Thursday, February 23, 2017

Turn desk drawers into boho FUN with trinket trays

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Susan Lawson photo / BoHo Home

Maisie-Cat has never seen an open desk drawer that didn’t call out to her, and the messier the better. But me? I want to smile when I open a desk drawer, not groan as I search through a tangle of junk, hunting for what I need.

My solution? I reorganized my desk drawers with fun organizing trays and sweet and pretty trinket dishes!

I’ve collected trinket dishes on and off for most of my adult life—unconsciously—and so many that they stack up in storage boxes. Yes, I have LOTS of trinkets that would look absolutely gorgeous IN these trays, but the problem is a lack of display surfaces in a 1,400-square-foot condominium. So recently I got the idea to use them to organize my office-related stuff, INSIDE my desk drawers.

I don’t get to admire them ALL the time, but when I do open my drawers the little cheerleader inside me says, YAY!! GO TEAM! and shakes her pompons. It’s a little party each and every time, and it makes me smile, BIG-time.


Check out my BEFORE photos...


I have two desks arranged in an L, and each desk has two drawers, so four drawers total that collect office supplies plus the usual hodge-podge of miscellany. Here’s how each drawer looked before cleaning, sorting, pitching and rearranging:


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Susan Lawson photos / BoHo Home

Believe it or not, these drawers once looked neat. Believe it or not, they’ve also looked much, much worse! And because I have that very inquisitive kitty-cat (you met her above, if not in my last post), EVERYTHING office-supply must either go IN the drawer or a cupboard, or it becomes a toy.


Getting my inspiration on


What really got me thinking about spiffing up my desk drawers was finding these drawer organizer trays with the eyeglass pattern, so I bought four.


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Susan Lawson photo / BoHo Home

I liked this tray design because it continued the theme of “learning to see differently” in my desk-area artwork. (Read more about that HERE.) But the clear lucite trays made by HOM Essence also come in other designs. Fabric-covered organizer trays would be fun, too, and add a punch of color and/or pattern.

I have a lot of junk, so I needed even MORE organizing aid beyond one tray per drawer. Two trays per drawer wouldn’t fit (and was sounding a little pricey), and that’s what put me on the trail of using my trinket tray collection.


Moving on to sleek and styled


With everything out of the drawers, I added first the organizer tray, then the trinket trays, thematically. I was stunned to find I had enough French-themed trays for two drawers (bottom row)!! 


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Susan Lawson photos / BoHo Home

I corralled “statement” trays in another drawer (top left) and relaxation-themed trays in yet another (top right). As you can see, there’s a little more room for future trinket dishes, as well as the option of rearranging my trays umpteen different ways, depending on my mood and needs.

Do you suppose this method appealed to me because I also love puzzles? Ha! You betcha!


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Susan Lawson photo / BoHo Home

My trinket dishes are all ceramic, so I added rubber “feet” to cut down on clatter and slipping when opening and shutting drawers. You can certainly choose trays made of other materials. I’ve seen really cute painted-metal trays, for instance. And don’t be afraid to repurpose old dishes, cups and planters. The only limit is the depth of your drawers.

I did have to remove the “stop” screws that keep my drawers from pulling all the way out because the organizer trays were a smidge too high for the drawer to close otherwise. But since I seldom open the drawers all the way, I should be okay.

Lining your drawers with self-adhesive felt will also help hold everything in place and absorb noise. That’s next on my to-do list. If a piece has a flat bottom, industrial-strength Velcro, available at office-supply stores, will also do the trick.


Time to fill ‘er up!


Now I smile whenever I open a drawer or pick up an item and glimpse the pretty dish beneath. 


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Susan Lawson photos / BoHo Home

Some were gifts, so I remember receiving them and the person who gave them to me. Most were gifts I bought myself, to honor a special love or moment in my life, and so I think of that memory and/or feeling, too. In all, it's made opening drawers a wonder.


Let's take it drawer-by-drawer


In case you’re frantic scrolling between composite photos to check out the transformation of each and every drawer, follow the progression from sloppy-to-sleek, disaster-to-delicious in this series of photos instead.

Drawer #1: 

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Susan Lawson photos / BoHo Home

One of the Paris drawers, with potential room for another tray or two. How long do you think my pencils will stay arranged thusly?

I often work at a wing chair and portable desk just to the left of this drawer, which is why my pocketknife is in that left-corner tray, where I can easily get to it to open packages. I’m an Internet shopping junkie, so it gets lots of use.

Drawer #2: 

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Susan Lawson photos / BoHo Home

The other Paris drawer. I’m counting the sweet round bowl on the left as French-themed as well, since it was made by a friend who shares my fascination with all things Paris.

I separated the blue ink pens from the black ones just for this photo and neatly stacked up my stash of Post-it flags, but those degrees of separation won’t last long. 

Do you like my animal-shaped rubberbands? How about that black-cat bookmark? Je ne sais quoi is right on!

The round pocket mirror in front with the “W” engraved on it was my mom’s, given to her by her sister. The bookmark beneath it is engraved with an “S” and was a gift from my cousin, the daughter of the same aunt who gave my mother the mirror. Both items came from Wendell August Forge, Grove City, PA, near where they live, proving desk items themselves, apart from the trays that hold them, bring back memories and remind us of who we are. I don’t use either one much, but I love looking at them.

Drawer #3:

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Susan Lawson photos / BoHo Home

As you can see, some items get moved to other drawers. (Some also get put away elsewhere or pitched when cleaning.) I got a little chuckle out of restraining extra charging cables with rubber bands and storing them in the “Tidy Desk, Tidy Mind” tray.

My framing tool (organizing tray, back compartment) didn’t quite fit, but compressing the handles did the trick (wish it worked with the scissors).

PS: The Hillary campaign buttons are still there, in back of the larger organizing tray, where I can see them through the clear plastic each and every time I open the drawer. (One says, “I’m still with HER,” and I still am.)

Drawer #4: 

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Susan Lawson photos / BoHo Home

What I said about the framing tool? Ditto for the stapler. I use it so seldom, there’s no reason to keep it desktop. And that little black Gerber pouch front and center? It's as necessary as that little black dress Coco went on and on about.


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Susan Lawson photos / BoHo Home

A Christmas gift from my husband many years ago and just about the handiest desk tool on the planet. Sort of like a Swiss Army Knife, but with pliers as the central tool, rather than a blade. And when you’re done with it, the whole thing folds up, retracts, and fits in its snug case.


When I was done, the inside looked so good I had to spiff up the outside, too!


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Susan Lawson photos / BoHo Home

Note the new drawer knobs: It’s domestic cats on one desk and wild cats on the other, proving I’m an equal-opportunity crazy cat lady.

And what’s that in the corner of the righthand desk?


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Susan Lawson photos / BoHo Home

By gum, it’s my new Hillary Clinton action figure standing on one trinket dish and my collection of mini campaign buttons in another. Is there no end to the uses of trinket dishes?


www.BoHoHome.com @bohosusan
Susan Lawson photo / BoHo Home

Pins aside, you’d see the orange-and-white-striped dish is imprinted “VOTE FEMALE,” something Chris and I always make sure to do. Notice how my button collection has grown since last time I shared it?

My favorite button? The one in the lower left, natch. Cats are pretty smart characters. 


What's next for Susan's desk?


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Rosanna Inc.

I'm seriously in love with the Glam Office collection from Rosanna Inc. (my absolute FAVE trinket tray designer). How about those Eiffel Tower scissors? This collection would work especially well for those of you who, in lieu of a kitty-cat or cats, can leave items on your desktop. 

Me? That's one I'll have to think through. Wouldn't trade that kitty for anything though, even more trinket trays!


Here’s where to find my fun desk stuff…


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