Condensing our Giant Messy Home Office into a Computer Armoire!

This is what our home office once looked like. It was a hodge podge of cheap hand-me-down furniture, plastic containers, a dumping ground for random papers and other miscellany, a mess, really.

These photos were taken partway through my pregnancy with Levi. When nesting hit, I decided to attack this room. I spent days, maybe even weeks, sorting and purging. After all, I was making up for 7 years of neglect. This was the room where the door was usually closed. Where we just shoved everything to make the rest of the house look "nice" when someone was coming over.

I hated being in there and it showed. I never went in to do anything, sort, file, purge, etc. So I ended up getting rid of tons of stuff. I searched online for all sorts of tips on decluttering paperwork. I found sites like this with helpful info on what papers you can really throw away.

We burnt tons of boxes and trash bags full of papers from college, the junky Sauder computer desk (that I had gotten for free from a coworker). In the end it looked better but I still didn't like being in there.

So when we finished remodeling our family room, we decided that we wanted to have our computer in there since we don't have a TV and like to sometimes watch movies on our computer. And that would free up our spare bedroom for guests. However, we did not want our messy home office stuff to be strung all over the family room. At that point, we had our computer set up on an antique wooden table and were still using the beige metal filing cabinet. Those two pieces of furniture would add NOTHING to our family room. They would just make it look cluttered.

That's when we got the idea of a computer armoire. We could keep our computer and all our files inside it and then shut the doors when we didn't want to see it. But that meant even more purging would have to take place. So once again, I went through our files and office supplies, and determined what else we could live without. Eventually I was able to let go of even more stuff.

So nowadays, this is what our home office looks like!

I purchased this computer armoire off Craigslist. It is VERY sturdy and I'm very satisfied with it. This is a piece of furniture that "works very hard" for me. That is what I love most about it. And I have to keep on top of paper clutter or it won't all fit inside this bad boy. And then it starts taking over our family room, which is totally unacceptable. Here's what it looks like inside:

On the inside of the left door is a bulletin board. I ended up holding this magazine file up with thumbtacks to contain our "Items to File" pile. Underneath I have a little coupon organizer (also thumbtacked to the bulletin board) to file random notes that I'm saving and to do lists.

On the inside of the other door is a dry erase board and 2 slots for papers. In the top one is an accordian file from Target (so pretty, huh?) that contains our bills and budget forms for our weekly "Budget Meetings".

And the bottom contains my planner and notebook of blog post ideas.

Above the computer are some cute little cubbies. I have a clear drawer organizer in one cubby containing all types of office supplies (post its, staples, paperclips, etc.) and underneath is a little drawer for our stapler, calculator, printer ink cartridge, video camera, etc.

Next to that are cubbies containing mailing supplies, writing utensils, receipts and other miscellaneous office supplies.

On top of the computer tower is a little purple container 
that holds extra printer paper.

In the far right cubby is one thing that I'm particularly happy with. I had all kinds of miscellaneous cords and batteries for cameras, ipods, etc. I had them all in a drawer at one point and they were always mixed up. I decided on a whim one day to use some little Gerber baby food bowls with lids to contain all that clutter. The 4 containers fit nicely into this cubby alongside the 3 hole punch and rulers, etc.

And the clear lids make it very easy to identify which container I need.

Next to the monitor is a basket of movies and a jam jar that holds pens and scissors.

Underneath the pullout keyboard tray on the left is a shelf for our printer and a file drawer. On the right is another box of files and a cute green box for checks. I'd love to have a cuter file box but this is what I have for now.

I am so pleased with our new system. It is very handy to have the home office in our family room where we can all spend time together and condensing it to a small armoire was a fantastic idea because it forces me to reduce paperwork and clutter in our home.

I always loved ideas of "Cloffices" (closets turned into offices) like Jen's from IHeart Organizing

or Elizabeth's from The Mustard Ceiling

or Ange's from The Blooming Hydrangea

but I personally did not have a spare closet in my home to turn into an office space. For me, the computer armoire was the best solution. I'd also love to someday beautify it a bit more like this armoire I found on Pinterest:

I could line it with fabric, wrapping paper, wallpaper, etc. or even just paint or stencil it. Anything to really make the background pop and make it a more fun space to work in. But for now, we're just rolling with it the way it is. And it works really well!

I just can't believe this amazing transformation only cost me about $120 ($100 for the armoire from Craigslist, $13 for the accordian file from Target and $7 for the green box from Walmart). The rest of the containers I already owned.  What do you think?

I linked this up to Amanda's Serenity Now Weekend Bloggy Reading Link up Party and it was also featured on Jen's blog Wednesday!


Amanda said...

Love it!!!

Tina said...

I found your blog thru iheart organizings blog ~ I LOVE this office idea. My husband & I share our home office - in a small bedroom - and it is frustrating at times - one of us might want to leave something out to work on later, then the other one comes in & moves it, etc. I've been wanting my own work area, so this will be perfect! Craigslist here I come! ~ THANKS for sharing! P.S. I LOVE how organized & pretty everything looks.

Ange said...

Looks awesome! Love that you used the inside of the doors for storage as well. Thank you for including my blog in your list of cloffices that you love, I'm honored! Once again, awesome job with the armoir!

Tammy said...

I also found you thru IHeart Organizing! Great ideas with the doors and to be able to consolidate like that. you rock!!

Suzanna said...

What does your old office look like now?? :)

OurAzFamily said...

Loving it! Shared on twitter when I saw it on I heart organizing!

Kelly said...

Saw this on Iheart today. Purging enough to get that room office into that armoire.....IMPRESSIVE!

Unknown said...

Thank you everyone for stopping by and checking out the armoire. And thanks for all the sweet comments. Suzanna, I'm going to reveal the old office in another post soon. But, I assure you, it is clean! :)

brandy koons said...

this looks great, katie!! ya know, you could always cover your "unattractive" file box with wrapping or scrap book paper for now!!

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