A Workspace in Need of a Plan

I recently received a call for help from a lovely reader who needed an entry way overhaul. Her front area had become a dumping ground for clutter and she longed for it to function as a space for shoes as well as a workspace. Does this sound like a familiar problem? Whether your workspace is a part of your entryway or you have a home office, it is easy for paper clutter to get out of control.

I have a few ideas up my sleeve to help get the paper clutter off the ground and make a functional workspace! Here is a picture of the workspace.

photo (1)

It’s possible I spent way too much time on this project! I had so much fun planning and virtual shopping, and I got some great ideas for our next giveaway! So seriously, if you ever need a little help with organizing ideas shoot me an email. I am itching to plan another “virtual” space!

Back to the task at hand. With such a small space it is easy to be busting at the seams. It makes maximizing your storage even more important. As you can see from the picture, the small desk already in the space doesn’t give much in the way of storage. With no drawers and barely a desktop, there just isn’t room for supplies and working.

Here the proposed plan to give an abundance of upper and lower storage.

Entry plan3

Supply list

1. Ikea shelf $30 (You can have these cut to size)

2. Ikea drawer shelf $58 (If it doesn’t fit can use another #1 shelf)

3. Ikea MICKE rolling cart $60

4. Ikea BAROMETER light $50

5. Desktop file box from The Container Store $20

6. Ikea GALANT table top $70

7. 2 Ikea BILLY bookcases $80

total = $368


Maximizing Floor Space

When you don’t have room for both a desk and a bookcase, combine them! This setup can easily be made out of repurposed items. An old table top with two matching bookshelves can make a new desk in a snap. The two small bookshelves give lots of room to store books and supplies in baskets.

Since the new bookcase/desk lacks drawers, filing or otherwise, a rolling cart is the perfect solution. It allows you to vary and expand the small workspace when pulled out from under the desk. This one from Ikea works because of its slim footprint, but really any rolling file cart will do. Another option is to put casters on a filing container you already own. The cart can be stored under the desk or on the outer left side of the desk depending on what fits the space.


Vertical storage

Two wall shelves just left of the window continues the vertical storage plan. Added drawers as a part of one shelf adds even more space to store away needed items! Document Boxes and baskets or even covered shoe boxes can be placed along the shelves to create “pretty” storage while getting everything up off the desktop to free up space for work.

One thing that should stay on the desk top is a small file box, (I used one from The Container Store in the above plans). This file box will hold action files. Any papers in progress, current projects, and pending goes into the action files. You can read more about an action file box here and I even made a little video about how I use it to process my mail.

In the previous entry plan, I moved your hanging mail files from the far left of the wall above your shoes. In the sketch above, you can see how I relocated these hanging storage files to the wall on the right of the desk. The files are still close enough to drop mail into, but now they are housed next to the desk, where mail is processed.

First though, let’s take a closer look at the hanging mail file. It looks like the files have become a catchall for papers. Sort though the papers and pay attention to why they are being stored there. Do the papers represent tasks to do? Flyers for upcoming events?

After the papers are sorted, make a hanging file for each category to go into the action files. Action files create a zone to store like with like and group activities and documents together. Calls to be made, bills to pay, data to enter, and items to look up on line can all go quicker when these tasks are grouped together by type. Already sitting down to make a call? Go ahead and return the other three calls that are waiting for you in your calls to be made file.

The last step is to add a little color with a red lamp and other accessories to make the space fun and functional.


More Options

Still thinking about other options? (I told you I had way too much fun with this!)

Check out the Ikea EXPEDIT desk and bookshelf combination for $120 or the Ikea desk with cubbie legs for $106 (Yes, that is its official name). I don’t think either of these options give as much storage as the BILLY bookcase option, but they are worth a look. The other desk pictured below (on the far right) is from The Container Store, but at $215 it is the most expensive.

Entry plan1

If you shop thrift stores and craigslist you could find everything you need to make your own bookshelf/ desk for cheap. Just throw a tablecloth over it if you’re lacking the time or energy to refinish tired looking furniture. Or you could embrace the shabby chic look like me.

Whatever you eventually decide on, please share your results! We would love to get updates on your organizing efforts.

If you are like me and can’t get enough of office inspiration, be sure to check out my organized office Pinterest board. Make sure you have enough time to stop and stay awhile because there is plenty to drool over!

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