Organizing Income and Expenses

February 10, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, How To Organize, Offices, Paper

Owning A Business It Is Important To Keep Track Of The  Income & Expenses

Tax time creeps up fast and if you haven’t been keeping track of what is coming in and what is going out monthly, then you will have one big job at the end of the year!

It doesn’t have to be hard.
Here is a very simple method that can help to keep things straight and distressed at tax time.

I used two cheap plastic trays and labeled one “Expenses” and the other one “Income”

plastic trayThey fit in the white cubby unit I have beside my chair, but you don’t have to have them in there of course.

I then get 24 manila folders and label them Jan – December “Income” and Jan – Dec. “Expenses” with the year.  It doesn’t have to be labeled fancy or with a labeler.  A sharper might have been better than just an ink pen like I used though. I wrote OWS for Organize with Sandy, the month, year and either expenses or income on each one.
I then take all but the present month and put them in a file folder in my file.  Yes.. they are all empty at this point.

I place the present month on the appropriate tray. (you can see that in the pic above with the trays)  Now… you could just stop there and grab that envelop every time you have a receipt or a payment come in. But .. we all know the easier it is to access.. the better success rate we have in doing it. Right?

So I made these two folders.

foldersI put the folders in the trays on top of the envelops.

Each time a payment comes in or I have a receipt, I just slip it in the folder.  When it sits there.. they are just slightly opened and it makes it nice and easy.

filesThe tray below I use to place anything else that I need to file in my business files.

At the end of the month, I make sure that I take all the info and put it into my spreadsheet online.

I made a simple spreadsheet in excel. I make the template and each month I can bring it up, add in month at the top and fill it out. There are a couple of expenses that are the same each month, I added those in so I wouldn’t forget, such as hosting payment and phone expenses.

income spreadsheetIt really only takes a short amount of time (depending on the amount you have coming in or going out each month), but shouldn’t tae you more than 1/2 hour each month.

Then put those receipts in the given manila folder for that month. Done!

Tip: I leave the month previously out also. It seems there is always some stray receipts in your purse etc.. that will need to go in the previous month.  It just makes it easier if the envelop is right there rather than walking across a room and opening up the file drawer to get it.

So for March, I would do my March expenses, place income in the income envelop and the same for expenses.  I would then take my “January” file folder (that should have gotten any strays in it during Feb.) and file it in the drawer.  I would then take out the previously prepared March Income and March Expense envelop and place those on top of Febuary… and under the colorful file folders. Ready to go.

Simple – nothing fancy – nothing complicated – You can do it kind of thing!

There are of course Many ways to accomplish this.  Here is a way I tried at first, but it didn’t’ work for me.  I was going to use a “drop in” method.  I think this would be a great way to do it too. Nice and easy.  It didn’t work for me because I had them in a cubby unit by my chair. I had to pull it out to put full size sheets in. Just too cumbersome to flow easy in my office.  But I think it would work great if it sat on top of a desk.

Your Mission if you chose to take it is: Reorganize Your Income & Expenses!

Organizing Mission Monday

Link up Your Office Mission Post

You can find the linky by clicking on the button above or going to my Organizing Mission Link Party. Feel free to keep linking up your different office projects that you accomplish during this Office Mission. I am ok with also linking up organizing projects that aren’t office related. This link will be up until Feb. 24 so you will have time to add your office projects in.

I would love it if you could vote for my blog! You can vote up to once per day. Just click the button. Thank you!

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Organizing The Bills

February 9, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, How To Organize, Offices, Paper

Bills are like Laundry – Never Ending and they cause us stress

moneyWe all have to pay the bills (yucky poo) and keeping good credit while doing so is important.

If your bills aren’t organized, they will get out of hand. Then you end up with late payments and a mess on your credit score.  I had a client that as we cleaned off her kitchen counters and island (where she did her bills) along with a couple other rooms in the house.. we found no less than a dozen credit cards (I bet it was closer to 2 dozen.. no lie) that had her name on it.. and just needed to be activated.  I saw her one afternoon pick up one of the cards still stuck to the paper and use it to pay a bill that was late.  I felt bad for her. Her bills and financial situation were so “cluttered” .. and had become something that was totally out of control for her.

I am not going to tell you how to manage your money.  But I will put out my piece of advice – if you use credit cards… pay them off in full each month.

What I will do is show you the system I use for paying my bills.  There are a zillion different ways.  I would love to see your system! So be sure to write a post and show us… so we can help others.  Then link it up.

The bills come in and I put sort them like I showed you in my Mail – Mission Office post. I reorganized my one mail slot to have a little more order than I did in my other post. (I’m still adjusting in my new office… there are lots of little tweeks that I am making)

billsThe top left is where my bills go after I have sorted out the mail and these are things that have to be paid.  The bottom basket is everything (other than envelops) that I need to get my bills done.

I brought up this little mail sorter from the basement and it fit in this cubby perfect.  It took me from this:

To this: Looks much nicer doesn’t it?  I hadn’t figured out what I was going to use when I took the first picture.

bill sortingI separate – on the left are bills that haven’t been opened.
The first slot of the sorter are bills that need to be paid
In the middle slot I now have our payment book for the car and my bill payment sheets
In the last slot I have a few things that I need to keep close at hand when paying bills.

It is just a little metal sorter that I have had for years.
billsI keep track of my bills and what I have paid by hand.  I make up a “bill pay” sheet each year, or just copy last years as I did this year (even forgot to change the year a the top – but it is just for me to see, or my hubby…so no need for glamor)

I keep it right in with my bills, so I can always look to see what I have paid and what I still need to pay for the month.

I put the months across the top and the bills that we pay down the side. As I pay it, I write in the date I pd and the amount I paid.

bill pay sheetI know this could all be done online, but there are some things I still just like to hold in my hand.  I like having it there with my bills, easy to see, hubby can see anytime.  I actually have two of them.  The tan one is all my regular home bills.  Then I have one with purple spaces on it, it is my bills for my business and some other finances.

I use a combination of actually paying the bills.  I do mostly online bill pay.  I have a few automated each month that are always the same.  It makes it nice to be able to go in and check the payment, write in the amount, pick the date you want it paid… and be done.  Be sure to always document your confirmation numbers though.

online bill payThere are always some bills that aren’t in the system (usually medical) that I don’t want to set up an account for. I just pay them by check. (Aren’t my M&M checks cute? Love them)


Here is the process I use when paying my bills:

1) Bills come into house – sorted
2) Pay twice a month
3) Pay online – all regular bills
4) Pay by check any others that have to go out
5) Document confirmation # or Ck # on the bill stubs
6) Document payments on my bill sheet
7) Put bill stubs in my “to be filed” bin.
8) Stamp up my bills going by mail and send them off

I also have everything close at hand to get bills ready to go out the door.  The basket on lower left below my bills has everything I need other than the envelops to get the bills out the door if they go by mail.

I have a calculator, return address labels, stamps, stamper for checks (for deposit only for my business) and staple remover.

stampsI have my envelops in the drawer right beside my office chair.  It is easy to get to them.  Two different sizes, I always get the envelops that you can’t see through. If I end up with others, I give them to the kids to use for lunch money, etc.
Tip: Tear off the lids to the boxes for easy access.

That is my process – I hope it can be of help. But I would love to hear yours.. share it to help others with what system might be best for them!

Your Mission if you chose to take it is: Show me your Bill Paying Process!

Organizing Mission Monday

Link up Your Office Mission Post

You can find the linky by clicking on the button above or going to my Organizing Mission Link Party. Feel free to keep linking up your different office projects that you accomplish during this Office Mission. I am ok with also linking up organizing projects that aren’t office related. This link will be up until Feb. 24 so you will have time to add your office projects in.

I would love it if you could vote for my blog! You can vote up to once per day. Just click the button. Thank you!

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Organizing the Paper Clutter

February 8, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, How To Organize, Offices, Paper, Time Managment

Those Papers Coming Into The House – They are  never ending!

I discussed my mail system here, but I wanted to go into more detail with you today on how I handle the rest of the paper trail.

Over the next week I am going to go over how to handle in more detail, so be sure to follow along!

1) Bills
2) Files and how to Organize Them
3) Daily paper file or “Command Center”
4) Receipts /Income and how to handle that for a home business
5) Password Directory

Mail Comes in from the Mail Box or School Papers

You can see my post on “mail” here.


1) One Central Location For Mail

Have just one central location that the mail is to be places when it comes into your house. Make sure each family member that might bring mail into the house has 1 place to put it. That way it isn’t left on the kitchen counter one day, dining room table another, couch – underneath the newspaper another day.. you get the point.

2) Sort It

Separate out your spouse’s mail  or if you have another person in the household that routinely gets mail and have a specific spot that you place that when you sort it from the main “mail hot spot”
mail sorting

A) Bills To Be Paid


B) To Do

This will go into your Daily Files  or “command file center”. School conferences, appointments, things you have to follow up on.

To Do File

C) To File

Papers that you need to keep. There are no “pending actions” to be taken on these papers.

D) Junk Mail – To be Shredded

You can see my post on shredders here.


If you have a specific plan for your paper trail, it will make it run much more smoothly. If you don’t have a plan, things will get lost, be late, appointments missed and life will be a bit more chaotic.

Your Mission if you chose to take it is: Track your Paper Trail!

Organizing Mission Monday

Link up Your Office Mission Post

You can find the linky by clicking on the button above or going to my Organizing Mission Link Party. Feel free to keep linking up your different office projects that you accomplish during this Office Mission. I am ok with also linking up organizing projects that aren’t office related. This link will be up until Feb. 24 so you will have time to add your office projects in.

I would love it if you could vote for my blog! You can vote up to once per day. Just click the button. Thank you!

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Organizing Your Paper Command Center

How Do You Deal with All the Daily Papers?

I have my daily paper command center, but it needed a bit of an overhaul now that I have my new office set up.

command center

I have tried several different solutions for paper command centers.  Several I have used because I have reviewed them.  You can see them at the end of this post.

I use this Paper command file to deal with daily papers coming in.  This is not for my bills.  This is not for all the drawings that Johnnie and Suzie bring home from school.  (I only keep 1 or 2 of those and they go into the file drawer in their folders) This is for all those papers that you need to follow up on, do immediately or need to reference quickly.

For the other papers

But I have a cubby by my chair in my office that I have plans to put my paper command center.  So I had to have a system that would fit and also would be easy to file papers in.

I went down to my basement where I have some organizing supplies that I have used in the past or plan to use.  Here I found the back plastic filer that has drop in separate file hangers.  These all fit into a file box, but I’m not using it that way now.

paper command centerI got it all cleaned up.

paper command centerI also cleaned the individual files boxes that fit down in. Each one of these has a specific function

1) Home

2) Business

3) Medical

paper command centerI went through each file and decluttered it.  I made the following decisions when I sorted

1) Keep

2) File

3) Toss (recycle)

sorting papersThen I made new labels using my label maker.  I’m not one who makes labels for every little thing in my house, I’m not teasing when I say the label maker tape can get expensive – but I do think it really makes the file tabs look awesome!

I color coded the labels.  Blue is for home.  Yellow is for work.  Green is for Medical / expenses for step kids

file tabsI already had everything, but didn’t have enough of the same color file folders to do them all purple, or red etc.  I did have enough to do the ugly old green..and I had to use those in the last section.. but I at least got to use the purple ones up front where I’ll see them.

I do suggest that you put the file tabs on the front part of the file folder.  I also suggest that you put them all lined up in a row. It is easier to see them lined up rather than darting all back and forth if they are spaced out.

file folders

Here is how I broke them down.  Of course we all have different needs and priorities in our homes, so more than likely my system won’t be your system.

This is my Family section of my Paper Command Center

Keep in mind these are not for long term paper storage. That would be the file cabinet.  This is for

1) Home Business – anything pertinent to the home, but not designated to a specific person.

2) I grouped the triplets together because most of what they get pertains to school or karate and it is all the same anyway

3) Each other family member has their own file, including Dave and I

command center

Now for the medical.  For me this includes insurance, dealing with 2 ex’s and the kids medical and other expenses that have to be split.

file foldersThe last folders are the ones I use most often. They will go in the front of my command center.  It is for my business.

In the very front I have a “To Do” folder.  This is the place that I will put papers that have immediate need.  This is not for bills (that is in a separate location that I will go over in another post). Then I have broken down the areas of my business that I need.  This might include for you

1) To Do

2) Projects

3) Banking

4) Specific projects might get their own folder

5) Income/Expenses (mine are separate, I’ll show you in another post)

file foldersThen each of these 3 separate drop in sections fit down in the main one.

command centerI place the “home section” in the back.  The “medical” section in the middle and the “business section” up front – so it looks like this when it is complete.

command centerThen it fits right beside my chair where I can have instant access to it.

paper command centerI just pull it out a bit and can slip papers in very easily.

So what do I do with all those other papers that need to be filed and go into the file drawers?  Like receipts for bills that were paid, or that special paper that Johnnie or Suzie brought home that I don’t have time to run over to my file drawer and file right now.

Those go into my general file bin that I will sort and file at the end of each month.  At my old desk set up it was a stackable plastic tray.   So I just put them right down below in this pink cubby.

office reorgFrom this pink bin.. they go straight to my file cabinet.

Just to refresh your memory:

Paper Command Center “Before”

command center before

Paper Command Center “After”

paper command center after

Here are a few other Paper Command centers that I have reviewed in the past and that might work better for you.  Remember, none of us are the same, we have different needs and we have different systems that might work better for us than others.  Don’t ever think you have to fit into a cookie cutter mold and do something exactly like someone else.

One of these other systems that I have reviewed in the past might work better for you.

The “In Place System” by Peter Walsh

In place by Peter Walsh

The PileSmart® Desktop Organizer Tray by Pendaflex

pendaflex Pilesmart

You might also like the Smead File System

smead file system

Your Mission if you chose to take it is: Show me your Paper Command File!

Organizing Mission Monday

Link up Your Office Mission Post

You can find the linky by clicking on the button above or going to my Organizing Mission Link Party. Feel free to keep linking up your different office projects that you accomplish during this Office Mission. I am ok with also linking up organizing projects that aren’t office related. This link will be up until Feb. 24 so you will have time to add your office projects in.

I would love it if you could vote for my blog! You can vote up to once per day. Just click the button. Thank you!

I am linking this post to:

Keeping It Simple
Sumo Sweet Stuff

Beyond The Picket Fence

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Organizing Mission Monday Week 8

This Week We’re Working On Paper!

organizing mission monday

This week on Organizing Mission Monday I am going to be concentrating on all that Paper clutter we have to constantly deal with.

But here is a list of the Mission: Office posts that I have done so far:

1) Your Files
2) Your Mail System
3) The Shredder
4) Pen & Pencil Clean Out
5) Organizing Your Desk Drawer
6) My Office – Before
7) My Office – After
8) Shelf Organizing
9) Organizing Sales from Home
10) Office Chair

Please visit my Featured Bloggers for this Week:

Featured bloggers please pick up the “Proud To Be Featured On Organizing Mission Monday” button

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Talking Dollars and Cents – 52 Weeks of Organizing Challenge

Alexandra tackles her files!  Now she is ready for her taxes! lol

talking dollars and cents

My Chaotic Home – Home Management Binder

Patty did a great job making a Home management binder.  I love her her page that she made up for who she does this for.

My chaotic home

A Tall Drink of Water – Office Makeover … well, sort of

Rachel reorganized her office in her bedroom.  Working with a small space is really hard to do.  Check out how she lined her drawers and made her space look great.

A Tall Drink of Water

Thank you featured bloggers.. don’t forget to pick up your button above!

Link up to my Link Party

Rules- Just a couple basic ones. Your link doesn’t have to be office related, just organizing… but I will be looking for the office related on this Office Mission for my Featured Bloggers.

This link party is continuous for the Mission: Office series. It is open until Feb. 24, 2011.  Feel free to add more links as long as they are to the specific post and organizing related.

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1) Link to your specific post – not your blog
2) Link back to my blog with my button or link (cuz it’s just linky nice)
3) I’d love if you’d follow me on google and/or FB. The google is new and I’m trying to build it
4) Blog post related to Organizing or Cleaning
5) Family friendly
6) No sales pitches or web sites.
7) If I feature you I will use one or more of your pictures with a link back to your blog!

Be sure to check out my list of link parties! If you have a link party.. please link it up! Underneath the daily buttons there is a list of links I have compiled of link parties.

If you are confused how my Organizing Missions link party is set… check out the agenda here.

If you aren’t sure how to link up… see my link party tutorial here. It is simple.

This is a continuous link party until the 24th of Feb! Feel free to link up other posts, even if you have already left a post.

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Office Chair

February 4, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, How To Organize, Offices

My Office Chair is Unconventional

I set up my new office with a recliner – for me to use! It isn’t just to decorate the office. Working long hours on the computer I need to keep my feet up.
office chair

I wasn’t using the office much at all. I was sitting in the family room on the couch to work. But of course I didn’t have everything I need for it to flow as smoothly as I would like.

I decided pretty spur of the moment that I wanted to over haul the office…. I sat down and worked out a plan on paper. Moved out the 2nd desk, a file cabinet and a tall bookshelf.  Then went to Ikea and bought the wall unit.   Now I can sit in my “command center” and work and have my feet up.

I’ll take you on a tour:

officeIf you have seen my other blog posts, you will realize that I have a strange set up.  When I decided what I was doing, I had my husband bring back the recliner from our farm. I used to have it in my living room, but when Dave and his kids moved in, the small living room needed to become our dining room. So there was no place for the chair.. until now.   I know it looks cramped in there, and like I said.. this isn’t for “looks” or to keep up with the “Jones”  this is purely for functionality.

Here is the other view.  I have a 2nd computer screen that my laptop hooks up to, so I can work on 2 screens.  My external hard drive is there.  I have my organizing business file trays in the corner.

See my magnetic strips that I mounted on the side of the desk?
magnetic stripsAren’t those fun?  I had them on the wall, but with this set up I needed to move them.
computer monitorHere is the computer monitor that I attach to my laptop. I LOVE being able to use this now.  I never had it set up before… it is awesome!

Now.. I am going to sit in the chair and show you what I see from this view.
office windowI love being able to sit and look out the front window!!

If I look to the right.. I can see out the french doors to what is happening by the front door.


If I look to the left, I have the Ikea Wall unit right there.  I have everything where I can get to it.  I have changed some things up, but that is all part of learning what works and being flexible.

I also mentioned to you that my husband bought me an electric throw blanket for Christmas?  The one in the picture isn’t it, I use that for some back support on this chair – but the electric one I keep in the storage bench under the window.

So I can sit in my chair, looking out the window at the snow, working…. with my electric blanket keeping me warm. I also wear my “blogging gloves” as the kids call them. My hands get cold when I’m working in the winter.  Can it get better than that?

electric blanket

Yeah… I like my new office set up. Can you tell?  Offices don’t have to be by the book. It is ok to think out of the box.  It is ok to not have the office that every Good Housekeeping magazine would want to feature.  What is important… is that it works for you.

You need to have a system that fits your needs.  Ergonomics is important.   Everyone is different.  I don’t think you’d find too many people that would want my set up. But I love it!

Your Mission if you chose to take it is: Show Me Your Office Chair!

Organizing Mission Monday

Link up Your Office Mission Post

You can find the linky by clicking on the button above or going to my Organizing Mission Link Party. Feel free to keep linking up your different office projects that you accomplish during this Office Mission. I am ok with also linking up organizing projects that aren’t office related. This link will be up until Feb. 24 so you will have time to add your office projects in.

I would love it if you could vote for my blog! You can vote up to once per day. Just click the button. Thank you!

I am linking this post to:

Beyond The Picket Fence


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Organizing Sales from Home

Sell things out of your home online?

I do, many of you know I sell pouchees and Card Cubby’s out of my home. I did not invent them (yeah.. I wish), they are both products that I have found that I love and wanted to be able to share with others.

pouchee and card cubbysIf you do sell something out of your home at craft fairs or directly online, you need a place to store them and a system when someone puts in an order for them.

Since I had a 2nd 4×2 shelf cubby units to use, I decided to move it  to on top of my file cabinet. It is out of the way, doesn’t take up valuable floor space and I think looks kind of cute.

pouchee and card cubby storageThis is the other part of my set up. This is directly across from where the pouchees are.


When I get an order I have a pretty simple routine that I follow.

Step 1: Print out order

I print out the order as I see it (so I don’t forget it in a stream of other emails)  I have a lap top and even if I’m not hooked up to my printer – I hit to print and it stores it until I plug in.


Step 2: Pick out the pouchees or Card Cubby’s that were ordered.

I like to keep the sorted by color – these are some of the cotton pouchees


I also keep them organized by style – these are some of the Outback collection

outback pouchees

And I keep the Card Cubby’s in their own section.

card cubby

Step 3: Get a padded envelope to mail

I can use a small one if it is only one of the items. If any more than that I use the bigger size.

padded envelops

Step 4: Pick up the Copy of the order, the packing slip and the shipping label that were printed.

Put those with the order and envelope.

pouchee and card cubby

Step 5: Prepare the order to be shipped.

I have this little unit ready to go with everything I need to get my order out the door.

office supplies

I have my pens and a couple sharpies in the little cute buckets

pencil bucketsTape and stapler (even though I have a tape and stapler for the kids and also one by my chair….. it is all about convenience  and placement.  It is so much easier not to have to jump up and down to do something you do frequently.

office suppliesI have my labels that I use on the cards with my reorder information on it.

address labelsI also have packing tape, scissors and a staple remover close at hand.

office supplies

I got these cute little tins with another little unit I have. They work great for my business cards and also the shipping confirmations.

business cards

If I can’t get to an order right away, I will still make sure I have that item in stock and pull it and set it here so that I don’t over sell a certain item.

card cubby

Step 6: Document the sale to keep track of your income.

I have used a receipt book in the past, and realized I was duplicating my efforts. (I will still use it for private sales not online or craft shows if I do any this year) This year I am taking the paypal order form and filing it in my “income” folder.  I document them each month in my spreadsheet. More about that on another post.

income folderStep 7: Mail

I try my best to get the orders out either the same day they are ordered or the very next day. Of course that can’t always happen, but I know when I order something I don’t like to wait.. so I do my best to not have my customer wait.

Watch for my pouchee and Card Cubby post coming soon on how to organize your purse.  You can also see a good testimonial on the pouchee from Toni of A Bowl Full of Lemons. She has been really pleased with the pouchee that I gave her. She gave me some pointers on photoshop in exchange.

Just so you know… I have restocked my pouchee supply and lowered my price!  You can find them in my pouchee and Card Cubby Store

Your Mission if you chose to take it is: Organize Your Home Sales System!

Organizing Mission Monday

Link up Your Office Mission Post

You can find the linky by clicking on the button above or going to my Organizing Mission Link Party. Feel free to keep linking up your different office projects that you accomplish during this Office Mission. I am ok with also linking up organizing projects that aren’t office related. This link will be up until Feb. 24 so you will have time to add your office projects in.

I would love it if you could vote for my blog! You can vote up to once per day. Just click the button. Thank you!

I am linking this post to:

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Shelf Organizing

February 2, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, How To Organize, Offices, Products for Organizing

Here Is How I am Using The Cubby Shelves In My Office

I already had these cubby units, so I was going to put them to use. I have the large Ikea Wall unit now, but these will still be used.

cubby unit

Top Shelves

I already had the pink and green cloth drawers also.  Top shelf I have a couple boxes with video equipment (green box) and business cards from conferences. I have them divided into separate conferences and labeled.  I do admit there have been very few times that I have gone back to them after I have done my initial contacts following the conference.  If at any point this box becomes full, I will have no problem purging them.

On the other side I have 2 baskets with computer DVD’s and the other with photos backed up.

computer CD storageAnd the the photos in this one.  I have obviously had them in here for awhile. I do most of my back ups now on my external hard drive.

picture back up storageBut I did label these with color coded (per year) labels.  The baskets I got at The Container Store several years ago.  The label on the front obviously isn’t the best. Against the wire basket the label didn’t stick, so I used tape. It’s been on there awhile, and serves the purpose, but I’ll fix it at some point.

CD labelsI know.. these would look much nicer with labels from a label makers. But… I don’t get in here very often, and that would be an expensive venture. These work just fine.

2nd Shelf Down

The 2 cubby baskets are on the next shelf down. I have padded envelops in each of them. The pink one has the larger ones and the green one has the smaller sizes. I used these to ship out my pouchees and card cubbys.


3rd Shelf Down

I have tried a couple things here. The first thing you can see in the above picture. I had stapler, pencils etc.. on the shelf, but it seemed to cluttered. Then I tried this but decided I didn’t like it either.  I had a lazy-susan and thought it might work good to get to the things I would need to mail out my pouchees. I tried it for several days and decided I didn’t like it. The labels were falling off, it just didn’t work for me.

Sometimes you have to experiment.  Don’t be afraid to say… this isn’t working, I need to change it.   Currently I now have a picture of the kids and a pencil holder on the shelf. I’ll show you what I did with the other supplies in another post.

office supplies

On this other shelf I have a basket for scrape paper. The kids can use it for what ever they need, I can use it.  I like to cut it length-wise in half… get about 10 sheets thick .. staple the top and then I have this little note pad to take notes on.  Good way to recycle it.

scrape paper

I used this basket because I already had it.  I didn’t want one of the cloth cubby drawers because I wanted the kids to see the paper easily so they would use it.  Again.. a cute label would be nice on this basket. I am going to have to check out some of those tutorials on making cute labels.

4th Shelf Down

This cubby is for anything that the kids leave sitting on the desk when they come in to use it.  I would like to say they never leave their things out. LOL  But let’s get real.  I have told them, anything they leave on the desk… (CD’s, papers, mp3 players etc..) will go into this bin.. and they can find it there.  Once it gets full, if they haven’t claimed it.. it may get donated.. depending on what it is, or trashed. But I’ll give them a chance to get it put away first.


Next shelf over is the “kids” shelf.  I put all the supplies they should need to do anything for school.  They have their own scissors and tapes on the desks in their room, but they are forever borrowing mine.  I have realized I am a bit of a “Archie Bunker” when it comes to my area.  I guess you would say I’m a bit territorial.  I think I have so few areas of the house that I can claim as just mine that when I have one… I like it.  I don’t want to have to worry about coming in and not having my things where they should be when I need them because someone has used it and not put it away.

office supplies

Yes.. I labeled everything.  I want to figure out something better than this arrangement. But I had the clear shelf… and underneath is a red tray that has dividers in it … for like a desk drawer. As you can see I labeled most of it. So there is no question what they can use, and if it is left somewhere else in the house – we know exactly where it should belong.
There is:
1) Pencil sharpener
2) Tape
3) Tape Measure
4) Stapler
5) Hole Punch
6) Thumb Tacks
7) Eraser
8) Staple Remover
9) Calculator
10) Ruler

5th Shelf Down

This post office scale I used to weigh things I’m shipping.  It is down below the level of the desk.  I don’t use it real often and I do have an extension cord so that I have plenty of “give” to pull it out and put up on the desk to use it.

post office scaleThe other side of this level is school supplies.  I have notebook paper, spiral notebooks and envelops that the kids can get to.

school supplies

Shelf 6 (below desk level)

Why waste the space right?  I have 4 more shelves under here.
cubbysThe left top is more CD’s and computer files that we won’t use as often. The basket is one that I have had.

basketI have extra school supplies in here.  If I have them out where the kids can see them real visibly, they would be gone… and scattered all over the house.  When they need them… we can get them out.

school supplies

7th Shelf Down  (Bottom Shelf)

The bottom shelves have my TomBoy Tools (tools that are high quality made especially for woman. Not like those cheap ones you can find at discount stores.)  Nice thing about them is that I don’t have to worry about my husband or the boys taking them!  But I like having them at hand if I need to do something.  I don’t go into the garage or basement much, so for me, even though they aren’t “office” related, they work best for me in this space.

tomboy toolsI actually sold them for just a little bit.  Although my friends evidently weren’t into pink tools.

tomboy toolsI have used them plenty to do little jobs around the house.

tomboy tools

On the other side of the shelf is a bin of photos. I don’t print photos out very often anymore and haven’t scrap booked in several years, but these are more recent. The kids like getting them out and going through them, especially if they need one for something.

So… you have seen my shelf.. and what I have on each one of them.  This might not be something that will work for you.  But it didn’t cost me anything to set this up. I already had everything.  I wanted to utilize that space between the wall and the desk. Because of the angled wall the desk could not go flush against the wall.
The cubby unit slid in the perfectly.
I don’t expect anyone to do the exact same thing I am doing. I just hope that maybe I can give you some ideas to use in your space.

Your Mission if you chose to take it is: Utilize shelf space!

Organizing Mission Monday

Link up Your Office Mission Post

You can find the linky by clicking on the button above. Feel free to keep linking up your different office projects that you accomplish during this Office Mission. I am ok with also linking up organizing projects that aren’t office related. This link will be up until Feb. 24 so you will have time to add your office projects in

I would love it if you could vote for my blog! You can vote up to once per day. Just click the button. Thank you!

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Reorganizing My Office “After”

February 1, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, Decorating, DIY, How To Organize, Offices

The Next Step – Putting My Office Back Together Again

Yesterday I showed you my office that was too crowded and messy.  I didn’t use it because I like to sit with my feet up when I am on the computer most of the day. I wanted to figure out a solution.

I had my boys move my big furniture. Got rid of the 2nd desk, a book shelf and a file cabinet. Then…. I went shopping!

I drove the 2 hours down to the Ikea store in Cincinnati Ohio. Wow…. that store is overwhelming. I got my Expedit 5×5 wall unit and a couple other items and was a happy camper. I was even happier because it was marked down to $179.00 instead of $199.00 because it was the only color left.

Now to have my son put it together.  You need a big space to do it as it has to lay down to put together.

Ikea expedit shelfIt took him about an hour to put it all together.  That thing is heavy! It came in 3 big boxes and total of the 3 boxes was 214#.

Ikea expedit shelfI was so glad he helped me.  But we would have to wait for Dave to get home to put it in the office.  Dave drove to our farm and picked up my chair for my office.  It was all coming together.

Ikea Expedit shelfOk.. we have it in. My chair is in place.  I know… this looks very odd right now.  And actually it will not be your typical office when it is finished either.

Next up is to make the 3 plastic drawer bins I got at the Ikea Store to go in my shelf unit. they cost $9.99 each.

ikea instructionsIf you have never purchased anything at Ikea before, just realize that the instructions are by picture only. There are no words.  Personally I felt like it was a bit of a puzzle to figure out. You have to look for little markings they have on the pieces to be sure which side to put where.

Ikea drawerIt all just snaps together. Nothing really hard about it, but the first one took a little longer to figure it out.

They fit just perfect in the shelf.

Ikea expedit drawerI already had all the green and pink cubbys.  That green one didn’t stay there. I did a lot of playing around with where I wanted things.

Still looks very strange doesn’t it?  See the pink strips on the wall behind my chair.  We took those off the wall and moved them. They are magnetic strips. (luv them) I know my chair does not match my hot pink/lime green color scheme.. at all. But I had the chair, it fit and I’m using it. (couldn’t afford to go buy a new one… and even to recover it was going to be really expensive) So… I can’t have everything perfect you know.

I put one of the cubby units that I had on the back of my desk… over against the far wall in between the desk and the wall. It seemed kind of strange. The wall is angled there and the desk was not able to go flush against it. There was this space there that was driving me crazy.. because it seemed unusable.  I decided to try this… and it is working out great.  I had 2 cubby units. One was 3 cubby’s high and the other was 4 high. The one with 3 cubby’s is on the bottom and just comes a little bit above the desk. Then I stacked the other one on top of that.

cubby units

So this is how it turned out. The cubbys below the desk still work for items that we don’t need very often. Yes… you have to lean under the desk to get them, but the space is being used  – and they are items that we don’t need often.

cubbysThe other cubby unit I used on top of the file cabinet on the other wall. It will holds all of the pouchees and card cubby’s that I sell.


I got this ottoman to put underneath the window.  I have one of these in my family room and really like it. I got it at Target for $79.00.  Oh bum! I just looked online to get you the link for this ottoman from Target… and it is on sale for $59!


I wanted this for a couple of reasons. I wanted something that would fit underneath the window sill. Something that would provide some seating if I needed it and the main reason I wanted it…. was to house my new electric throw that my husband bought me for Christmas.  I also have 2 other blankets in there.  We have 2 dogs…. and 5 kids at home.  Do you think that my throws are ever without dog hair because kids get them out and lay on the floor in front of the TV?  Nope… but now, I have my own blankets in my own office…. hee hee

electricSee?  I didn’t fold it up, I just tossed it in and took the picture.  (I usually keep it plugged in and then I can just grab it and pull it over to my chair – like I am right now as I write this with my blanket on!)

Now for the finished look.  Keep in mind… this is not your conventional office!  This is modified for me so that I can keep my feet up while I work.  I love it! This is a look from the door way.

Here is a little closer view. I had the painting of the egg shells that my sister did for me years ago. I decided to hang it. It actually has the pastel lime green, pink and almost a burgundy color in it.  lol  Trying to bring my strange colors together.

So… I will sit in the chair and I have everything there I need to run my office.  I’ll go into detail in another blog.

Here is a view from the other angle.

You must remember.  I am very practical.  Would I ever put this set up in a clients house?  No, not unless they asked for it.  But I would try to accommodate their needs.

What I’d like to do.. is to put up some shelves above the desk.  And shelves to the left of the desk instead of the cubby units.  But, I spent my budget and already had the cubby’s.

I am not making my office to be a showcase room.  I am making it to be “my office” and what I want it to be.  If I had a place to put the kids computer, I would actually have that out of here too.  But when I am working, the kids usually are not in here.

Your Mission if you chose to take it is: Put your office back together! lol

If you aren’t able to completely reorganize your office or our office desk area, what is your vision for your perfect office?

Organizing Mission Monday

Link up Your Office Mission Post

You can find the linky by clicking on the button above. Feel free to keep linking up your different office projects that you accomplish during this Office Mission. I am ok with also linking up organizing projects that aren’t office related. This link will be up until Feb. 24 so you will have time to add your office projects in

I would love it if you could vote for my blog! You can vote up to once per day. Just click the button. Thank you!

* The Ikea and Target links are not affiliate links… I just wanted to let you know where I got them.

I’m linking up this post to:


Sumo Sweet Stuff


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Creations by Kara

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Reorganizing My Office “Before”

January 31, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, Decorating, DIY, How To Organize, Offices

The Before Shots

I may be an organizer, but I’m a very busy organizer, and things can get out of hand in my home too. So don’t feel like everyone else has perfect places. I’m going to show you I am human and very much like you when it comes to things getting out of hand.

I have a very small office and share the space with my husbands desk and the kids computer.  We have 2 huge desks, 3 file cabinets, 1 large bookshelf and lots of cubbys.

messy office Here is my mess of a desk. As you can see I don’t use it very often.  I normally always set out in the living room so I can keep my feet up. If I have them down too long I have problems with my feet swelling ( getting old and being too heavy). I come in here mainly to do bills and send out my pouchee and Card Cubby orders.  I have an extra computer screen because I found out when I got my Mac Book Pro that I could hook up another screen and use duel screens. But, I’m not in here enough to use it and hadn’t purchased the cable.

This picture is directly behind my desk, so I can turn my chair around and get to the 2nd set of file cabinets. These are my main files. But as you can see, my papers have taken over and are way overdue for filing.

This is to the right of my desk. Printer and large file cabinet. I have extra paper sitting on top of that. Then you can see the corner of my husbands desk.

messy officeThis is his space and I don’t bother it. Although he wasn’t using it much either.. the kids use the computer. But the flag poles and whatever else that other stick is there (lol) and the boxes on top of the 2nd file cabinet are his. I try to give him his space. But now we have made him his own office and work area in the basement and it is time for this to go.
messy office

Now on the other wall when you walk into the office is the big book shelf. It has a combination of his stuff, my stuff, the kids stuff on it. You can see how congested it has become.

book shelfThis is that same corner when you walk in, I set up cubbys so that I had more space to put my product samples etc for reviews.

You can see how crowded it all is.

And then another view from the doorway of what the file cabinet and my paper system looks like behind my desk.

Pretty bad huh?  Sharing a small office space is not easy.  And when I worked in here, the system worked for me with being able to access what I needed to from my chair.  But…. it was driving me crazy.

I really had it … I wanted to figure something out. I would try to work in the living room and with the TV going if the kids and hubby were home in the evening etc.. it was just not easy for me. I would put on headphones with music. I have to have quiet….to really concentrate.

I sat down on the 31st and decided I was going to rearrange the office.

Step 1: Get out graph paper and measure your space. Measure what will stay in.
Step 2: Plan what you want your space to look like. Do you need to purchase anything?
Step 3: Move everything out. Decide where to put the big items that aren’t staying.
(example, trash, donate, another room.
Step 4: Clean the space (paint if you are going to before you clean.. lol – No painting for me)
Step 5: Sort all the little stuff. Clean as you go
Step 6: Decide what items are needed, now that you know what is left to put back in
Step 7: Move your big furniture back in, or move to where it needs to go in the room.
Step 7: Purchase your items
Step 8: Complete moving in the smaller items that have been sorted.
Step 9: Customize it so it works for you. This may take a few weeks of changing it up.
Step 10: Sit back and smile because it feels SO much better when it is finished!

The Clearing out

I decided I was doing this on the 31st of December and started that day! I was trying to figure out a better solution for my living room, but did a 180 and decided to redo the office. My two oldest boys were home from boot camp and were leaving on the 2nd. Dave had a sore arm and wouldn’t be able to move much. So… I decided I need to do it now while I had help, otherwise it wouldn’t happen. Let me tell you…. they weren’t so thrilled that I was interrupting the Rose Bowl. lol

First step was to decide what to do with my husbands desk. It was going to go in the basement to provide him with extra desk space in his new office.  But…. it wouldn’t fit down the basement steps. They tried to take it apart and it just wasn’t going to happen.  We had no where to store it… so …yes.. out to the curb! I told you I was determined.  We knew someone would pick it up before the trash men got it.

deskFirst to clear off everything off my this massive heavy wood desk. Then I cleaned it all up.

Cleared off the bookshelves.empty bookshelf

Next step was to move the bookshelf. It went down to the basement for my husband to use.  Then we got the vacuum out and vacuumed the empty space .. and cleaned up the walls behind and baseboards.

We took the black 3 drawer file cabinet down to the basement also. That cleared out the spot for my 4 drawer file cabinet.

Of course vacuuming and cleaning had to be done. Only one flaw in my plan, I was going to be covering up the vent. oops

Because it was my space, I didn’t mind. I knew I could use a blanket to stay warm if I needed it.  I was too determined to make my idea work. Something as minor as a vent wasn’t going to deter me! lol  (now if it were a clients home, I would have figured out another solution, but I was ok with it in my home)

Next thing was to clear off the file cabinet that was behind my chair and take out the drawers. This furniture is SO heavy! So glad my boys were there to help move things.

File drawers

Now of course you realize that I am making a huge mess in my dining room. Piling everything up that I will need to go through. I told my husband for at least 2 days I was taking it over. So we adjusted. I could get a lot of stuff out right away, but I was going to go through everything before it went back in.

This was just the beginning and the area around the table had all kinds of stuff too. Unfortunately when you clear out a space, you have to deal with more mess before it gets better.

File cabinet in place. I made sure to plug in the lamp before we moved it back to the wall and put the drawers in it. It is too heavy to even budge when the drawers are in.

The desk was moved on the wall where the bookshelf used to be.  My big 4 drawer file cabinet in the corner stayed put.

Next step.. Trip to Ikea for the wall unit I have been wanting forever!! (I really wanted white, but they were out of stock, so I got the walnut to match my furniture.
Step 2 – Dave was to bring back a recliner that I used to have in my living room from our farm.

I know.. you are thinking.. a recliner in your office?  Yes…. I told you I have the problem with having to keep my feet up, I solved that problem!

Stay tuned!!

Your Mission if you chose to take it is: Reorganize Your Office

Organizing Mission Monday

Link up Your Office Mission Post

You can find the linky by clicking on the button above.  Feel free to keep linking up your different office projects that you accomplish during this Office Mission. I am ok with also linking up organizing projects that aren’t office related. This link will be up until Feb. 24 so you will have time to add your office projects in

I would love it if you could vote for my blog! You can vote up to once per day. Just click the button. Thank you!

I linked this post up to:

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Organizing Mission Monday – Week 7

How are your office Missions coming?

organizing mission mondayHave you started working on your offices?  Take small steps.  I have several posts that will help you work through just one thing at a time. When you do, link up your blog post so we can all enjoy it with you!

Here is the list of the Office Missions that I have done so far:

1) Your Files
2) Your Mail System
3) The Shredder
4) Pen & Pencil Clean Out
5) Organizing Your Desk Drawer

This week we will be going over your Paper System. What to do with all those incoming papers.  Also redesigning your office space.

Here are my Featured Bloggers for This Week

I have a few people who have started working on their offices. Yeah! Thanks I love it!

Mom Starting From Scratch – Daily Declutter Challenge #8 – A Special Kind of Chaos

Lynn takes these papers and makes organized binders for them.  She has a special kind of chaos because she is the mother of a special needs daughter. I know too well what these parents go through. (I used to case manage the pediatric home care cases for special needs children).  If you think you have a lot of paperwork coming into your home… then triple it (at least) for a special needs child. Check out Lynn’s blog. She is new to blogging and it would be great if you could stop by her blog.

mom starting from scratch

I Forgot What I Was Doing –  “Organizing To DeStress”

I totally agree!  Organizing is such a destresser for me. I feel like when I get all irritated, many times it is when things aren’t organized.  Once I get things in order… I feel better

She worked on her pens – and found some change and realized that not all of them do work. (imagine that!)


Mom Nonstop – 21 Day Organizing Challenge – The Mail Station

Cris worked on her mail station. She has a different way of keeping track of how she pays her bills. Be sure to stop by her blog and check out the rest of her post.


Thank you featured bloggers.. don’t forget to pick up your button on my sidebar!

Link up to my Link Party

Rules- Just a couple basic ones.  Your link doesn’t have to be office related, just organizing… but I will be looking for the office related on this Office Mission for my Featured Bloggers. Thanks!

1) Link back to my blog with either the button or my link. (Use the Organizing Mission button on my sidebar)
2) Would also love it if you could follow me on google or FB
3) Blog posts related to Organizing or Cleaning please.
4) Family friendly (or I will delete)
5) No sales pitches or web sites please.

Be sure to check out my list of link parties! If you have a link party.. please link it up! Underneath the daily buttons there is a list of links I have compiled of link parties.

If you aren’t sure how to link up… see my link party tutorial here. It is simple.

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Pens & Pencil Clean Out

How many pens and pencils does one household need?  We are going to be cleaning out a desk drawer next, and this is part of that. But I wanted to break up the post.

pens and pencilsWhen you open that desk drawer, or junk drawer – do you always find a bazillion pens and pencils?  But of course when you are on the phone and need to take a message or you are in your car… can you find that pen in your purse or car? Nope… never. lol

I want to share with your my simple way to help decrease some of the pens/pencil clutter in your home.

pens and pencilsWhen you are cleaning out that desk drawer I want you to gather all the pens and pencils together in one place. Markers too.  (My markers are in another basket)

Now, often when we are organizing we gather all of the pencils and pencils that are everyone in the office, in the drawers, on the floor etc.  and just put them in a basket like this and close the drawer back up. I would bet that the majority of these pens haven’t been used in quite a while.

Do they work?

pensI want you to get some scrap paper and get ready to test them… yes… all of them!  I am willing to bet you that at least 25% of them don’t write, or are broken or leaking.

Do the fast test, don’t sit and work to make that pen write. Grab it and try it, if it doesn’t write a nice line within the first few squiggles… pitch it. Are you going to use it? No, you will grab it.. try to use it, get frustrated.. put it back and grab another. So … you are just getting rid of the frustration first.

markersDo the same for your markers.  If they write like this pink one.. pitch them.  Ok… so you can’t stand to pitch it until it is completely empty?  Are you going to want to use it?  If you WILL use it… ok, then keep it.  If you just can’t stand to waste it, but know you won’t use it… what about your kids? Can you put it somewhere they will use it?

pen squigglesThis was my paper tester when I went through my pens and markers.

highlighterI had several pens and highlighters….. that went into the trash

pensThis is my trash can (dumb question…. can you recycle these?)

pensAfter I sorted out the pens that were dead or dying… and got rid of those, I still had a lot that I didn’t need.

I put several in the drawer, several on top of the desk in the green bucket and I didn’t need these. I mean really…. they have been sitting in that desk drawer untouched for how long?

I can do several things with them (and would love to hear more of your ideas in your post about organizing your office)

1) Put this bag of pens in your car, so you have a pen when you need it
2) Donate them to a local school, shelter or nursing home
3) If they are all pens you have brought home from work, return them to your office
4) Donate them to the troops
5) Disperse them through out your home (only if you need them) by the phones or bedside.

Your Mission if you chose to take it is: Declutter those pens and pencils!

Organizing Mission Monday

Link up Your Office Mission Post

Just take a half hour and declutter those pens and pencils. Take some pics and join the party.  I’d love for you to link it to my Organizing Mission Monday link party. This link party will be left open for a month to go with the Mission – Office that I am working on with my link party.

I would love it if you could vote for my blog! You can vote up to once per day. Just click the button. Thank you!

I would love it if you could vote for my blog! You can vote up to once per day. Just click the button. Thank you!

I am linking this post up to:

BCD 125


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The Trendy Treehouseorganizing junkie

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What Would Sandy Suggest – Week 5

I’m in an Office Mood I think

When I think about what I would suggest when I walk into a room…. I have to stop…. and think.

cluttered room You first off have to find out what the client wants out of the room.
1) What do they want to use this space for?
2) What is their vision for this room?
3) What storage is available?

You can’t fit 20 gallons of gas into a 10 gallon tank right? So if you have too much “stuff” and not enough space to store it… then something needs to go.

Organizers aren’t miracle workers, we can’t create more space in a home. We can help to utilize the space that there is to the fullest.

“Life” happened to this person. A spouse died expectantly a year or so before, and things went kind of crazy. But they wanted some help and guidance.

There were several cats in the home, and thank goodness I didn’t have allergies. But getting used to the smell wasn’t easy either.


1) Sort through the Clutter. Separate into A) keep B) Donate C) Store D) Trash/Recycle

2) Rearrange if needed to make a usable space – Move bill area to the sturdy desk and decrease need for the folding table.

3) Use existing supplies (client didn’t have finances to purchase new)

4) Clean the space (cat droppings, dust, dirt)

5) Support the client in her decisions

It was a very long day but we were able to accomplish making a livable, usable space. Simple but workable.

If you are wondering… this person was not a hoarder. The rest of the house wasn’t not this bad. This was the “catch all” room that got out of control.  They were open to getting rid of stuff and were very excited to have the room back.

What Happened:

1) We cleared out most of the clutter.

2) We kept the arrangement of furniture the same. The client liked having 2 separate desks and was not open to combining the work spaces.

3) We did basic cleaning. (Carpet cleaning and deep cleaning were still needed)

4) We separated paperwork into boxes  to go through later.

5) There was still several boxes to the left of this picture that the client had to go through. The budget did not allow for me to come back to help as we had planned. But I gave the client the basic knowledge so that they were able to ask themselves the same questions that we did when we worked together.

Not every space has to be organized to be “pretty”.  Being able to help people with the basics and to utilize what they already have is important. Often times I go into situations that the client really needs help. They might not have the finances to do anything but get the help – meaning… we work with what they have.

So… keep that in mind if you feel you don’t have the “money to organize”. I have heard that so often. Going through your things and deciding what to keep or give away doesn’t cost a dime. It just takes time.



You can do a lot in one day. It wasn’t perfect, and there was still more work to be done… but together we were able to accomplish a lot.

If you have any spaces that you would like help on and would like to be featured in an upcoming week, please leave me a comment that you would like some help.

If you have any blog posts of an office that you have reorganized and would like to link it to my Organizing Mission- Monday link party – please add it to my Link party by clicking my button

I also would LOVE it if you could vote for my blog.  You can vote once a day!


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The Shredder

January 24, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, How To Organize, Offices, Paper, Products for Organizing

Mission Office – The Shredder

The mission today is to discuss the shredder. I think every office should have a shredder.  It is just a good idea to get rid of all those papers with account numbers on them etc.  I’m going to share my new shredder experience with you and a little tip that worked for me. But I’m open to hearing your ideas.

shredderI got a new shredder.  I had been using a very small desk top shredder that could only handle 1 piece of paper at a time.  But I kept it out by my “mini office” in the family room, so it worked out great.

After I rearranged my office (you will see in coming posts) I was going to be using my office and had an area underneath the desk and next to my recliner (yes… recliner) that one would work.

shredderI know this isn’t a very pretty picture.  It is under the desk and behind a file cabinet, so not seen from the front of the desk.  The box is all the papers I need to shred, after cleaning out my files.  See how this shredder is long and narrow?  I thought it would work out great in this space.

So…. I started shredding away.  It was working great.  Then it slowed down… ok time to empty

Yes… it was full.  I grabbed a trash bag, and got back behind the chair to empty it.

Ok..I could see this was not going to be pretty.  As careful as I was … the little shreds of paper still went all over.  It reminded me of the big cool shredder we have at work (yes… I think it is fun to use). But every time it gets emptied… it is such a mess.

I moved the box out of the way, vacuumed and then got a black trash bag.  I considered getting a plastic bin to put underneath of it.  But, with this being long and narrow, I would have to pull it all the way out from under the desk…. anyway… logistically that wasn’t going to work. The drawer wouldn’t have pulled out without being out of the bin…

I also knew that putting a trash bag liner wasn’t going to work. The drawer wouldn’t have been able to close, and if it isn’t closed all the way, then the shredder won’t turn on. So.. although it isn’t pretty… it should work.

Let’s see if this is going to work. I filled it again with shredding
Still a little messy, but it is contained in the trash bag now. I got a separate trash bag to empty the bin into and left the one underneath the shredder. I am also going to use a clear trash bag next time underneath the shredder.  Even though no one sees it but me, it will still just look a little nicer.

Some paper dust… but ready to shred some more.  Once the box is empty, I will probably put a nicer basket or plastic bin to the right of it to put the shred pile in. There are times that you have more shredding to do than you have time for, or in my case the shredder heats up enough by lots of shredding and it turns off. Until it cools it won’t work.   So there may be times you have to have a storage area for the shred pile.

Do you have a shredder?  Do you use it?  Do you have problems with it being messy when you empty it?  What do you do to take care of that?  I would love for you to share any shredder posts that you may have… and if you don’t have any yet, why don’t you make one?

Your Mission if you chose to take it is: Show Me Your Shredder!

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If you have a blog post on your shredder or lack there of & how you use it, I’d love for you to link it to my Organizing Mission Monday link party. This link party will be left open for a month to go with the Mission – Office that I am working on with my link party.

I would love it if you could vote for my blog! You can vote up to once per day. Just click the button. Thank you!

I would love it if you could vote for my blog! You can vote up to once per day. Just click the button. Thank you!

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Organizing The Mail

Check out My Mail System

mail box

My mail generally comes around 10:15 am.  I don’t always rush right out to get it, but at some point during a break in my day… I’ll head out.

mail boxIsn’t it kind of fun to open that box and see what you’ve gotten for the day? Usually it is just junk mail or bills, but every once in awhile you get that surprise letter or check that just makes your day

footprints in the snowWith the newly fallen snow (and more to come) I just thought this was fun… out to the box.. in to track in my house (not really…shoes off)

mailI sort out what is my husbands and what is mine.  He likes getting mail too… so I don’t open his.. even though he wouldn’t care if I did (unless its a bill…then I take it)

mail centerThis is our command center by the front door. Below this area are the cubbys that the kids use. My hubby just moved his office down to the basement (his man cave) and we started using this mail slot that has previously gone unused for his mail.

command centerIt seems to work alright if he picks it up. But he tends to let it build up… which drives me a bit crazy to have to see when you first walk in the door.  I tried to talk him into a plastic slot that could go on the wall on the way down the basement steps, but he felt that people would hit it. So for now.. this will work.

mail in box My mail goes into my “in” box sitting on my desk.  I usually try to take care of it right when I get it, but if I am too busy or I’m not home, then it goes into this clear tray.

mail in boxNow.. when I am home, what I normally do is to sort it right then.

The junk mail that has information that could be harmful to us.. ..goes into the shredder.

shredderThen the envelops or any other junk mail goes into my trash can by my chair. I will then take it out to the recycle bin when it’s full.

trash can

Then the bills and any other pertinent mail that I have to deal with, will go into my “bill box”

mail in boxWhich is a new section of my Ikea wall unit (that you will be seeing before long when you see my office make over.

I tab them with the date they are due and put them where I can work on them once they are due.

mailThis system works for me.  I love the daily reminder bill files, but I don’t have the space for one with the new office set up I did. That is fine for me… I like this system.

I was inspired to do this post because of Toni’s A Bowl Full of Lemon’s 21 day challenge. I haven’t been participating in the actual daily challenge, but I’ve added a few links but sure love looking through them.

organizing mission mondayIf you have a blog post on your mail system, I’d love for you to link it to my Organizing Mission Monday link party.  This link party will be left open for a month to go with the Mission – Office that I am working on with my link party.

I would love it if you could vote for me! You can vote up to once per day!

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Organizing Your Files Drawer

January 20, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, How To Organize, Offices, Paper

Paper Clutter… yuck!

I don’t know of anyone that really likes all the paper clutter.  We have SO much coming into our house all the time. From the daily mail to the kids school work, things we need to print from the computer.  It is never ending and easy to get out of control.

I have recently reorganized my office and with that I finally went through and reorganized my files.  They were a mix match of file folders and hand printed labels.

I pulled together all my purple files that I purchased several years ago and decided to only use those (cuz their pretty! lol)

Before Files

filesKind of all over there aren’t they?

Here is another drawer
files messySome tabs and folders from my husbands files when we got married… came over to my file drawer.

messy filesThe kids files were a mess too.

My husband recently made his own “man cave” in the basement for his projects and added an office space. So we were able to move him out of this main office upstairs. He took all the tax info and some other financial family info downstairs.  He had already started files for his 4 kids.. so we decided to merge those. So his kids files went downstairs with him.

file cabinetHere is the file cabinet I mainly use. It goes with this big stinky cool desk I have.  It is a little worse for the wear.. but hey… it works great.

So I emptied everything out of it.. drawer by drawer

and of course had a bigger mess then I started with for a day

office filesI was in the middle of the entire office reorganization in this picture… (see all the stuff in the back?)

files and taxesI was also working on taxes.. that is what this picture is of.  But.. while I was reorganizing the files.. it looked much the same.

labelerGot out my old but reliable labeler that I had the right color (and enough of it) label tape to complete the project.

file tabsI labeled the tabs.  I had several different kinds of tabs…. but I didn’t want to go and purchase anymore of one specific thing.. so I had no problem that some look just a little different than the others.  I tend to be more practical than anal.

I went through and sorted.  I kept all tax info of course. Also major purchases, policy info, records for kids and dogs and the rest of us for medical purposes.

One thing I did get rid of was all the bill stubs from bills I paid.  I have kept them for years.. and the reason for that was because I went through a divorce. If they want to reconfigure child support… I have had to come up with things that go back 2 years.. in all my bills.  But, since my youngest will be graduating this year, I don’t have to worry about that any more! (yippy!)  But I did keep the visa bills, just to follow up on if need be for a purchase or credit.

organized files

Here is the kids file drawer with only my boys and my file in it.

filesAnd look at this!!!

empty file drawerI have an empty drawer!!  Wow!!

So lets review…

Before File Drawer

After File Drawer

Tell me about your File Drawers!

organizing Mission Monday If you have a blog post on your file system, I’d love for you to link it to my Organizing Mission Monday link party.  This link party will be left open for a month to go with the Mission – Office that I am working on with my link party.
I would love it if you could vote for my blog! You can vote up to once a day! Thanks so much!!

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What Would Sandy Suggest? Week 4

January 18, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, How To Organize, Offices

The Make over of Another office

what would sandy suggest I really am not the queen of office make overs.. lol  But I do want to share another one that I helped a client with. I shared with you last week Jerry’s office.  This is his wife kathy’s office. She has a small 10×10 office just off their family room.

The Before

cluttered officeThe really dark blue walls, and heavy furniture made this small office, seem even smaller.  All the little pictures made the walls seem too busy cluttered officeThere didn’t seem to be a system.  Where did the papers go? cluttered office Without a system, there wasn’t specific places to put things, so things just kept getting piled. cluttered office This area behind the door became a catch all for supplies cluttered office There was hardly any place for her to actually work. cluttered office There was yet another big piece of furniture in front of the window.

What the Client wanted

1) She wanted a system for her paper 2) She wanted storage that looked nice 3) She wanted (and I promised her) a place to wrap her gifts and do her son’s scrapbook for his graduation in 6 months.

My Suggestions

1) Move out the heavy furniture. 2) Paint it a lighter color 3) Sort and declutter 3) Buy or have Jerry build two long desks/tables 4) Put shelves up on the walls above the desks 5) Move the bookshelf to the other wall

They took most all of my suggestions.

1) They wanted the walls to match the living room and so they used the teal and tan paint to match. 2) Kathy and I went shopping for storage containers. Kathy picked out the styles and looks that she wanted for her office. 3) The credenza went upstairs and we used it in Jerry’s office. 4) Jerry built two desks 5) We got shelves for above the desks (I would have liked several more) 6) We went through and decluttered 7) We got a magnetic strip and ribbon organizer for the wrapping station office afterDon’t the desk look great?  We made them long enough to go from wall to wall.. so there was plenty of space for working office afterThe basket hanging under the bulletin board was for incoming mail.  There were 2 shelves hung and cute boxes and baskets that Kathy picked out were used for storage. We labeled them so she would know what was in them. office afterI personally would have preferred clear containers, but she loved the look of these… and assured me she would know what was in them. lol office afterThis was the gift wrapping area and also where she could work on her son’s scrapbook. She wasn’t a full time scrapbooker, she just wanted to finish this project.  Her supplies are in the “luggage styled” boxes on the shelf since she didn’t need them all the time. She did keep a couple of her very favorite things on the wall, but I was able to convince her that with all that she had up there before, none of it was really appreciated. We turned the bookshelf on the other wall.  We went through and cleared out a lot of things that weren’t being used to make space for things in the office that she wanted to keep there. This was the space behind the door. We turned that shelf on the other wall. It then opened up space that we could put her wrapping paper bin behind the door.  We also later made a hanger on the wall behind the door for her gift bags.

So once again. The Before

And the After

What do you think ?  Look a little better?  I  think so. If you have an area of your home that you need help with, just leave a comment and I’ll try and feature you in coming weeks.

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Organize Your Office Using Labels

Does Your Work Place Use Labels?

labeling the officeDoes your office at work need some New Year Cleaning?  Do you have the same problems there with people not putting things where they belong?  Using your stapler and not returning it?  Opening every drawer of a file cabinet because you can’t remember what drawer has the file you want?

Personally I feel that labeling makes things easier. Office organizing is so much easier when using labels.  Do I think office work places should label?  Yes!!  Why?  I’ll give you 6 reasons why…

1) It gives a professional appearance
2) There is no question who an office accessory belongs to (stapler, hole punch etc)
3) Everyone will know what is in a specific drawer without having to open them all.
4) It makes more efficient use of everyone’s time. Not so much time is lost hunting in the wrong cabinets or files
5) It makes searching through the files a breeze
6) It makes it clear exactly where to return an item, or which shelf to store your stock on.

store room shelfHere is an store room that has supplies from a Dr. office. It needs some organization.  It is actually a store room that I organized a few years ago.

store roomI went through and reorganized were things were to go. I did a chart that had a location item, what shelf it belonged on and where it went.  There were several store rooms in this 2 story office and knowing which store room and where it was located was a problem.

What I did was to establish numbers for shelves and names for each store room.  After I had gone through and taken items out of boxes to make them quickly accessible to the Doctors to grab quickly – I reorganized them on the shelves.

What I did use to label was hot pink paper to label the names of the shelves.  I wish now I had used labels from a labeler.  I think it would have just looked neater.

dymo 360D label managerThis is a nice desktop label manager from DYMO.  It isn’t too large to carry around with you, but is a nice size to put on a desk.  I think this would be a nice thing to keep in an office, in a place that everyone could have access to it. Wouldn’t it be nice to have your stapler labeled?  No one would take it off your desk anymore! Just little touches like that can make an office run more efficiently.

labelsIt could make sprucing up your office or cubicle at work…. really nice!  This is the 3/4″ size tape. Large and easy for anyone to see. Don’t you think it is going to look great?  I know I just finished my home office and I labeled all my files,

So let me know… does your office at work label?  Do they use a label maker or do them by hand?

Disclosure: I was sent the Dymo 360D labelmanger to review (review on the labler will be coming up next week) and keep also compensated for my time. The pictures and opinions are my own.

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What Would Sandy Suggest? Week 3 – Office

January 12, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, How To Organize, Offices

Does Your Room Need Some Organizing?


I had only 2 readers from last week that need some help. Wow… I’m amazed.. you all have it together.  lol

I offered help via to 1 person who linked up on my linky last week.  Since there were only 2… they both had 50% chance of winning!

But the winner according to was #2. Handy Man Crafty Woman

So Crafty Woman… let me have it!  Send me a space that you need some help organizing and I’ll give you my suggestions.

But for this week – I am going to show you some before and after shots of one of the first offices I organized for a client.  They were my guinea pigs when I was just going  into organizing as a business.

Office beforeThis room used to be one of their kids bedrooms.  Jerry began a business building houses and ended up turning this old bedroom into an office and his business took off.  So fast that he didn’t have time to really make it work.  He brought in extra pieces from homes he was building thinking they would help his office.

office before organizingThey were really neat kitchen pieces… but the way they were, they were not providing what he needed for his office.

office before organizing He had his desk positioned by the closet to utilize it.  Not a bad idea, but again, it wasn’t really working for him.

Part of the problem.. the office wasn’t entirely his.  There were still kids books on the shelves, his wife had wrapping paper and supplies left from Christmas still all over the floor and in the closet. There were still clothes in the 2nd closet.  office before organizing

office before organizing His wife was also requesting to still have a table set up in here so that she could do her son’s scrapbook for his up coming graduation in 6 months.  I polity but firmly told her, “No… this is going to be Jerry’s office, and only Jerry’s office.  When we do your office downstairs next… I will provide you a wrapping and scrap booking  space.” She was good with that.

office before organizing Notice the kind of shelf to the left. It is more like an open box… there is a bottom shelf, but really not serving much purpose.. I’ll show you how we used it in upcoming pics.

What the problems were:

1) It wasn’t Jerry’s office. There was clutter from other family members that weren’t business oriented in his space.

2) The nice kitchen cabinets were not functional for what he needed.  It seemed a shame not to use them, but without the proper shelves in them they were actually just taking up space.

3) The layout wasn’t working for Jerry.

4) Because of the mess he couldn’t bring clients into this office, and even if it were cleaned up he didn’t have the space to spread out house plans to show them.

What Jerry requested:

1) Have a surface that he can spread out plans and have clients be able to go over with him.

2) Clean it up of course

3) He wanted storage that he could lay his house plans out flat for the ones he was currently working on. He didn’t want to have to roll them all up.

4) He wanted older plans within reach

5) He didn’t mind going out and buying all new furniture.

What I suggested:

1) We take out all the big kitchen cabinets

2) We rearrange the desk so he can see who is coming in the door.

3) We either buy or make a conference table

4) We get out all the “non-Jerry office” items out of this office.

5) I’ll figure out storage for his house plans

6) We put up some shelves above the desk and move him away from the closet.

7) We bring up the credenza from his wives office downstairs (which was way too big for her office) and utilize it in this office.

Check out the office “After” Pictures

office after organizing

What we did: (I am pretty sure they pained the room

1) We cleared all the clutter out.  Took everything that didn’t’ belong in his office out. No more kids books, wrapping paper, clothes, kitchen cabinets.

2) We brought up the credenza from his wives office (see the far wall underneath the house plans)

organizing house plansIt fit perfect in this space and made a good table for the house plan system I created.  I was frustrated with this because it wasn’t deep enough for the plans.  I would have loved to have gotten him this drawer system to lay plans flat.  But he didn’t like that idea. He didn’t want to have to open the drawers to get to plans he was working on frequently.  I showed him this idea and he loved it.  The rolled plans are ones that are in the works, but he isn’t’ working on at the moment.  The bottom shelves were measured so that the could lay his plans flat like he wanted.

storage for house plans The closet is being used for storage of office materials and older house plans.  Check out how what those plans are in.  They are boxes that we stacked… Great solution… no cost!  His wife actually came up with this one!  It worked great.

organized office Jerry decided he wanted his desk against the wall… not facing out like I suggested. And that is ok.. this is his space.. he works her everyday – not me.   But we put shelves up on the wall for him to utilize.

organized office Remember that shelf I told you to pay attention to?  See it?  Jerry used it to build this conference table (remember he is a builder) He used it as his base.  It is long enough and wide enough for him to spread his plans out on.  Also 2 chairs will go on the opposite side so he can have clients view the plans with him.

organized office This is the same shot where I showed you the piled high kitchen cabinet? The very first picture.  We cleared off the book shelves. Got magazine holders for all his building magazines.  He was going to frame his house pictures on the wall, but just tacked them up to figure out where he was going to put them.

So what do you think?  I was very pleased with it.  It is officially his office.  I’ll show you his wife’s office on another post. Hers came out great too.

Since the link party didn’t seem like a popular thing to do… if you leave a comment that you would like help with a space, I’ll still do a random drawing for those who asked for help to be featured.

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What Would Sandy Suggest? Week 2

January 5, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, How To Organize, Offices

Part 2 of Mel’s Office

mels office before

Be sure to check all the way to the end of the post! I am making this a link up so that you could have a chance to have your space featured too and hopefully I can give you some suggestions to help organize your own space!

Mel from Mama Buzz has been gracious enough to let me feature her space first! This is Mel’s office.  Last week on “What would Sandy Suggest” was part 1 and I went over some basics on what I thought she should do to organize her office.  Much of what she has is just clutter that won’t be hard to clean up. But like many of us.. it has has taken over enough that Mel wasn’t even using her office.

I will try to give advice on what I think would work…. without making a major overhaul of your space… and suggesting things that are out of many’s price range.  Of course I could tell her to get all new furniture and start fresh… but I know if someone told me that.. I’d tell them to take a hike because that wouldn’t be in my budget.

See that 2nd file cabinet underneath the games?  Remember that because I plan to move it.

Mel office This is the other side of the office.  It is her hubby’s desk.  I was trying to figure out what the 2 big black things were on his desk and then I realized they were both computer monitors….

mels office - bookshelf

This is the doorway in and the bookshelf close up.


1) Hubby has no desk space. It is full of computer monitors, computer, printer and keyboard. Where does he write?  Where to papers go that come in?

2) I like the little shelf above the monitors, it just needs to be cleaned off.

3) The bookshelf facing the door seems to have little purpose other than to be a spot to put things. (That so often happens, we all want a “drop spot” in a room)

4) It looks like children books on the bookshelf.  This is a working office.  There should not be any children’s supplies in this office. (I understand if the kids come in while you are working, but let them bring in 1 book or 1 game to keep them busy – and then those items go back to the kids area when they are finished with them.


1) Declutter first. Go through the sorting system that I gave Mel last week.

2)  Move the bookshelf out of the office.  It is small and I’m sure could be of use in another room, maybe even at the end of a hallway. The kids book could go in it there.

3) Move the desk down away from the wall enough to move that computer unit down onto the floor to the left of the desk.

4) Move that 2nd file cabinet from Mel’s desk over next to Hubby’s desk.  Mel – you can move your scrapbook organizer up to one of the shelves. If you use it frequently, I think once you have sorted through the things on your desk, you would have room for it.  Maybe you could move the circuit cutter or laminating machine up to the shelf and move the organizer over there.

5) Move the printer on top of the file cabinet to the right of the desk.

6) This frees up some valuable desk space.

7) I also would recommend putting in shelves over hubby’s desk like you have over Mels. If there were books on that book shelf that you removed that you need, they could go up there.

mel office - closetNow for the closet area.

cluttered bookshelfAnd a closer look at that bookshelf


1) Many more things that do not belong in an office are adding to the clutter. The boxes and keyboard or exercise equipment (can’t really tell…lol) need to move out.

2) The bins in the closet need to be gone through. I talked to Mel and she said they were going through them and there was a lot they could get out of there.

3) The bookshelf is completely full.  Again – a good sort will more than likely free up a lot of room on this bookshelf. They should all be books related to what takes place in this office.  Mel’s business, Hubby business, computers, scrapbooking, finances.


1) Clear out the clutter.  If it doesn’t belong in the office… move it out.

2) Clean off the bookshelf. I suggest taking everything off it… I know.. there will be a big mess.  Clean the shelves good.  Then go through them one by one.  Ask yourselves these questions as you go through the books:

A) Does this relate to what takes place in this office?  – if so… keep  If not… move.
B) Have I read this already? If so.. then donate.
C) Will I read it again?
D) Is it a reference book I will refer to again?
E) Will I ever read this?  Be honest… if you know you won’t.. donate it. Don’t feel guilty over it.
F) What purpose does this book serve here?

3) Go through the knick knacks on the shelf. Are the pictures out dated?  Do you even notice or look at them where they are?  If they are out dated you can do a couple of things. Put a new picture in, or just removed it completely.  Again…. you don’t have to feel guilty about moving a picture or taking it down.  But, if there is some space on the newly cleared out shelves above Mel’s desk then a picture or two might be nice.  Same with the other things, decide what purpose it serves. Keep a couple special items if you would like, and move the others to another room, or donate them if you realize you really don’t need them.

4) The closet – I could see something really neat here.  There are a couple of options:

A) Take out those bins first of all and take off the hanging bar.  Now… you could take off the doors and add in a cubby unit (be sure to measure first!!) This could give this office a really neat feel.

expedit bookcase

You could then put in something like this from Ikea. This is the Expedit 5×5 bookcase. It is 72″x72″.  I just got one in the Walnut color myself for my office… They cost $199.00.

With that in the closet you could maybe get rid of that big bookcase in the office and it would open up the office a lot.  This could also be used for storing other items from the office.  Mel’s scrapbooking supplies, hubby’s computer disc etc..

B) Take the doors off the closet and remove the hanging bar and move the existing bookshelf into the closet. (measure first).  Again this will free up the space in the office and make it feel more open.

C) Leave the doors on the closet and move the book shelf in and be able to close it off.

D) Leave the doors on, take the hanging bar out and build shelves into the closet. Make several at different heights maybe.  One larger one that could hold the bins. Some at medium heights such as 12″ that baskets could fit on for office supplies.  Then some closer together that books or papers could be organized on.  Maybe don’t even take them all the way across the closet – leave an open tall space on the end and if there is no other place to store the vacuum or something taller, it could fit in this space.

I could go into much more detail with things, but I don’t think anyone would want to read it all.  LOL  These are my basic thoughts for Mel’s office…

Please be sure to send an “after” picture once you have organized it.  Don’t worry if you don’t use any of my ideas… lol  Remember they are just suggestions.

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