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Around The Office | Spring 2014 Update


Ah, the office.

Some of you have been wondering silently and some have been asking in the comments here or on Facebook "what about the office update?"

Maybe I was waiting for it all to be perfect, even though I know it will never be (and I'm totally okay with that).

Maybe I was waiting for us to settle in. Is over a year long enough?

I know I was giving it some time before writing up a big post to see how we work in this space. What works here and what doesn't. If I've learned anything over the years of home offices/creative spaces it's that things that work in one house or at one point in time don't always work again or continue working the same way over time.

So last week I had Katie go around and just take a bunch of photos of exactly what's happening in here right now. Just like I did back in 2011 - holy moly check out the difference between then and now here.

Remember, my goal is to not spend a lot of time organizing stuff. My goal is to make stuff. I don't want to be constantly organizing or thinking about organizing or worried that it's not organized enough to get to work.

My other goal, that you might know or not know, is not to have mass amounts of product. I want options and I want selection but not excess. I don't need every color of album, every letter sticker option, etc. I want breathing room in here. I want space to work with what I have and not always be wishing for something else or wanting more.

I'm so thankful for this space. For the light and the white walls and the floors. We feel good in here. Things are happening in here. We are documenting and creating and making stuff and having fun and providing for my family.

Here's a look at what's happening in here right now:


Nothing much new in this area which you walk past as you enter the office.

The shelves hold all my 12x12 albums. Along the top right now you can see my collection of December Daily® albums that need to be put into one or two of those plastic bins on the bottom and put into storage for next December. I like to put those away during the year and bring them out in December.

The albums you see on those shelves are either from American Crafts or We R Memory Keepers and they include family albums (such as Ali & Chris, Ali childhood, Anna's First Year), annual albums (like 2012, 2013), Simon albums (which basically runs from 2002 up until 2008 - it was around that time that I started just keeping annual family albums), and Project Life® albums (2011-2014).

If you're interested in reading more about album organization you can read a series of posts I did about organizing all my layouts into albums here: Part One | Part Two | Part Three.

There's a stack of layouts there that need to be organized into the correct albums.

Here's a view from the opposite side of the office looking back towards the door:


The Varde tables from Ikea are awesome. They have worked perfectly in this space. The work area is nice and big and there's room on the top for us to keep some supplies with most things being stored in the drawers or in baskets below.

I've always been one of those people that stands up to create my projects (unless of course I'm sitting at my computer desk) and these tables are just the right height. I'm 5'9 and Katie is 5'2 and the height has been fine for both of us.


Here's a look at my side of the work table (there's two islands put together there and we just refer to it as the "table"). Katie keeps her Project Life® album out on the other side most of the time. My Project Life lives on top of a shelf unit as you'll see below.


On top of the table at any given time are layouts in progress, a bucket that holds rolling stamps + scissors + the Crop-A-Dile + the Corner Chomper + the Tiny Attacher.


I also usually have a couple small baskets with products I love and/or want to remember to use.

We recently went through everything on the table and moved off anything that wasn't a regularly used item - it basically had just become too cluttered. It looks messy right now because I'm in the middle of a couple projects.


Here's a look inside the three large drawers. The left drawer holds Project Life® cards, washi tape, and metal rimmed tags. The middle draw is for adhesives, corner rounders, etc. The right drawer holds my most used mists, paints, inks, etc.


A close up look inside the Project Life® card drawer. I've got a few different boxes and little metal bins in there. This is more of a storage vs. a working drawer.




Katie's got some of the boxes on her side of the table. Those little boxes are from Ikea.


These tables have shelves under the drawers. Right now I've got baskets that hold letter stickers and Display Dynamics 12x12 trays to hold cardstock. The other baskets hold my collection of punches and scraps of pattern paper.


The punches. I still love them. The baskets are from a variety of sources over the years - Target, Goodwill, Ikea, etc.


Along both walls are Ikea Expedit shelves on wheels. These have been renamed Kallax if you go looking for them at Ikea. They are awesome on their own but having them on wheels makes them that much more awesome.


This unit which is closest to my computer desk includes work binders for my online workshops and other business-related stuff.


On top of this shelf is where my 2014 Project Life® album sits. I add to it throughout the week and then move it over onto the table when I'm actually completing weeks. The surface area on top of this shelf has been a great home for that album.


One of the things you'll find in that shelf are these great pull-out Kvissle Letter Trays from Ikea. We use them to store the current Studio Calico Project Life® kits each month.

After I complete my page(s) using those kits and new ones come in the mail we rotate the products out. At that time I make a decision if I want to hang onto anything for future use (if there's much left after) or put things in the donation box that gets shared with local friends or Anna's school.


I love that I can pull the whole tray out and move it over to the work table and then move it back when I'm done and it keeps all the kit contents together. It's similar to the way I'm using my unfinished projects trays.


The second shelf unit is full of those Display Dynamics 12x12 trays and all my pattern paper and page protectors. Right now the pattern paper is organized by manufacturer and the page protectors are separated by style.

On top of this shelf are some new products that need to be organized/put away, my 2013 Project Life® album, my Brother sewing machine (I have to have it out in order to remember to use it) and my heat gun.


Next to that shelf, along the back wall, is my beloved set of lockers. Over the years I've talked about painting them but I'm currently super happy with the metal grey color.

Inside those doors you'll find inks, paints, ribbons, sewing supplies, etc. Most of those things I don't use every time I'm making something so I like having something like the lockers to hide away some of the stuff.


On the opposite side of the room from the lockers, right next to the windows, is our computer desks. We love this set up where we sit across from each other - it's worked out great. We've also been really happy with the choice of these white tables - also from Ikea.



Next to my side I have a Pottery Barn filing cabinet that I've made good use of over the years. You can also see that my scanner and my Epson Picturemate printer sit on top of that filing cabinet.

The white chairs are also a recent addition I picked up at Ikea.


Along the other wall is the third Expedit/Kallax (not sure I can get used to the new name) unit. Next to it is a long white table that used to be in Simon's room. Right now it's a dumping spot (hate that) so I need to decide whether we really need it in here or what. I like that it could be a third computer station (the monitor is sitting there waiting to be hooked up to something) but I don't love it in that space.


The artwork above the shelf is from Minted (The Worldwide Web, Organic Pebbles, You Are My Rising Sunshine). This shelf is currently a random collection of things (including empty baskets and albums). There's a few more of the Display Dynamics 12x12 trays holding some past projects and a few other products. One basket includes letterpress supplies from Studio Calico that we plan to test out one of these days. Another basket includes coloring books, stamps and pens for Anna when she wants to hang out in here.

On top of this shelf are my stamps from Technique Tuesday overflowing out of that great red wood box + a typewriter we use from time to time and a couple frames that need some attention.

This whole shelf and it's current contents need some attention. Ha. In progress, right?


A tour of this space wouldn't be complete without including Charlotte. This is Katie's baby and she's an almost daily fixture in the office.

Overall, I love this space.

It's happy and white and bright and I know where stuff is located. As I said in the beginning of the post I'm still finding rhythms with certain parts and making changes when I can.

You can see the other office project posts here. Want more on organization? Check out my organization archives here.

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72 thoughts

  1. Pink Ronnie says…

    I love seeing you in your space, Ali. And I just adore all that light and white. Must be so very inspiring.
    Ronnie xo

    Reply 0 Replies
  2. J3SS1C4 says…

    Such a bright, happy workspace! I love how much light you have in there, and seeing all the fun goodies out! I bet that would be a super inspiring place to work! :)

    Reply 0 Replies
  3. Susan says…

    Love the space...and so useful and inspiring. The light is amazing. As the oak tree in front of my office window grows I lose more and more light. While I love my oak and the view I realize how I've counted on the light.

    Reply 0 Replies
  4. fafuna says…

    I'm one of those who've been wondering silently and waiting for this post! Thank you for the tour, Ali. I loved reading it and I'm sure I'll come back to this post in the future. Your space is lovely!!!

    Reply 0 Replies
  5. michelle t says…

    It's always interesting to see how others organize their products. Thanks. Can you recommend a white ink stamp pad that would work great for stamping on black cardstock or kraft paper? I like to make my own embellishments and use my stamps a lot. Sometimes ill stamp directly on a layout but I mostly like to stamp on a sheet of cardstock and punch or cut out. I've read some reviews but can't settle on a brand. I also think maybe embossing powder might give me what I'm looking for but I haven't taught myself that skill yet and know very little about it. Thanks. Michelle t

    Reply 4 Replies
    1. michelle t says…

      Thanks for your help. I appreciate your answer. Michelle t

    2. Ali says…

      Hi Michelle!
      Try out Memento Luxe Ink in Wedding Dress-- our favorite!


    3. Michelle t. says…

      Found it! Thanks very much. Michelle t

    4. COEngrGirl says…

      Interjecting here... I'm also a fan of stamping on craft and have tried several white inks. I've yet to find one that's opaque enough to suit me. So, I've started heat embossing with opaque white powder. I'm using Zing powder right now, but will probably look for one soon that's a matte finish (not sure it exists!).

  6. Cathy Zielske says…

    My God. Honestly? It's amazing. I mean, I see you on the video but never really get the gist of this space. I love it, Ali. LOVE.

    Reply 0 Replies
  7. Ruth says…

    It's been great to see how your space is organised ~ something to bear in mind when I next reorganise my space. I particularly like the use of the Varde tables (I think we might call them Butchers' Blocks (or something like that) here in the UK.)
    Thanks for sharing.

    Reply 0 Replies
  8. Maureen says…

    Charlotte is a beautiful addition to your space. Every scrap/office space should have an addition of the furry four footed kind.

    Reply 0 Replies
  9. celine says…

    I love your space so much, Ali :)

    Reply 0 Replies
  10. Tracey says…

    So great to see all this, Ali! Thank you for sharing. You've really inspired me to give some extra attention to my creative space. A peek inside the drawers was my favorite part. Love how everything is set up.

    Reply 0 Replies
  11. Alida says…

    This is just a perfect space. I think it reflects your own transformation. Especially like the collection at the entrance, and the thrive art above your PL album.

    Reply 0 Replies
  12. Sunday says…

    Beautiful space Ali - I definitely have office envy! All of those supplies, all of that light, so many surfaces to work on. It looks heavenly!

    Reply 0 Replies
  13. kybarb says…

    I noticed the metal rim tags in one of your drawers and while I love them I never seem to use them. Would you do a blog post about ways to use tags, tickets, & labels please? You probably have many layouts using the metal rim tags all ready and maybe I just never noticed them. Project life and/or regular layouts!

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. michelle t says…

      Check out yesterday's projects post, "Today, you". She uses the circular metal tags prominently. They are real cool, I agree! Michelle t

  14. laura g. says…

    you are so lucky to have a great space to work in!! I am lucky too...we added an extra room onto our house while adding on a second's now my 'scrap room'...or as my grandson calls it, my 'crap room'...I am overflowing into the laundry room!!
    love the metal lockers!!!

    Reply 0 Replies
  15. jacquie says…

    What a fabulous post! Love/envy your space. So inspiring.

    Reply 0 Replies
  16. ShellyJaquet says…

    How wonderful! Thank you for sharing. Now I am so inspired to clean up my space :)

    Reply 0 Replies
  17. Lori says…

    Thanks for sharing. Love it.

    Reply 0 Replies
  18. Allison says…

    Love all the light!

    Reply 0 Replies
  19. paige @ Lux Per Diem says…

    my craft room is similarly shaped so this was quite inspiring to see your laid out so well!

    Reply 0 Replies
  20. Felicia Young says…

    Nice! I love the office Ali, the brightness, the light, love it all! You have a lot of organization going on in there as well. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply 0 Replies
  21. Mel says…

    I read the title of this post and said to myself, oh great! I love your office tours. I remember way back, when I used to look at a particular post over and over just to see all those wonderful baskets and bins and products you had. I like to see your evolution into this space too. Thanks as always for sharing.

    Reply 0 Replies
  22. Florence says…

    Thanks for sharing you office and storage! It gives me some great ideas to handle my ever growing scrap book stash! Love the lockers - what a great storage idea!

    Reply 0 Replies
  23. Patti L says…

    Thanks for the update & tour! I'm currently planning a new scrap space, so trying to see all different uses of Ikea furniture. Really like the varde counters!

    Reply 0 Replies
  24. Leslie S. says…

    Great office/crafting space. I think I need to make a trip to Ikea soon!

    Reply 0 Replies
  25. france says…

    Loved this post. I'm so glad you didn't wait for perfection...although it seems pretty fabulous right now:)

    Reply 0 Replies

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