The office-overwhelmed - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 08-14-2007, 07:28 PM - Thread Starter
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I can easily say the worst room is the office. I tried to get some done today but then I got a overwhelmed.

Instruct me. Ask me what you need to know.

Right now we have a two bedroom apartment with the second bedroom being used as an office. It is home to extra blankets, sheets, towels, photos, paperwork, books and of course the computer. 4 Guitars. and pretty much whatever else ended up here. Most of the stuff that didn't belong went to the basement today.

Melissa- mom to a boy 9/06 and a new boy 11/10 and married to my best friend 7/02
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#2 of 5 Old 08-14-2007, 08:15 PM
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Well, do you want it to be an office or a storage room? Some things (like the guitars and books) shouldn't be stored in the basement if it's damp, but is there a way to segregate those items within the room somehow and retain the character of an office, if that is what you want?

We have spare clothing/diapers/baby carrier/sewing supplies storage in our "office" closet, but once that is closed, it's pretty office-like (well, except for the sewing desk...

Do you actually use it/want to use it as an office? I find that aside from schoolwork, my "office" type activities fit better in a secretary near the front door--bill-paying, taxes, and such work better for them than in a back bedroom.

So our office has some bookcases that hold:

Current schoolbooks
Current scholarly/religious reading
School supplies contained in boxes
Office supplies contained in boxes
Old financials contained in boxes

But, with the mix of books and boxes it actually doesn't look bad and is pretty organized.

We have a big desk that we (try to) keep completely empty for special projects--studying for a test, cutting out fabric, etc.

There's a tall computer-style desk with the sewing machine--it has a high shelf that holds two sewing baskets.

There's a set of stacking cube-style cabinets that hold pumping equipment and bottles (not currently in use)

There's a spare comfy chair and a reading lamp. Those are rarely used, but they fit well and make the room look more inviting.

And then there's the closet. It has built in cupboards, which makes it easier, but we have all kinds of frequently-used items in storage there. So, while it's frequently messy, it's also easy to close the doors and not deal with it.

I think we've struck a good balance between the sort of storage that tend sto end up in the "office" and actually having the kind of functionality that we need.

One big step towards keeping it tidy was getting househld finances and mail out of there. All that stuff is confined to a small secretary near the front door. I clean it out fairly often, because it's so small that if I let things go, it gets jammed full of stuff in a week with junk mail and such. I know that if I used the office for bill-paying and opening mail, it would *never* be tidy.

So, yeah, maybe keep the guitars in the closet.
Pay bills elsewhere--kitchen or livingroom.
Sort books nd only keep current ones handy (we have books in boxes, and books in the living room--the office ones are the ones we keep current, bc the office is so prone to clutter)
Use storage containers--honestly plain old cardboard looks fine to me when stuck in between sets of books on a shelf, but maybe that's just me
Keep all spare computer paraphernalia in a box in the basement. That stuff gets out of control too easily to have upstairs. That is imho one of the great benefits of having a basement.

Mostly, decide what you want to do with it. Office, storage, computer room, music room? Pick a reasonable number of functions and go with it. I wanted a sewing room--but that was too cluttery combined with everything else, so it's all confined to the desk in the corner, and losed up int eh closet. A bit more work to get stuff out, no handy cutting table or thread racks, ironing board in the basement. but the lack of visual clutter is worht the extra trouble, since I don't sew that often.

Hope I'm making some sense...
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#3 of 5 Old 08-14-2007, 08:50 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for your advice.

The 2nd bedroom has all the stuff that we like out but away from the baby.
So all the books are in here. We have one shelf up and about 6 boxes of books in the closet (which have been moved 3 times without being opened for more than a peek). The guitars live here too. You are right about them not going to the basement. They might get ruined.

I have all the bills/finance/assorted paperwork in here. That is probably the bulk of the problem for getting organized. But this is the best place for that stuff. The filing cabinet, desk, computer and phone are in here. Maybe if I broke the office into household paperwork and schoolwork it would be better. I haven't filed anything in about 4 or 5 months so its definitely a lot to do now.

Breakdown of tasks:
-Filing the big basket of paperwork.
-go through photos and put in albums
-stuff to ebay
-get shelf from my parent's garage in here so I can open the boxes of books and put them up and purge the ones we don't need/want
-Scrapbook-organize and do some pages ( really don't have a ton of scrapbook stuff)
-figure out what else is here and what to do with it.

That feels slightly more manageable.

Melissa- mom to a boy 9/06 and a new boy 11/10 and married to my best friend 7/02
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#4 of 5 Old 08-15-2007, 05:03 AM
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My biggest tip is get rid of papers. Bills and bank statements do not need to be kept at all - the companies and the bank have all that on file in their computers. Manuals for kitchen appliances and electronics do not need to be kept - they are online too. In general with paper, a major source of office clutter, my motto is, "You probably don't need it." A will and your various PIN #s, and maybe your tax returns/receipts, that's a lot of what you'll really need to keep in paper format.

Also, see if you can find an organizational system that works for all the users of the office. Do you need to see everything (so a series of office mailslots and a clear box), or hide everything away?

I also like photo boxes rather than photo albums - much easier to label a box with a date range and place everything in it, than to put them all in albums. That way I can write on the backs of the photos in odd moments too, without having to scrapbook or leave everything out while I get around to it.
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#5 of 5 Old 08-15-2007, 03:27 PM - Thread Starter
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What do I need?

I have files for student loans, credit cards, schools, military (we were both in the AF), appliances (I can probably get rid of those), utilities, bank statements and pay statements.

I am always worried that the bank or credit card company will mess something up and I won't have any way to prove them wrong.

Melissa- mom to a boy 9/06 and a new boy 11/10 and married to my best friend 7/02
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