Let’s talk about our spare room for a minute. We’re so glad we have a 2 bedroom apartment for the simple fact that we have a lot of visitors throughout the year. But the extra space is a catch-all for anything and everything. It functions as the office, the library, the game room, the holiday storage space, the walls that house Forest’s Cardinals paraphernalia, and the room that guest’s rest their heads at night. I think this is a typical list of functions for a spare room in a small apartment. But being the catch-all, we’ve spent little time on the way it looks, other than hanging all things Cardinals on the walls.
Recently we’ve been talking about whipping the spare room into shape but we didn’t know where to start. We need to leave the middle of the floor open so we have room for the air mattress when visitors come. So that limits where our furniture can go – all of it must hug the perimeter of the room. So the simple fact was that we needed to de-clutter, purge, organize and simplify as much as possible.
We started with the desk.
When it comes to desk organization let’s just admit that we had none. Zip. Zero. Zilch. Our desk has been a dumping ground for whatever we didn’t feel like filing, that we thought we might need later and that we didn’t know what to do with yet. Observe…
And let’s zoom in on that drawer…
This is real life, folks. I didn’t even pretty it up before taking these pictures. I don’t know how we ever found anything in there. Whew.
So we got to organizing that drawer! It makes sense to have dividers so things don’t shift while opening and closing the drawer. And it helps to keep like-items together. The first thing we did was remove the drawer and take it to our dining room table where we emptied all of the contents. We threw away junk and sorted our items into piles so we knew what we were dealing with. I had previously stopped at Michael’s to pick up several patterned scrapbook paper sheets. I decided to use bright colors and bold patterns since the desk and surrounding area is pretty much colorless. I wanted to bring some fun to a usually not-so-fun area. Checking the credit card statement and paying bills isn’t fun but opening a drawer to see those beautiful colors smiling at you should make such tasks less dull. Here’s an idea of the paper we used.
Next, we collected a couple different boxes. Luckily we eat a lot of cereal around here. And Pop-Tarts. We already had a couple boxes in the recycling bin so we plucked those out. We measured the height of the box by setting them in the drawer and marking around the edges. After cutting the box a little shorter than the markings we ended up with something like this – not perfect but we were going to cover those imperfections with pretty paper.
Then we just measured and cut that fabulous paper and wrapped and glued it to the freshly cut boxes. We added an extra inch to the size of paper we needed to account for covering the edges of the boxes. This ensured that the dividers had clean edges and looked nice when we opened the drawer – you’ll get a better idea of what I mean with the next picture.
After all of the measuring, cutting, wrapping and gluing we ended up with beautiful, empty dividers in our drawer. We didn’t want to fill every square inch of the drawer with dividers because we had a few items that were wider than a cereal box. (You can see that we didn’t wrap the whole divider in paper but that’s definitely an option that might give you with a cleaner/more professional look.) How wonderful do these guys look?!
After loading all of our office supplies into the dividers, moving our surplus of pens and pencils – they wouldn’t all fit in here – and placing the drawer back in the desk, we were more than satisfied with the transformation. Check out that organization!
And spiffing up the desk drawer inspired me to remove the clutter from the top of the desk and the shelf next to it. I threw away pens that didn’t work and papers we didn’t need anymore. I filed the papers that were important and stored CD’s/DVD’s where they belonged. We actually have enough room for picture frames and decorative items now.
We haven’t used the desk as a desk in a long time. But now we have a clean and simple desk surface with an amazingly organized drawer. And get this – it cost a whopping $2 for the scrapbook paper since we already had the empty cereal boxes that were ready to be recycled anyway. A couple hours on a Friday night to make the dividers and the next morning to dust and de-clutter and we have a brand new office space in our spare room.
Until next time — Cindy.