Office in a Closet

One day in October, I was getting my daily dose of RSS when I was hit with a post that lit up the lightbulb in my head so bright that it could have powered a small city.  It was this post on OrgJunkie, written by Deana Ward of Your Happy Stuff.

An office IN a closet?  A space where toddlers don’t pass by, causing an avalanche of papers with their wandering fingers.  A space that can be safely cordoned off with the use of certain child-proofing devices.

It was a positively brilliant idea.

My previous setup was a desk in the corner of the dining room. Besides taking up space, it gathered piles of stuff.  I usually ended up working at the table, rather than the desk, because it was easier.  The drawers of the desk proved too tempting for our neighboring toddler, who would open them, looking for implements of injury.  

It just wasn’t working.

Enter the hall closet.  Upon moving into this house, we were shocked at the number of closets.  There are more closets than bedrooms and it is glorious.  The hall closet is actually more like the living room/dining room/entry closet.  It was housing the vacuum, two guitars, and some other miscellaneous items.  After reading the post linked above, I ran out into the garage and grabbed an unused plastic shelving unit.  Of course, I didn’t measure first and then tried to shove a 36″ shelf into a 30″ closet.

Woops!  Time to rethink the plan.

A couple weeks went by and the state of my desk deteriorated.  With the money tree in hibernation, buying a new shelf wasn’t in the cards.  I needed to make do with what I had on hand.  A few days ago, I had a small cleaning fit and tidied up the kitchen, reorganizing some of the foodstuffs.  While doing so, I noticed my unused IKEA kitchen cart.  In our previous residence, it had been the side table at my chair.  But in this house, it had been shoved into a corner of the kitchen and been used as place to put things that didn’t have a home.  At the moment, it was housing some empty containers, a sad looking house plant, and being used to keep the blinds up (by tying the string to the cart).

So, I repurposed that sucker. I cleared the cart out, re-homed a few items in the closet, and transferred my desk to the cart.


The top of the cart houses the items I need often (envelopes, stamps, pens, etc.).  The middle shelf is the “IN” box. Incoming mail and things to be filed go there.  The bottom shelf is my filing folders. They contain manuals, paid bills, medical records, and other important information. Not pictured is my shred box, which is still looking for a permanent space, and the shelf of the closet.  The built-in closet shelf houses a box of batteries, a box of tape and scissors, and a box of candles.  (I was having a hard time getting a picture of the new setup, as Rex was trying to get to the guitar.)

The roll of paper next to the cart will soon be moving downstairs where it will be joined by the unused cupboard in the garage and the desk that is now empty.  Those will be setup as an art station in the play room.  This solution will free up a large amount of space in my dining room, just in time for Thanksgiving!

I’m finding this solution to be even better than a shelf, as I can pull the entire cart out when I need to do paperwork.  I just wheel it out to the table, deal with the paperwork, and then put it away.  It is out of sight when not in use, and more importantly, inaccessible by toddlers.

Total cost of this new setup = $0!  Yay for using what was on hand!


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