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Monday, January 7, 2013

74 Monthly Organizing Challenge: Home Office Intro

As I mentioned last week, this year I am kicking off a monthly organizing challenge!  What is it about a good challenge that really gets us excited and motivated?

It's all about sharing ideas, working together and conquering our organizing projects one step at a time.  And organizing is so much more fun when you have someone to do it with {or hundreds of people to do it with}, so let's do this!

This month I am taking on the Home Office.  It is the command station of our home.  We manage our schedules there.  Pay our bills.  Crunch our budgets.  Write out birthday cards and file away stacks of papers.  And whether it is a small desk in the kitchen or an entire room down the hall, organization is the glue that holds all of those important tasks together.



To kick things off let's chat about some of the top home office organizing tips:
  • Create an "In" and "Out" box.  Put all incoming mail in your "In" box throughout the week and then take 15 minutes each weekend to go through the box, take action and recycle.  The "Out" box is a great place to keep outgoing bills and items that you need to take with you each day.
  • Pare down the paper!  With everything being digital these days, how many paper stacks and files does one really need?  Keep the long term important things filed away {everyone needs to make their own choice of what is important to keep such as legal documents, titles, home documents, etc...}, and keep everything else minimal and digital.  Pay bills online and keep statements digitally and move to paperless statements with your financial institutions.  Less paper in the mailbox means less paper on your desk.
  • Keep it simple!  Filing systems that are too complex or are not simple to access, are less likely to be maintained and used.  
  • Recycle.  Set up a recycle bin pared with a shredder so that you can not only be a bit more green, but protect your identity as well!
  • Take control of the cords.  Cord messes can take over your desk and be a visual distraction.  Remove cords that are not being used and use cable ties and clips to keep the cords you do need, neat and tidy.
  • Recharge!  It's not only good to keep all charging devices in one place, and hide those cords with a charging station, but it is also good to keep them in a place away from the bedroom so that you can get a good rest and recharge yourself.
  • Think vertically.  The back of your desk is a great place to add boatloads of storage, whether it be through wall systems or shelving.  You don't need a big space to have a functional one.
  • Dreamy drawers are those that only have the basic supplies and nothing more.  Use dividers for your office supplies, making it more challenging to just toss things in and close it without thinking twice.
  • Get the memo.  Memo boards rock!  I love having a cork board to pop up important notes, reminders and documents that need action.  It's a great visual checklist of things that need to be done.  Just be sure to remove things after they are completed to keep it streamlined.
  • A good planner/calendar.  Whether you a digital personal or love to write it all down, it's nearly impossible to keep up on appointments, commitments, meetings and special dates without some sort of a calendar system.  
  • If you don't have a home office, give yourself a tray which you can create a portable desk with and keep things nicely corralled in one area {I do this with my blogging items since there are days when I prefer to work in different locations in the home and it has been amazing!}


So where does one begin?
  1. Make a list of things you are hoping to tackle this month to get your home office space in working order.  Be realistic and only take on what you can commit to and pick your battles.  It doesn't have to be an entire space overhaul, just enough to feel stress free about paper piles and desk clutter.
  2. Find inspiration.  Check out the www and your favorite magazines for ideas and products to spark your creativity.
  3. Schedule it in!  Make time to get it done, whether it is 15 minutes per day or an hour on a weekend.  Ask for help watching the kids or get them involved to help with sorting and any crafting.
  4. Blank slate it!  Anytime I take on an organizing project, it is great to start with a blank slate.  It allows you to properly evaluate what you have and place things back where they make the most sense vs. where they have been for the last eight years.
  5. Sort.  Sort down your contents into categories and piles.  Make sure you have a purge pile!  It's time to clear out the clutter!
  6. Purge.  Say farewell to all of those things holding you back from living simply.  Only keep what you need and love, say farewell to all the rest.  Sell on Craigslist, donate to Goodwill, recycle recycle recycle.
  7. Store it!  Now that you have cleared the clutter, it is time to store the remaining items.  Use what you have and shop your home for additional items.  Check out thrift stores, the dollar store or the Container Store to find things that fit your storage needs.  Or, DIY your own storage for a custom fit, to save moolah and because crafting and projecting is fun!
  8. Share it!  Blog about your projects and share them with the world!  You have just accomplished something, you should be proud!  At the end of the month, we will link up all of our projects and share the ideas and inspiration with the IHeart Organizing community!


This blog isn't just about organizing, it's about getting your hands dirty.  Whether making a tag from scrapbooking supplies or re-purposing a wine crate as cord storage or as a wall cubby.... let's dare to DIY something fun while working on our home office spaces!

To not only bring us some inspiration, but to also spark a few DIY ideas, here are a few that have recently caught my eye:

{File Cabinet Makeover}


{Cork Memo Board}

{DIY Calendar}

{Beautiful Pencil Cups}

{Mail Pockets}

So who is excited to tackle the Home Office with me?  I will be sharing a few of our projects along the way this month, but what I am most excited about is seeing yours at the end of the month during the Link Party!  What other paper pile and home office tips do you have to share to kick off the challenge?  Any projects that are working wonders for you?  How about favorite product picks that you couldn't function without?


74 comments:

  1. Oh, this is just what I need. Our home office is a bomb site. Worse is that it is the first room off our entry way. This was going to be my first tackle of the New Year so yay to good timing!

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  2. That's great! Home office is my next project. I have gathered some inspirational pictures already. If you would like you can see them here http://fabtwigs.blogspot.com/2013/01/10-home-office-ideas.html
    Hope I will be done by the end of this month. :)

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  3. Miss Jen, you read my mind! Creating an effective "command center" is one of my goals for 2013. Your adorable inspiration photos have me itching to get started!
    One thing that has helped hubby and I minimize the paper clutter is to scan in all of our bills, medical forms, etc. with a high speed scanner and use Evernote to keep it organized. We don't have to keep drawers and drawers of files, and we can access everything through either of our computers or iPhones. :)

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  4. I am soooo glad you chose to start off the year with this particular organization challenge. My plans for the week are to get my life in order before school for me starts back up next monday. I've already purchased some fabulous new baskets (I blame you for my addiction) now I've got some great tips. Thanks so much!

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  5. My office has been a little, ummm.. uprooted, I guess you could say. The desk and computer was moved downstairs to make room for bigger toys (train table and the like) of my son's because oldest moved back home for a bit and she used the playroom to stay in. Plus, we started tackling the laundry room, so it is housing the tile that will be going on the floor in there and the 1/2 bath. I have way too many things started. We just work on the things we have time for and sometimes certain things (like the tiling) get put on the back burner.

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  6. I have been meaning to tackle a home office problem we've had for seven years. was so funny that you mentioned clearing it all out so you dont put something where its been for the past 8 years....hello....totally us. I'm really excited and determined to do this and get it together! Thanks for the constant inspiration Jen!

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  7. Yay! I'm totally in love with everything in the Martha Stewart office collection. Her bookplates and stackable boxes are everywhere in our office already!

    The office and our command center (they're on separate levels) is my top priority for January, as I shared in my January goals and challenges. http://managingthemanor.blogspot.com/2013/01/january-goals-and-challenges.html

    Looking forward to linking up our final reveals!!

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  8. Can't wait to get started with this! We have a study re-do planned for this month, and I seriously need to do some cleaning out even before I can get to the re-painting and new curtains. At least half of what's in there isn't coming back in!

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  9. We must be kindred spirits. Maybe because we're both Jen's. I loved your planner post. I just finished putting mine together. And here were are again tackling the next thing on my list. I love your blog.

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  10. Ooh, I can't wait to see what you share with us this month! I'm about halfway finished with my little office makeover -- definitely have to finish it in time for your link party!! Is there any chance you'll be sharing more tips about how you file with your Neat Desk scanner? I've been thinking about getting one for a while, but I'd love to hear your take on it first!

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    1. Hi Casey!

      It's funny because I use the NeatDesk scanner daily for blog docs and for my business side of things, but I have been stuck in my old ways for personal filing. It is definitely on my list of things to look at this month as I streamline my personal filing, but I will say, I do love it's ease of use and it's quickness!

      xo,
      Jen

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  11. I have been working on my office all weekend and am on a roll! (In fact, I was just admiring your spaces in Storage Magazine last night while waiting for my son to finish baseball practice!) Thank you for all of the great inspiration, and I'm really motivated to get my entire house in order. Looking forward to linking up at the end of the month, but in the meantime, I'm off to a great start!

    http://www.evolutionofstyleblog.blogspot.com/2013/01/does-this-clutter-make-my-butt-look-big.html

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  12. I'm totally doing this!! Our office needs some MAJOR help/baby proofing lol. I'll be blogging!

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  13. I am SO excited for this challenge because our office is a disaster! I have a goal to share something on the linky party at the end of the month.

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  14. dumb question: which space do you consider your home office (for this challenge)? the desk in the closet set-up or your studio/etsy workspace? or somewhere else?

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    1. Hi Valerie!

      I am using the Home Office term as a way to sum up any place that holds paper or functions as a command center. For us, we hold our papers in our kitchen mail bins and then they go down to the studio for later filing {which is where our new home office is}. We now use the desk in the closet as a quiet place for the kids to study, as a place for my husband to work and also keep it as an option for our guests to use while they visit.

      xoxo!
      Jen

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  15. thanks Jen, our set up is somewhat similar (mail in kitchen hanging file folder that later moves upstairs to office for filing if needed), so I was deciding which space to focus on for this motivational challenge...my mommy command center/kitchen space w/ desk in a corner or the upstairs office space, that's used mainly by my hubby...I think I'll try to do both. thanks! :)

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  16. OMG this post came at the perfect time! My post today included a little blurb about how I rearranged my office but still have a laundry list of tasks to get done in there. Now I have an even better reason to start right now! Can't wait to link up! http://styleoyster.blogspot.com/2013/01/monday-musings.html

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  17. I have not been working on the home office like I should, so this post is awesomespice. I could always use some more organization in my life.

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  18. After a stressful holiday and vacation I can finally settled and return to reality. I really need to use this challenge and reorganize my office again! Thank you for great tips to get start with!

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  19. After a stressful holiday and vacation I can finally settled and return to reality. I really need to use this challenge and reorganize my office again! Thank you for great tips to get start with!

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  20. I am so excited! I am currently in the process of setting up our home office since we moved in August so this is perfect timing! I'm going on Pinterest right now for some inspiration! ;) Thanks Jen!!

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  21. I won't be tackling the office for a bit, I think some of it is next on the list but I've got to finish the guest room first.

    I just want to say that I love the pocket protector DIY project and will attempt that. If someone else does this? Will they/you please post about it? I'd love to see more steps

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  22. My "home office" is a small built-in desk in the kitchen that has become a catchall place for everything else. Am glad that we are starting the New Year off getting this space organized.

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  23. This post is just perfect, today I blogged about a charging center I made over the weekend and I am tackling my husband's desk area since the boys have all taken over MY beautiful little desk. Because it's the clean one. Mm-hmm.

    I am so in for the Office challenge!!!

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  24. What a great and inspiring post! Great tips - especially the DIY section! Love the round cork board painted different colors!

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  25. I will totally be doing this when I get back home after the holiday! Great post!

    xo Abbey

    abbeylovesallure.blogspot.com

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  26. Jen,
    It's like you read my mind...again! I've already been working on our home office. Actually trying to convert it into a shared office and craft room since we are running out of rooms. I'm excited to join the challenge, if I can finish by the end of the month. Thanks for the motivation & inspiration!
    Jessica
    ahumblecreation.com

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  27. I'm SO excited about this challenge, and these are some great tips! I need to just get on with the digital files already ~ paper piles are one of our biggest frustrations!

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  28. We started organizing our home office this month too. It feels great to open the drawer and see everything organized the way it should be.

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  29. I wish I had one designated space for a home office....instead the mail is in the kitchen, the filing boxes are in our closet and my desk is in the bedroom. With keys and outgoing mail on the dining table.

    Time for me to get organized! Breathe in...breathe out....let's do this!

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    Replies
    1. http://amysartattack.blogspot.com/2013/01/house-command-center.html

      I have started!!!

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  30. Hey Jen!

    What font are you using for the months/"let's do this!"?

    Thanks :)

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    Replies
    1. Hi A!

      The font is called Ostrich Sans.

      xo!
      Jen

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  31. Hi Jen! First off you are amazing and have such creative ideas. Secondly, can you move to California and be my best friend? :-) I just wanted to take a minute to say thanks because of you I am now inspired to de-clutter my home and get more organized in 2013! I'm in the purging process as we speak and hope to blog my progress soon. Thanks again and keep up the great work.

    -Anna

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    Replies
    1. California is where I long to be.... now if I could convince my hubs, we would be set ;)

      We can be virtual bff's though! xoxoxo!

      Jen

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  32. Perfect timing! We just downsized to a one bedroom apartment and my desk area needs some serious help, I feel like I'm drowning in paper!! Looking forward to getting organized (finally) and staying organized :)

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  33. I wish I could take you on a video tour of my kitchen and all my lack of space and dilemmas so you can tell me what I am supposed to do!!! *sigh, I guess I could start by filing my huge stack of an entire years worth of bills.

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  34. Jen, I just stumbled across your blog a few weeks ago and have been spending a ton of time on it since! I love it and all your ideas! Thanks for posting and I love that my first organization project of the year is my office/crafting space! I can't wait for it to be done!

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  35. I'm so thankful you posted this... I'm in :) Just finished reorganizing my kitchen & came to your site looking for a little push into my next organization project. Here it is.

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  36. I'm excited to do this challenge. I have a corner armoir desk in my kitchen that I've been slowly working on. Perhaps your challenge will motivate me to really make something happen!

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  37. Great idea, I can't do the challenge as I don't have an office, but I'm excited to see how others take on the challenge.

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  38. that is what I need NOW :) your ideas are great :) and the blog is amazing!

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  39. Amazing, that you should pick the home office! That is the one big project in our appartment that we kept procrastinating since we moved in. So far, our "home office" does double, triple, quadruple duties to hold all of our things that don't really have a "home" in our home...
    So far, we took out three hand cart loads of paper and other things we decided to through out and collected near two packing cases full of stuff for the flea market. (And no, the room is far from empty - but we're getting there..
    So, what I was actually going to say is: Yay for choosing you're challenge for January like you did, I hope this will add another surge of motivation :)

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  40. I love your blog :)

    You're the best !

    Iris the french girl
    from THE MARRIED LIFE
    http://matthewandiris.blogspot.fr/

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  41. I definitely need this challenge! Right now our "office" is just a desk in our living room. It has no hidden storage so when it isn't organized it looks so messy! I also feel like paperwork is really piling up and we need to come up with a system that works!

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  42. I have had too many crashes not to save my paper work.

    However when a new receipt or bill comes in I pay it and replace last months with it.

    Also I took the closet and fitted them with shelves for storage.

    Have a Joyful Day :~D
    Charlie

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  43. I so need to do this challenge to get rid of things I don't need and prep for tax season.

    Bought the storage magazine and loved seeing you in it! Congrats!!

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  44. Love the Cork Memo Board!! Amazing! :)

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  45. I'm excited for your monthly challenges. They will give me something to shoot for. Part of me wants to wait till the end of the month to start though just so I can get more ideas and inspiration from everyone out there. I guess I'll start on what I can, and just keep going into next month if I am so inspired :)

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  46. Jen: 2013 is all about ORGANIZE, ORGANIZE, ORGANIZE! I started by ordering your 2013 planner and I am so excited. I added in your daily goals sheet and between the daily goals and the meal planner I am noticing an immediate impact. I feel less stressed about whats for dinner and feel a HUGE sense of accomplishment as I check off my daily to do's! I even put a stick note on the fridge with the dinner menu for the week and the kids LOVE IT!! Now onto the office we go! My husband works from home and we share the space....we are so motivated to get things in order so the space works for both of our needs! We are up for the challenge and are so excited to see everyone's fabulous ideas! You are such an inspiration!! Thank you for the monthly challenge!

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  47. We just finished renovating our office but still have a lot to do in the organizing department. This got me off my butt last night and on to creating a binder for all of our warranties that are currently overflowing our filing cabinet!

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  48. Love your site; it's really inspirational and motivating. I'm holding off on joining in on your challenge right now because we are in the process of changing all of our rooms around in our home (to give the kids their own rooms). However, I do have a question; we're planning a vacation and I was wondering if you have any vacation planning printables. I tried the internet, but I just get the actual vacation planning; but I'm looking for something more like a to do list of things before leaving (like clean out the refrigerator, take out trash, that sort of thing). Can you help a girl out?

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  49. Jen you always seem to be talking about things I need to do in my home and boy oh boy do I NEED to get my office organized. Our home office is our 3rd bedroom in our home and it's the dumping ground for everything we don't know what to do with. I have to find a way to get started in there and take everything out and start over again. It really is the best idea. I do have a desk/Expedit system in there from IKEA, so that is step 1. Plus I already have a filing system in place {just need to file}. Anything else is fair game to be purged, garbage or donate. Hopefully I can get it done by the end of the month....because I can barely walk in that room anymore that is how bad it is. {blushing} As always thank you for the inspiration!!!

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  50. Good timing, girl! This is my next task! My desk is in my room and is the epicenter of most of my personally created natural disasters AKA projects. :) But I love a good work space. Check out http://penandpeplum.com/ for some inspiration! (not my blog, just one I love!)

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  51. Great tips. My number one office organizing rule is to go paperless! It saves space, clutter and more. Well, except for the cute items I have up on my memo board :-)

    I look forward to participating in the link party.

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  52. I am so in! We just moved and my office is a tragedy! I work at home, so this should have been tackled a month ago, but I am excited to have others to keep me on the bubble!
    And for you, Jen, I don't follow many blogs, but yours I read everyday (sometimes more)! Love love love!!! :)

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  53. I am so in! We just moved and my office is a tragedy! I work at home, so this should have been tackled a month ago, but I am excited to have others to keep me on the bubble!
    And for you, Jen, I don't follow many blogs, but yours I read everyday (sometimes more)! Love love love!!! :)

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  54. I LOVE home organization...love how it looks, am obsessed with checking out other people's methods etc. You likely already are aware of this but in case not, here goes....Thirty One is an excellent tool for organization and HOME/OFFICE organization is their focus & customer special this month... were talking 1/2 off type of special! LOVE. You can check it out @ www.mythirtyone.com/81217 (I am NOT a "post a link everywhere" type of gal, just truly believe this would be helpful in achieving the perfect office space)

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  55. Great timing. We're moving in a few days and creating a home office is HIGH on my list of priorities. We didn't have a designated space for mail/bills/planning other than a sad little bin on the side of our fridge alongside or calendar and Peek at the Week... so I have been really excited to put together a command station. We purged in November, and purged again after the holidays... it'll be so nice to start out with just the essentials!

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  56. Wow this could not have come at a better time. I was just thinking this morning that I have to tackle my "office space" we live in a raised ranch and my office (third bedroom) became my newborn daughters nursery. I had to find a place for all of the stuff elsewhere in a house without a lot of storage or separate office space.
    I bought an armouire from IKEA which now houses my computer etc that I can close the doors on when not in use (in my upstairs living area). Still have a lot of purging to do and a filing cabinet taking up space. Also got a large bookcase to have an area for books ( also in living area). My goal for the month is to file a bag of papers I have sitting around and also streamline the armouire and bookcase to be more aesthetically pleasing.

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  57. Yes! We bought a desk before Christmas to replace an old table that was working as my desk. Except for one thing, it wasn't working! No drawers. Yuk. I have already started cleaning out files, organizing drawers, and setting up my filing sytem. I can't wait to see what your readers come up with for the home office.

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  58. Awesome! I'm just reading this post today as we have been hectic here recently. This was my mission the weekend past and I feel a million times better now. Last year we created a home office in our hall closet, inspired by your blog but I never finished it up, stuff just got thrown in. Now it is clean, tidy, organised and we have even more space in our teeny tiny office. Next purchase will be some sort of cork of sheet metal board and I think I'll be done :) Thank you for the constant inspiration, you're a doll!

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  59. My office is also my craft room and guest room. I definitely will be looking for inspiration for the upcoming projects I have to tackle!

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  60. Hi Jen!
    I was wondering if you could do an updates "how you store your coupons" post? That's part of my command center clutter, so knowing what you do would totally help me with this challenge!! So fun, can't wait to start and see everyone's at the end as well as your ideas during the month!!!!

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  61. Hi Jen, I have found your blog a great inspiration to get stuck into the home office! So far, so good! I was wondering if you had any tips for archiving?

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  62. This is perfect. I am working on my home office right now. Plan to have it finished by the end of this month.

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  63. Hi Jen! What type of tray do you use tp make a portable desk for your blogging stuff?!? :) Thanks!

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    1. Hi Keena,

      I use a larger silver melamine tray I found at Target (kitchen section).

      Jen

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    2. Thanks Jen!!

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  64. Just what I've been needing to do for the last year!! :) thanks for the idea to tackle this this January ;)

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  65. This has been that monkey on my back....paperwork!!!! 4 kids, 3 of which are in school and that's enough paper to start a paper factory! Call me crazy but this site is my dream site!! I can't shut my mind off from thinking, ok, how can I make this work better". Thank you for feeding my addiction and need to organize!! Ps--absolutely in love with the filing cabinet makeover:) Have 3 standard black cabinets that I hate to not use but also have wondered how to make into eye candy.

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  66. Thanks I am a bit late, but I am going to join in this monthly challenge and hopefully every challenge this year. I moved into this house about two months ago so there are things that haven't gotten a place yet and there are things I find out not being functional.

    I am going to tackle this month:
    Get my office bookcase organized
    Start a filing system binder
    Start scanning papers
    Get a shredder and shred!

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  67. Very interesting and necessary post. It was very needed by me as I'm going to organise my office place at home. We'll see how these all end :)

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