Three Down: What a Real Home Office Looks Like

I don’t have “Facebook Envy.” I don’t find myself looking at the photos of friends and exes, wishing I had their lives. I do, however, suffer from “Pinterest Envy” — especially when it comes to my office. I don’t know about you, but my office serves as a sort of catch-all for everything from mail and paperwork to random furniture and projects. I’m the only one who spends any real time here, so it’s a convenient place to hide the mess that would drive me crazy if it was sitting in the living room. Still, when I scroll through my Pinterest feed, I can’t help but wish my office looked like the one to the left.

Don’t you just love the clean white lines, the lack of clutter, and all that light? Those windows are what dreams (or at least dream offices) are made of. It’s also pretty unrealistic for someone who uses their office five days a week. My office looks like this:



IMG_0386Yep, it’s a mess.

The thing about offices is that, even when you don’t do things like leave unused throw pillows on the floor and a variety of water glasses and tea cups on your desk, stuff still accumulates as fast as you can get rid of it. Sure, I might spend 20 minutes filing away paperwork and mail one morning, but by the afternoon a whole new batch has arrived. And, perhaps even more importantly, it’s probably the last room in the house you really want to spend any time or money on. I mean, if it’s between a new filing cabinet and a new kitchen gadget–or a new dress–which one would  you choose?

But I spend at least 8 hours a day in this office. This is where I do my day job, my freelance work, and some book writing (when I’m not at coffee shops). I need this to be a pleasant space that is conducive to getting work done and not driving me to distraction with it’s mess. It will never be as spartan as the office pictured above, but maybe it could look like this one –>

I’m not interested in fully redecorating this room just yet. I’m fine with continuing to use what’s here. A repainted dresser turned office supply holder. My Ikea table tops and legs turned into a standing desk. An old book case that I’ve lugged from one apartment to another, until finally settling here. And even the futon that was evicted from my guest room. All that can stay, but some of the clutter had  to go. So I took advantage of a slow day at work to take another pass at the lingering mail and paperwork, get rid of an old file cabinet, and generally tidy up. And with that, I struck another item off of my William Morris Project To-Do list.

It’s not Pinterest Perfect, but it’s a whole lot better:




I don’t think I’ll be inspiring any Pinterest Envy with this “project” but if you’re sitting at a cluttered desk right now maybe this post is the shove you need to confront the pile of junk mail or filing you’ve been meaning to take care of.

  • Finally make a couch decision
  • Paint the $30 Goodwill kitchen island
  • Touch-up the paint on my blue dresser
  • Paint the bookshelf/TV stand
  • Fix the wall in the back room
  • Find an organization solution for the back room
  • Declutter the office
  • Get rid of stuff in the guest closet–then put in shelves
  • Doctor the curtains

6 thoughts on “Three Down: What a Real Home Office Looks Like

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