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Thursday, March 1, 2012

Finished! Himself's Office Makeover Reveal

While my Valentine is away in Alaska (for those who are new here, Himself is the medical officer on the M/V Independence – a fishing processor ship that works in the Bering Sea of Alaska) I decided I wanted to organize his office for him.  He is away from home a lot and when he’s home… he does not want to mess with organizing his office.
So I did it as my Valentine gift to him.  Too bad he won’t get to see it for many more weeks!
I put a lot of thought into how each area could best serve his needs. 

His closet was the scariest.  Here’s the “BEFORE” shot…
Most of that was what I had stuffed in there when we moved in.  It was a serious mess.

This was my “back breaker”.  Everything was pulled out and I dragged out some plywood to make 3 sturdy shelves.  With things on shelves, he can easily access whichever tub he needs to work on his family history or writing projects.
For the tubs I ‘robbed Peter to pay Paul’… moving some of my things out of tubs and into the boxes from his closet so I could have a matching set for the closet (when I redo my hobby room this summer, I’ll be going thru all those boxes anyway).  I put things from his cardboard boxes straight into the tubs since he has his own system that works for him.  I put oversized address labels on the tubs so he can label each one. 
One the bottom are old (some are really old) LP records and the machine to digitally record them. 
The next shelf up is the “quick access” area.  These baskets are to hold things like his electronics’ misc parts, items he takes back and forth to work, and so on. 
Next two shelves are the tubs for his “things”. 
And the top shelf has a few smaller covered boxes.  I covered the boxes in contact paper I use for making stencils (which btw, works great) and other things that sticky paper is good for.  I had grabbed it up when I found it on a cheap sale.
I found three cardboard magazine holders when I cleared out my hobby room, and I’ve used those for his magazines. 
The old enamel wash basin was his great-uncle’s.  It will be used to catch his stocking caps and gloves.
Several of the boxes in his closet weren’t even his!  Those were removed and put where they belonged.  (I’d been looking for some of that stuff!)

And I replaced the uncomfortable folding chair that is the extra seating in there with one of my comfy lawn folding chairs.  Much nicer! 

There was never a good place for Himself to leave his jacket.  These horseshoe hooks were made by one of his friends.  I think they serve the purpose well!

His desk before was just depressing.  Crowded with clutter, there was no room for him to do any sort of work at it.
All of the clutter came off the desk table. 

Then I moved it to the right to make a space for the file shelf. 
To organize his immediate paperwork, I moved my now unused file sorter (which had been stuffed in his closet) over to his desk.  I covered it with the same contact paper I used in the closet.  And his desk organizer fits perfectly on top.  (Opps!  I took the photo before I put in the dividers back in! )
The shelf over his computer monitor gets his speakers up and out of the way.  Using an old book makes it fun. 
Under the table I neaten his computer components.  The CPU tower was pushed over so it is out of the way.  I moved the printer onto a cart I picked up some months ago at the ReStore.  It was for a project I had in mind but it was too tall.  Bonus - it has space to store the printer paper!
Himself uses a lot of files and the traditional filing cabinets just didn’t work for him.  He likes to be able to bring the whole thing over to a work area; not having to go back and forth. 
I ditched the old file drawers and gathered up 5 plastic file tubs from my stash.  I’ve picked these up over time so they don’t match perfectly but since they are all dark, that is close enough.   Now he can have a file tub for each broad subject and can move them to wherever he wants to use them.  The basket on the top file tub is to catch papers until he’s ready to file them.
A ledge shelf over his desk keeps his mementoes visible but out of the way. 

And speaking of his mementoes, before the makeover his shelves before where crammed up stuff.  Sad to say… some of it was my stuff too.

I cleared the bookshelf of everything except books to start with a clean slate.  Then I put back in a few things to personalize the space.  Other things went up on that ledge above his desk.
The black shelf was moved over from his desk.  It was serving no purpose there but to gather clutter.  Now it holds his guide books and binoculars, and is extra space for displaying things. (The blank spot by the eagle is where a display case will sit.  That case will be holding the American flag he was given when he retired from the Army.  It’s at the framer right now.)

The hutch displays a lot of his family memorabilia and serves for some hidden storage of things including office supplies and extra Bibles he gives away.   
It has been a long month of work in this office but now that it is finished, I am so happy with the results!  Himself is going to be blown away!  (I’ll have to do another blog about his reaction when he sees it - LOL). 
There is a little ‘curb appeal’ left to be done.  I have not stained or painted anything (wood, organizers, tubs, etc) as I don’t know what he would like – and I am not going to make that decision for him. 
As part of the “29 Day Organizing Challenge”, Laura gave us seven questions to answer to summarize what the challenge meant to each of us.
1. What space did you decide to organize and why?
The room I decided to organize was my husband’s office.  I picked this room because he absolutely hates to organize and I enjoy it.  He is incredibly supportive of my interests and hobbies so I decided this would be an excellent surprise for him.

2. What steps did you take to ensure you completed the space within the 29 day timeline?

Military campaigns have gone off with less planning than I put into this office makeover!  I made a list of everything I wanted to do and broke it into 3 weeks (see #3) of work. 

3. What was the hardest part of the challenge for you and how did you overcome it?

I lost a week of work when I went to visit my family.  That was overcome by planning for the time I
wouldn’t be working on it.

Plus, at the same time I started on this, I had my most of my house interior painted… space for things emptied out of Himself’s office was at a premium!  I compensated for that problem by stuffing my guest room and master bath with EVERYTHING… and not worrying about the temporary mess.

4. What did you do with the “stuff” you were able to purge out of your newly organized space?

There wasn’t a lot of purging tho the trash I found went into the trash can!  “Stuff” that was cluttering just needed a home to be put away in.  And that was done.

5. Tell me one of your proudest moments during this challenge?

Finishing!  And thinking of the amazement Himself will have when he walks into his newly organized office.  I am so excited waiting for that!

6. Explain any organizing “tools” you used to help you create additional space and to establish some limits and boundaries?

Shelves were the greatest help.  By creating shelving ‘zones’ he will be able to get to what he needs and maintain the organization.  I put in 3 different shelving areas AND cleared up his bookshelf.

7. What is ONE piece of advice you’d give to someone else to encourage them on their organizational journey?

Know in your mind what your storage issues are and make a plan from there. 


  1. There's something so satisfying about seeing a great organizational before and after. Great job Teri! ~Lili

  2. I admire your organizational skills. Fabulous job and I am sure that Himself will love it!

  3. That first before and after shot is like night and day! It looks really good. Good job!

  4. what a nice workspace. Love the boxes, bins and baskets for storage!

  5. You did an amazing job. Your hubby is going to love it. Great job.


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