19 Home Office Solutions
Tame your piles of papers and scattered office supplies with these can-do ideas for turning your home office into an organized command center.
Everything In This Slideshow
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Borrow from the Kitchen
What it is: A collection of egg cups-turned-organizers lined up in rows on a desk.
How to do it: Grab clean egg cups from your kitchen (or buy inexpensive versions at a discount store) and keep small desk needs, such as paper clips, stamps, pretty flowers, and candy (a must for late-night bill-paying) at your fingertips.
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Choose Versatile Furniture
What it is: A minimalist, do-it-all table serving as a desk with loads of energetic style.
How to do it: Buy (or repurpose) a shallow table to use as an inconspicuous spot to organize paperwork. Clear off the table if you need an extra buffet or game spot. A painted premade cutout hangs on the wall as an updated work of art/bulletin board.
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Claim a Spare Room
What it is: A spare room converted to a storage-filled office perfect for solo work or meeting with clients.
How to do it: Divide a spare room with a long table (this one is made out of a marble top resting on sturdy cubbies) for a desk and conference room combo. Line your walls with book cubbies (or build them in if you have the budget) and fill with reference books, paper sorters, magazine holders, and your favorite accessories. Put a vintage frame around a bulletin board for an unexpected and functional piece of art.
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Organize the Little Things
What it is: Grandma's vintage muffin tin enlisted to corral small items in a desk drawer.
How to do it: Pull that vintage tin out of your cupboards and put it to work as a keeper for all those tiny items that would normally clutter up your drawer. For deeper storage, try a popover pan.
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Assign Specific Storage
What it is: A table + a tabletop cubby system + a DIY quilted wall = one very cool office space.
How to do it: Stack shelving on a table (or use a ready-made desk with shelves) and designate separate boxes for each type of paperwork (bills to be paid, bills paid, insurance info, kids' artwork, etc.). Click to the next slide to learn how to transform a wall into a bulletin board like this one.
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Use the Wall
What it is: A faux quilted wall that doubles as a bulletin board for notes, invitations, and other transient paperwork.
How to do it: Staple batting and fabric to a wall, then secure crisscrossing ribbons with fabric tacks. If you don't want to sacrifice an entire wall to this project, try just covering a corkboard with batting, fabric, and ribbon.
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What it is: A by-the-rules business card catchall.
How to do it: Search your basement, attic, or antique stores for a fold-up yardstick to make an imaginative card file.
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Personalize Your Supplies
What it is: Personalized magazine caddies for all your back issues of Better Homes and Gardens.
How to do it: Paint a caddy pale green. When it's dry, punch circles from contact paper and apply them to the caddy. Paint over it with a darker shade. Let dry and then peel off the circles.
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Do-It-Yourself Corner Office
What it is: A commandeered, hardworking corner that's just as beautiful as any other room in the house, but uses everyday objects to keep you organized in style.
How to do it: Claim a corner of your home, slide in a desk and chair, and then get creative. Cover pin boards with fabric in fun patterns and colors. Assign one to each family member or filing category. Use mugs, small bowls, and tumblers as catchalls for thumbtacks, paper clips, and pens.
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How to do it: Comb your local home improvement store for a hollow-core door. Paint it to match your decor, then mount it on painted table legs (another home improvement store find). Shop discount stores for stackable, modular storage, then configure to suit your storage needs.
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Go Retro Style
How to do it: Use spray paint (make sure you choose a variety appropriate for your table's finish) and slipcovers to refresh the retro relics. Mount a wall cabinet above the desk and hang clipboards from it to keep track of incoming mail, to-dos, and takeout menus.
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Hook and Clip It
What it is: Magnetic knife racks turned sideways and studded with metal hooks.
How to do it: Purchase the knife racks and mount them vertically on a cabinet or inside a door or pantry. Use them as a drop spot for keys and handbags. Use binder clips (the metal parts stick to the rack) to hold receipts or other loose papers.
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Monopolize Your Space
What it is: An entire wall dedicated to storage and brainstorming.
How to do it: Buy enough simple veneer cabinets to line your wall; paint them to match your decor for a custom credenza look. To get enough pin-up space, wrap a piece of Homasote board (made of recycled material and often carried at home centers or lumberyards) with burlap. Wait for a framing sale to frame the board, or hang it as is.
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Get It off the Desk
What it is: Metal racks made to fit in kitchen cabinets gain new life as wall-mounted notebook holders.
How to do it: Hang metal racks on the wall and fill with notebooks for each house project or use them as in and out boxes.
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Use Every Inch
What it is: A basic metal lamp from a big-box store and a few magnets.
How to do it: Buy a lamp with a square-ish metal base (make sure it's real metal and not just colored plastic), then use it as an ad hoc magnetic board for receipts or phone numbers.
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Put Everything Away
What it is: A humble table and loads of clever storage solutions.
How to do it: Repurpose a table as a desk and substitute stylish banker's boxes for file cabinets; slip them underneath the table when not in use. Hang metal cubbies above to both store items within and provide a magnetic surface for notes. Store gift wrap in a wastebasket for easy retrieval.
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Find New Uses
What it is: Your unused china, previously gathering dust, now holding pertinent business cards.
How to do it: Wipe your china clean and use it to hold everything from pens and cards to paper clips and tacks. Search antique and thrift shops for vintage versions if you don't want to use your own.
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What it is: A planet-friendly canister for papers destined for recycling.
How to do it: Save scraps of art paper to decoupage onto a waste basket or recycling bin. Use the same technique to label "in" and "out" trays or office supply holders.