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Getting the Office in Working Order

Debra Jackson calls in professional organizer Mia Stickel to turn her space into a working office.

One office, two jobs and lots of hobbies have left little time for Debra Jackson to organize her home office.

The small, 11 x 11-foot space accommodates a makeshift desk assembled from plastic storage bins, a hat display for the hats she creates, piles of papers from her insurance business, and stacks of pictures from world travels.

This cluttered office features an inefficient desk made from stacked storage units with no drawers or filing cabinets, a disorganized closet and piles of papers on nearly every inch of the floor.

The closet is overstuffed with a jumble of clothes and an empty file cabinet. With no effective storage and filing systems in place, the office just doesn't work.

Homemade hats are crammed in a corner where they can't be appreciated.

Travel photos from worldwide trips are piled on the floor in a corner.

Professional organizer Mia Stickel is brought in to bring organization and storage to this home office. Appropriate furniture is the answer to Jackson's messy problem. Plenty of shelving, a real desk and a cheerful coat of orange paint tame the clutter and enliven the space.

A bright coat of orange paint, extensive shelving units for the walls and a functional desk transform the room into a cheerful and efficient office space.

First, the paper mess is brought under control and placed into appropriate piles or thrown out. It is then sorted into a color-coded filing system.

Color-coded files make it easy and fun to find categories of paperwork related to home, work and leisure.

Next, everything is removed from the closet. New rods and bins are installed, and nothing goes back in that isn’t used or loved. All the plastic cleaning bags are removed from clothes to prevent moisture damage.

The closet doors can close now, and hats are cheerfully displayed in a corner, giving the room color and personality.

* Tip: To make moving the large amounts of clothing easier, Stickel suggests placing the clothes on an opened sheet then wrapping the sheet around the clothes. To move the clothes, simply pick up the ends of the sheet.

The four plastic bins that comprise the desk all contain millinery supplies, so they are banished to another room and replaced with a real desk with drawers and filing space.

Color-coded files and boxes keep papers and pictures easily accessible on the open wall shelving.

With new shelving and bin storage, the organized closet now holds only out-of-season clothes with style.

This is now an organized office that means business. The new shelves hold files for work and boxes of pictures. Cherished hats are displayed on the back wall.

Products from The Container Store:

Metro wastebasket
desktop file box, Walnut
magazine files
tubular hangers, White
Clear sweater drawer
Underbed drawer
Overdoor shoe organizer
six-tier folding skirt hanger
Our Accessory Box
Our men's shoebox
Our sweater box
Our underbed box
stowaway letter box, White
deep stowaway letter Box, Blue
chrome Classico accessory rack
Rainbow Lookers nested boxes
small stacking drawer, Blue
Small stacking drawer, Orange
Blue Bold boxes
Our boot box
clear acrylic bookend
Guzzini VIP desk organizer
pen and pencil cup
letter holder
tape dispenser
Soft Grip hooks, White
Polished Aluminum gallery easel
30-CD acrylic rack
profile shelves, Wheat
Large Grid Tote with handle, Green

Products from Levolor:

1" Pure White wood blinds
1" Premium wood blinds
Sand beech (mounted inside frames)
white faux blinds

Products from Stacks and Stacks:

two-drawer file cabinet
chrome floor lamp

Sherwin-Williams paint colors used:

Promare 400 Semigloss: Kumquat- SW 6648
Ceiling Bright White-SW 7007
Orange Blast-SW 6646

Products from Lillian Vernon:

Double Walnut finished frame
Single Walnut finished frame
Walnut finish shelves
Honey finish shelf

Product from

six-tier pant hangers

Product from Improvements:

translucent ribbed shade for ceiling light

Products from Esselte:

letter-size hanging files, Yellow
letter-size hanging files, Violet
letter-size hanging files, Orange

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