my stuff into one location post-marriage. Then, the true realization of the amount of stuff I had accumulated over the years sat there glaring at me. I’ve gone through many different forms of “organizing” the office. Resulting in purchases that were initially going to solve all our cluttered office problems but turned into furniture that just cluttered up our space.
I made my hubby buy a certain set of desks from IKEA because they had a matching drawer/file cart that I was “totally going to use for all our files”! Please note: I couldn’t even fit one file into the silly little cart. And though it was good for random clutter and pens – it lacked even a basic helpfulness when it came to all my financial aid, bills, old medical, or misc files. (The baby-safe latches were something we added on later, after our daughter pinched her fingers dramatically one evening.)
Then, after attending a Money Wise Woman conference with my mother, I was convinced we needed a filing cabinet for all our stuff. I needed some way to rotate out all those very important documents! So, we bought a file cabinet and invested the $$ in files and hanging files and everything that was going to help me stay organized… then I accidentally broke the file cabinet by neglecting to strap it to the wall (this was pre-baby). So I ended up buying those little plastic crates as a temporary solution for the multitude of files we had strewn around the office.
This is the point where I determined 1) We had too many files 2) I am an office supply junkie and 3) We needed a REAL solution to this clutter/dis-organization issue. So…
With the assistance of a printer/scanner bought two or three years ago, a shredder borrowed and a LOT of time; I scanned/shredded all non-essential files and kept only the ones that we needed hard copies of (ie. mortgage statements and tax information).
Now, the problem was… scaling back the office supplies I’ve collected over the years and fitting them WITH the essential files into a central location that was closed off from my kiddo. WHAT TO DO?!?
Score one for Martha Stewart (I hate to admit that – but she was my inspiration on this one…) I decided to pair up this filing system from Martha with my dream of a little “get ready” area for the kid to create our front entryway/office space. My hubby had a trunk from his younger days that he kindly emptied for me and files went inside one plastic crate inside the trunk. Any office supplies I wanted to keep HAD to fit inside the trunk as well. All other office supplies are being donated to local school districts. And Voila! an organized, condensed and easily accessibile office space that cost us ZERO dollars since I only used what we had.