Recently, I decided to do a desk makeover. It wasn’t extravagant, but the results have been surprisingly satisfying.
Years ago, I found an old desk on a mom-swap and put it in the back corner of my basement. Ahh. Finally, an office to call my own! I have a three-bedroom house, which, between my two kids and myself, didn’t leave room for an actual office that was designated only for working. But my basement “office” would more than suffice, I thought, even if it was a room where other things happened besides work.
The back room of my basement is where my washer and dryer are.
It’s also where I store holiday decorations, my vacuum cleaner, board games, and an old treadmill that I hop on in the evenings when it’s too cold or rainy to walk outside.
Quickly, the desk I had purposefully situated in this room in hopes that it would serve an important purpose became a place to stack bills and store miscellaneous items. Junk piled up. Years went by, and I probably used my desk for working only a handful of times. I decided it was time to give my desk a makeover.
A few years ago, my husband and I separated, and he moved out. My house became my own entirely. When I took over the mortgage, I felt a shift. My house belonged to me and only me. I was tired of having unused space in it. I wanted my home to feel like my sanctuary, and I wanted every place in my home to have a purpose. But I knew it would take work.
Everywhere I looked, there was something that needed attention. There were piles of junk, unused corners, and rooms that weren’t serving their full purpose. I could have picked just about anywhere to start. There were simply too many projects to tackle, from the kitchen floor, which was the victim of a flood two years before and needed to be replaced, to the window my son smashed with a stick a couple of summers back.
Tackling the office, or at least the desk, felt like something I could manage. I also really needed a place to call my own. As it stood, the back room of my basement wasn’t somewhere I wanted to be. It was a stressful sight, for one. But while I couldn’t find another place to do my laundry, or for my treadmill to go, I decided that I could find ways to actually make space for my work life.
I knew the first step had to be decluttering. No one can think straight when they’re surrounded by junk. I sorted through stacks of papers, mostly tax forms from five or more years ago and old doctor bills. I recycled a ton, then made space for important papers inside the desk, which was mostly empty anyway. I set aside a desktop organizer where more pressing things would go, like bills that needed to be paid soon and current tax forms that I didn’t want to lose.
After I decluttered my space, I felt a weight lifted. I started to get excited about my desk project. I gave the whole area a good scrub, even the walls, which not so surprisingly were covered in kid grime — like food and smudges and who knows what else. Once my desk was clean and empty, I thought about what I needed to make it feel like a space where I wanted to work.
I headed over to my local Target — every mom’s favorite place — to grab some essentials. I didn’t have the budget for a ton, but I also didn’t need a lot. I picked up some new markers for my dry erase board so I could stay organized for any given month. I also got some new pens, because I was spending a lot of time searching for runaway pens each day. I also bought two small frames that each rang in at around $3 and a desktop plant, also for $3.
Shop other desktop succulents at Target! Prices vary.
When I got home, I got my desk all set up. It felt great! I pulled out the desktop organizer and actually made use of it. I filled in my dry erase board calendar with all of my assignments for the month. And I did a little bit of decorating, but not too much! I was being very conscious not to create more clutter.
My desk was still an older desk and I didn’t really want to deal with painting it, but I wanted to add an element that would make it feel new. So I cruised Amazon for some cute new knobs. I found some adorable decorative knobs in bright colors, and they were a steal at only $9.99. They arrived two days later.
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My son loves projects, and replacing knobs is so easy a 5-year-old can do it. My son helped me take off the old knobs, which he put in his toolbox for a future project, and we attached the new ones. It gave the desk the final touch I was hoping for.
Now my desk is complete, and it really feels like somewhere I want to be and work. Aside from that, it inspired me to clear out a ton of clutter from a room that was becoming a junk room. The back room of my basement still serves many purposes, like it always did, only now work is one of them.
I reclaimed a space and made it my own. It didn’t take long. It didn’t require that much energy, and it cost me less than $25. But the takeaway of having a desk I actually want to use has been huge.