Simple Organizing Tips Using Martha Stewart Home Office™ with Avery™{and a Giveaway!}

This is a sponsored review from BlogHer and Martha Stewart Home Office™ with Avery™

MS Office Avery ProductsOh my goodness guys, am I excited to share this post and awesome giveaway with you! I’m honored to be among a group of bloggers chosen to receive some products from the Martha Stewart Home Office™ with Avery™ product line AND to be able to give away a $100 gift card from Staples (where the line is exclusively available) to one of AOC’s readers!

I’ve been pretty much stalking Staples since this line came out and even did a quick update in our kitchen a few months ago using the cool chalkboard labels, so it was kind of like Christmas when I received a box full of the products you see above. And I think you’re going to be amazed and hopefully inspired by all the ways I found to use the various items throughout our house to make simple updates that solved a number of problems that had been bothering me:

  • clutter and papers had overtaken my work desk
  • a messy (and very public) kitchen family desk
  • a way to organize canned food so that the oldest would be used first

All that, and I was able to get a jump-start on our holiday wrapping and shipping by setting up our traditional wrap station! In order for you to get the full impact of the difference, I’ve got to show you some before photos. Notice I say I HAVE to, not that I WANT to… just file this under “keeping it real:”

Messy Desk Before - An Oregon Cottage

Sigh. My attempts to organize my work desk fell by the wayside during the 31 Days of Thrift Store Transformations in October. But in all honesty, things often revert to a mess like this for me after a few months. So this time I wanted to implement these tips:

  1. Organize the papers scattered around the desk and create a place for these near the computer – obviously where I used them most.
  2. Make a place for the things used daily closest to the computer – weekly or monthly further away.
  3. Use less sticky notes and more to-do lists or files. I obviously got carried away with the sticky notes.
  4. Probably the most important: USE the new files and to-do lists and keep on top of filing and putting papers away. Which I think is a life-long learning lesson, don’t you?

Okay – let’s get these pictures out of our minds and replace it with this much better photo:

Organized Desk and Inspiration Board After - An Oregon Cottage

Isn’t this great? It looks simpler to use and keep up – and definitely does it with style. And how awesome is it that I already had things that coordinated with the Martha Stewart Home Office with Avery line like the file folders and a thrift store oil painting?

Organized Office Space-After - An Oregon Cottage

A few simple items made a big difference here:

  • A Shagreen (what a lovely, sturdy material, by the way) magazine file which I filled with coordinating 6-pack Vertical Files to become my go-to idea box. The built-in metal bookplate is a nice touch – for looks as well as usefulness.
  • A standing Accordion File (also Shagreen) where I was able to create new files for blog information and notes – all within arm’s reach of the computer.
  • A single Shagreen Pocket to store inspiration photos on the bulletin board – I love that I can fit more without overwhelming the bulletin board (it holds up to 50 pages!)
  • Color-coded file labels that I used on my old dollar-store decorative file folders. I don’t know why I haven’t jumped on the color-coded band-wagon before now, but I already love how I can tell at a glance which files are blog related, which are financial, and which are personal.
  • Chalkboard labels for the Shagreen Pocket and Accordion File so I can change the contents if I need to, since it’s so easy to erase the chalk.

I’m loving the change there, but also that I was able to make a HUGE change for our kitchen desk:

Organized Kitchen Desk Before-After - An Oregon Cottage

This desk is in the middle of our great room and is seen by everyone who visits our house. The large file box had worked well while our kids were younger and bringing home daily papers from school, but now with one in college and one in high school, that many files weren’t needed anymore.

Kitchen Desk Pocket Organizer - An Oregon Cottage

Enter the The Stack+Fit™ Shagreen Organizer and Pocket in white that coordinates with everything in our great-room. Seriously, that sounds like an ad, but I can’t believe how they fit all the things we need so beautifully – and how clean and clutter-free our desk looks now. Plus, it took only two items and 10 minutes – love.

4 tips that guided me in creating a clutter-free family desk:

  1. Keep items used multiple times a day on the desk for easy access – pens, pencils, and sticky notes (and my glasses, ugh) are what we need available.
  2. Find a place for the calendar. It’s not lovely and since it can’t be hidden, the organizer works great to minimize it at least.
  3. Make a spot for those little notes, reminders, and small pieces of paper that invariably accumulate. Which, again, the organizer accomplishes with the front pocket. We can still see it, but the paper is no longer on the desk (or if it is, I know where to put it!).
  4. Keep only the most used and current papers in the desk area. The double Shagreen Pocket fit perfectly in the spot under our photo board and now houses our daughter’s papers and the most-used of our papers.

I also was able to organize some of my home canned foods with the pre-printed kitchen labels:

Organized Canning Jars Before-and-After - An Oregon Cottage

This solved two problems:

  1. Knowing which jars to use first (because the date is easily seen on the front now).
  2. Quickly telling the difference between similar items like tomato sauce and pizza sauce.

However, the absolutest, most wonderful aspect of the kitchen labels is this: they come off cleanly (and easily!) with NO residue!! For any of you who have canned and applied those “canning labels” for gift giving, you know that the residue takes FOREVER to come off – if at all (which you can see clearly in the “before” photo on one of the jars…). All I can say is – it’s about time.

Gift Wrap Station - An Oregon Cottage

One of the things I do each November is to set up a wrapping station in a corner of my workroom. This, combined with my wrapping system for Brian and the kids, has been the reason I’m not up until the wee hours before Christmas and makes it easy for the rest of my family to wrap whenever they need to.

I was impressed with the new Holiday Shipping products in the Martha Stewart Home Office with Avery line; they are durable enough to mail and pretty enough to go right under the tree. There’s also wrapping paper, bags, tags, and ribbon – all coordinating of course, these products are available in-store at Staples.

I have to admit, though, that I love the printed Kraft paper so much I plan to use it for gifts under our tree and for decorations – won’t it look great with the book-page ornaments and some burlap ribbon?

You can browse all the products at Avery, purchase them at Staples, and follow Avery on Facebook.

Now it’s your chance to win a $100 Staples gift card to score yourself some lovely Martha Stewart Home Office with Avery products to “simplify in style” and organize your home – woot! To enter leave a comment answering the question: What areas of your home need to be organized? Read the rules below for more ways to enter.

Sweepstakes Rules and How to Enter:

No duplicate comments. You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

a) Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post

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 11/14/12 to 12/14/12.


  1. says

    Everything looks fantastic! What a difference having the correct tools to make the job easier. I think you’ll have no trouble keeping things right at your fingertips. I’d love to tweak our
    bill-paying area. Thanks for the chance to win some great stuff!

  2. Valerie Barber says

    Love what you’ve done with your two desks using the new products! Also am looking forward ot setting up a wrapping station in our basement. Thanks for the idea!

  3. Susan says

    I just love what you’ve done with all your new goodies! My desk needs some serious help and so does my pantry. You have inspired me!

  4. Suz says

    Hahaha… What areas of my house DON’T need to be organized might be an easier question. But my biggest problem area is definitely our general workdesk / papers… Thanks for the giveaway, that would certainly make organizing it all fun !

  5. C says

    My kitchen pantry is desperately in need of organization! While I don’t have the ability to do the wonderful home canning that you demonstrate so well, I am totally envious of your pantry. Would love to have these tools to give my pantry a much needed boost!

  6. Wanita says

    My desk is an ongoing issue — I will get it cleaned up and before I know it, it is a disaster again!!

  7. Crystal says

    Love what you did with your desk. I’ve been looking at the Martha Stewart collection at Staples for 2 months!! I would love to win the giveaway to finally organize my desk. Thanks for the opportunity!!

  8. Tricia B says

    My craft area desk is so bad that you can’t identify that it is a desk. You gave great pictures of ways to improve a desk. Thanks

  9. linda says

    I found your blog through Faun and I LOVE it!!! Your pics and ideas are so inspiring! And of course I could use some help organizing/cutifying in my desk area!!! :)

  10. Barbara says

    The thought of being able to find something when I need it is amazing. Sounds like it could really happen if I invested some time into it.

  11. Sharon says

    I TOTALLY need some help in my office! Thanks for the article info and the sweepstakes chance! Fingers crossed! :-)

  12. Melissa Miller says

    I really need to organize my office and my kids desks. This would be a wonderful present for all of us. Thanks for sharing.

  13. l bryant says

    With five kids and a self employed husband paperwork is a constant “CHORE” I would like to update and streamline my poorly run system. This looks like the solution.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Be Blessed

  14. kathy w. says

    It’s all in my favorite color!
    I really enjoy getting your blog posts in my email. They never make me feel stressed about not doing enough like a competitive friend. They’re more like a kindred spirit kind of friend. Thank you for your efforts!

  15. Sean says

    I’m hopelessly disorganized–I found out I have ADHD about a year ago. That diagnosis explains the disorganization, but doesn’t fix it. Martha can help fix it.

  16. Cindi Smith says

    My office is just a disaster — maybe this would movitate me to get things organized because thing would stand a better chance at staying that way.

  17. Angel says

    I really need to organize my important paperwork section that is in my kitchen, love the labels too. I have used other things in the past but removing them is so annoying that I stopped. Would love to try them out

  18. Carrie says

    What area doens’t need organizing? Unfortunately, we live in a small bedroom and don’t have much money. So pretty much everywhere needs some help. Thanks for the giveaway!

  19. Leah says

    The “office” :) which is really just a junk room with stacks of very important papers/photos covering every surface.

  20. Karen says

    It was good to see how you organized your desk and other areas. I need inspiration to get my craft area and other working areas in order. Love your helpful info and encouragement.

  21. Barbara Droney says

    What area in my home needs organizing? Find me one that doesn’t. Well ok sometimes I have the flatware divided properly. Realistically I need to organize the desk I share with my husband and learn how to store the off season cushions from both a camper and a small (17 foot Siren) sailboat. The boat has ropes and sails. Thank goodness bill paying is done on line or I would need more help with that. I would love to win the home organizer kit. But I would cheat and use it my cubicle at work. Work cubes need love too.

  22. Robyn says

    I just started trying to (re)organize my desk. These products would be a great help! I could use the gift card to finally get it all together!

  23. says

    I would love to organize my desk! I especially like your ideas about how to organize things that we use everyday and would like to leave out.

  24. says

    My entire house needs to be organized…especially as we are starting a house search now and will be needing to have things ready to move when the time comes! But specifically my desk and scrapbooking areas need an overhaul!

  25. Jennifer Barker says

    It seems I need to revisit my desk area and re-organize it each season. i am going to try some of these ideas!

  26. Faith says

    Seeing your before & after pictures has given me some motivation to get our desks organized. The Martha Stewart Home Office collection would such a great added bonus. Thanks for the giveaway opportunity.

  27. Renee says

    We will be setting up a home office soon so it would be nice to start with the right products :) I love all of the different colors and organizational ideas.

  28. says

    I love reading your blog and I love the chance to win! I have an Etsy shop business at home…actually I have 4 Etsy shops! So…my desk seems to be a constant mess! I could definitely use these products to help organize and spruce things up! Thanks so much for a chance to win! ~~Pam

  29. Suzanne says

    Can’t wait to check out this line of labels at Staples. Just got a coupon in the mail a couple of days ago for 40% off of Avery labels at Staples – woo hoo! Seriously need to organize my home office.


  30. says

    Ahhh … I love the after pictures. They just make me sigh with peaceful feelings. LOL – seriously – you have such a nice uncluttered look, awesome organizations stuff, and I love the colors! What an inspiration!

  31. Kari says

    Our computer desk needs some organizing. But, actually I could spread that organizing into other areas too.

  32. Erin says

    Keeping the craft supplies organized for both me and my kids is a big challenge…I’m sure that most rooms in my house have at least one area that could use some additional organization though! Thanks for the chance to win!

  33. Marianne says

    Pretty much every area of my home needs organizing. I’m beginning to work on it, but it’s a long, hard road.

  34. Jennifer S says

    I could really use some organization in my Pantry and Craft Room! I love Martha’s labels and have already picked some up. I hope I win so I can pick up even more to spread around my house!

  35. Missie says

    Oh, how I would love to win this….because our gigantic desk, that everyone who enters our home sees, is a mess. An awful, cringe-inducing mess. Help? :)

  36. Kris M says

    My desk and my craft room need organizing help. I love the aqua color in the Martha Stewart line.

  37. Jenny says

    What a great giveaway! I love Martha’s organizing line! And I too love to wrap presents with the extra touches that make it unique! Thank you for this opportunity!

  38. Lyn says

    Papers are my nemesis and therefore so is my desk. Your spaces look great! Love MS office products. Thanks for the opportunity.

  39. says

    I have been drooling over these items at Staples for the last couple of months. I am in the process of reorganizing my kitchen/dining/school area and desperate need help. These products would be fantastic!

  40. says

    My homeschool room is in desperate need of organization! We have craft supplies to organize, toddler hands-on stuff to organize, desks, bookshelves and more!

  41. AmyG says

    So many areas: my desk and school area are the worst! Thanks for sharing! Can’t wait to check all of this out at Staples!

  42. Tiffany Christian says

    I’m about to by a business so my home office is in serious need of some organization!

  43. Kandace says

    My desk is an absolute disaster. Lots of projects started before my oldest (3 1/2) was born and slowly worked on before her little brother was born (now 13 months). I’m also finishing up grad school so it’s total chaos.

  44. Tammy Foster says

    I could totally use a little organization in my office, in my kitchen, in our learning area…….*sigh*

  45. Nancy Burg says

    I love the before and after pictures you posted. I would love to improve my own desk and other areas in a similar way! You are so creative!!

  46. Tammie Yak says

    I need this more than you could know. I love the way your desk looks. Hope you can keep it looking great!

  47. Leah DeLuzio says

    love your blog and love the before and after pics! My office and my craft area for my little one could really use some help. Thanks for the chance!! :)

  48. Karen Medlin says

    the are we need help on is the craft area, now the tweens and teens like to do craft projects, it gets a bit cluttered with beads, ribbons, different rolls of tapes, scissors and the glue guns.

  49. says

    Your desk spaces look so great now!

    My work area is in a large corner of our bedroom and could really use some TLC from MS! Thank you muchly for the opportunity. :)

  50. sy says

    The living room, there’re too many things laying on the floor, and the stack of documents need to be filed instead of piling on tables. I love the hanging folders and magazine files, they would help in this situation. Thanks for the review and giveaway.
    songyueyu at gmail

  51. says

    I would love to win some Martha supplies. :)
    I think I would tackle my home school area first.

    Thank you for the chance to win!

  52. Brenda S. says

    My home office and our “arts and crafts” area could really use a touch from Martha Stewart!
    I would love to try those new removable labels. They sound awesome.

  53. says

    I love these products and with three small kids and loads of paperwork coming at me from every direction, I could use a little organizing help! Thanks for the chance to win!

  54. Wendy B says

    Oh, what doesn’t need organized around here?? LOL! With all of the things I have going plus paperwork I am keeping track of for hubby, plus me finishing school, things are a hot mess! I could use some organization badly!

  55. Marci K says

    The place that needs the most organizing in my house right now would have to be my craft room. And I also have to say that I feel so blessed to have found your blog! I absolutely loved following your month of thrift store transformations as I am a thrift store fiend also.
    I love just about everything on your website. My daughter and I have made your pizza dough and love it too!! Thanks so much!

  56. Shira says

    of course, so many areas could use organization. but the one in most need of help would be the desk for sure. I’d like it to be a functioning family paperwork/mail/etc station, instead of the ignored catch-all that it usually is!

  57. says

    Like you, my desk could always use organization help, Jami! (And the same could be said for my pantry as well–I don’t even want to think about *that* disaster area right now. :)) Thank you for the chance to win–Martha always has such lovely products!

    Take care,

  58. Merri says

    My paper needs to be organized. It’s everywhere! Piles of this and that that need to be sorted and corralled!

  59. Mary says

    That desk looks familiar! I mean the cluttered one of course. With 6 kids, 4 in school, we are in the paper pile up phase for sure. We have a beautiful kitchen with a built in desk that has unfortunately become the drop zone. Any thing we are not sure what to do with goes here. All things for me to read from school, random toys that fit in no set bin, mail, etc. I would love to have an organized life. This would be the first step.

  60. Wild Orchid says


    wildorchid985 @ gmail dot com

  61. says

    My workroom which doubles as my home office and craft area could so use a totally new organization method. I keep having to search for stuff and clean it often.

  62. Aimee Brittain says

    This would help me organize my desk that doubles as my daughters homework area. We could make it cute and girly for both of us.

  63. Lisa says

    My desk needs a major transformation along with my craft and sewing areas. I would be thrilled to win this.

  64. Heather Speaks says

    My home office is in a section of my living room and I would love for it to be organized better and get the maximum use out of such a small area.

  65. Alison says

    My home office / craft room is in need of fixing last year’s organization attempt! The use of the space has changed from my expectations and is now out of organizational control!

  66. Vikki says

    I’m a dog trainer and take many of my records with me to visit clients. I need to organize my home office and have professional looking files when I hit the road. I especially love the gift wrap, it would be lovely for the home-made treat bags I’m giving away this year. Thanks for sharing great tips and pictures!

  67. Lonene Harbison says

    My desk and craft area need to be organized. My entire house needs to be revamped. I lost my daughter in June and my eldest has cancer and I need a new system for handling mail and bills since I run home 2 days every 3 or 4 weeks. A set of organizing tools would be great as things are in flux. Thanks

  68. Marji says

    Definitely my desk surface. I want it to look clear and organized. Also, all the paper I use for crafting.

  69. lorrie geer says

    This would be s great ot help me organize my scrapooking. Can’t get anyhig done because I can’t find anything!!!!

  70. says

    My office!

    It’s actually the office, the pantry, the workout room, the computer room and the catch-all room.

    Luckily it’s a big room. But, it really needs some help!

    Samantha D
    dull2000 at cox dot net

  71. says

    The biggest need for organization is in my kitchen. I simply do not have enough pantry space, counter space, or cupboard space for my food and appliances!

  72. Carmen says

    We need a better method of dealing with incoming mail and papers – instead of dumping everything that needs to be dealt with on our dining room table.