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My top secret organizing project: The final reveal!

by respaced on December 6, 2013

As you may remember on Tuesday, I posted about the Top Secret Organizing Project I was doing as a Christmas surprise for someone. While this person was away on vacation, I came in and spent about 30 hours reorganizing their home office. This meant sorting through all of their craft supplies, papers, files, office supplies, decor and everything else that was lying around. So here is the before:



And here is the “after:”

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I removed one of the bookcases, rearranged some of the furniture, removed about 50 percent of the knick-knacks on the shelves, reorganized the books by category, and put new photos in new frames.

I made the poppy box on the shelf to hold the client’s window gardening supplies. I cut the poppy out of an old placemat I found lying around and stapled it to a mailing box. I put the tray below to catch the drips from when they water their seedlings (no seedlings pictured yet because it’s too early to start seedlings!)

Over in the desk area, this was the “before” picture:

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And here is the “after:”

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I converted the space to an aqua and coral color scheme, drawing inspiration from the client’s coral chair. I removed the clutter from the desk, which meant reorganizing all of the desk drawers. Plain gold tins from The Dollar Store made excellent drawer organizers, along with some empty check and greeting card boxes.

I set up a filing system for this person to handle all of the paper that was bogging them down. You can’t tell from the picture, but each aqua file is labeled with a different category: Work, Household, Financial, Taxes 2013, Personal and Child. The files and file holder were my one splurge from Staples — regularly $20 for the set, but I saved up my Staples rewards cards so I could get everything for about $6!

I also made this person a recycling station to handle the unwanted paper (this is an essential component of any successful mail/paper system!) I took a moving box and covered it with some awesome wrapping paper I found at Goodwill for 99 cents. The aqua-colored labels were cut out of a set of paper placemats my client had among their craft supplies. Then I put three brown grocery sacks inside the box — one each for recycling, shredding and trash. That way, when the bags are full, all my client has to do to remove the bags, throw them in the proper receptacle and put new bags in their place.

The old files and tax documents from years past are inside the blue box under the client’s desk. The tax documents are each individually packaged in manilla envelopes and labeled “Taxes” along with the year.

Sum total:

  • 2 boxes of donations for SCRAP (a Portland-based charity that accepts used art, craft and office supplies for resale)
  • 3 boxes of donations for Goodwill
  • The equivalent of 3 bags of trash (but 2 of those bags were filled with nothing but plastic drawers)
  • 1 bag of recycling
  • 1 box of clothes for consignment
  • 1 box of clothes and baby things for The Children’s Relief Nursery
  • About $20 in supplies
  • About 30 hours of labor

If you want to purchase a gift certificate for your loved one for Christmas or surprise them with a room makeover, contact me at or call me at 971-226-6055. It’s a great gift idea and one that will make a big difference in your loved one’s life.

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