AE Projects In Progress | The Office

Big things are happening here in the office this week.

Katie and I are moving everything out in anticipation of new laminate wood floors being put in early next week.

August marks three years of living in this house. Last January (2012) my Mom and Katie helped me paint the walls white (here's a look at it before it was painted).

I still love the white walls but there's a lot I don't like about how I function in this space. It seems to be more an issue of space allocation since the room is definitely big enough. Right now I really only use about 1/4 of the space for actual creating - the space between my computer desk and my stand-up table where I usually work on pages. Right now there are things covering every surface and nothing feels very functional.

That said, we've haven't been keeping the office very organized or even picked up lately because we knew we were going to be moving everything out and most likely not bringing it all back. We've been making plans for ways to re-arrange the space to make it more functional and I'll share more about that as we begin the process of moving things around and back in once the floors are done.

In the meantime, here's a look at what it looks like right now - before everything is moved out - with a bit of commentary about things that have/haven't worked:

This is looking into the office. It's basically a bonus room that sits above my garage. There are four main "sections" to this space, each with storage options: (1) Katie's desk/computer, (2) a couch/tv, (3) the kitchen island where I stand to make stuff (this includes a bunch of different storage spots like shelves, lockers, and a bakers rack), and (4) my computer desk.

Initially I liked this sectioned set-up but now that I've been in the room for a few years I know there's quite a bit of wasted space - especially over by the tv. I'm also not using my storage very effectively - evidenced by way too many piles on the ground.

A look at Katie's current working area. Her table is just big enough for the computer and when she scrapbooks she sits on the ground.

Across from Katie is the couch/TV area. The kids hang out on the couch. We store things on the shelves below the tv. The white drawer unit next to the tv is from Ikea and it was missing pieces that we had to order.

Now that I have a guest room/tv room downstairs I'm not sure I need this little hide-a-bed couch in my office anymore. I do want to still have the tv but we could move that around and get a bunch more usable space at the same time.

Shelf unit that currently divides the space between my work table and Katie's desk. Love the look of it but it's holding things that are longer term storage (less-used stuff). On top of it are paper trays from Display Dynamics that hold pattern papers arranged by color and type (embossed, etc).

The top of that shelf unit would actually be a great work space to hold something like Project Life out in the open. Considering that as we decide how to arrange things this next week.

I've done lots of different styles of organization over the years. Most of the time I end up back at some sort of open organization - such as baskets - seeing things helps me remember I have them. As you might notice though, there's more stuff in piles on the floor than there are on these shelves.

And even though I love those red drawer units from Ikea, once something goes in there it's like it never existed. I forget to check there.

Having the sewing machine out and available is key for me. I will definitely create a station for that in the new set-up.

One thing I've continued to use from close to the beginning of my scrapbooking adventure is this kitchen island. I'm still a stand-up scrapbooker and that's not changing anytime soon. My plan in the office re-do is to sell/share/or use this one somewhere else and get two new kitchen islands from Ikea that can be put back to back to form one large work surface that will be in a similar space in the middle of the floor.

I like that I can work on either side of the table. I don't like that the work surface feels so small and I also don't like that I'm prone to piling things on this table too. I end up with this tiny working area in this nice big room.

I still love the lockers and they will come back in here for sure. They are great for holding paints, ribbons, cards, inks, etc.

The other big piece I added this past year was a baking rack.

I first saw this idea in an issue of Better Homes & Gardens Scrapbook Etc. magazine. I thought it was genius. One tray for each project in progress. I still think it's an awesome idea but lately I've just used it for storage vs. part of a working system of in-process projects (or projects-in-waiting). I'm hoping to use that more in the new incarnation of my working space.

I purchased this locally at a restaurant supply store that delivered and brought it upstairs into my office.

Looking from the kitchen island over towards my computer desk.

The spot where I sit and do most of my work. Small metal shelves hold printers, hard-drives, etc.

And this is looking towards the door of the office that leads to a small room before going out into the main part of the house. The shelves that hold all my albums were built by my friend Kim's husband right after we moved in to the house. Across from those built-ins is an "under-the-eaves" storage room that currently holds luggage and a bunch of canvases that are just waiting to be used for something.

Moving all this stuff out is going to be a major undertaking. I've got some ideas about purging and making decisions on what to keep and what to donate that I'll share in another post this week or next.

Here we go!

Two weeks ago I purchased Totally Rad's Rad Lab and I've used it on just about every photo I've printed since then. It works in Photoshop or Elements 7 and higher.

It's so easy because all I have to do is open the photo, click a button to launch Rad Lab and then click once more to select an adjustment/filter for the photo. My favorite right now is "lights on" which seems to lighten and brighten just enough.

Lightroom presets and their original actions are also on sale now.

You can also enter the code "totallyrad" and you get an extra 15% off.

62 thoughts

  1. lindsey

    2013-03-20 17:22:08 -0400

    oh i am loving that you are working on organizing your space. again always so real. my space is piles too, so i look forward to your thoughts and inspiration as always.

    also how long does the code for radlab last? thanks in advance!

  2. Wendy Goundrey

    2013-03-20 18:06:34 -0400

    It was so much fun to sit comfortably in my living room and still get a thorough tour of your craft room! Good luck with the renovation. The new floor will be fabulous. Can't wait to see the "after" tour!

  3. J3SS1C4

    2013-03-20 18:25:29 -0400

    Thank you for sharing your space! I'm super excited to see your finished space! My OLW action task this month is clearing out my craft room and finally getting it sorted as well, since it's the one task that gets put off at home all the time, since this room is also a storage room. So far I've gotten rid of a box of rubbish and a full crate of stuff is ready to go to be donated, and there is so much more breathing room! I'm still working at clearing off the desktop though, and also with going through a few more of the storage crates in there, but I love it so much more right now! Now to come up with some awesome storage ideas! Can't wait to see how you organise it all and to hear how it adjusts your workflow!

    Also, thank you for the rad lab code, I've been debating getting that for quite awhile now!

  4. Liz

    2013-03-20 20:34:16 -0400

    Always feels good to get organized! When I recently straightened up I found multiple things not even opened yet! Check out this build it yourself craft table. It might do the trick and is inexpensive to make.

  5. roberta

    2013-03-20 21:41:28 -0400

    great to see you get messy too! just an FYI on the radlab promo, they told me today that you can not combine promos so promo can not be combined with the sale prices :(

  6. Peggy

    2013-03-20 22:45:07 -0400

    Hi Ali!! I am so happy to see that you work like I do and that your studio looks like mine does. I thought I was the only one that works this way!! I also have my studio above our garage with the slanted little walls, which I LOVE but very limited to going verticle! I have one question for you....the blue computer desk....WHERE DID YOU FIND IT??? My dad made one just like that and it was painted EXACTLY the same color. My mom got rid of it and I just wonder????

  7. Kathy L

    2013-03-20 22:55:19 -0400

    Love the Baking Rack idea. I might just look into that. Nice to be able to have projects in progress and not constantly putting everything away to only have to pull back out again. Looks like there is a great deal of space between the shelves so you can really keep a bunch of things on the shelf.

    Having a separate station for the sewing machine for me would be key. Mine is stuck in a closet and therefore never comes out.

  8. Jill

    2013-03-21 11:41:07 -0400

    Love this process! Wish I was there to help! I love organizing and changing things around! Love the lockers and any "fun" unique things to organize all your stuff! Super fun project, enjoy! Can't wait to see it come together!

  9. Deb

    2013-03-21 16:35:39 -0400

    The baking rack would be great for painting or things that need to dry. I need to rearrange my room as its just storage right now.

  10. Lisa Bee

    2013-03-21 18:51:49 -0400

    Thank you Ali & Katie for sharing the before photos, I can hardly wait to see the after photos! You two are surely going to have much fun & many laughs as you take on this re-do studio project. It will be so worth it! Hang in there!

  11. Patricia

    2013-03-21 18:53:49 -0400

    Hi Ali,

    I am lucky enough to have a dedicated creative space also--not as large as yours, but thn I don't have to share it. I have lots of hobbies each with its own materials--paper crafting, sewing, knitting, etc.

    The only way I stay organized (and use my stuff) is to sort stuff by type and label everything--especially closed storage (like your red drawers). I like closed storage for "back up supplies like adhesives, thread, interfacing, etc. stuff I like in the open--paper in trays like yours, fabric on open shelves, etc.

    Can't wait to see your after photos.

  12. dawn

    2013-03-21 20:11:18 -0400

    I'm so excited for you both and can't wait to see what it will look like. Thanks so much for this awesome before post!! Good luck and enjoy the process, it will be soooo worth it!!

  13. April Antonio

    2013-03-22 03:15:34 -0400

    Thank you so much for sharing your space, I enjoy seeing how others organize. Also, I love room re-dos, I am constantly organzing my scrap space and seeing what works and what doesn't. I also tend to use my supplies more if I see them so I utlize a lot of clear containers, baskets, open jars, and see through drawers!

  14. Project Life 2013 | Week Eight | Ali Edwards

    2013-03-22 06:00:22 -0400

    [...] feeling a renewed energy around here. Maybe it’s packing up and cleaning out the office for the new floors, maybe it’s the start spring (even if mainly just by the calendar), maybe [...]

  15. Irma P.

    2013-03-22 07:17:06 -0400

    Hi Ali,
    I'm thrilled that you shared the reorganization of your scrap space process. I'll be moving into a new - just a wee bit larger - scrap room, so I'm reading up on other people's tips & ideas on this topic.

    One thing I was hoping to see you mention (perhaps you can do that in a future blog post ;) is the use of an inspiration board. I see the resemblance of it hanging on your wall. Do you still use it for inspiration for new projects and ideas? I'm wrestling with having one in my scrap room because placing storage shelving across the entire wall of my room would give me much needed extra storage space. However, then I won't have space for the inspiration board. So far I'm going with extra shelving.

  16. Melody

    2013-03-23 09:42:01 -0400

    If you like the concept of the bakers rack, and if closed drawers don't work well for you, please google "Otsuka-Gofukuten kimono store by Yusuke Seki". Look at the photos and imagine this space is your home office..... YUM!

  17. Jen Morris

    2013-03-23 18:05:04 -0400

    Loved this! Please would you link to this post in my "Your mess tells your story" link up party? You can find it here:

  18. vicki dutcher

    2013-03-24 10:10:15 -0400

    I am completely in awe over the Baker's rack! Genius would be the word for sure! Amazing space -- the after should be very nice

  19. Norma Gaston

    2013-03-26 17:40:15 -0400

    I so enjoy your blog! Your office looks like mine and I'm not getting new floors! Lots of creative genius in the clutter......yours and mine! Good luck with the redo! I love to see how scrap rooms evolve!

  20. Mallory

    2013-03-26 17:45:54 -0400

    Love the ideas! I'm constantly changing up my space too! :)

  21. Brandie Partello

    2013-03-30 11:22:12 -0400

    I think you have too many types of storage for the same items. All your paper should be in one type of storage, Pens in another, stickers in one etc. That is how you can stream line it.

  22. AE Projects In Progress | The Office, Part II | Ali Edwards

    2013-04-01 06:01:15 -0400

    [...] You can check out the first part of this series here. [...]

  23. Amy B

    2013-04-05 07:23:22 -0400

    Thanks for all the wonderful ideas to organize our supplies and also making our scrapbooking area look wonderful!

  24. AE Projects In Progress | The Office, Part IV + A $150 Minted Giveaway | Ali Edwards

    2013-06-28 11:11:07 -0400

    [...] more about the transformation and the process here and here and [...]

  25. Suzanne

    2013-08-29 10:42:50 -0400

    Ali, could you share what paint you used for your studio? For some reason I am having a difficult time with the right white! I think it's because I've only used color before. Thank you for your help!


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