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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!

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68 thoughts

  1. Diane says…
    03/20/2013

    Hi Ali!
    Thanks for sharing your before photos of your room. One thing I've always wondered is how you organize your supplies to keep track of their source for credits at the bottom of your posts? Once stuff comes into my room, it's out of the packaging and there's no way I can remember for credits.
    Looking forward to seeing the transformation in your space!
    ~Diane

    Reply 0 Replies
  2. Toni from says…
    03/20/2013

    Thanks for always being real. I am organizing my craft space this month as well. Here's hoping that we pull through.

    Reply 0 Replies
  3. Dawn Ritchie says…
    03/20/2013

    The very first thought I had when I saw the tv area was "mount the tv on the wall". We mounted ours and it's been a big difference. We got rid of our tiny glass tv stand and put in something more substantial that works for us to store books & movies. Really love it.

    Reply 0 Replies
  4. Jen says…
    03/20/2013

    Ali,

    THANK YOU for sharing your space and life and creativity. I have stuff spread out all over the dining room (I have no dedicated space) and often feel defeated before even starting by all the mess. Just need a new perspective.

    Reply 0 Replies
  5. orange gearle says…
    03/20/2013

    Ohhhh! I cannot wait for the after photos! How wonderful that you have this space (I have a VERY small section of the basement, but I'm not complaining). I also love that you "keep it real". ;-)

    Reply 0 Replies
  6. Kris says…
    03/20/2013

    Glad to see we all have scrap rooms that look like this every so often. Cant wait to see the after photos as Im working on cleaning up and organizing mine too.

    Reply 0 Replies
  7. Sue says…
    03/20/2013

    I have always felt that this is such a ïtem/product heavy" hobby! I love it but it does consume lots of space for many small items. It was refreshing to see that I am not the only one struggling with how to organize my stuff so that I have maximum space and access to all it. I really need to purge and reorganize my space and you have given me the motivation to begin that task! Thanks so much for sharing Ali.

    Reply 0 Replies
  8. Lisa W. says…
    03/20/2013

    THIS is always ALWAYS a work in progress for me as well. I have a nice room, but I have outgrown it. BUT with that being said I too need to purge big time. Many things un~oraganized and not in use. My friend Kendra (awesome beuatifully talented scrapbooker) and I often discuss "our rooms"...I think one of the biggest things for us is cute...we love to make it cute! Special things on the wall, ya know if it's SO cute you got to have it. I trualy think its ALL part of being creative. And if you don't feel good in your room to "create" then things just won't happen. Even as messy (and its terrible messy morst of the time) when I go into my scrapbook room it just simply makes me feel good!!! Ali, I cannot wait to see this transformation, nothing my gets my heart pumping than re~doing/re~decorating a room, and a scrapbook room makes it even sweeter:) Thanks for sharing, looking SO forward to the posts to come!!!

    Reply 0 Replies
  9. linda says…
    03/20/2013

    thanks for sharing, as it's interesting to see peoples' scrap spaces. i certainly change things around in my space as my habits morph and as my process dictates a change of some kind. you have to live in a space a bit to know if it works, because sometimes everything can be perfectly organized and pretty, but then not be as efficient or useful as you use the space!

    Reply 0 Replies
  10. BARB T says…
    03/20/2013

    Oh my goodness, you have such an awesome space in which to work! I too am in the midst of organizing my creative space. DH gave me built in cabinetry for my Christmas gift. Then surprised me with an early anniversary gift of a semi custom island. The cabinetry and laminate wood floor have been installed. The walls are being painted, and the island should be ready this week. All of my supplies are currently living in the living room awaiting their new home. I am purging and organizing while I wait to get into my new room. I am anxious to see how you organize your enormous space. Thank you for sharing.

    Reply 0 Replies
  11. Cathy L. says…
    03/20/2013

    Very fun to see your space, thanks for sharing! I also stand up to scrap, and I end up working in a very small space because I pile stuff everywhere! The new flooring will look great, enjoy!

    Reply 0 Replies
  12. Terri says…
    03/20/2013

    "I end up with this tiny working area in this nice big room." Most.accurate.sentence.

    Thanks for posting this thought-provoking article, Ali. I have a similar space in that it has zones and tons of room but my creating area is the smallest part of it. Your words made me reconsider what my priority should be in my craft room. Will I be more productive with a more useful and efficient WORKING area? Absolutely.

    Looking forward to the next installment of your revision/re-seeing of your crafting process.

    T

    Reply 0 Replies
  13. laura g. says…
    03/20/2013

    good luck on the re do!! it will be great once it's done! this makes me want to clean out my space and re-organize it. keep the red drawer unit, but label the drawers...it's cute and you like red! (me too!)

    Reply 0 Replies
  14. Elizabeth says…
    03/20/2013

    My space is the most organized it's ever been right now but it's all about to get thrown out the window when we move again and I go from a full room to carving out a corner somewhere for a year. Ugh. But! Don't give up on that red file drawer from IKEA... I have six silver ones all lined up and they hold all embellishments except letter stickers and ribbon, which I keep in baskets. I'm a rifler so I love that I can rifle through, even pull the drawer out and set it on the floor, and then put it back when I'm done. They are the perfect size for dividing things up into categories... might be something to consider--getting rid of some other storage for more of the same kind! If you decide to ditch it for your stuff you could save it for Anna's craft supplies--one of those is perfect for keeping a kid organized.

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. karen c says…
      03/20/2013

      If you keep the red drawers you might label them. I too have to see everything and I have a dresser with labels on every drawer; the labels help me see what's inside.

  15. Megan Anderson says…
    03/20/2013

    Love the idea of the baker's rack! I'm getting ready for Organizing FUNdamentals this week, and I'm really trying to reflect about what's worked and what hasn't in all of my different scrap spaces.

    Reply 0 Replies
  16. alexandra says…
    03/20/2013

    I am trying to find my own balance of what to have out in the open and what to have hidden in storage boxes, drawers and cupboards. Lately I'm feeling the need to have lots of stuff put away and just a few key things out... trying to streamline my life and my environment but it's certainly a process.

    Your studio/office is going to be fabulous when it's all done... can't wait to see how you and Katie transform it.
    xo

    Reply 0 Replies
  17. MichelleS says…
    03/20/2013

    I have been reading your blog for years and love posts like this one. So real and honest. I have those red cabinets too and although they are cute, I don't find them very functional. The drawers always seem to stick. I've been simplifying my house for the last year and the big changes happen when you get ruthless with purging. Good luck! Can't wait to see the changes.

    Reply 0 Replies
  18. Pidgen says…
    03/20/2013

    I love what you said about the red drawers - "once something goes in there it’s like it never existed." lol. I have realized that I'm the exact way. Although it was a bit frustrating {I'd love to close everything off} it's made my organizing and activity level so much greater!! Loved this tour! Can't wait to see what you do.

    Reply 0 Replies
  19. Lisa Cole says…
    03/20/2013

    How about a wall mounted tv stand in the upper left corner from where it sits right now (removes the shelving unit from below - put a Wii or other game console downstairs) and then just have a few fun and colorful bean bags that the kids can pull out to hang with you when they want?

    Reply 0 Replies
  20. Amber says…
    03/20/2013

    We so often see all the beautiful things you create in this space, we don't get to see the beautiful mess you create through this process! So glad to see you're just like the rest of us, constantly changing snd trying to find what works best. Thanks for sharing Ali!

    Reply 0 Replies
  21. Jessica @The Mom Creative says…
    03/20/2013

    I love seeing your space. We moved into a home in September that has a bonus room that we made the craft room as well. It still has tennis racket wallpaper up, so needless to say, a redesign is coming. Love seeing your mess because it reminds me so much of my space - ha! xo

    Reply 0 Replies
  22. Sue says…
    03/20/2013

    Just a question put out there to all you wonderful crafters!!..When you purge your ëxtras"-what do you do with them? Lots of my things aren't meeting my needs now but are still in good/new condition. I just don't want to throw them out. Any ideas?? Thanks!

    Reply 4 Replies
    1. Rebecca says…
      03/20/2013

      I took a lot of my "dated" stuff that I didn't love to the NICU of our local hospital. The nurses told me that they use it to make stuff to put on the walls of the baby rooms or make small (simple) layouts for parents of their children. This is especially important if the child dies.

      The other thing you can do is donate the stuff to the Pediatric unit of the hospital. Our local hospital collects things to give to the kids while they are in treatment; having something quiet to do helps the time pass more quickly.

      As a mom who had a kid in the hospital for a very short time a little over a year ago, I can unequivocally say that this stuff helped us. (My son was 3 at the time, and the toys that the nurses brought from the toy closet really helped encourage him to follow through with their directives. And kept him in that darned bed.)

      By donating my scrapping stuff, I paid it forward. :)

    2. Angel says…
      03/21/2013

      You can check with any schools in your area to see if they have craft/scrapbooking clubs. I donated a bunch of stuff to my kids' school and they were VERY appreciative.

    3. Becky says…
      03/29/2013

      I also donate to our local hospital's pediatric intensive care unit, so parents can make momentos of their children.

    4. J3SS1C4 says…
      03/20/2013

      Do you have any kids, or nieces or nephews you can pass it on to? I have a 9 year old cousin who loves my crafty hand-me-downs, and gets so excited to show me her albums she makes with them each time I see her (usually only about twice a year since she lives so far away). I also have my partner's neices who are 4 and 5, although they don't get as excited about it!

  23. Marsaille says…
    03/20/2013

    Man would I love to come in there and organize!! First thing is out with the couch (Daring Greatly can go to your nightstand though)-and in with bean bags! The kids can keep them in their room until they come into the work room with you. Unless you don't want that area to be a relax spot. Oh the possibilities!

    Reply 0 Replies
  24. Iara says…
    03/20/2013

    You will have a wonderful blank canvas to start next week :) you probably have tons of stuff you will never use so this is the moment to let it go. That's what I did this past week. Today I finished a major purge and re-organization of my Studio. When I see your wonderful large room with all those straight walls (my room is under the Roof) I can only think about two large expedit Units, side by side, with those wonderful clear boxes, everything labeled and organized :) I would let the Couch and Tv go. If you have an extra room for TV you can sure use the space in your studio better. have fun organizing :) can't wait to see the "new" space!

    Reply 0 Replies
  25. Janice says…
    03/20/2013

    I always seem to be in a perpetual state of organization and I love seeing what works for other people.

    I have learned that out of sight is out of mind for me personally and can be frustrating when one has many, many supplies to contend with.

    I also realize that I am a "piler" not a "filer" when it comes to my craft room--so I tend towards more open style storage.

    Also, an item which I absolutely LOVE from Ikea and that has been working very well for me is the RASKOG trolley. It is very well built, super sturdy and rolls/moves really well. I store supplies in it that I need access to every day. I have several of the RASKOG carts now and I treat the trays like desk drawers and keep desk supplies in the top of one. When I see it I use it. I can also roll it out of sight and they fit under several work tables. Sometimes I even pick them up and move them from one level of the house to the other to work (this was great for Christmas gift wrapping and crafting when I still wanted to work and be around everyone in the house). HIGHLY recommend the Raskog!

    Here is a link:
    http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/50227973/

    Can't wait to see the "after" pics.

    Reply 0 Replies

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