The one room in our house where we spend more time than any other is the office. Thankfully it’s the absolute central point of the house, and between all the children’s bedrooms. Which means that when we’re all working we can keep an eye on what everyone else is doing, and listen in on the conversations (This can be a blessing and a curse).
But the room was created by knocking through our third bedroom into the extension. What had once been a precious nursery simply became the walk-through space. A room with a passage inside it. As I said, it’s a great place for an office… but we decorated in a mid-extension flurry – we had four more rooms to do, and zero budget to do anything with them. So we slapped up some cheerful orange wallpaper to hide the blue and yellow and teddy bears, laid laminate on the old 1920’s floorboards (*cries*), added two big desks and covered most of the remaining wall space with shelves (made of offcuts of pine and ugly metal brackets).
And thus it has remained for 11 years.
But we run two businesses from this little half-room. And spending practically every waking hour in it.
We deserve some pretty, yes?
But more than the pretty – we totally need some organisation.
When a room grows with you, it inevitably ends up all mis-matched and haphazard. We can squeeze another filing cabinet in there. We can balance those boxes on that. The new printer’s a bit bigger, but it’ll just have to overhang a bit. The shelves need to be wider, but we’ll just live with precarious lever-arch file storage (and bi-annual head smashes from aforementioned lever-arches falling at random) for another few months.
well, enough I say.
Now is the time!
I mean… look:
Just imagine how organised and efficient my working day would be if my office looked like THAT. All that storage and clever filing space. Lever arch files tucked away behind a closed door (my head feels better already).
The husband has been nagging me for years about a messy desk – insisting that a clear and tidy desk helps a clear and tidy working day.
I hate it. But he’s right. I AM less distracted and more focused when my desk isn’t cluttered (why is it MY desk that is the repository for *glances around* random bits lego, a collection of dinosaurs, a note asking for more deodorant, an odd bit of metal that looks as though it’s come form something important and a belt…). And he’s the victim of his own success – because now I’ve got the Tidy desk bug, I keep eyeing up the walls and the storage. We can just do it BETTER.
But as we can’t currently go the whole shebang and order ourselves fabulous new office furniture, we’re just going to have to get clever. So here’s our quick-fix weekend plan:
1 – Paint the walls. There’s nothing wrong with the wallpaper, and I’m not even tired of bright orange (think the chair in the picture above). I read a fab article the Telegraph about office colours, and I have made the executive decision to paint a couple of our walls in a far more neutral and gentle shade. Orange is good for being sociable and chatty, but it needs to be balanced with something calmer to help me focus.
2 – Shelving. Our shelves have to go. But we can replace with something similar – just make sure it’s wide enough to hold the lever arch files! This time we’ll paint the bare wood a nice white to brighten the room up some more, too. Some decent brackets, and a better use of the wall (we built our existing shelves far too far apart) will allow far more storage in a smaller space if we use it wisely.
3 – Declutter! We’ve magazine racks on the wall overflowing with ‘useful things’. Time to clear out. And the filing cabinets – we’ve paperwork going back 12 years buried in those, I’m sure. And I’m equally sure I don’t need a copy fo my water bills from 2007… The walls are also covered in pictures by and of the children. Whilst I love them deeply, it does make the whole room feel overwhelmingly ‘busy’. Time for a sort out of those too. Maybe frame a few, and put the rest away for safe keeping.
4 – Paint the desks. Our desks are both fairly horrible – mine was a cheap flatpack system, and the husband’s was a handmade MDF job that he has built into the wall to fill the space available. Mine’s a horrible orange-brown, and his is still bare MDF, greyed and doodled on from years of use. We can’t replace them right now, but we can brighten them up to look like new with a lick of cool paint.
5 – Lighting. We have a solitary bulb over head in a cheap paper globe shade. What we need is a full spectrum daylight lightbulb for dull days. I have my magnificent Arthur, a beautiful Terry Herbert 1930’s Anglepoise lamp that was a gift from my husband a couple of years ago. He, on the other hand, makes do with a rubbishy plastic fluorescent tube lamp which came free with a stationery order years ago. Time for a new lamp for his desk, I think.