Tuesday, August 25, 2015

35 Four Days & Four Drawers Mini Organizing Challenge: Home Office Drawer

Well, our sweet little P's head back to school today.  It is always a bittersweet day because I dwell on the things we didn't check off of our summer list and instantly miss their daily sounds and shenanigans.  However, as sad as I am to see them off on their buses, I am also a little relieved to head back to a normal schedule and routine.  Just like milk, it does our family good!

I actually planned on doing a big "Hooray, Back to School!" week series, but honestly it arrived so quickly that I was still packing up backpacks late last night.  So, as we begin using a few of our newer school zones, as well as work with our now High School aged son to figure out a whole new organized school year plan (still not quite sure what I think of that), I will be sure to share what we find to work best over the next few weeks.

But you know what is funny?  With all of the school related things on my brain, Courtney's organized nightstand inspired me at a different level.  At this time of the year when everything is transitioning, I like to find quick and simple hits that make a big difference in our day-to-day routine.  After thinking through her project, I found myself dumping out a few drawers that frustrate me and leave me wanting to start from scratch.  What I love about tackling a single drawer, is that it typically doesn't take that long do, you can shop your home for dividers, you feel extremely motivated and accomplished after completing a quick project, and you say goodbye to rummaging and digging on a daily basis.

I am challenging myself to clean out a single drawer each day, for the remainder of the week.  Four drawers in four days should be easy right?  Today's drawer really wasn't all that challenging and was really quite enjoyable, which is how I always personally recommend diving in.  Just enough to get your feet wet and amp up for the next challenge.  Not all of our drawers are going to be as simple as adding a few new dividers.  I have a feeling a couple will require a tool or two.

So stay tuned as we take on a different drawer each day.  And of course, no iHeart Organizing challenge would be complete without inviting YOU to join in and do it with me.  Organizing is always more fun when you do it with friends.  Friday, when I reveal my final drawer, you all will have the opportunity to link up any drawers you tackled this week as well.  They can be anything from a clothing drawer to a junk drawer to a utensil drawer; no drawer is off limits.  Drawers can also be shared with me under the #4drawers4days hashtag on Instagram!  Let's do this!

As I mentioned, my first drawer was just enough to get me motivated, and it worked!  It is a drawer I use daily and one that impacts my desire to "Work Happy".  It is my home office drawer.... yikes!

When I first organized this drawer, I used a combination of old box lids and DIY dividers, and it worked OK for awhile.  But over time they started sliding around, needs changed, and eventually a disaster evolved.

This time, as I emptied the drawer, I made a long list of my favorite daily office supplies and assigned each a specific location:

  • Label Maker (drawer)
  • External Hard Drive w/Cord (drawer)
  • Phone Battery Cell w/Cord (drawer)
  • Pens (drawer)
  • Paperclips (drawer)
  • Twine (drawer)
  • Address Stamp (drawer)
  • Business Checkbook (drawer)
  • Extra Planner Accessories (drawer)
  • Ear Buds (drawer)
  • Tape Measure (drawer)
  • Flash Drive (drawer)
  • Pins (drawer)
  • Paper Flags (drawer)
  • Notepad (drawer)
  • Notebook (desk)
  • Stapler (desk)/Staples (drawer)
  • Tape (desk)
  • Pantone Color Deck (drawer)
  • Business Cards (drawer)
  • Blank Note Cards (drawer)
  • Envelopes (drawer)
  • Eraser (drawer)
  • Stylus Pens (drawer)
  • Ruler (desk)
  • Scissors (desk)
  • Glasses (desk)
  • Hand Cream (desk)

Can you believe the majority of those items were living in that single small filing cabinet drawer just below my work space?  I couldn't either.  All of those items needed more division and organization.  But first, a little pretty gift wrap.

To remedy the amount of specific organizers/dividers I needed for all of my supplies being tossed (very neatly) into a single drawer, I decided to add a second "drawer" or layer within the drawer.  It couldn't have worked out any better!

Because my supplies are naturally quite colorful, it is hard to gauge how freaking fantastic this single drawer is, and how happy it really does make me.

The front of the bottom row was a simple combination of single acrylic dividers used to hold pens, twine, Pantone deck, and all stationery items (checkbook, envelopes, notepads, blank note cards, planner stickers, etc...).

While the back of the drawer fit all of my small electronics.  The cords were also wrapped with some new cord organizers which I am totally gaga over.

The best part of the entire project was making the most of the entire drawer.  This drawer is touched multiple times per day, so finding a way to maximize the space and keep it orderly at the same time was a little challenging.  Until the sliding, expandable drawer organizer came into my life!

Again, the color and acrylic combination make it hard for the sliding organizer to stand out, so I thought I would create a little slow-mo gif.

Drawer Organizer

I am easily amused, but it is probably a good trait that I appreciate simple pleasures in life.

The expandable organizer fit the glides of my file cabinet drawer perfectly, has a variety of small compartments for all of the itty bitty supplies and is versatile enough to last many years to come.  It was almost as if the file cabinet and organizer were a match made in office organization heaven.

And my first of four very colorful and organized drawer before and after.

I have confidence that the new setup will help me become uber productive each day.  Like with incredible Superwoman powers and stuff.  OK, so maybe I am a little too excited about the small successes.

But that excitement will hopefully trickle into drawer number two tomorrow!

So, now that I have shared my challenge, before and afters, and love for a new product, it is your turn to return the favor. :D  Pick a drawer, any drawer, and make something awesome happen.  Then share it with me via Instagram (#4drawers4days) and/or by linking it up this Friday.  And no excuses about not having enough time.  Even one drawer in four days is something anyone can do, I am sending super strong organizational vibes your way.  See you again tomorrow!

* affiliate links used


  1. Nothing makes me happier than looking at an organized drawer! It just makes me feel calmer and like I have everything together. You did such a beautiful job organizing (as always).

  2. Oh wow! What a transformation! I'm envious of your pantone swatch stick too! I have a few drawers I can try this out on. You guys have great organising accessories in the States. I swear in the UK we are so behind, which is frustrating! x

  3. Confession of a so unorganized person: I would take your before picture anyday!

    1. If there was a "LIKE" button, I would so like it!

  4. I've scanned the email a couple times looking for where you purchased the sliding drawer organizers and haven't found it. Would you mind letting us know where you purchased them? They look fantastic, btw.


    1. Hi Tina! Here is the link: http://www.amazon.com/US-Acrylic®-Hanging-Drawer-Organizer/dp/B002JLW7X6/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&qid=1440484949&sr=8-3&keywords=us+acrylic+drawer+organizer&linkCode=sl1&tag=iheaorga-20&linkId=333ff8da5947eb77801cda183a74e33e Thank you!

    2. Hey Jennifer, I have used the link and the URL above to try and search for the hanging drawer and it doesn't work. Do you have another place that you purchased them? Love this!!!!

    3. Hi Briana,

      Here are a couple of acrylic expandable drawer options I found:


      The last one appears to be the one I have in my office drawer. :)


    4. This link goes to Retinol Cream ???

  5. It is rewarding to see you organize and reorganize spaces as your needs change! You also often show great new tools, as well as new ways to use old tools. Thanks!
    I would love to join the drawer challenge, but I have two toddlers who love to see what they can grab out of drawers, despite the baby locks. I can't wait till this phase is over! Right now all of my kitchen tools are in one drawer, waiting for the day the can be separated into four other COMPLETELY EMPTY drawers. Grow, children! Grow!

  6. Kind of sad to see your DIY paper dividers go. I used your DIY solution at work and if it doesn't fit, it goes away. Sad to see that you are gearing towards everything being acrylic with gold. Good grief it is a drawer after all.

    1. I still use my DIY versions also. Just slowly transitioning since the acrylic is so versatile, durable and easy to clean. I am definitely a mix of inexpensive solutions and splurges.

    2. It looks great, as usual! Use what works best for you! ;)

  7. I love the acrylic sliding drawer. Genius! I'm making the purchase now :) You motivate me to organize every time!!
    Grace, Faith, & Glitter

  8. That sliding drawer is amazing, and exactly what I need! I'm about to purchase a desk for my new apartment, and I can't wait to use this tips and tricks to keep it perfectly organized and colorful.

    Jessica // www.jessicarmyers.com

  9. Where oh where did you get those gorgeous, glossy gold pens?! I need them. Not want, NEED. : )

    1. They are Kate Spade, but to be honest, as beautiful as they are I was a bit disappointed with the quality for the price (think cheap Bic pen spray painted gold quality). Such a bummer.

  10. I don't know if anyone would want to see my "before" pictures! Your "before" pics would probably be better than my "after" photos! Haha! Need to commit to this challenge this week! Always love looking at your beautiful office supplies!

  11. Oh god, I love this too much. Organization makes me happy. It looks awesome, really. Good job! :)

  12. I love that drawer lining!

    Her Heartland Soul

  13. Hello, I love your beautiful photos! I have looked at the drawer organizer online and would like to know, are you using just the one item, or the three organizers it shows as "frequently bought together"? I can't tell from your photos what you bought to get your system. Thank you!

    1. Hello - I used this one specifically: http://amzn.to/1NUOkpy and for the bottom of the drawer I also used a few extra individual pieces I had leftover from another acrylic set I had purchased, which are similar to these: http://amzn.to/1LwXeJK

  14. I don't have a desk with drawers. only shelving. So I decided to get a basket and divide the basket into sections (pens in one slot, posts it notes in another) and build those sections according the item that is going in it. Nothing should be sliding around in there! I am happy!

  15. Hi Jen -- like yourself I'm a huge fan of acrylic. I love what you've done with your drawer organization and want the sliding organizer. You always find the prettiest papers for lining.

    I LOVE the font you used. Could you tell me which one it is? TIA!


    1. Hi Deby,

      The font is called Bellwethers.


    2. Thanks for that, Jen. You're a sweetheart.


  16. I love your organizing challenges and ideas.You are such an inspiration to me! I have been lining my drawers with pretty paper since reading your blog and am so amazed at the difference it makes in the simple beauty and the desire it creates to keep it that way! Thank you!

  17. Oh my! I spy acrylic! They are really beautiful! I am so jealous.

  18. LOVE IT!!!! But wait, did you say "High School Age?" I thought your guys were littler than that? I would love to see something on organizing a teenager's space as I have two teenage boys (14 and 13). I love everything you do and cannot wait until we buy our house next year!

    1. They are growing so quickly, my oldest just turned 14 this summer and started High School yesterday. I can hardly believe it! We are definitely re-working things a bit to be better suited to his age, so I will be sure to share when we get a few of the first day kinks worked out.

  19. Now your drawer is so neat and pretty. I definitely love the color and acrylic combo.

  20. Hi Jen! Love your blog. Just tackled my first drawer after reading the "athoughtful place" post. Question...how do you hold down your gift wrap AKA liner? Also, is there a tutorial for the gold dipped blue mason? Wondering if it's just the metallic spray paint. Thank you.

    1. Hi Lauren! Thank you!

      How I apply the liner typically depends on the material I am using to line the drawer. Sometimes I will use a small amount of mounting putty, sometimes double stick tape and sometimes I just put contact paper over the top and allow it to hold down the paper: http://iheartorganizing.blogspot.com/2015/03/quick-tip-tuesday-gift-wrap-drawer.html

      The gold mason jars were just taped off and sprayed with my favorite Rustoleum Gold Metallic Spray: http://amzn.to/1NXkbWT

      Thank you again!


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