Cultivate Creativity with an Organized Office

Today I am sharing a look at my office from the One Room Challenge a few years back.  

I have been frantically unpacking my kitchen and trying to get my ORC ready for photography.

I decided to share this much needed info.

I can always use organizing.

Cultivate Creativity with an Organized Office via The Southern C


photos: Loli Photography of The English Room’s One Room Challenge office project 

Did you know that the average American…

  • spends 45 minutes a day looking for things
  • receives 190 messages a day
  • receives 49,000 pieces of mail in his lifetime


  • 23% of adults pay bills late and incur late fees
  • 1 in 11 American households utilizes self storage and spends an average of $1,000 a year on it
  • 1 in 4 households with a garage can not use it to park a car because it’s filled with other stuff

So how are we expected to run businesses, raise families, have friends, and pursue happiness with so much information and stuff to manage? All of these papers, letters, advertisements, and headlines are vying for our attention with either an audible siren song or by taking over the physical space on your desk and, even worse, mental space in your head.

It’s up to you to take control by having an organized mind and space in which to work. You have the power to say “no” and set limits on what takes your attention and what lands on your desk. Be proactive on managing your office space, not reactive to other’s demands. This is YOUR space.

What defines “clutter”?

While most people assume that visually-oriented and creative people thrive on a lot of visual stimuli, the opposite is true. Clutter confuses your brain and prevents you from having the freedom to think creatively.  A lot of images on a vision board are not clutter because you chose those images specifically. Excess papers, emails, bills, etc. piled up on your desk are clutter because they all require your attention. You have to make a decision about what actions to take whether it is to trash, file, shred, or do something else.

Your work needs its own work space.

Above all you need a dedicated space to work, file papers, and store necessary supplies. I personally tried the desk in the corner of the bedroom concept and it was a disaster. I had a constant reminder when I woke and when I went to bed of work that I had to do. Moving my office to a separate space had a huge impact on my ability to get things done and on my sanity. My husband also appreciated not having to look at a desk while trying to sleep.

Set up filing systems for the papers you need to keep for business and for your personal life. It has to be an easy, intuitive system or you’ll never put those papers away. Keep personal papers separate from business, at least in different drawers.

Supplies that you need to complete your work, such as paper, pens, paper clips, ink cartridges, etc. need to grouped together by type and stored within easy reach. The more you use something, the easier the access should be.

It can be pretty! But above all, it needs to be comfortable.

I can’t stress enough how important a right-sized desk, comfortable seat, and good lighting are either. Not having one or all of these can mean a barrier to entry for an effective working environment. We are all affected by our surroundings and not being able to see or sit comfortably means you can’t work well.

Clutter confuses your brain and prevents you from having the freedom to think creatively.

By having a clean and organized workspace, your mind is free to solve whatever problems require your attention instead of having to figure out where you can sit down to write or think. To make this all a little easier for you, I created an Organized Office Check List (download or print here). Feel free to print this off, to make sure you have all of the right elements of an organized work space. If you do, I guarantee you are happier and your work will reflect your calm and collected state of mind.

Happy organizing!

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