In Which I Talk About An Office That’s Not On TV

So about a month ago my beloved Hoopty Laptop died forever and for good and for real. I know that I’ve mentioned this about six or four hundred times, but in case you missed the memo, just let me confirm:


When Hoopty was still alive and kickin’, I had sort of a make-shift office at the bar in our living room, but the beauty of Hoopty was that I could carry her with me to the couch or the guest room or even to the front porch, where I’ve been known to blog a time or twelve when the boy was playing outside.


Hoopty’s death meant that I switched over to an old desktop that we had in our garage, and we set up the desktop on our dining room table because I kept telling myself that this was all very temporary. That we’d be buying a new Macbook very soon. That I’d be back to the bar in no time at all.




We just can’t afford a new computer right now. We may not be able to afford a new computer in 2009. I do have a work-issued laptop that I use for my secret-y part-time job (you know. the one where I design and build all the missiles.), but it’s certainly not meant to be my primary computer from home. So since Ye Olde Desktop is going to be my bloggy partner in crime for awhile, my husband suggested that maybe we should turn our playroom into an office for me so that I’d feel a little more settled with this new set-up.

This decision was made all the easier given the fact that the five year-old didn’t really use the playroom anymore. As it turns out, he’d much rather stomp and flip and jump in every other part of the house, not to mention that his Star Wars action figures seem to require wide open spaces for maximum battleage.

So, this past Saturday I started the process of cleaning out the playroom. About a third of the toys and books made their way back to the little guy’s bedroom, but the rest of the stuff is headed for a local charity. I took a picture before I pulled out the trash bags; keep in mind that you can’t see the TV and the three baskets of small toys with pointy edges in these pictures, but you’ll get the general idea of “before,” at least.

And by Saturday night, I had it looking like this.

I think the vacuum and the overturned stool really add something special, don’t you?

Yesterday I set about the business of trying to get the room into some semblance of working order, and since my budget was a lofty sum of zero dollars and zero cents, I had to shop for everything inside my house.

So here’s what I did.

About a year and half ago I bought a desk at a thrift store for about ten dollars, not really knowing what I would use it for but figuring it would come in handy one day. I moved that desk in the old playroom / new office, then cleared off the black chest that was already in the room, and I filled it with mementos and pictures and books that make me happy.

Then I moved Alex’s playroom bulletin board above the desk, and I covered it with stuff that makes me happy.

Then I found a bunch of artwork that makes me happy (ARE YOU STARTING TO NOTICE A PATTERN?), and I thumbtacked it to the walls because I am very, very fancy.

I guess what I’m saying is that I had absolutely no decorative strategy for the office except that I wanted it to be functional and I wanted it to be filled with colorful things (THAT MAKE ME HAPPY).

In other words: if we can’t afford a new computer and I start to feel a little sulky about it (which, honestly, I have), I want to be surrounded by stuff that reminds me HEY WOMAN, GET OVER YOURSELF.

And here’s the final-ish result.

And what I didn’t think about last night when I was thumbtacking all the stuff to the walls is that I would have some seriously great light in the mornings.

Plus, you know, I get a kick out of the boy sitting in the chair. He’s sort of fun and stuff.

I was a little skeptical about whether the whole cleaning out / repurpose-ing process would be worth it, but as I sit here surrounded by so many little things – photos of family and friends, handprints of a mighty sweet five year-old, verses that are speaking to my heart right now, my favorite pens in a handy juice glass – that remind me of the blessings in my life, I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt that it totally was.

I think Hoopty would be delighted.

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  1. I am wild about your new office and think your fancy decorating is DA BOMB! Heck, I’d let you redo my whole house based on what you did at yours! :)

  2. I think Hoopty would definitely have a tear of pride sliding down it’s cheek (or you know, screen) if it could see your new set up.

    Looks awesome and all that organization and happy stuff actually makes ME very joyous as well!! Enjoy it!

  3. I wish you many hours of happiness in your new digs. Nothing better than decorating with $0.00 and having it turn out so rockin’! PS ~ I can’t see what the sweet tea picture says, but I’m coveting it none~the~less ’cause, well, it has sweet tea on it!

  4. I can tell some mighty fine “writing” is going to occur in that new “office”. It makes me happy, too!

  5. I think you did a great job. Zero dollars and zero cents? Yeah, that’s how I do things too.

  6. Also, I’ve never seen a lucite clear thingy for a computer before.

  7. Hoopty may be dead but def not forgotten. The new workspace is perfection – light, things which make you HAPPY and space for the little man to ponder the wonder which is Mom. Love using things from other part of your house – we all have too much stuff anyhow (I learned part of that lesson from some passionate Compassion Uganda Bloggers – oh a year ago wasn’t it?) Hooray for the new space, new wine and just new newness

  8. Oooo GIRL! Makes me want to go clean out a room for my very own self! Great job!

  9. Looks like you’ve successfully created yourself a wonderful ‘working’ environment. It looks fabulous:)
    Wish mine had some ‘happy’ things thumb-tacked to the wall. Thanks for the great idea!
    Blessings today and always,

  10. The pictures and your story make me happy! Good for you.

  11. Girl…you worked H-A-R-D this weekend. That would have put me in the bed for a couple of days! ;) And, it looks fabulous too. I’m so proud of your oh-so positive attitude. I’ve named 2009 the year of transition. On many levels. You done well.


  12. Thanks for brightening my day and bringing it home! I think we are all feeling the pinch right about now and trying to skrimp and save. KUDOS to you for making it your own… lemonade outta lemons Siesta! May you be blessed with much creativity and eventually a Hoopty V.2.


  13. Great use of space, and way to make the best of your situation!!!

    And I’m with Kim…. loving the sweet tea painting. I’d love to see another shot of that!

  14. What a delightful memorial to faithful Hoopty. I think you did a fabulous job!

  15. The room looks amazing! I think Nate Berkus would be proud! And so would Hoopty.

  16. Hoopty would indeed be thrilled to bits. It is great! And maybe you could start a decorating section to your blog? On how to redecorate your home with zero money? We all need inspiration, because you know, we are all in the same boat. Sigh. Inspiration! We need inspiration!

  17. Love this…BooMama. Very resourceful…what a lovely workspace you’ve created.

  18. Looks so good! I’ve been in a rearranging, picture-hanging, repurposing kind of mood lately. My poor hubby!

  19. I’ll bet the boy will want to play in there now!

  20. Hey Boo Mama! Great looking work space. I don’t know if I would get anything done for looking at it’s cuteness. :) Just FYI. When it is time to replace the hoopty…..You might try buying your mac refurbished off the apple website (you may already be aware of this secret info, but just in case :)). We just purchased a Mac Book Pro- LOVE IT!- and we got it for $1000 less than a brand new one. It looked brand new and has the same warranty as a new one. Just a thought. Also your commentary on the Bachelor absolutely CRACKS me up. I don’t even watch that show, but I love to read what you wrote about it. :) Thanks for making us laugh!

  21. The room looks great– I love that color of blue. I’ll bet if you had been able to spend lots of $ on fixing up the room you wouldn’t be so content your new space as you are today. It feels good to be resourceful:-)

  22. great makeover! It looks good!

  23. Love it! Write us some good Martha stories in your new office!

  24. Oh, Sophie! This post just warmed my heart through and through and through and through! (are you seeing a pattern here?)

    I did some of that free re-purposing myself in the past couple weeks. It feels GOOD.

    Love you heaps! (and the title of your post is just classic)

  25. Woohoo! you go girl! Great job re-purposing! And I love all the pretty things taht make you happy – so colorful! Enjoy your new space!

  26. I like it very much!!

  27. Love it. I work in an attic office which is quite small and has quirky ceiling angles, but I love my space and “it makes me happy.” Blessings.

  28. Mary Kat's Mom says:

    I am lovin’ it! ! You have inspired me to do something with whatever I have. And I know that Hoopty is happy in Hoopty Heaven! Keep bringing more smiles to me! I need them.
    Love and exclamations!

  29. I think we all just have to do what works for us, and how fortunate you are to have an extra room, now a play-office, that you can use for this purpose. I just cleaned out my hubby’s little closet turned office for him so he’d feel like he had a little more room and added some things that make him happy, so we understand the feeling! I know you will enjoy your repurposed play-office.


  30. I love it. All of your making happy makes me happy. And I know I’ve said it before, but I LOVE that blue wall color.

  31. i can’t tell you how much i love to repurpose! i just re-did our girls’ bathroom the other day, and i didn’t spend a cent either. that’s the BEST!

    i feel ya on the laptop thing. i’m sulking for a new one, too. mine’s about 10 years old and isn’t set-up for wireless internet. my man got his motorcycle, so why the heck can’t i get my way-cheaper laptop?! huh? huh? :0)

  32. I love it that you decorated with things that make you happy. How fun. And I love what you did!

  33. You did a great job and stayed in your budget! I expect very entertaining writing to emerge from your new set up!

  34. First, I love the wall color in your “new office.” And the art makes it look even better. The colors are great! You should definately feel happy and inspired.

    BTW: I just bought a macbook off craigslist, and love it! It didn’t cost an arm and a leg either…

  35. First, I barely got this post read through the tears of laughter over the original bar post. Dear me, Miss BooMama, but you crack me up!

    Secondly, I’m glad you have found a happy place to work so as I can be supplied with regular happy blogs. Sadly such a set up won’t work in my world, seeing as I’ve sworn never to live without a playroom again. Ever. But blessings to the room-less battling Star Wars dudes.

  36. Re-purposing is one of my favorite activities! It looks fantastic!

  37. I love it! It’s great that you had some flexible space to work with, and you did a fantastic job turning it into a cozy and happy place. And good for you for being financially responsible and not zipping off to the Apple store to get a laptop that’s not in the budget right now. If the rest of the American public acted like that, we wouldn’t be in such a mess at the moment.

  38. I wish I could afford a laptop too, but as I told my husband, now is the time for “squeezing a dime in to three nickels”, (which surprisingly enough, I am quite good at). I hope you enjoy your new office and that it makes you happy. Mitzi

    PS, speaking of saving money, thanks for the phone/internet savings tips. It looks like it will save us a good bit each month– whooo hooo!!

  39. Just seeing all that little boy artwork makes me happy. Looks like a great set-up you’ve got. Enjoy!

  40. But honey, where oh where is Bully? Or a Dan is the Man bumper sticker? I am shocked down to my Mississippi State Socks!! lol

  41. I am impressed!! I love the colors. I am procrastinating in finishing my “work spot,” and I don’t know why, because even seeing your finished product is so rewarding. I’ll renew my efforts. :) Have a good one !!

  42. Great job with the room! Just doing that–and posting about it–has given a lot of people new hope in their own situations. I love that!

  43. Out of the ashes. . .even without lemons, you, Southern Girl, have made some mighty fine lemonade.

    Love your space. Love it. I’m all about the happy too. . .and I think thumbtacks and blue tak are some fine tools. Work for me.

  44. I’m all about shopping in my own house…the price is so reasonable. Love your space.

  45. I love the new space. The fact that you didn’t spend a penny makes this thrifty gal love it all the more.

    I look forward to all of the happy inspired blog posts coming our way!

  46. My laptop has been acting up too if mine dies can you make me some nice digs too for our old desktop :-)

  47. Ok – I just have to say that I have always thought of Hoopty as a boy, so imagine my shock to hear of HER demise.

    Strange, but true.

  48. cannot wait until tomorrow’s blog about Bachelor -were you not totally shocked? DH and I were both shocked – dumb choice but he says he didn’t love her. Hmm – wonder if he knew he didn’t love her before all that kissing and staying the night together?

  49. Love it! There’s something to be said for a place that makes your heart happy, and your budget too.

  50. Silence…. for the much loved Hoopty.
    I love the new office. I’m in the same place — making new office out of oldest girl’s bedroom (since she moved out and got married, I don’t think she’ll need it).
    Love the thumbtacked art work. I’m using the same plan in my space

  51. Your new office is beautiful! I think you’ve inspired me to clean out my office which has gotten way too cluttered lately!

  52. Hey,
    We can’t afford a new computer anytime soon either; however, I wanted to get your opionion. Mac vs PC? I have always used a Dell. I do love the sleek look of the Macs. I have heard that they are worth the extra $$$.
    Whatcha think?

  53. Well now, just look at you go, Sophie! I’d say you did pretty well considering you didn’t spend a dime & just used things around the house. I love it when that happens. And I’m really diggin’ that green rug. If you decide you’d like some help with it later on, we could go shopping for some other bargains to add in there (and you know I’m cheap!). It’s really cute now though!

  54. “BOO-tiful”! My fave show on HGTV is Freestyle , where they “shop” in other rooms of the home to make-over one room. Like you did. Great room!

  55. Looks fabulous! Pretty spiffy, inexpensive and a serious office for blogging and twittering.:)
    xo Lidy

  56. How amazingly awesome! Exactly the kind of office I hope to have one day.

    Love it!

  57. It looks really nice Sophie – a very cozy little spot with all those happy touches – and the windows in your house are awesome. Amazing what we can do with a zero budget when we have to. But I am sorry about Hoopty.