Home Inspiration: Taming My Office Trouble Spots With TJ Maxx

When TJ Maxx got in touch and asked if I’d like to be part of their Spring Organization Challenge, I jumped at the chance. The mission: pick out a few items from the TJ Maxx/Marshalls home goods section to help organize a messy spot in my own home. There was no question in my mind which spot I was going to organize, because I was already sitting in it when I got the email: my office. Thanks to that whole “selling all my possessions before I moved” thing, my house doesn’t have too many clutter or disorganization issues right now, but all the issues I do have are confined to my office. I’m really bad with paperwork, files, and mail especially, and since I just close my office door at the end of every day, it’s been easy to put off figuring out how to organize everything. Read on to check out my embarrassing “before” photos and the super cute storage solutions I found, not to mention a life-changing time management trick!

Problem Area #1: My “Mail Center”

Mail Center Before & After

The Problem: I love sending people mail (gotta keep my mailman crushes employed!), so I’m always hoarding collecting cute postcards, cards, envelopes, stamps, labels, etc. But without a clear place to keep all my stationary and mailing supplies, it’s just become a messy pile on the floor that I sift through when I feel inspired to send someone a card. I jokingly call this pile my “mail center,” but I’ve been meaning to create an actual, organized mail center for ages, something that would make it easy for me to keep my mail stuff organized and accessible.

The Fix: A box with a place for everything! As soon as  I saw this compartmentalized wood box, I knew I’d found my mail center. I loved the style of it and the little cubby holes were the perfect sizes for all my envelopes, cards, stamps, and labels. My mail center dream is finally a reality! [TJ Maxx Desk Organizer, $14.99]

Problem Area #2: Files and Paperwork

Paperwork And Files Before & After

The Problem: When we moved, I got rid of as much paperwork I could, cramming all the important stuff into a cardboard box, which I then crammed into my office closet. It’s impossible to find anything in it, and the box rips a bit every time I dig something out. Not ideal.

The Fix: Swap out the disintegrating cardboard box for a cute faux-leather filing box with rose print lining! I am obsessed with how cute and functional this filing box is. It’s easy to see and access the contents, and the perfect size for files, manila envelopes, and notebooks. Since we’re moving again in a couple months, I also really like that it has handles for easy mobility. I’m not even going to keep this hidden away in the closet anymore because it’s so cute! [TJ Maxx Faux Leather File Box, $19.99] 

Closeup Of Rose Print File Box

Here’s a closeup of the print inside — cute, right?

Problem Area #3: Time Management

The Problem: I don’t think TJ Maxx was expecting me to get all abstract and metaphysical on them, but one of my most disorganized areas is not a stack of papers or a junk drawer, it’s my schedule. It’s time. I wasn’t expecting to find a fix for this problem while wandering the aisles at an off-price home goods retailer, but I totally did.

The Fix: An HOURGLASS! My boyfriend picked up this hourglass from one of the desk decorations shelves while we were shopping, as kind of a joke. “Maybe you should get this,” he said, snickering at the absurdity of his suggestion, but then something clicked in my brain and I was like, “Damn, maybe I should get that!” And then I did, and it kind of changed my life.

Desktop Hourglass

You see, I have ADD, and it’s really tough for me to get started on projects and maintain my focus once I do start. I get sidetracked and lose track of time, and all of a sudden two hours have passed and I’ve barely written three words. I’ve been using this hourglass for almost a week now and it has helped so much. I flip it over when I start a project, and it lets me visualize the passing of time in a way that makes sense to my brain and really helps me stay on track. The 15-minute interval is perfect for accomplishing all those short-but-annoying tasks that I always put off, and I just flip it over twice for slightly longer tasks. Plus, it looks cool with the rest of my desk decorations, if I do say so myself. [TJ Maxx Desktop Hourglass, $20]