During the summer months, my basement was turned into a temporary storage facility for my daughter’s dormitory belongings. Although it made me a little kooky having “things” hanging around without their proper homes, I knew it would soon be over, and I would begin to get things back in order once we hauled everything back to college.
What I didn’t anticipate was acting upon my desire to make my basement into a home office.
After helping countless clients regain their space and turn even the smallest of rooms into functional offices, I decided it was time to give it a whirl.
Since my basement was pre-finished with new tile, freshly painted walls and recessed lighting, I was excited about finding furniture that would compliment my surroundings.
Bearing in mind that I advise people to choose items that they feel attracted to and depict their personality, I decided to take my own advice. Feeling inspired, I started to research different companies by going online and compiling tear sheets from an assortment of magazines that I saved.
Considering myself to be somewhat of an “eclectic” person, I wanted cozy and comfort to meet form and function. Several years ago, I downsized considerably and still had pieces of furniture stored away for “some day.” Yes, I, too, am guilty of this. My rationale was that I hoped to one day fill another home with my lovely belongings.
For the longest time, I pondered over what to do with my grandmother’s hope chest that I inherited. Although simple in style, it is crafted with quality featuring a pull out felt tray and the interior lined with cedar. Ideal for storing blankets and quilts, I wasn’t satisfied with its purpose any longer and yearned to do something else with it.
Ironically, several days later, I came across an article from “Real Simple,” 15 years of organizing tips, entitled, “Office in a chest – Jan ’03.” It’s exactly the information I needed; “how to transform a traditional piece of furniture into a multitasking mini office.” With complete instructions on how to make a bulletin board, organizing tray, and filing system, I was in business.
For the cork board, you can purchase at any office supply store ready made cork squares or rolled cork to affix to the underside of the chest’s lid. I prefer the squares since they come with sticky tape, that way you don’t have to mess around with glue.
Since my chest already had a built in tray, sectioned off with little dividers, I didn’t have to make anything, I just had to decide what I wanted to put in the cubbyholes.
For my filing system, I did exactly what they said. I went and purchased an adjustable hanging file folder frame and inserted it inside. Since these do come in different lengths, I had to measure the inside for a proper fit.
I decided that the best way I could utilize my new system was to be practical about how I wanted it to function. I couldn’t really see having it open all the time and using it everyday, so I used it to store my long-term files, such as my taxes, deeds, mortgage, insurance papers and auto certificates. I used the cork board to post up different passwords and key information relating to my paperwork to make it easier to find in emergency situations, and I used the tray for some extra supplies I may need when I have to go back in there to make additional files. And last, but certainly not least, (as a matter of fact, it was the very first thing I did) I painted the outside of the chest so it would blend into my new office space.
What was an outdated, traditional chest, is now a piece of functional furniture. I even took it a step further and placed a cushion on top for additional seating. Simply wonderful!
I have the bug to de-clutter, freshen things up and get organized. I am always amazed how I find unexpected treasures while I am cleaning up.