Back to School Office Organization (and a Little Before and After)

Back to School Office Organization (and a Little Before and After)


This post was written in collaboration with Birch Lane.

office basket

metal handled basket

In not-organization news I spent a not-productive Sunday watching an entire marathon of Flea Market Flip.

Have you ever seen that show?

It features two teams of two people who meet at a flea market and are given a certain amount of money and an hour and three categories of projects to create and they have to shop the market and buy loads of sad, neglected parts of this and that and turn it into something amazing.  Then then the next day they bring their treasures back to the market and try to sell them and whoever makes the most profit wins $5000.

I know all of this because I spent hours yesterday watching the show.

I couldn’t help it.

As soon as I saw the teams I would start rooting for one of them and when I saw what they bought I had to see what they turned it into and then I had to see who won.  And I kept thinking that this was going to be the last show and that any minute an episode of House Hunters was about to be on.

Good thing I got all organized before the whole Flip Market Flip debaucle.

And here’s how I did it.


We have this tiny room tucked away under the stairs in our house.

Here’s what it looked like when we moved in and added some shelving.


Here’s another before styled with paint rollers.

We re-did the office and painted it white and I posted about it about a year and a half ago and then everyone kind of forgot about it which is easy to do because it’s behind the door under the stairs.

I just rediscovered it and decided that I was going to stake my claim on the space.

So I cleaned everything out and started with a blank slate that looked like this.

office before

And here’s the other side.

office shelving before

And I fluffed and added organization and created a wrapping station and places for all that Thistlewood stuff.

And a place for my laptop.

And now it looks like this.

office area after

And this.

office organization bookshelves

I kind of simplified everything.

And it feels wonderful.

First I cleared all the nonsense off the shelf and added baskets.

Glorious, wonderful, incredible baskets that you can’t see through.

Or woven storage bins if you are fancy. 🙂

office organization basket

Here’s a close-up.

I clipped a marquee letter on the front of the in-going basket and the out-going basket.

It looks so much neater than the piles of papers that were there before.

organization notes

I used an old shutter and clipped on a notepad with another clothespin.

You could also add sticky notes to the shutter.

Or important reminders.

office organization filing cabinet

Here’s the other side of the space.

We added these filing cabinets before and they are the perfect size for the space and I’m going to use the top for a wrapping station.

I added wrapping paper to this basket.

It came in a set of three and this is the smallest one for scale.

organize ribbons

On the empty wall, I hung the ribbon from a metal scissor rack.

Best.  Decision. Ever.

I love how I can see all the ribbons.  I had them in a bin before and now I can see everything I have.

organization chair

I added a chair to the space to create a desk for my laptop.

Then I filled a galvanized tin with office supplies for easy desk organization.

It’s all here in this tiny little space.

All mine.

All organized.

Leaving me plenty of extra time in my day…..

….just in case I happen upon another Flea Market Flip marathon. 🙂

hutch kitchen

PS  Two more organization ideas for the road.

I added these baskets to the top of the hutch.

The better to store my paper goods for parties.

living room organization

And this rolling basket to the family room.

It’s a little pricey, but worth every. single. cent.

It’s heavy and large and amazing quality.

rolling basket organization

And it has these awesome rolling wheels.

The better to store blankets and extra pillows for the fall and winter ahead and a great way to clean up the room in a second when I hear the doorbell ring.

Not that it’s ever messy.

Me and my Flea Market Flip watching self are way too organized for that. 🙂

A giant shout out to Birch Lane.  

Thank you for sponsoring this post and producing amazing quality products.

All opinions are completely my own.

Please see my disclosure page for more information.

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  1. Love your baskets KariAnne! I have a rolling basket just like that as well- it gets around 😉 I just moved it to the bathroom that we just renovated and am using it for laundry. Your little nook is so cute- I would have claimed it too. XO

  2. okay…so the multi-drawered piece of furniture….which mostly has my heart beating a million beats a minute because i love drawers…is that an antique, an old find which means i will never ever be able to find it again in this life OR is it something you found online and which might be fairly affordable. it is adorable. so lucky you. i would hide out in this space. for like, the longest time. just sit and think…with the door shut and only my breaths to keep me company.

  3. Lots of wonderful organizing goodies…and I love the way you have used them!

  4. Okay, so where is that shutter located? I have four and I’d REALLY like to do something with at least one of them but I can’t quite figure out what to do with them!! Thanks!

  5. Can’t believe you let that great space sit unclaimed for all that time! What if someone else had discovered it first? So glad YOU got there first!

  6. Cute space but that itty bitty top for wrapping is only for itty bitty gifts, right? I have long countertops in my laundry / craft area and a whole wall of gift wrap rolls hung from peg board and I still mostly stuff everything into gift bags. Lazy, I’ve gotten lazy … or I could just blame Flea Market Flip. Honestly, they sometimes make the weirdest stuff on that show and somebody actually buys it and puts it in their house?

  7. Rowena Philbeck :

    I love watching that show too. I have watched it all day once and just had to see what all they made from what they bought. Very cool show. I love your space for wrapping etc. Looks wonderful and so organized. I received and really nice love seat from my boss who was rearranging her craft room and I put it in my bedroom. Now to fix it up. Not use to having a couch in it but its working. Its one of those ultra soft brown leather ones. I have red and gold pillows on it right now. Love changing things up. Guess that is why you are such an inspiration on the things you create…helps others with ideas..

  8. So smart, to claim your own special space, especially if no one else has staked their own claim to it yet. I miss having stairs with a special room underneath and would definitely have those cool baskets and a scissor rack like yours in one! Happy Monday!

  9. That room is adorable! If I found a niche like that I would claim it too. What a difference that white paint made . I almost had to put on my sunglasses 🙂 and I see that you found a home for your deer. I can just see you in your little office creating all sorts of things and coming up with some amazing stories. What kind of light did you use in there? Or did you use your red polka dot umbrella light stand. I know it’s not red polka dot but I could see you with one — it would be so apropos because it would match your red lipstick. Have a wonderful day!! Big Hugs. Oh!! The rest of the story — did your team win??

  10. Love the baskets! I have them all over my house!! That large white rolling basket is awesome, you could hide a ton of stuff in there if only it had a lid 😉 It’s nice to see that tucked away space again, haven’t seen it make an appearance on your blog for a while. Love Flea Market Flip, have been watching it for a few years. Did you find any goodies at Magnolia’s last week?

  11. I love the gianormous rolling basket! and the little area that you set up is perfect! I would have stolen it for myself too!

  12. Well you go girl:D I love little spots beneath a stairwell, and you certainly made it handy! It looks much nicer than Harry Potters version:)

  13. Love the before comment, “styled with paint rollers”!!
    I think I want to be reincarnated as Lara Spencer!!! : )

  14. Tina Matteson :

    Love it, as always, KariAnne! Have a great day.

  15. OMG….My heart be still…..I think I would spend most of my day with my laptop in there, or JUST looking at that chest of little drawers……is it old ? a find? or just new ? I want one of those. It is drool worthy.

  16. Love love love the baskets!!!!

  17. Hello!
    What a cute little space! I’m curious about the metal scissor rack – you hung yours vertically. Were you able to turn the hooks vertically also without damage? Also would like to know how you secured the rack to the wall. In reading comments on Birch Lane for this product, a buyer wrote that the slots were small and difficult to hang. I had seen this rack prior to your post and loved it but was hesitant – but love yours!
    Thank you for answering my questions!
    Enjoy your day! 🙂

  18. Well, girl, you’ve done it again!!! How could you forget this space? What with 4 kiddos and a husband and all you do and all… It is just perfect. I live in a bi-level so have split stairs so no can do!!! Wish I had it though. Keep on a keepin’ on!!!

  19. LOVE your little room! Great job!

  20. Hi Karianne, I love how you transformed this little space. It’s actually turned into quite a bit of space now. Great storage and organization. The basket on wheels is fantastic and inspiring.

    Hope you have a nice day too.

  21. Flea Market Flip sucks me in every.single.time. Even if I’ve seen it before. Intervention needed.

  22. I am basket obsessed.

  23. I’m on board with the other gals who love the multi-drawered piece of furniture. They ALWAYS stop me in my tracks. Not sure what I would use one for, but I would love one just the same!!

  24. Love how your new space turned out, Karianne!! Not sure what I would “claim” as my favorite….the baskets, the scissors rack, or that wonderful chest with all of the drawers!! I’m curious where you found it, too. Thanks for sharing…..I’ve never watched Flea Market Flip, but you definitely have my curiosity up!
    Blessings to you,

  25. You always come up with the most creative ways to organize, dress up and utilize every inch of a space.

  26. I bet you wrap the prettiest presents in that space 🙂

    LOVE Flea Market Flip – in addition to the cute stuff they find/make/sell, isn’t that Lara Spencer the cutest!?!?! I love her outfits – damn skinny-minny, but she has the cutest personality too. Just like you. Thanks for sharing.

  27. I love all the baskets & your office is so sophisticated!!! Great job as always, Karianne!!!

  28. Amazing job!! YOU make everything so pretty!

  29. Oh, KariAnne, I kept waiting to find out, and simply must know: where did the multi, mini-drawer piece come from?!? I am obsessed with anything like that! Is there any way you can tell us … Oooh. Pretty. Please?
    I love this whole little working “cubby” and cannot imagine how you could let it slip your mind! I’d not have forgotten that cute inverted V space for one minute! You have such a knack for turning anything plain into the most unique and useful “design editorial” in the shortest time! The Birch Lane pieces are all impeccably integrated into your style! The big rolling basket ~ it’s perfect there! Placing the rolled “ribbons/tapes” on the iron rack is innovative ~ revolving hooks turn to fit your space ~ so they are convenient and in view.
    I was also home w/Lara yesterday b/c of an upset tummy, and I thought a couple of the unusual “re-creations” were cool ~ I esp. liked a huge glass jar lamp, and arched transom window pieces!

  30. I am so relieved…I was worried the poor little deer head who lost his spot to hang his horns by the front door was just wandering around. Now he has a home and a super cute one at that! Looks great.

  31. Hi KariAnne! I watched that marathon on Sunday, too. I love Flea Market Flip but every time I watch it I feel like I need to go make something. Immediately. I never get the great deals they do, though. Anyway, the baskets look great and I really like the one on wheels. It’s perfect! Totally going to make one for my bedroom. Have a great week!

  32. Love the baskets. I am in major organization panic mode now that school is starting soon. I like everything to be in order on their first day back!

  33. Amazing space and a place for wrapping supplies – oh the love…