Project Organize :: How to Organize a Small Office.


by JANELL MARBREY of Empty Inkwell

Hi there Sherbet Blossom readers! I’m Janell from Empty Inkwell, a blog where I write about everyday adventures, family, children and crafts. I’m delighted to be a part of Hannah’s Project Organize series! Here’s a little peek into my world of (sometimes) organized chaos:

My husband, eight month-old daughter and I live in a two bedroom apartment in San Diego. Apartments are small enough as it is in San Diego, but because my husband and I both work out of our home, space is extra tight in our little place. When our daughter was born, our office/my craft room was turned into her bedroom. Instead of opting to move into a larger place, we are making it work where we’re at so that we can continue to save for a large down payment on a permanent home of our own.

Luckily, my husband and I are master space-savers and have managed to create workspaces that are both attractive and functional. He works full time, so a corner of our bedroom has become his little office nook. But because I only work part time (and don’t need quite as much stuff as he does), my “office” or lack thereof, consists of a deep bookcase with baskets where I organize my files and supplies. I’ve also managed to store a lot of my craft supplies in this small space, too, which my husband loves because he’s not staring at paints, stamps, pencils and sketchbooks all over the place.

The bookcase is from IKEA, and I found different sized, matching baskets at Michael’s for a great price. They came in packs of three for $29.99 each (and I had a 40% off coupon for one of them!). Michael’s has a pretty extensive basket selection, so it was easy to find ones that matched the colors in my bedroom. Because the bookcase is deep, my printer and laptop have homes right on top, and the baskets fill in the shelves. Whenever I need a file or other supply, I pull it out—this works the same no matter how your workspace is set up—so there’s no difference between an ordinary office and my bookcase/basket office there. The only (obvious) thing missing is the chair/desk combo. I usually like to sit on my bed while working on a laptop (like I am doing right now), but when I’ve got too much out, I bring my laptop, files, and whatever else I need for the day to my dining room table (sometimes I even grab entire baskets). And because it’s all so organized, it takes just a few moments to put back when I’m done.

I’ve always loved the idea of basket storage—baskets are cute, and you can tuck stuff away without anyone really knowing what is inside! My little bookcase/basket “office” doubles as pretty décor in our room (which I love!), and manages to organize everything needed for a work-at-home financial director. How’s that for organized!?

Thanks again, Hannah, for allowing me to share some ideas with your readers. Have a great day, everyone!


  1. Great Ideas, I love baskets. I may have to try something like that in our kitchen. I do Tastefully simple now and have kind of taken over part of the counter with my stuff. I do all my comp. stuff on my lap top too and usually just put it away somewhere so A desk is not necessary . I may have to go basket shopping now : )

  2. After seeing that basket of file folders, I am thoroughly convinced that it is worth splurging for something attractive if you have to look at file folders. Thanks for the great ideas!

  3. Great ideas.
    You must share with me, in your spare time (lol), how you made the section on the side bar labeled 'take a look around' with each section being a click-able graphic.

    I feel like such an loser asking cuz I'm a GD too. ;(

  4. Can you come over to my San Diego 2100 sq. ft. house and fix it to look as nice as your apt.?? lol I think I have a need to go visit Ikea now...


  5. Thanks for this Hannah, I have really been hoping and praying that someone who is gifted at organization would come across my path. Thanks to the blog universe you have.
    I am an American living in England and I went from what I thought was not a whole lot of space only and I say that loosely now a 1900sq.ft. 3bed 2 1/2 bath with a formal livingroom and den and dining room and large kitchen. To living in a 2 bed flat in England with a tiny little aisle kitchen. Not complaining just really unloading my frustration as to how to get and stay organized as I am a very eclectic artist that uses many different mediums to create. Every thing from paint to fabric, beads, wire, wood you name it.
    I have really been wanting to be able to fix my place up so that my living room is not a total wreck each time I take stuff out to create. I love baskets and Ikea is originally a Swedish company and we have a couple of huge ones here in the UK so I will have to go there again. It is one of my favorite places as they have everything.
    Thanks again, Firedancer

  6. The file folders and the baskets are super fabulous! If you know how to organize small areas like this, definitely you'll also know how to organize bigger ones. Glad you made your office so stunning!


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