31 Days of Decluttering, Day 25: Home Office

Are you decluttering your home, too? I’d love to be able to share your success story with the KOAB community! Please submit the before & after pictures of your decluttering project.

Before the Big Home Office Declutter

The maddening thing about decluttering is that no matter how much we do, we almost certainly have something else to do — or, worse, the same thing to do again.

Like laundry or dishes, decluttering is just one of those chores that keeps cycling back around. The stuff worms its way into our homes – despite our best efforts to cut it down.

My office, in particular, had become a “holding place” for school papers, bills, and magazines (all those free subscriptions are a bit of a curse, I think), not to mention decluttered items from other places in the house — waiting to be donated or possibly even sold on Craigslist.

Home Office Before Declutter

For my easily-distracted self, working in an office teeming with stuff majorly stymied my productivity! It had gotten so bad this spring that I was preferring to work in my bedroom, rather than at my desk. With these horrible before pictures, I’m sure you can see why!

Last week, I’d had enough, so I spent the better part of two afternoons going through it all and hopefully making my office a more productive, streamlined environment. I tossed two huge bags of not-worth-saving recycling, then scanned piles of documents and shredded them (another big bag).

Next, I dug into our overrun office supplies, tossing dried-out pens and markers, and recategorizing the remains into neatly labels tubs, drawers and bins. Finally, I listed all the previously decluttered stuff on a Facebook giveaway site I’m a part of it – and cleared it out the same day.


After I purged all the clutter, I decided to rearrange my desk orientation. Instead of facing the window, I rotated the desk 90 degrees, so I’m facing the room entrance, with the window to my right. I think this might be preferred from a “feng shui” perspective. Anyone know? So far, it’s working out, but I may change things up again.

As for the rest of the office, I will tell you that I really don’t love the dark paneled walls. As soon as we moved in, I started asking my husband what he thought about us painting them a bright and cheery color. Unfortunately, he isn’t so keen on painting paneling – he thinks it ruins the “look”. For now, we’ve left it, but I’m not totally happy with it. Anyone have experience paining flat paneled walls? Recommendations?


What I do love about my office, however — other than that huge window to the front yard! — are the gorgeous built-ins along the back wall of the office. Not only are they lovely, they’re super functional.

As you can see, I’ve kept a lot of my homeschooling curriculum and materials. (It’s all lined up on the left side of the built-ins). I’m not ready to part with it yet, even though my kids are in school full-time this year (and will be next year as well). I love having a place to keep it – other than in boxes in storage.

Office Declutter After

We have been using our All About Spelling and All About Reading curriculum throughout the year — and I plan to keep up with it over the summer. (My kindergartener is working on Level 1, my 3rd grader will be on Level 4.)

On the right side of the built-ins are office supplies, tax binders, and our wireless printer. I’m very excited because this year, I switched to a “paperless” system for all of our receipts at my accountant’s insistence. I  love it so much, that I’m going paperless in our personal lives as well.

brother scanner ads-1500

This little guy is my BFF when it has come to going paperless. I’m planning to write a post detailing my workflow, showing where I virtually store and save all our important papers, and explaining how I tag them so I never have to spend more than 20 seconds looking for a document again! If you’re interested in having a paperless (or less-paper) office, you’ll definitely want to stay tuned for that!

office supplies labeled

Finally, behind the closed doors of the built-ins, I reorganized all of our overflow office/school supplies, as well as the “manipulatives” from our math homeschooling curriculum. You know I had to label them all. 🙂

And there you have it – a two-afternoon home office declutter, which has made my working hours a whole lot more productive and peaceful.

After the Big Office Declutter
Have you been working on getting a better handle on the stuff in your house? Please join me for the 31 Days of Decluttering challenge (which is stretching out of to be much longer than 31 days – oops!)! Everyone is welcome!

31 Days of Decluttering

Day One: Decluttering the Toy Storage Closet
Day Two: Decluttering the Top of a Bedroom Dresser (Finish What You Start!)
Day Three & Four: Decluttering the Master Bathroom
Day Five: Decluttering My Desk
Day Six: Join the Decluttering Challenge
Day Seven: Decluttering the Computer
Day Eight: Decluttering the Night Stand
Day Nine: Decluttering a Kitchen Counter in Less than 10 Minutes
Day 10: Decluttering a Bedroom Closet
Day 11: Taming the Paper Clutter
Day 12: Decluttering the Coat Closet
Day 13: Decluttering the Linen Closet
Day 14: Reader Share: Decluttering the Play Room
Day 15: Reader Share: Decluttering the Front Hall Table
Day 16: Is Clutter a Sensory Issue?
Day 17: Decluttering the Kitchen Cupboard (Food Storage)
Day 18: Clutter & Decision Fatigue
Day 19: Decluttering the Kitchen Pantry
Day 20: Reader Share: Keeping a Decluttered Pantry
Day 21: Decluttering the Spice Drawer
Day 22: Decluttering the “Her” Master Bedroom Closet
Day 23: Organizing and Backing Up Digital Pictures
Day 24: Declutter the Tea & Coffee Cabinet


  1. Anne Dillon says

    i grew up in a house with painted panel walls in the dining room. My mom painted them a beautiful creamy beige. It made a huge difference and made for a brighter, cheerier space.

    • Mara Strom says

      THANK YOU! I think I just need the push. Dark wood paneling is SO not me!

    • We have multiple rooms with paneling including my girls room. I would love to paint but I have heard very mixed things about painting the paneling (whether I have to sand it or can use a special base coat of paint.) I would love to get that done someday.

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