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Big Storage Ideas For Small Home Offices

2 sided work surface

We're hard working Americans. And the more mobile we become with options to be connected via our “devices”, the more we tend to be “on the clock”.

And the higher the expectation of productivity from our bosses (whether our boss is someone else or ourselves).

So setting up your workspace so it's effective can save you lots of time and make you more productive.

Here are some great tips to help you do that:

Go Vertical – Lots of professionals prefer “horizontal” organization (you know, the stacks of paper that are piled up according to projects that are laying all over the desk). We're suggesting you think about going vertical, meaning utilizing wall space as part of your organization system. Think about shelving, hooks, bulletin boards, dry erase board or chalk boards to help you “see” what you're working on and making it easy to access. You can also attach light fixtures with movable arms to wall space so you don't give up any desk surface by having a lamp sitting on your desk top. 

Pull-Out Shelves – Pull-Out shelves can be built into desks or wall units. The beauty of these is that they can be pulled out when you need additional work space and pushed back when you don't need them, so they don't occupy permanent space in your room.

Dual-Sided Work Surfaces – If you're not the only family member who works a lot, then designing your space so that you have a horizontal surface that's deep enough for two people to work opposite each other works great. If space allows, then a counter or desk top surface that is 30” or more allows for the space of two laptops, files and room to work. Just be sure you have enough space for a good office chair and maneuverability when doing the layout and design of the room.

Shelves Below –  When designing closet space, we don't recommend putting shelving below hanging because the hanging is typically deeper than the items you put on the shelves, so access becomes a challenge and things get lost. However, in a desk scenario, where most office supplies are small, we love the idea of having some shelving below your desk surface (as long as you still have space for your knees). You can keep extra supplies or books that you don't need on a daily basis in this hidden storage area.

Have Some Fun With Your Tools – There are more colors and styles and options on the market than ever before, so we did some searching and curated a few top options that we consider the coolest desk accessories available. And not only are they cool, but they're functional. We're always thinking double duty.

usb fishtank and desk traffic light rotary style cellphone holders and thunder bolt power strip

And if you need some double duty design help, please give us a call to book your own personalized consultation to see how we can help improve the functionality and design of your work life (or your homework life).

Another Good Year for Closet Organizing Systems at the 2014 Top Shelf Awards

Closet Top Shelf Awards LogoBill Curran, was the winner with his project "High Gloss Garage" in the Garage over 600 square feet category and Tom Mayfield, received Honorable Mention for “Home Office for Active Consulting Business” in the Home Office under 150 square feet category.

We are pleased to be adding our latest 2014 Top Shelf Award wins to our previous awards since entering the contest a few years back. To date, this gives Closet Organizing Systems a grand total of 10 wins and 5 honorable mentions. Design winners were celebrated at the 2014 Cabinets & Closets Gala Awards reception in Somerset, NJ, during the Cabinets & Closets Conference & Expo. Awards are given to honor designers for their creative organizational solutions and woodworkers for their outstanding design, craftsmanship and execution. Each category is intended to highlight functionality and originality, as well as design.View our Top Shelf Design Awards wins from previous years.

High Gloss Garage Design Top Shelf Award 2014Custom Garage TV Cabinet with LED back lightingIn the Garage over 600 square feet category, Bill Curran took the win with his project "High Gloss Garage”.  This sleek custom garage cabinetry system includes high gloss red, black, and wire bronze finishes to achieve a modern high-end car connoisseur look. The countertops were finished with a Mayan dyed copper metal laminate and all drawer boxes were lined with black and red speckled vulcanized high-impact rubber matting. Some added features include integrated seating bench, personal beverage center, concealed hot/cold water retractable hose reel, and a wet/dry shop vacuum system.

The TV was also equipped with its own high gloss surround cabinet with tiered picture frame to further accent the garage colors. The TV cabinet has LED back lighting to make the TV appear as though it is floating in space. Red and Black mouldings were added to the upper soffit area to conceal a multi-color LED lighting for added ambiance. To finish things off two car lifts were installed for more good boy toys. View full article


Tom Mayfield's Top Shelf Award Home Office for Active Consulting Business design Impressing in the Home Office under 150 square feet category, Tom Mayfield, received Honorable Mention for his “Home Office for Active Consulting Business” project. Some of the challenges included creating more efficiency, work space and elegance for the daily operation while including a separate work center for limited use from a much larger room to one with only 127 S.F.

pull out printer shredder shelves in Home Office designFor this design, we created an L-shaped desk with a separate work space for computer and manual tasks. The desk adjoined a credenza across the entire back wall that placed all working files and office equipment at his fingertips. A free-standing triple lateral file for retained records with a bookcase above was placed nearby on a side wall, and a TV screen was mounted on the wall for easy viewing. We also created a second work station for an out-of-town business partner consultant that could be easily disguised in an existing closet space when it was time for him to leave. View full article

Closet Organizing Systems will stay the course and continue to impress as we look forward to entering our latest designs in the 2015 Top Shelf Design Awards competition.

Designing Harmonious Spaces

We all like our homes to feel good. A natural state of “flow” contributes to that home-like, peaceful feeling that says “welcome” when we arrive at the end of a long day.

But if you live in a house that's in an urban environment or is of smaller square footage, this design effort can take more energy because functions in the rooms often overlap.  Or you can easily see from one space to another and you want it all to look like it works together.

And that's the case with this project designed by our team member, Carey Eckstrom.  The client showed Carey a photo of something she liked and Carey used that as the inspiration for these two wall units – one in the bedroom and one in the adjoining home office space.

The client liked the wider vertical dividers, the crown and base molding and the open feel of the upper shelving.

And you can see these elements incorporated into the final designs for their own spaces.

Another feature that adds to the great function of these designs is the clipped corners. By making the ends with 45 degree angles instead of squared-off 90 degree angles, the space feels softer and the pieces fit more easily into the flow of the room.                                           

Carey also took into account the location of the bed when designing the wall unit that's in the bedroom, making sure that the TV was in the sight line with the bed for comfortable viewing.

Both units are manufactured with solid cherry wood veneer with solid wood doors/molding and matching melamine interiors.  This “hybrid” approach saves costs because only the parts you see are actually wood (a more expensive material).

Another feature that really adds to the custom look of these pieces is the built-up columns.  Adding the width on the vertical pieces that divide the sections makes the units feel more substantial and clearly adds to the uniqueness.

So if you're looking for some unique storage for your home, give us a call and we'll design something equally as beautiful and functional that solves your storage challenges.

Home Office Harmony

With each 9-5 workday that goes by – more people join the ranks of those who work at home.
And even if you have a dedicated space to do your work – and a door to close behind you when you do not want to be disturbed – keeping it all organized can be challenge.

So we asked a professional organizer who specializes in this area.

Elaine Quinn of Space Craft Organizing in Chicago says, “When you’re working from home, make things easy on yourself. Don’t waste time and energy searching for what you need in a cluttered and disorganized work space. A few small steps can make a big difference in how well your home office works for you.”

Try a couple of the following tips to make things run smoother –

1. Assign a logical and convenient place to keep every item.
Decide the most logical and convenient place to keep each item and always put it there. Keep like things together and store items closest to the place you will use them. If you use some types of items in more than one place, have duplicates.

2. Put each item away as soon as you are finished using it.
Avoid the habit of putting something here “for now.” All too often, it stays there “for ever.” Eventually you’ll have an unruly stack of stuff to sort through. It’s your choice: a moment now, or hours later.

3. Regularly dispose of items you don’t use.
Clear out things you no longer use so that it’s easier to find what you have. Give them to someone else, donate to a charity, re-purpose, recycle, or just admit they’re junk and throw them away.

4. Only buy items that you need, like, and have space for.
It’s a waste of time, money and space to buy something you won’t use, don’t enjoy, can’t see or is too much trouble to get to.

Elaine advises, “Like any new habit, staying organized may not come naturally at first, but it will save you time (and money!) in the long run.” Learn more by signing up for her newsletter at

And if you need support in building the structure of your home office space – give us a call and we’ll set you up with a member of our design team to help you figure things out.

Home Office - Before  Home Office - After
                       Before                                                         After

Home Office - Before  Home Office - AFTER
                      Before                                                         After


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