Monday, September 26, 2016

Office Makeover (Again)

Hello, everyone! Welcome back to the blog. Sorry it's been so long. While I can't offer up any Whole 30-style hangry ranting (Currently sitting on my couch eating a box of Wheat Thins. They are delicious.), I can offer you before and after pictures of my office makeover! A different category of blogging perhaps, but I promise that what this blog post lacks in disappointing frittatas, it makes up for in blue and white Ikea furniture.

Ellen, you may wonder to yourself, didn't you just makeover your office? Like less than a year ago?

...yes. Yes, I did. But I had a perfectly good reason to make it over again, and I spent very little money, so don't judge me. Just look at the pictures. 

Stage One: July 2015

As some of you may recall, when I arrived at Macalester a little over a year ago, I walked in to this:

It was scary and dirty and had very little room to walk around. In fact, every time I walked in, I tripped over the godforsaken red dolly you see in that picture. I swear the thing followed me around.

Stage Two: August 2015

My first order of business, then, when getting started at Mac was to find a better home for Dear Old Dolly. Well, that and finding a little more floor space so that my staff and I could actually get in and out of the office. So, once I got my office back from student summer staff in August, I set about purging miscellaneous items that had been left in the office over the years, rearranging some furniture, and moving in a few of my own belongings.

I was left with this:

While perhaps not a Pinterest-perfect office, the result left me tremendously proud, especially when I looked at the before pictures from a few months earlier.

The freshly-redecorated office had floor space and seating space. It had things on the walls and curtains on the windows. Best of all, the darn dolly had a home that was conveniently off the floor and out of the way.

However, as much as I liked the new office set up, I still didn't want to be in the office. Sure, I felt comfortable making my student staff work several hour shifts there, and I wasn't embarrassed to hold one-on-one meetings or conduct hearings in the office, but it was not a space that I sought out. I didn't respond to emails or watch reruns of Gilmore Girls or curl up with homework in this room. 

But again, it wasn't a bad office. And I was happily living with it. 

Stage Three: May 2016

But then, last spring, I got word that my building was going to be getting new paint and new carpet over the summer. As a consequence, I had to pack up the contents of the office and take everything off the walls. 

I was left with this:

A beautiful, blank slate. A beautiful, blank slate and a $150 budget of unspent money leftover from my yearly budget. Suddenly, the possibilities were endless! I rushed to spend the money on decor and a few pieces of new furniture before the fiscal year ended. Then I stuffed everything into the building's basement and impatiently awaited the end of the summer, when the remodel would be complete.

Stage Four: August 2016

Finally, in August, the tarps came down, the painter's tape came off, and I got my office back. With just days before our Res Life staff returned to campus, I set about tackling the following projects:

Removing the unused filing cabinet 
Getting rid of the old desk chairs
Assembling the new chairs
Hanging new curtains
Rearranging the furniture
Assembling and hanging the gallery wall
Replacing the clock
Redecorating the staff bulletin board
Assembling the new side table
Assembling the new lamps
Unpacking the six boxes of equipment and office supplies I had crammed in the basement. 

After four days of unpacking, decorating, going to Target more times than I can count (I legitimately had to go to Target four times because I kept buying the wrong kind of light bulb for my lamps. It was ridiculous), I was left with this:

Rearranging the furniture and adding a side table gave me a much-needed sitting area where I can have my more informal one-on-one meetings. It's also a great place to read a book or respond to emails.

Pushing the two desks together allowed both me and the student staff to spread out a bit more without fear that our binders and textbooks would fall on the floor. As a bonus, this arrangement also meant I could add the aforementioned sitting area. And, as a bonus bonus, I was able to sort of achieve THIS look without spending any money!

What's a student affairs office without a little Brene?

I also removed the filing cabinet and moved its (meager) contents to the portable file holder, now located on the bottom shelf of the side table. 

This gallery wall only cost me $4! I grabbed four frames from the dollar store and used old sticky tack to hang each item. I used old calendar sheets, various greeting cards, personal artwork, and things I found on the internet to decorate the wall.

The best part of all is the addition of the new lamps. They make everything feel so cozy.

And that's it! (Well, okay, I also cleaned out the closet but it isn't quite as picturesque as the office. I love it. But I don't think others would be so enamored of my ability to cram multiple vacuums, art supplies, lawn games, and giant post it pads into a tiny little coat closet.)

For the interested, I've made a list of the items I purchased below. (I get no reward or compensation for listing these - I'm just in love with my decor, and I thought I'd share :) )

Thanks for letting me show off my office!


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