I had a vision of a nice, tidy, organized home office the other day. First, a bit of a description of the existing home office. It’s in the corner of the house, so two adjacent walls have windows. One is pretty much centered, the other is significantly off-center. One wall has a closet that takes up half the wall. The final wall has a heating vent and a door that swings inward (such that it blocks the closet door). This doesn’t leave a lot of choices about where to place furniture.
Currently there are 2 desks and 2 short filing cabinets along the back wall, where the off-center window is. Mine is one of those monstrous flat-pack desks with drawers and a printer cart and a big storage unit that sits on top of it. I’ve had it over 20 years, since back when I got my first computer (a Tandy!) when I was a child.
The other desk is one mom bought at a rummage sale and refinished. It’s much smaller, with 2 drawers on each side which are all just slightly the wrong shape to hold things. The filing cabinets have 2 drawers each and are on either side of her desk, which sits in front of the window.
In the corner between the other window and the closet there are 3 bookshelves, with 5 shelves each. Also a small CD/DVD shelf that sits at the end of them. Under the window are 2 rolling file carts with 2 shelves under each one. And on the final bit of open wall, between the door and the heating vent, is a recliner. Its mate is in the living room.
My vision of the room involved the removal of mom’s desk, the filing cabinets, and the file carts. My desk would move to the wall where the recliner sits now, and the recliner would move over in front of the window where mom’s desk currently sits. The corner that is freed up by moving my desk would get its own set of 3 bookshelves (we have 1 in the basement and I would need to buy 2 more). Then I’d remove the random bookshelf and magazine rack and boxes from the closet, and fill it in with cube-style shelves (IKEA EXPEDIT or a knock-off) to store all the random office supplies that are currently boxed up.
The plan was perfect, I set out to buy shelves, and it all fell apart. The bookshelves we currently have came from Big Lots. They had shelves on the website that looked the same, although I thought the color might be slightly off. No matter, as I could put the new ones in the middle of the groups of 3, and it would look intentional. Then I measured the current bookshelves, and they were slightly off in every direction. The height and width I wasn’t concerned about (again with the looking intentional), but I was concerned about the new ones being deeper. I had decided they would work (I have them angled in a corner and thought there was enough space), but when I went to the store they were much darker than I expected and I didn’t like them.
Okay, but I could still get the closet organized, right? I had planned to buy two of the EXPEDIT knock-offs that were 3 cubes high by 2 cubes wide, and put them side-by-side in the closet with our existing CD/DVD tower between them. This would fill up most but not all of the closet width. I was getting the white ones to go with all our doors and trim (and the shelves, once I get that closet paifnted). They only had 1 white one in the size I wanted. They had the right size in an ugly dark brown. They had the wrong size (which would waste closet space) in white. ARGH.
I ended up leaving with only the longer cable I needed for our internet if I move my desk, some books as gifts, and some 75% off Halloween markdowns. So I returned home dejected, and started checking the dimensions of the real EXPEDIT shelves, thinking I could make a trip to IKEA tomorrow. I cannot come up with any combination that fits in the closet without leaving a big gap. The closet is 57″ wide (maybe a hair more if the shelves don’t come up to the level of the built-in shelf where the support boards make it narrower), and with the clothes rod still in place it’s 55″ high (I may be able to get around 2.5″ of additional height if I can manage to remove the clothes rod).
The 16-cube EXPEDIT is 58 5/8″ wide and tall, so it doesn’t fit in either direction. There’s an 8-cube, which is still 4 cubes tall, so it doesn’t work turned vertically or horizontally. There’s also one with wonky mis-matched cubbies, which is not really what I want, but it’s also the same height so that won’t work either. And then, the next size is a 4-cube (2×2). Why is there no 3×3? Not that it would be what I want either – I want the stupid closet to be a smidge bigger in both directions!