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A year ago, my oldest son started asking for his own room. Well, with five other siblings requiring bedrooms, that wasn’t possible. But I did think it was possible to give him his own office.

We built this large closet for toys in our basement eleven years ago. Originally it had wire shelving, but the shelves kept tearing out of the wall. They weren’t designed to store all the toy bins we stacked on them. The other problem was my inability to lock these doors to keep every tiny toy from being flung around the room without supervision.

My second attempt at taming my toy closet was to remove all the toys and shelving. Toys were moved to an unfinished storage room that could be locked. I purchased four tables inexpensively from Office Depot and stored linens, ski clothes, jujitsu clothes, and hand-me-downs in the closet. This arrangement worked better than the previous system. The only thing that was taken out consistently was blankets for the kids’ fort building.


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It seemed like the perfect room for my son’s office. I moved some of the items stored there, put his computer, a lamp, and bulletin board in it and expected him to be happy. He wasn’t. The kids and my husband were constantly in his office getting blankets and jackets and leaving toys. (I will leave it to you to figure out who was getting what). My son told me he didn’t have enough room to work. Buying him a nice chair didn’t solve the problem. Eventually it became a dumping ground for his stuff.

The Simplify101 class motivated me to try again. I got rid of a van full of stuff from my large storage area and the kids’ rooms (with their help). I will show you the results of those projects soon! I also cleaned out a nearby closet. These decluttering sessions gave me the room I needed to store everything that didn’t belong in an office. I removed two of the tables, which will be great to have accessible for entertaining and our homeschool co-op.

In my large storage area, I found some wall words we inherited from my late father-in-law when he sold his condo. The phrase was appropriate for my son’s love of education and future aspirations: Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. I put it up, set up his printer, and cleaned. The room looked great, but the ceiling tile was damaged from a long ago toilet overflow. The plastic pieces that once held wire shelving were also still in place.

Still mindful that this is organizing WITH kids, my husband taught my son how to putty, sand, and paint over the holes left by the hardware. He also replaced a ceiling tile. Unfortunately, the paint my husband thought was from the basement wasn’t. It IS, however, a basement office where perfection isn’t required. The final piece was a painting from HomeGoods that my son loved. He is enamored with city life. Apparently he has good taste because a woman at the HG checkout was very disappointed I was taking the only painting like it from the store!


He tells me he LOVES his office now. I took this picture of him and realized that the orange cube, although something I had on hand, was a no-go. What a great way to be objective about your space: take pictures! I replaced it with another plastic book shelf from Office Depot and everyone is happy that my teen has his own room at last.




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