I recently was challenged to use the Martha Stewart line of home and holiday products to organize different areas of our home and I think you're going to be amazed - and hopefully inspired - by all the ways I found to make simple updates that solved a number of organizing problems in 3 areas 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 our canned food pantry 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! I'm enjoying the results and am sharing the organizing tips I'm implementing in all these areas to keep us organized -that's the goal!
In order for you to get the full impact of the difference, I've got to show you some before photos, right? Notice I say I HAVE to, not that I WANT to... just file this under "keeping it real."
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:
- Organize the papers scattered around the desk and create a place for these near the computer - obviously where I used them most.
- Make a place for the things used daily closest to the computer - weekly or monthly further away.
- Use less sticky notes and more to-do lists or files. I obviously got carried away with the sticky notes.
- 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 the after:
Isn't this great? It looks simpler to use and keep up - and definitely does it with coordinated style.
A few simple items made a big difference here:
- A sturdy magazine file which I filled with coordinating vertical files to become my go-to idea box.
- A standing accordion file where I was able to create new files for blog information and notes - all within arm's reach of the computer.
- A single pocket to store inspiration photos on the bulletin board - I love that I can fit more without overwhelming the bulletin board.
- 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 so I can change the contents if I need to, since it's so easy to erase the chalk.
Kitchen Desk/Command Center
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.
Enter the MS organizer and pocket in white that coordinates with everything in our great-room. Seriously, 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!).
- 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.
Canned Food Pantry
This solved two problems:
- Knowing which jars to use first (because the date is easily seen on the front now).
- 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.
Holiday Wrapping Station
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.
It was pretty fun to set up this year with all the coordinating items from this MS line! 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?
I hope you've gotten some organizing ideas to inspire you!
Disclosure: This is a sponsored review from BlogHer and Martha Stewart Home Office™ with Avery™ - I received product and/or compensation for this post. As always, the opinions, thoughts, and projects are all mine and I will NEVER promote something I don't love and think you will find helpful - promise! For more info, you can read ourentire disclosure page here.