Home Office – From Mess to Success

For most of my clients, a home office becomes the black hole for everything they don’t know what to do with in their homes. This project features a small home office that became a storage room for personal mail, hobbies and a variety of “stuff” that belonged in other rooms. It illustrates the importance of keeping your business and personal life separate in a home office. This step by step excavation may inspire you to edit your “stuff.”

The desk, floor and bookshelves became nothing more than a surface for storing “stuff” to deal with later. Later became never for too many items, resulting in missed deadlines, losing important documents and late fees.

The kitchen table became the new home office when this room was overtaken with clutter. When company came over, my client tossed paperwork from the kitchen table and clutter throughout the home in the office.

Personal papers, clothing and a variety of hobbies were mixed in with business paperwork.
The canvas bags, bins and boxes were THE filing system. The file cabinet was empty, because she didn’t know how to set up a filing system.

To make matters worse, she needed brain surgery after an accident. Her limited mobility made cleaning up her office a seemingly impossible task.

We started with the closet and donated items that were no longer needed. We relocated items that were not office related to their appropriate rooms – clothing, wrapping paper, gifts, old lamps, etc. The bins were re-purposed as a temporary home for like items as we found them.

After the surgery, my client could not bend over for more than a few minutes, so we brought in bookshelves and stools for sorting.

We filled 16 trash bags with paperwork during the sort and established categories for the keepers. Paperwork containing confidential info was shredded.

We found a variety of bins and boxes during the sort to store like items together. This helped us establish how much space each item needed. It also helped my client realize the overabundance of items she had. The excess items were donated to a local charity. The short bookshelf was re-purposed in another room to create some breathing room in this tiny office.

We switched the location of the desk with the table so the client can be closer to the window. She has room on her desk to actually work. The file drawer on the bottom left is home for files she references daily.

Since we ‘found’ the surface of the table, she processes personal paperwork here instead of the kitchen table.

We found this picture in a closet and re-purposed accessories from other rooms to establish systems to STAY organized.

The red box is for incoming mail, the basket holds mailing supplies and the bookshelf houses frequently used items. Additional supplies are in the closet.

We re-purposed the canvas bags for grocery shopping and set up a filing system in the file cabinet. Important paperwork and resources are found instantly.

Final Thoughts

● Keep like items together

● Edit, edit, edit

● Establish a home and space limits for everything

● Keep your “stuff” organized with reading and decorative boxes

● Recycle / Repurpose / Donate.

For more information on the services we offer, visit our website at SassySpacesInc.com.

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Is your home or office filled with clutter?

Is your floor and desk littered with paperwork because you are afraid to file something in fear of never being able to find it again? Or are your filing cabinets too small for the amount of paperwork you think you need to keep? Are your closets filled to the max with items you no longer need? Have your storage devices become the clutter?

If you said yes to any of these questions, listen to this segment from the Friends over Fifty radio show on WJOL (1340 am) with Ed Kerfin and Ross Novak of Home Helpers. Professional Organizer Jeni Ozark of Sassy Spaces, Inc. shares some organizing tips and common mistakes to help you conquer your clutter. Here are a few highlights:

• Simple and affordable tips to take advantage of every square inch of space in your home or office;
• Forget “perfect” and “fussy” systems – find a system that works with the way you think;
• Establish a place for everything with room to grow, so you can easily find it again;
• A brief overview of Feng Shui – how the art of placement can improve work flow in your office and make your home feel like you are living in a resort;


If you enjoyed the amusing banter between Ed & Ross, tune in for live shows on Fridays from 12 noon to 2:00 pm at WJOL (1340 am).

If the link does not work, go to http://www.wjolfriendsoverfifty.com
-click “Radio Show Archive” tab on the left side of the home page
-click “October 8, 2010”
-My interview on the show is from 18:30 to 29:34.

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Organizing Your Office 101

If you have a lot of clutter in your office, pace yourself and schedule two or three hour sessions daily or a few times a week until the project is complete.

Before you begin, clear one section of your workspace of ALL paperwork – even if this means piling it on the floor. Label file folders or boxes as follows:

To Do

Project and/or Client Files (establish these as you go along)









Sort your paperwork / clutter into each of these folders or boxes. Do not process any paperwork or browse through magazines as you sort, there will be time for this later. Once all of your paperwork is sorted into these categories, follow these guidelines:

To Do
Organize your To Do folder as follows:
• Staple or binder clip all related information together;
• Highlight pertinent information and write the deadline in the top right hand corner;
• Place the most urgent items on top.

As you process paperwork in your To Do folder, write detailed notes about the action you took, the person you spoke to, phone numbers, e-mail addresses, etc. and place it back in this folder if further action is required. To avoid a stack of random notes, carry sticky notes with you at all times and attach them to the corresponding paperwork. Start every day by processing at least one item in this folder.

Project / Client Files
Designate an area for current project files – the front of a file cabinet, a step file organizer on your desk or in a wall pocket. Create and staple a Project Detail sheet to the front of each file folder and check off items as they are completed.

In addition, keep a Client Profile sheet in each file. Customize the profile for your industry and include contact information, project summary and start and end dates, referred by information, charges, etc. Once the project is complete, file it alphabetically in a Client/Customer section of your filing cabinet.

A basket or magazine rack will keep reading materials off your desk. Schedule a time for reading daily or weekly so you don’t fall behind. Once you read something, file it, pass it along or recycle it. If you need to save an article for reference, clip out only the article and publication cover page for filing.

To avoid overstuffed filing cabinets, ask yourself “Do I really need to keep this?” If you own your own business, you are required to save receipts for seven years.

Keep your filing system simple and file by category. Here are some examples:

Hanging file folder labeled Receipts (by year) and archive these files at the end of the year along with your tax return.

Label file folders for this category as follows:
• Cash
• Checks
• Credit Card Statements and Receipts
• Bank Statements and Debit Card receipts.

Hanging file folder labeled Banking
Label file folders for this category as follows:
• checking account information
• credit card information

Hanging file folder labeled Resources
Label file folders for this category as follows:
• vendors
• subcontractors
• temporary help

Hanging file folder labeled Office Equipment
Label file folders for this category as follows:
• Receipts and owners manuals (tape the receipt to the owner’s manual)

Hanging file folder labeled Networking
Label file folders for this category as follows:
• Business cards and flyers
• Chamber / networking group handbooks

Archive and purge files at least once a year.

Before recycling paper, shred documents that include personal information (social security number, bank account numbers, passwords, etc.) Hire a shredding company for large quantities of paperwork.

Pass Along
If you come across items that would be of interest to your colleagues or friends, mark the item accordingly and mail it or schedule time to drop it off.

Donate / Consignment
If it is not broken, and you haven’t used it in one year, consider donating it to a local charity or take it to a consignment shop. Keep a bag or box in a conspicuous place at all times. When it is full, place it your car so you don’t forget to drop it off next time you pass the shop.

If you’re still undecided about some items, put them in this folder or box, date it and review it again in two months.

If your stacks are creating a fire hazard, it’s time to re-define garbage and reconsider what you keep. If your clutter is too much for the curb, consider renting a dumpster.

Either remove all personal items from your office or establish a section on your desk with a decorative box or basket or a portion of your file cabinet for these items.

In summary
• If everything has a “home” in your office, and you diligently place items in their “homes”, it will not end up on a stack.

• Set clutter limits for everything. For example, limit the amount of reading materials to one box – when that box is full, you need to purge.

• Schedule one or two hours a week to file and tend to your To Do file to stay organized.

• Edit and purge on a regular basis.

If you need help, we can either help you get started or see the project through to completion.

Sassy Spaces, Inc.
708.301.7474 Phone/Fax 630.207.8282 Cell
Jeni@SassySpacesInc.com http://www.SassySpacesInc.com

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Furnishing Your Office Affordably

First impressions are very important for every business. We all groom ourselves and dress professionally before meeting with clients. Do you ‘groom’ your office before a client meeting or does the mess in your office leave a bad impression?

•Do you hide paperwork in a closet before a client meeting?
•Do you waste time searching for bills, estimates or invoices because of the clutter on your desk and/or floor?
•Are your filing cabinets busting at the seams because you do not have a filing system?
•Are you afraid to file something in fear of never being able to find it again?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, this radio show will help you. It focuses on organizing solutions for the small business owner for home and commercial offices. It includes:

•Creative solutions for setting up an office in just about any room in your home;
•Affordable solutions for keeping your traveling office organized (your car or truck);
•Practical solutions for updating and re-purposing furniture;
•Tips for instilling confidence with potential clients and increasing sales by being organized.

Click on the attached link to hear the show:
If the link does not work go to http://www.mydreambiz.net
-click the “Program Archives” tab in the left column
-Type “Furnishing Your Office Affordably” in the search button at the top left of the page

For more information about Sassy Spaces, visit our website http://www.sassyspacesinc.com/, email Jeni @ jeni@sassyspacesinc.com or call her at (708) 301-7474.

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Part 2: The After School Routine

Do you feel like your home is under attack when your kids come home from school?  Is homework time a constant struggle?  Learn how to maintain your sanity when the whirlwind of kids and their “stuff” steps through your door after school by listening to Tracy DeGraaf’s “Laugh Anyway Mom” radio program “Back to School Organization – Part II – the After School Routine”.  This is part II of Tracy’s interview with expert organizer Jeni Ozark of Sassy Spaces, Inc.  In this segment, Tracy and Jeni share creative, practical and affordable solutions for keeping all your kid’s “Stuff” organized after school.  Here are a few highlights:

•  setting up “kid stations” for everything – backpacks, jackets, shoes, sporting equipment, artwork, etc.

•  How to ask leading questions to avoid baking cupcakes at midnight or missing a sporting event;

•  Setting up a homework station for each child by re-purposing furniture;

•  Easy, nutritional after school snacks;

•  Creating zones for just about everything by re-evaluating “prime real estate” in your home.

Click on the attached link to hear the show:   


If you missed the first interview, “Kids and the Morning Routine,” click on the attached link to hear Part I of the show: http://www.webtalkradio.net/2010/08/09/the-laugh-anyway-mom-show-%e2%80%93-back-to-school-organization-tips-part-1 /

If the link does not work, go to www.WebTalkRadio.net or www.TheWinOnline.com

–          click the “Shows” tab

–          click “Show hosts”

–          click “Tracy DeGraaf”

–          click the “Archived Shows” tab

–          click “Back to School Organization – Part II – the After School Routine”


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Kids and the Morning Routine

Do you feel like getting your kids out the door in the morning requires a daily miracle?  Before the new school year starts, learn how to decrease anxiety for you and your children in the morning by listening to Tracy DeGraaf’s “Laugh Anyway Mom” radio programBack to School Organization – Part I – Kids and the Morning Routine.”  This segment, which is Part I of a two part series, includes an interview with expert organizer Jeni Ozark of Sassy Spaces, Inc. Tracy and Jeni discuss a variety of practical tips and how planning and preparation can bring calm to the chaos of the “Rush Hour” as you attempt to get the kids out of the door for school. 

The interview includes:

•     Quick and easy tips for lunch preparation;

•     Setting up a station for permission slips, calendars, etc.;

•     Wardrobe solutions to avoid a clothing hurricane in your kid’s room;

•     Organizing solutions for accessories to avoid your teenage daughter’s meltdown;

•     Tips for training your kids at an early age to take responsibility for age-appropriate tasks;

•     We briefly discuss the benefits of creating peace and harmony in your home with Feng       Shui.

Click on the attached link to hear the show: http://webtalkradio.net/2010/08/09/the-laugh-anyway-mom-show-%e2%80%93-back-to-school-organization-tips-part-1 /

If the link does not work go to www.WebTalkRadio.net or www.TheWinOnline.com

–          click the “Shows” tab

–          click “Show hosts” 

–          click “Tracy DeGraaf”

–          click the “Archived Shows” tab

–          click “Back to School Organization – Part I – Kids and the Morning Routine”

Don’t miss Part II of this interview – the After School Routine. 

Go to www.WebTalkRadio.net or www.TheWinOnline.com

–          click the “Shows” tab

–          click “Show hosts”

–          click “Tracy DeGraaf”

–          click the “Archived Shows” tab

–          click “Back to School Organization – Part II – the After School Routine”



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Transforming a Living Room into an actual “Living Room”

Planning a party is the greatest motivation to update and de-clutter your home.  Case and Point – a client was planning a graduation party for her son, but was ashamed of the clutter and the unfinished appearance of her home.  Since she did not have a money tree in her back yard, we worked with her existing furniture, artwork and accessories and created a beautiful, clutter-free home.  The curtains and curtain rods are the only new items in the room. 

She was too embarrassed to allow “before” pictures, so these are the “after” pictures.  

Problems:  The messy desk, end table, lamp and love seat were squished together;

The sofa was loaded with mismatched pillows;

The end table was cluttered with photo frames and trinkets. 

Solutions:  Centered the love seat under the windows and donated most of the pillows; 

Sorted and cleared the clutter on the desk;

Relocated the end table to the other side of the couch, leaving room for the lamp; 

De-cluttered the end table, leaving only 3 pictures and 1 trinket.                           

Problems:  The blinds clashed with the wall color and the lack of curtains made the room looked unfinished.

Solutions:  A new curtain rod and curtains compliment the vivid couch color and soften the hard edges.  The blinds disappear behind the curtains when drawn. 

Problems:  “Treasures” were hiding behind photos, trinkets, pillows and an assortment of clutter on the fireplace.

Solutions:  Edit, donate and re-locate the mismatched clutter and borrow accessories from other rooms. 

Replaced a very frilly picture with this one to appeal to the 3 men in the household.                      


Problem:  Prized collections were hiding behind clutter and 20+ picture frames on the bookshelves on either side of the fireplace. 


Solution:  Re-locate and donate the clutter and display the collections, memorabilia and prized photos.  The picture frames were hung as a wall collage in a hallway leading to the basement


Problems:  Piles of magazines and “stuff” cluttered the sofa table; 


The side table was cluttered with picture frames and trinkets;  


The client loves the wall color, so it stays.


Solutions:  Borrow accessories from other rooms for a cleaner look on the sofa table and to house the remotes.  A runner disguises the worn surface and a small stack of books and a decorative reading basket resides on the lower shelf; 


Edit the clutter on the side table;


Artwork will tone down the overbearing green wall behind the sofa (we have a shopping trip planned).




This room will never appear in a fancy magazine, but my client cried (for joy) when she saw the completed room.  Each of her “favorites” were clearly displayed, instead of hiding behind the clutter.  She is now proud to invite guests into her home.

Are your “prized” possessions hiding behind or under your clutter?  Or, are they packed in boxes eagerly waiting to be showcased?  Like my client, once you start the sorting process, you will be liberated.  If you don’t know where to start, start anywhere.  Start small by clearing one surface a day or a week.  Be warned – the process is addicting and joyful.  Once you begin to see the surface of your tables, desks, bookshelves and floors, there will be no stopping you!  Now go get started.

For additional ideas, visit me on FaceBook at www.facebook.com/SassySpaces

or visit my website at www.SassySpacesInc.com


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