3 lessons from 3 celebrity offices

Michael Pollan’s home office, Berkeley, CA

I finally committed to reading Michael Pollan’s acclaimed book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma in January. It’s a disturbing, thorough, and downright fascinating exposé on the history and state of industrial food in the United States. No matter how organic you think you are, it still creeps in. If I could wield whatever influence I have to ask my audience to do something truly life-altering that has zero to do with organizing, it would be to read this book (and make changes to your food choices accordingly). In going down the Michael Pollan rabbit hole, I stumbled across this tour of his home office. Click to watch.

Try this at home:

In addition to being a beautiful writing space, Pollan’s office is a mini museum of natural food oddities and a living scrapbook. I love that his display board for photos and memories is actually 6 vertical strips of cork board. This stylistically breaks up what would otherwise feel quite dense. You could do this by arranging standard 12” x 12” cork tiles into long strips. I was also tickled to see a step rack right next to his computer! I’m curious to know how often he uses it.

Gretchen Rubin’s home office, NYC

Gretchen Rubin has become a household name in the last decade with her New York Times bestsellers The Happiness ProjectHappier At HomeThe Four Tendencies, and more. I’ve always appreciated her work, but took a particular liking to her after listening to Tim Ferriss’ interview with her where she shares so many specifics on how she uses structure and tools to keep creative and productive. Click to watch.

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She very well may have cleaned up for us, but Rubin’s desk seems to have only the essential tools. It was a delight to see how she had her daughter handwrite her file folder labels. This would drive some of my clients crazy, but for those seeking some softness and fun, this is a very sweet touch. Do you have a set of files that could benefit from creative labeling, that makes you smile when you’re in the thick of your day?

Oprah Winfrey’s office, LA

Oprah needs no introduction, and her office is as wrapped in luxury as we’d expect it to be. I’ve cued this link up for you, so her tour with Steve Harvey starts at the tour of her personal office. Click to watch.

Try this at home:

We don’t all have the option to display our Emmys and pictures of ourselves with Nelson Mandela, but there's always more opportunity to tip the scales in the direction of beauty. We don’t know what her office looks like on her most frantic days, absent of cameras, but she can certainly teach us something about how to make an office beautiful and reflective of our proudest moments. Take a look at some of the odds ’n ends in your office and ask yourself, Is this fit for Oprah’s office? We can’t all replicate this look at home, but hopefully that question will help you to let go of something tired and bring in something meaningful.

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Office Organizing Expert Kacy Paide loves to do what most people hate: organize offices & paper.

She works with folks who are desperate for a more functional, more beautiful, more inspiring office. Kacy has been a Professional Organizer since 2001 and has worked with over 500 clients. Call her crazy, but she loves a good mess and wants to fix yours. Learn her time-tested solutions in her eBook, The Inspired Office: Organize Your Life One Paper at a Time. Based in Silver Spring, MD, Kacy is nationally available for consulting & speaking.