January Challenge {week 2}: Compact Desk

I'm back with another quick and easy organizational challenge - up today is organizing the inside of my desk.  From the outside, the desk appears super chic.  The inside wasn't that bad.  But it definitely was starting to get a little cluttered and messy for my taste.

Here's the desk from the outside.  It's the Eastman Secretary from Ballard Designs [holy smokes! they've raised the price $100 since we bought it].  I love this desk!  We bought it over a year ago because we needed a fully functioning office in our living room, but we didn't have the space for a traditional desk area.  This piece is great: the top opens to reveal a workspace with plenty of storage for two laptops, there are two nice sized drawers for holding things and the bottom drawer is a filing cabinet.  I keep my printer tucked away on top under a basket, and it's a snap to print when I need it. And when it's all closed up, it looks like a beautiful piece of furniture.

And here is what my desk looked like on the inside before I got my organizing mitts on it.

This is the bottom drawer was in good shape: I keep only necessary items in this drawer and routinely cull through the contents to see if I can shred or toss anything.  I keep our tax returns, current tax year receipts/info, investment info, manuals for appliances and electronics and other important info in here.

The second drawer was OK, but seemed to be a waste of space in places.  The folders on the right are coupon circulars, which I shared with you all last week.

The top drawer is our bill-paying center.  Despite its appearance in this picture, it is very organized - it just gets a little full at the end of each two-week period.  I pay bills twice a month, so by the end of each two weeks, the receipts and bills are piling up!

And here is the desk part.  This was what was driving me crazy.  See all the "stuff" just kind of haphazardly tossed about?  See the red toile box that was too big for the space?  I use the box to hold envelopes and cards.  the Bose radio lives in here, as do our laptops.

Now for the afters!

I started with the middle drawer. This was pretty easy: I threw out some of the old papers and folders and then bought a three-pack of desk organizers (for $1) at Dollar Tree for the middle of that drawer.   Done!  Here is the nice and neat after:

The top drawer was a pretty easy fix, too: I just sat down and did the bills, which eliminated all the receipts and the stack of bills that were in there.  I went through the organizers and tossed some of the random things and made things look much more organized.

Finally, I turned to the pull-down part of the desk. I emptied out the red toile box and pulled everything out.  I bought two green boxes at Target ($5 each) to hold what used to go in the toile box and the other random box in the desk.  I was so excited when I opened the new green boxes to discover that the insides were a bright turquoise blue! I put my cards and envelopes in one box and business envelopes, packing tape and misc. mailing supplies in the other.  Doesn't it look so much better?

Whew! Two challenges down and I am feeling good!  This one only cost me $11 out of pocket ($5 for each of the boxes and $1 for the baskets for the middle drawer).  What about you? Talk about your desk situation - is it neat as a pin or ... not?  Can we help? We love us an organizational challenge!

See you  swoon,


  1. Nice job! I love that desk. It's a great solution for a hidden work space.

  2. what a gorgeous desk! my husband and i are "small living" in a condo right now and it would definitely stretch our space a little bit more. i'm loving the organization month posts! keep them coming : )

  3. Heather and Lara,

    Thanks so much! It's a great desk that packs a lot of organizational punch. I'm glad you're loving the organizational posts ... two more to go! Maybe I'll extend my resolution into February and March!