February 22, 2011.
Back in 2005 after we negotiated our lease, put a bunch of money down on our new space I realized we had no office furniture for Jamie's Painting & Design. We had 9 employees, me included and I was not even sure if we would have enough chairs for them (we worked in shifts in the studio). Some of the cabinets and counters we were able to take out of my garage and utilize them in the break room and the work room. I think we had two office chairs also, but other than that I had nothin'.
Things Happen For a Reason
As luck would have it our new rental space was located across the street from an old friend of my parents. He was from their days of coaching my sister and I in softball (okay my sister mostly, I was just there for the snacks and gossiping). While the rest of my family was measuring and figuring out the logistics of my office, my mother bounded across the street to say hello. They had just sold their business, so they would not be our neighbors for very long. However, they were willing to sell us as much of their furniture at dirt cheap. We picked up 6 great teal colored drafting tables, industrial shelving units, and file cabinets. We were thrilled. I quickly made plaques for their grandchildren and sent them nice thank you cards.
As great as that was for our office - we still were short many things. I for one had no office furniture, until I found me some Craig's List. I had never used Craig's List, nor had I really had a use for the site. I found myself trolling the site each morning when I woke up. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what I could use, what I wanted and what I could actually afford. As luck would have it again, I found an entire office set for only $80.00. There was a desk, a credenza, a book case and multiple side tables. The gentleman had just bought the house and hated the built-in office furniture.
After dismantling the furniture my very creative Father put it back together in a formation that worked within my office space. He made a credenza out of three of the file cabinets and a single file cabinet He built me a free standing desk, and a 2 side tables, plus a table for the entry way. He tool the book cases and made them into one large book case.
After exhausting the office furniture sales on Craig's List I turned to FreeCycle. It is a great site where you can find free things that that people want to get rid of. One afternoon I found a small company that was giving away office furniture. Desks, chairs and file cabinets. My husband and I borrowed my father's truck and hauled ass down to San Jose to pick it up. I thanked the guys over and over and asked what I could give them some compensation (usually in these situation I can offer up some cute baby gift, but these guys were not even 30 and had no use for my cutesy baby decor). The owner of the company just told me if I was ever in the same situation to please give these desks away to someone that needs it. He said, " You should know, start-up's are hard enough, let alone having to purchase thousands of dollars of office furniture. Pay it forward."
We Are Busy Paying Everything Forward
I am not used to downsizing, or minimizing my space. I don't think it something that I have ever had to do. But, wow it sure is therapeutic and very calming to have to go through everything you have and figure out do I need it or not. Or let's face it I had to admit most things I had I just wanted, and did not need. I am helping some peeps out;
- My cousin's are both starting out and need things for their apartments. My aunt came and collected decorations, coffee pot, microwave, frames, artwork, chairs, kichten table and the cutest little white chest you ever did see.
- One of the women that works for me took an oak filing cabinet, wood organizer and half of the built cupboards and counter for her garage.
- Two of my favorite teachers a my daughter's school took my office furniture, office supplies, organizers, tissue paper and file cabinets
- Our Art Studio at school took all of the turquoise drafting tables and a large metal cabinet for storing art.
- The Salvation Army got dressers, chairs, rugs, cabinets and anything not nailed to the wall.
- Giving away mistakes and errors are going to be on Facebook for FREE (except for shipping and handling).
- And of course we gave away all of that office furniture that was so graciously given to us.
Small is the new big, or shall I say the new smart. I did not need all of this "stuff" nor did my employees. I don't like what the Recession did - but I do respect it. We have shrunk in size, but not in product. We will survive, we will survive.