02 May 2014

Elfa Work Space Update: Three Years Later

I've been working from my work space a lot lately and that had me thinking that it would be a great time to do an update on what has worked and what I've changed in the past three plus years. Can't believe it's been more than three years already.

I also like that though because it also means it's been three-plus years since I was so very, very sick and lost my hearing on one side for several months. I had an infection that used to be very often fatal and it was pretty scary there for a bit. So glad to have that past me, although I still get worried when I get sinus infections or any discomfort in my left ear or in my neck. That was definitely one of the hardest, scariest times I've had in my life. The bitter pill to swallow was having to accept that I am not invincible. Haha. But gladly I took some good life lessons from that time which have guided me since.

While I was recuperating from the illness I started working on a plan to create a work space in my bedroom. Working with an Elfa Designer at The Container Store, we came up with a wall design that would fit my space and still leave room for a chair between the bed and desk. The Elfa Designer was so great to ask me lots of questions about how I used the space and what I wanted to include. I took home an initial drawing and then after some thought and laying it out in the room I came back with a good list of really useful features I wanted my space to have.

I wanted room for magazine file boxes, books, magazines, craft supplies and a TV. Below it I wanted room for a bulletin board, lamps, a printer, my paper cutter and some less visible storage.

I have to say this space has worked out fantastically. It still puts a smile on face (most of the time unless there is too much paper on top of the desk top!) I love the colors I chose, the shelving pattern, and the measurements we worked out for everything have worked extremely well. I've shuffled the books and decor around maybe once of twice a year just to change up what I see everyday. I moved the air purifier to another bookshelf across the room. It sits on a low shelf, quite out of site now and it's no longer right next to the open window. It works out that it sits just below the bed height so it does it's work right where we sleep and spend most of our time in the room.

I also dumped the ribbon boxes which never worked that well. Also gone are the satellite/dvr boxes now that we've said goodbye to pay TV. Oh, and the printer is gone. It was never a great printer and I'm not sure it even lasted two years. Of course it died the day after I put $100 of new ink into it, which meant that I couldn't return the ink and get my money back or get any use of it. Sigh. But I'm in the market for a new printer. It's great to have one close. Right now I'm walking across the house every time I need one because the wireless ain't so great on our other printer either. Printers are just one of those things, like cars that seem to be an endless cost and point of frustration.

I am really glad that I took my time through the planning stages of this project to think about what I really wanted and needed and what would be practical and yet beautiful to me. I think we went through three planned drafts before we finalized things. The Elfa Designer was so great about explaining everything, asking great questions and giving me super smart suggestions.

My work space would not be anywhere near as useful or well organized as it is without his help. I was stunned at how quickly he could do that math and figure out what pieces I needed from big plank shelves to the numbers of screws. I am not somebody who generally goes to splurge on something like this or who uses design services generally but I'm glad I did. I'm glad I made the investment of time and money. I certainly have gotten my monies worth in use. I also purchased this unit during the annual 30% off sale, so that took a big chunk of change off the price.

If you are anything like me, you might be wondering how such a unit fares in earthquake country. I can tell you I have never had a problem. I was a little worried about the contents of the top shelf flying across the room and landing on the bed, but I put a full layer of grippy shelf liner across the entire shelf and now that we've been through some earthquakes I can tell you that nothing is moving up there at all.

Another question you might be wondering about is installation. It really is just one track hung across the ceiling with screws and then everything attaches into slots and hangs off of that track. The Man installed my top track. In the old days I would've just done it, but when there's a man around to help, I'm not going to be a fool and reject his offer for help! This unit is great for a rental because there is very little wall damage and it's at the top of the wall. It will be easy to putty over the holes and repaint so that they aren't noticeable when we leave.

This Elfa work space is also something that I can very easily take with me to a new place. It's so versatile it could work in just about any room in the house - and of course I can add to it with a few newly purchased pieces or reconfigure all of it that I currently own. It's super flexible.

I am looking forward to the day when my work space/writing area isn't right at the foot of my bed to be stared at from my pillow. But while we're housing three very independent and active people's lives in this small apartment I'm so glad and lucky for the space, especially in a rental. This was definitely one of those times in my life where I am so glad I splurged. It really wasn't a splurge at all in the end, it was a super smart, practical purchase that has given me my own work space and a little corner of the apartment to call my own.

Here are a few more details about the work space. Sending you best wishes. Thank you for coming by!

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