Home Neat Home: The Office

February 10, 2011


What I would give for a dedicated office space with a sleek, open airy bright look…

But I do enjoy having my office in the living room for convenience’s sake! As a blogger who is always checking email or a recipe online, having my office in the thick of our living space is very nice.

When we arranged our furniture, we tried to hide the office so it’s tucked away and not visible when people walk in the door


Matt has a desk (our former kitchen table) down in the basement, but he also has a laptop so he works all over


My desk was $80 at IKEA. I love it because of all the hook-ons to hold the computer and cords!!


Note the cord holder in the back


I’ve done the best I can to tame the wild cords




But it’s hidden away!

Our remote sits in the nice little computer groove next to the couch


The shelves were a gift from JC Penny through a promo with BlogHer in 2008. They are perfect for me because I have both hidden and visible space.


On the top, I have things that I use daily


A cute holder just for my phone


Matching camera storage (I think I got these metal containers at Target a long time ago)


And another Pottery Barn organizer (this used to be at my office when I worked in PR so now we have 2)

It holds things I need to tuck away for a few days and use within the week, mailing supplies like stamps and pens


On top of my shelves I have one more catch-all basket for loose things that I need to access daily


On the bottom half, I hide uglier things


Including an office supplies basket, coupons, binders were I tear out Better Homes & Gardens ideas I love and recipes, plus my RD binder to hold all of my credential paperwork.

The office supplies are just this and that –


And that concludes all of the stuff that I reference daily.

Downstairs in the basement, we have our filing cabinet and printer. If we didn’t have a basement, these would have to go next to my computer (as they did in Charlotte). But since we had the ability to tuck them away out of sight of guests, they’re downstairs with Matt’s computer.

Also when we moved we considered getting a wireless printer/scanner/copier (they are only $50!) so we could both print, but actually, since our current wired version works just fine, I just email things to Matt to print. It’s not ideal, but it works.


Our filing cabinet was a bit of a mess when we moved, so I went through and removed/shredded anything that was simply unnecessary. I also scanned a bunch of stuff into my computer, which is also backed up through an automated back up service called Carbonite.

The filing cabinet has lots of tabs – the more tabs you have the better so you don’t have to hunt for things. Instead of “Tax Documents” create “Taxes 2008,” “Taxes 2009,” “Taxes 2010” so you can easily find what you’re looking for. We’ve also gone to paperless bills for all of our basic statements, which helps a ton! Hopefully soon the whole world will be paperless.


The last bit of paperflow I already talked about was our inbox/outbox


I normally sort mail and recycle the junk immediately and remove important things form their envelopes and recycle those and put just the bare minimum of things that need to be sorted in these slots. We each have a slot (front + back and left + right)

I get left for being a lefty!!


That wraps up the office!

Missed other Home Neat Home posts?

IMG_8927 - Copy - Copy  IMG_8422 (427x640)  IMG_9020 BLOG-9965 - Copy

Upcoming posts include: Dish Storage (a challenge for this blogger!) and Budget organization (which is going to be hard since I need to find a way to account for privacy while demonstrating!) and Computer + Blogging organization! As well as a Furniture Guide, Cleaning Info and Systems in Action.

Guest Post Request!

I am no expert in cleaning! Especially GREEN cleaning. If you guys have good tips and products (homemade or not) that work for you, please email them to me with the email subject: CLEANING! to Katheats @ Gmail Dot Com. Include a hyperlinked blog address if you have one!

I can’t promise I will include them all, but I’m hoping to create a great collection of tips.

Happy Organization to you!

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{ 89 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Christine February 10, 2011 at 11:35 am

Ahh yes! I was hoping for another Home Neat Home post soon! Your home is really beautiful — I really need to learn to throw out what I don’t need and simplify though…..


2 Dorry February 10, 2011 at 11:37 am

I love seeing your organization tips. We’re moving next month and I plan to re-do our home office (and I need a new desk!), so this was very helpful.


3 Kate (What Kate is Cooking) February 10, 2011 at 11:38 am

I love this series! I think having your office downstairs is neat- very accessible :)


4 Melissa @ HerGreenLife February 10, 2011 at 11:39 am

I definitely need to incorporate some of your organization strategies into my life! I’m sitting at our desk, and it is a MESS.

We’re moving in a few months, so I think I’ll wait for our new space to make any major changes. Until then, I’ll continue to work on getting rid of stuff so there’s less to move and organize when the time comes :)


5 Erin @ Big Girl Feats February 10, 2011 at 11:40 am

Home Neat Home is like an OCD-love-me-some-file-folders-could spent 400 hours in Staples-organizers crack!! Thanks, Kath!


6 Dani February 10, 2011 at 11:32 pm

HA! Very well said.


7 Stacy @ Every Little Thing February 10, 2011 at 11:41 am

I love the white shelving! Perfect for office space.

Ashley over at the Edible Perspective did a GREAT green cleaning post.



8 Emily @ One Sweet Vegan February 10, 2011 at 11:42 am

We have our office set up in the living room also, but because of the layout of the room, it’s right across from the front door. If it bothered me enough, I’d move it into our bedroom, but since I’m on the computer all throughout the day, this just makes more sense.
I need to get that cord organizer from Ikea! Our cords are a tangled mess.
As usual, I love these Home Neat Home posts. Can’t wait for more!


9 Allie (Live Laugh Eat) February 10, 2011 at 11:42 am

If this series has taught me one thing it’s that I need to go out and buy some nice looking baskets…to hide all my stuff! Man you are an expert hider!


10 Joyce @ Flowing to Fifty February 10, 2011 at 11:42 am

Awesome organization! Especially with your workspace right in your livingroom. I can see how you wouldn’t want to work in the basement. I have a hard time with all the paper and have a “corner of shame” in my kitchen. I may look for cool baskets and holders like the ones for your phone and camera.


11 Katy (The Singing Runner) February 10, 2011 at 11:42 am

I am seriously in love with this series! It really makes me want to become more organized! 😀


12 Jessica @ The Virtual Scrapbook February 10, 2011 at 11:47 am

I love your cute little office!! It is nice to tuck it away but still have it in an accessible way. I’ve tried the office thing, but I’m with Matt – I’m a laptop on the couch worker!


13 Emily @ Savory and Savage February 10, 2011 at 11:48 am

Thanks for the tip about Carbonite – I am overwhelmed with paperwork – I just can’t seem to shred them or throw them out. But the idea of scanning the important ones and having a backup that is not connected to my computer is a great idea.

I can see a life without piles of paper in my near future :-)


14 Leslie February 10, 2011 at 11:48 am

Do you have any trips planned to Oregon? I could really use your help on organization-and I know you’d love it here! There are tons of amazing restaurants in Oregon, as well as lots of beer and wine! We have a spare room (actually the only one that is organized) anytime you are in the Northwest.


15 Paige(Running Around Normal) February 10, 2011 at 11:51 am

Great tips! I hate wires every where!! We have the little zip ties to keep them under control. It works well!


16 Natalia - a side of simple February 10, 2011 at 11:52 am

If you ever need someone to house sit for you, I’m your girl 😉 Just sayin’…


17 Mary Catherine February 10, 2011 at 12:05 pm

Hi Kath! This is a bit off topic but can you recommend a good Food Scale? I tried searching your site but can’t find an answer.


18 KathEats February 10, 2011 at 5:03 pm

I have the Eat Smart one and it’s nice and durable – like it!


19 Katelyn @ Chef Katelyn February 10, 2011 at 12:05 pm

Can I just say that your house is GORGEOUS. I love these organizational posts, I definitely need to work on cleaning my house!


20 Alaina February 10, 2011 at 12:05 pm

My suggestion for wireless printers is not to get one right now. Let the technology advance a little more. I’ve had both a cheap and expensive version of a wireless printer and neither worked well. The printing was very hit and miss.


21 Holly @ Couch Potato Athlete February 10, 2011 at 12:08 pm

I love your method of hiding clutter — I love baskets with lids that look pretty but also contain lots of junk.

We keep a pretty organized file drawer — only because I hate to go through a bunch of paperwork at once. I do a little bit each day, as bills come in and get paid, etc. But yes, I can’t wait for everything to be paperless.


22 Katherine: Unemployed February 10, 2011 at 12:13 pm

I really like the color scheme you have going


23 [email protected] Sweet Life February 10, 2011 at 12:15 pm

Very clever–love how you’ve hidden it from your entryway!


24 Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table February 10, 2011 at 12:19 pm

I wish you could come to my house and organize! I’m really looking forward to budget organization, too. It’s a challenge to keep track of!


25 Lindsey February 10, 2011 at 12:22 pm

I love these posts! I always thought I was extremely organized, but I see your office and I realize maybe not :)


26 Lu @ Done Dieting February 10, 2011 at 12:28 pm

When I was much younger my mom always said marry an organized person. I believe that if she saw how beautifully you have your home she would raise her standards even more.


27 Ginna February 10, 2011 at 12:30 pm

Wow I am amazed by how little stuff you guys have! Esp when it comes to the office! Where are all your books? We moved cross country last summer and downsized quite a bit but still have a lot of stuff. We have to have an office room there would be no way without it! Dont you guys have 2 guestrooms? And the wirelesss printers are so awesome! Totally recommend getting one!


28 KathEats February 10, 2011 at 5:04 pm

We don’t have that many books. I’ve reduced our collection down to ONLY ones that we will actually read again and donated many of the rest. I think of books like clothes: if you don’t absolutely love it, let it go. We do have some on a bookshelf in the basement though, and if we had builtins I’d probably have more on hand.


29 Becky February 11, 2011 at 4:30 am

Wow, I completely disagree about books. They are my absolute lifeblood and I cannot imagine a house that isn’t full of books. Every time we move, at least 50% of our boxes are full of books. To each their own, I guess! (Full disclosure: I am a university post-doctoral researcher, so I know I’m a bit abnormal about my books!) Kath- do you and Matt have a kindle or nook? I know a lot of people who have downsized their books since buying an e-reader, but I just can’t bring myself to do that!


30 Lynsie February 10, 2011 at 12:42 pm

I love your Home Neat Home posts! I actually took your advice and reorganized all my closets, thinking in my head “like with like!” the whole time!!


31 Natalie @ Will Jog For Food February 10, 2011 at 12:50 pm

Great post! It really reminds me I need to get organized! I think I will be going basket shopping this weekend…


32 chelsey @ clean eating chelsey February 10, 2011 at 12:53 pm

I love how organized you are. It puts me to shame.


33 Kath (My Funny Little Life) February 10, 2011 at 12:54 pm

Your office corner looks totally lovely! I also have one, but it’s not that perfectly organized, and anyway I’m rather a take-the-laptop-to-the-sofa worker 😉 – I don’t own a big computer, just a laptop which is more practical for me at the moment. But I also like to have a corner where all the things I need frequently for working (researching / writing) and blogging are nearby.


34 Christine February 10, 2011 at 12:56 pm

I need you to fly to California and help me organize my 900 square foot apartment that my husband and I have completely grown out of 😉


35 A Loyal Reader February 10, 2011 at 12:56 pm

Dear Kath,

I love your house – you did a really great job with using the space you have. You’re very neat – but has anyone ever told you that you might be a bit OCD? I only ask this because I am a bit OCD and found myself envious of your remote spot on top of the computer….

(Please don’t take this too seriously, it’s bit of a joke. And as I said, I AM envious 😉


36 Matt February 10, 2011 at 4:12 pm

I feel like “OCD” is thrown around too easily. Everyone’s got “their thing” about how something should be organized, or arranged, or how to perform some task. You should see me in the kitchen/bakery – I want everything done how I would do it! That’s not OCD, that’s human nature.


37 jane February 10, 2011 at 6:38 pm

i agree-people love to toss terms around-like ADD-that drives me nuts! i am in no way organized, neat etc., but based on your description Matt, I am a little OCD-i like things my way!! some call me bossy…..ha! :-)


38 KathEats February 10, 2011 at 5:06 pm

Well I agree that OCD is a clinical problem that interrupts quality of life.

But of course I know that I have a tendency towards obsessive organization – but it makes me very happy and I don’t think it keeps me from enjoying life :)


39 J3nn (Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog) February 10, 2011 at 1:06 pm

Cute office space :) We use a spare bedroom as our office, yet we still need a lot more room! We’re very greedy with office real estate. heh


40 Hope February 10, 2011 at 1:14 pm

I love this post! You are so neat and organized. I really need to tidy and organize my desk at home. It’s a mess! At work my desk is neat and organized, you would think it would be same way at home but that is not the case. Thanks for these awesome posts :)


41 Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat February 10, 2011 at 1:21 pm

Love your office space Kath! I am a desk worker and I absolutely can’t get anything done if my desk is messy. Now I want to go home and organize my workspace to make it nice and pretty like yours!


42 Pat Kilmain February 10, 2011 at 1:26 pm

I have some nifty cord wrappers I found at http://us.mybobino.com/ They come in several colors and sizes and really keep your cords neatly wrapped, yet are a snap to undo if needed. My other cord tamer, which I use for my curling iron and hair dryer, is the large size hair clip, the kind with a spring opening and curved teeth (do these have a name?) Since I use the hair stuff daily, I needed something really easy to take off and put back on. I just fold up the cord and corral it with the hair clip. I have no covered storage for these items so my DH mounted a holder on the bathroom wall, but the cords were driving us nuts. These work great!

I’m loving your organization posts. Thanks.


43 gas February 10, 2011 at 1:26 pm

You can get long thin corregated hose and slit it lenghtwise and stuff your cables in that Try home depot or Ace hardware


44 dee February 10, 2011 at 1:39 pm

these have to be my favorite posts of yours. 😉 i think i’ve starred each and everyone on my googlereader so i can go back and easily find them for reference. can’t wait for future posts.

ps. i’ve been looking for a hard drive to back most of my stuff. quick question – do you back up your computer on a hard drive and carbonite? or do you just use carbonite?


45 KathEats February 10, 2011 at 5:06 pm

I only use Carbonite


46 Becky February 11, 2011 at 4:31 am

Love Carbonite!


47 Anne @ Baking Me February 10, 2011 at 1:46 pm

Your living room is so cute! I am in the middle of trying to organize my office right now, thanks for the great tips!


48 Jenny O. February 10, 2011 at 1:59 pm

So, don’t laugh but in the last few weeks you’ve supplied me with two hints that are probably totally unintentional on your part, but have changed my life. 😉 First, you casually mentioned a dustbuster for your bathroom in a previous Home Neat Home. I don’t know why, in my 34 years, owning a dustbuster for cleaning up hair and such on the bathroom floor never occurred to me. But it didn’t. Now I am the proud owner of one and my bathroom has never been so clean, so effortlessly.

also, in a previous post you showed your bare minerals makeup ready to use, but sitting face down on a washcloth. Holy light bulb moment! I am always picking them up in the morning, looking at the bottom to read the label to make sure I get them in the right order. Now, I store them and use them face down, with the label up so I don’t waste time fumbling around to see which is the mineral veil and which is foundation. See? You’re a force for good! :)


49 KathEats February 10, 2011 at 5:06 pm
50 Rebecca February 10, 2011 at 2:00 pm

Ahh, the office. My downfall. I have a great space for an office, but I usually don’t work in there because I have three children to keep up with. Great idea keeping everything neat and tidy in the living room! I might just try that.


51 Christine (The Raw Project) February 10, 2011 at 2:12 pm

My desk is near the kitchen too as a built-in nook and I love the convenience, but not always the lack of privacy. Ikea gadgets are wonderful for organizing, I have the cord rack under my desk for power adapters, USB hubs, etc. Great organizational post, thanks!


52 Baking 'n' Books February 10, 2011 at 2:13 pm

You are well organized. I’m actually reading a book about clutter (actual and “life” clutter) and getting things in order. But I could never be as neat as you! I’m surprised you don’t have a laptop as a blogger though? What do you do when you travel?

I noticed a couple of cookbooks you have there too! Do you have a lot of cookbooks or stick to online?


53 KathEats February 10, 2011 at 5:07 pm

I do have a laptop for when I travel, but I could never blog full time on it


54 KathEats February 10, 2011 at 5:07 pm

Oh, and I love the concept of cookbooks but I never use them so I don’t have a lot


55 Baking 'n' Books February 10, 2011 at 6:33 pm

I know. Too many books – and clutter. Smart.


56 Lee February 10, 2011 at 2:19 pm

You always impress me with your clutter free organization! I really need to tackle our files this weekend! Thanks for the motivation.


57 Rachel @ The Avid Appetite February 10, 2011 at 2:28 pm

Thanks for sharing this. My husband and I moved (sort of) recently and I’m struggling away to get organized. It is a process!


58 Amanda (tomboy that wears makeup) February 10, 2011 at 2:37 pm

Holy Cow your organized! Good job. I need to do this.. My place is small and gets cluttered so fast. I work from home too. I live in a beautiful high rise looking over the ocean, but sometimes I want to move out in the country just to get more space…. hmmm… unless I organize like you can….


59 [email protected] February 10, 2011 at 2:45 pm

I hope to replicate something like this when I’m finally able to give up my transcription job and make the transition to massage therapist after I graduate in October… I won’t need the giant desk I have now, although I will be keeping my dual monitor set up… I’m spoiled. :)


60 Holly @ Food, Make-up, Hair February 10, 2011 at 2:47 pm

I know what you mean about the wires – they drive me crazy! I bought this neat cable/wire organizer at this site: http://www.thecableorganizer.com/ They are perfect for holding just about any wires or cables, can be cut to any length, and really easy to use.


61 Holly @ Food, Make-up, Hair February 10, 2011 at 2:48 pm

And I love how you have a spot just for your phone! :)


62 Amanda- The Nutritionist Reviews February 10, 2011 at 3:04 pm

It is definitely hard to keep an office clean and organized! Thanks for the great post.


63 Susan (Oliepants) February 10, 2011 at 3:24 pm

With the recipes, the fitness tips and now home organizing tips – you are turning into a Martha Stewart! One stop shop! :)


64 Kristina February 10, 2011 at 3:28 pm

“I am cute” on the phone holder… cracks me up.


65 Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) February 10, 2011 at 3:41 pm

Kath I love this series. It just gets more and more awesome with each post!

I love all the baskets you have, the camera baskets, all your gear stashed in baskets.

Cleaning file cabinets regularly…yeah, i have bill statements squished into my file folders. I mean, what does one do with bill statements from 2009. It’s not like I need them, but i fear if i throw them out, i WILL suddenly need them :)


66 Lisa (bakebikeblog) February 10, 2011 at 3:45 pm

Great tips Kath!!! I just cleaned out of office last night and it is looking so much better already!


67 Stacey (The Home-Cooked Vegan) February 10, 2011 at 3:59 pm

You put my filing cabinets to SHAME. Mine are sooo all over the place and junky! I love these posts (in case I haven’t already said that!) They inspire me to de-clutter my home! Thanks Kath! And I love that pottery barn shelf. So chic! :)


68 Robyn @ Frugal 'n' Fit February 10, 2011 at 4:09 pm

I love how there is dedicated space for all of the miscellaneous items, even your phone! Kath Organizes Real Good (KORG) :)


69 Melissa February 10, 2011 at 4:13 pm

I’m thoroughly enjoying your organizational tips and it is inspiring me to get my house organized–although I have yet to begin!


70 Fancy February 10, 2011 at 4:19 pm

I am the one who requested a post on cleaning—-THANK YOU KATH!!! Your Home Neat Home posts are so awesome and inspiring, please keep them coming! You’re awesome :)


71 Kathy W. February 10, 2011 at 4:51 pm

Love these posts!

When you do the cleaning one, could you share if you do cleaning on certain days, or room by room, or just on an “as-needed” basis…(ever do the clock thing, where you go in a circle around the room starting at whatever 12:00 you pick??)


72 Susan Mc February 12, 2011 at 10:06 pm

Ohhh great idea Kathy, I second this one! I am SOOOO loving the series Kath, I’m totally inspired to rethink my set-ups and to simplify.
But I’d love to know if you map out a rotation or schedule to maintain your wonderfully home neat home!


73 Hannah February 10, 2011 at 6:13 pm

I can never get over how much I love your sofa/chair fabric coverings! (Whatever that’s called…)


74 [email protected] February 10, 2011 at 8:31 pm

LOVE these posts. So inspiring.


75 jenna February 10, 2011 at 9:07 pm

your house is so cute!


76 claire February 10, 2011 at 9:26 pm

EEEEK! I love your home! So cute!


77 Diana @ frontyardfoodie February 10, 2011 at 9:27 pm

I love your shelves that are half open and half closed! I need something like that. I have no shelves in mine or my husbands desk and I keep tupperware of office supplies in a closet and a small file box for important papers and it just seems like everything is disconnected being so separate!


78 JenATX February 10, 2011 at 10:06 pm

yall have quite a few tape dispensers haha


79 Allison @ Happy Tales February 10, 2011 at 10:17 pm

Suuuuch a great post, Kath! Thank you so much for opening up your home and sharing all of your tips and tricks with us, I know you don’t have to do it… so it makes me that much more appreciative!


80 ered March 6, 2011 at 2:41 pm

Kath! I want to tell you about this thing called “Dropbox” http://www.dropbox.com/
which is totally free and lets my husband and I share files between his desktop (hooked to printer/scanner) and my laptop. We were looking at a way to sync the 2 computers but couldn’t do it without a *lot* of hassle because they’re 2 different operating systems so now we just use this. We keep our billbook this way as well so the updated version is always available to either of us and it’s handy if he’s on his computer and I need something he’s saved there (usually pictures from or camera) for me I’ll just have him drop it in. It takes like 2 seconds and shows up instantly on my laptop. I think you have to have internet on both computers to use it but it doesn’t seem like that would be a problem. Anyway–just wanted to let you know. I really appreciate these neat home posts!


81 KathEats March 6, 2011 at 2:43 pm

I’ve used Dropbox! It’s pretty nice, but I think emailing does our job just as well with more direct results


82 ered March 6, 2011 at 2:52 pm

ah! well I’m glad you know about it :) I mostly use it for the picture transfers — we’re lucky to live in a world with so many options!


83 Valerie April 9, 2011 at 7:45 pm

what wonderful ideas! i’m definitely taking notes here.

i’m curious where you got that black and white chair in your living room from? it’s absolutely lovely!


84 KathEats April 9, 2011 at 8:35 pm

Thank you! Unfortunately the chair was custom made for Karen in the 90s


85 Patricia July 21, 2011 at 5:20 am

Do you by any chance remember the name/model of the IKEA desk? It looks to be exactly what I’ve been searching for. Thanks!


86 KathEats July 21, 2011 at 7:47 am

It’s the Galant line and it was only $80!


87 Jeanette July 17, 2012 at 2:08 pm

Kath, here is my question for you.

What about paper work? I am DROWNING in a sea of papers. Everything from bills, explanation of benefits, art work from my son, my son’s school papers, phone notes….

What do you do with yours? What and where would be a proper storage for it all (because I’m ready to set a match to it!!)



88 KathEats July 17, 2012 at 2:12 pm

I keep a lot of things electronically (backed up with Carbonite). If I have a nice hard copy (like explanation of benefits) I will save that in file boxes – we have one for household and one for taxes/long term – that I got at Target (green in color). But I never print something out just to save. I keep my computer files pretty organized.

I don’t keep bills – because you can download all of those electronically too. I have paperless billing for most things.

Art work I can’t speak for yet, but I imagine I’ll cycle through and keep the best stuff in a box somehow.

Phone notes should only be good for a day!


89 Jeanette July 17, 2012 at 4:40 pm

Thanks, Kath!!


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