Wednesday, August 17, 2011
After reading this article on stylish organising person Kristina Karlsson a few weeks ago, I knew I had to do something about our office at work. Because it’s just grown with us as we've run our shop over the past almost-seven years, I haven’t really set up many systems. There were a few labelled folders here and there and a lot of piles of paper. I also made the most of being surrounded by shoeboxes by saving the nicest and sturdiest ones to house items that are better filed that way.
I know that you cannot be serene and chic and in control of your life when you can’t find a vital document, or regularly unearth something where you have missed the deadline. In spite of knowing that it took a different tack to get me motivated in organising myself. That motivation, my friends, was style.
Seeing this Swedish expat’s Australian website made me covet her kraft paper range (the top picture in this post, alas it is not my office). Sadly I knew it would add up to a lot buying all her rather highly priced stationery items. Coming from thrifty Scottish stock I made me own version. Shall we call it Fifi K?
(Above) is a picture of our shop-office. It is part-way through my organising frenzy. I had already begun re-doing our filing systems but had been in too much of a hurry to take 'before' photos. Story of my life.
What did I do I hear you ask?
I used the same lever arch ring binders I already had, and made covers for the old labels with chopped up thick brown kraft paper shopping bags that were stashed away, some labels my Dad had given me when he was cleaning out his office and double-sided tape that yes, I already had. I don’t know where the tape came from and didn’t know how I was ever going to use such a big roll, but you never know when something’s going to come in handy (I am part hoarder/part minimalist).
My husband watched with interest this new hobby of mine. Afterwards he said when I had done one box it looked like a shoebox with lame bits stuck on it, but when I had done everything it looked very pulled together and professional. This is high praise indeed to me for I feared I was wasting my time (when I had so many other important things to do).
(Above), the finished product.
I used a simple ‘typewriter’ font and stole Janet’s idea of using no capitals, just because it looks cool, and that is what I’m all about in the office. Nothing else was ever going to get me to do my filing. But look, look behind my laptop (mine's the one on the right), can you see neat and empty-ish baskets? Me too!
I know my getup isn’t nearly as designer as Kikki K’s, but it’s a million times better than what it was and all it cost me was a few (several) hours of my time and a bit of ingenuity. That to me is far more satisfying that just buying a job lot (not that I wouldn’t accept a total Kikki K package if an office makeover tv show came knocking).
When I was thinking how I could pretty up the binders and boxes and make them look uniform, other than brown kraft paper I thought of nice wrapping paper (which some of us fold up and think we’ll use again. Sometimes we do, sometimes it stays in a drawer forever) and also the sheet music I wrapped a gift with here. Both would be thick enough and patterned enough to cover up logos and writing. They would be attractive for a home office and I am already thinking what I can do with my sewing room.
I did spend some money on our new shop office fit out. I bought two items – an inexpensive whiteboard, XL size, and a cork board of the same size. We’ve been meaning to get them for about four years, but clearly now is the time for us to make our move. And they weren’t even on special. I had to strike while the organising iron was hot, forgive me frugal gods.
In the course of reorganising the desks and shelves I also cleaned like there was no tomorrow. I took everything off the desk apart from the printer and cleaned it (and even though the printer stayed put, it was moved around and dusted under, and over). I removed all the storage boxes from under the desk, dusted and vacuumed and then sorted all the cords so they didn’t show on the desk as much. When I put storage boxes back under the desk I decluttered and sorted so there weren’t as many. The top of the desk was spray-and-wiped and everything was put back nice and tidily.
I used a sturdy cardboard box lid to contain all the little things that make a desk look messy, like stapler, address stamp, memo cube, lethal receipt spike, calculator and hole punch etc. They are still easy to get at though. Storage solutions may look pretty, but they have to be practical for everyday use too, or else you won’t use them and things will go back to how they were. I know that from experience.
I am so happy in our newly reorganised office now, and I promise one day when we’re a lot richer, I will shower myself with Kikki K’s goodies for providing the inspiration. If you haven’t already, go read the article. She’s very infectious.