Transforming a Renaissance Woman’s Office

Hours: 8.5 hours working together
Removed: Many papers, a few storage bins, one chair and a record player
Purchased: Nothing

Christy is a modern Renaissance woman. Besides being a fulltime musician (busy performing, recording, and teaching), Christy is also a historian, podcaster, stop-motion photographer, printmaker, and crafter. The space she modestly refers to as her “office” reflects these many interests and talents! Christy asked me to help her reconfigure this space to support multiple open projects with less mess.

Christy’s office before reorganizing. Furnishings in yellow are easily moved around the room.

Day 1 (5 hours)

We first took everything out of the room that we could – both chairs and a stool, the books and bookcase, papers, loose items in the closets, and bins. This was simply to create some space while we worked. We then reviewed the contents of all the drawers and bins, identifying where Christy had like items stored in multiple places. Christy also explained what items she needed to have on-hand. In both the hall and the room, we grouped the like items together.

By removing the unused hanging bar in the closet, we were able to stack both 2 x 2 cube shelves under the built-in shelves. (The hanging bar is now tucked between the shelves and the wall so that it can be replaced later if needed.) From top to bottom, we then adjusted what was stored in the closet. Items rarely used were placed on the highest shelves. Items accessed more regularly were placed on the cube shelves or in bags that we hung from hooks.

Storing more items in the closet freed up several drawers in the low dresser, which we designated for open projects. Christy can simply open the correct drawer while she’s working, and it functions almost as an extra tabletop. When she’s done for the day, cleaning up is as simple as closing the drawer.

This drawer holds frequently accessed craft supplies. Other drawers hold papers and books related to open projects.

Finally, we rearranged the furniture. We wanted the dresser to be beside the desk to keep project papers at arm’s reach. The electric piano seemed like a good fit next to the closet – it has a slim, low profile, so it made the entrance into the room feel more open and did not prevent Christy from using the large research board already mounted on this wall. The small project table is easy to move, so we placed this in front of the window. This also let Christy get rid of the second chair, as the table and desk could now share a chair. Then it was just a matter of fitting the drawer unit, bookcase, and lighting balloon into the remaining spaces.

Christy’s office after reorganizing. 

Day 2 (3.5 hours)

The second session was two days after the first. In between the two sessions, Christy sorted through her papers and books, purging what she could and grouping the rest. Although it was only two days later, we realized that we already couldn’t remember what we stored in which bins in the closet! We took a few minutes to catch up on labeling, using simple hand-written labels affixed with tape or clips. We grouped printing supplies on the radiator cover and next to the printer on the low dresser. We used the rest of the low dresser top as another bookshelf and organized project papers in the project drawers. We also added labels to the insides of the drawers.

We had not yet sorted the desk, so we tackled this next. Some items now had a home in the closet, which freed up more drawers for items previously left on the desktop. We also tightened up how Christy used the desktop paper organizer (adding even more labels, of course). Finally, we placed Christy’s decorative items and framed photos around the room.


I had a lot of fun working with Christy on this creative, busy space. Best of all, she was pleased with the results. A couple of days after we finished, she sent me a quick note:

I can’t tell you how great it feels to have my office organized. This morning Case even said, “Your office is like no other room in our apartment. It’s amazing.” I find myself just walking in there just to see it again. It’s become an alluring space. Thank you so much!!!!!”

Kaloumi Small Home Organizing is based in Edgewater, Chicago. If you live on the northside of Chicago or in the near north suburbs and would like my help in person, please contact me today!

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