Tuesday, August 26, 2014

My Happy Space- A Peek Through the Keyhole Edition of my new, Private Speech Practice

When I first started working as a Speech-Language Assistant, I was 23 years old and Pinterest, TpT, and blogging was far from existence, so I made my materials using construction paper and the school laminator.  Over the years, I added to my resource collection by hunting down clearance sales at toy stores and utilizing board maker programs at my school placements to make interactives.  Fast forward to today where I print, laminate, cut, and copy materials weekly, some of which are my own creations while the majority are from masterminds like Crazy Speech World, Speech Room News, Speech Snacks, and The Peachie Speechie to name a few.  I still seek clearance sales at Target, Walmart, and Meijer and even occasionally allow myself to enter local Goodwill and Dollar Tree stores, given I can muster some self control.

As you can imagine, I have quite the collection.  I've hauled my lot to client's homes during my Early Intervention days and schools in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Illinois.  I've lived out of my trunk, school closet spaces, and the teacher's lunchroom.  My materials have been stored at home in basements under a staircase, kitchen pantries and cabinets, my son's toy closets, under beds, in laundry rooms, and jammed into a decent sized bedroom closet. 

Last summer, I launched private therapy sessions in my home office with five weekly sessions, four of which I continued during the school year while working part time at an amazing Catholic school placement.  This summer, I tackled 15 private sessions weekly in our new home with an office space that I could create to fit my needs, materials, resources, and clients.  With so many private clients to service, I had to let go of my time in the school systems and find a permanent home for all my worldly, speech treasures.

The first order of business in our new home was arranging for a handy man to remove the glass French double doors that lead into our family room and then replacing the doors with a wall.  I already had another single door entry into the space, which we switched out from another glass French door to a standard door.  With boxes filled with materials stacked near the wall to allow plaster to dry and keep little hands away, we moved into phase two of the project with scheduling two more sanding visits.  Then, I closed the office for two weeks while our family traveled to Europe for the first time.  While we were gone, I had the stained, dirty cream carpet replaced with a deep blue/ gray rug and the mustard yellow walls were painted a light, bright lemon sorbet.  That completed the room projects, next up was creating a closet space.

The only downfall to my new office was that there wasn't a closet as with the last home office space.  But this negative quickly became a positive because for once in my life, I didn't have to squeeze my materials into a space, but rather build a space around my collection.  I spent some time laying out everything, and I mean every game, bin, bucket, file box, bag, and basket to take inventory.  

After a very, very, long day at Ikea, and an insane ride home with my Equinox filled to the brim with wardrobes, shelves, bins, and doors, I had everything I needed to make a storage space and move towards phase three:  operation storage.  All I needed was a big, strong man to build it.  Luckily, my amazing husband stepped up to the challenge and after a couple days, three, giant structures were built, doors were hinged, shelves and rods were installed, all units were anchored to walls, and some fancy, smancy handles were drilled into place.

I took things one step further and decided to get rid of all but one of my office totes so I could open wardrobe doors and see everything better and stop digging for stacked items crammed into totes and bins.  During that long visit to Ikea, I found deep, white containers for $4 each (lids sold separately) that were large enough to hold a decent category of toys and games.  I picked up 12 of these babies and enjoyed sorting materials into them just a little too much. 

Then, I dumped out my bin of bagged literacy units with manipulatives, clipped each clear Ziploc bag onto a pant hanger and hung them in my corner wardrobe. 

Last, I got sticker happy and typed and wrote out labels on everything. 

While I was at it, I spruced up my materials collection on one of my original bookcases thanks to Allison's Speech Peeps and her colorful, editable binder labels.

At last, my work was complete!  Take a look at my home office space now with my new storage cabinets and previously purchased bookcases and work table from a local Land of Nod outlet store.....

Puzzles individually bagged and stored in a milk crate

Now, just about all of my speech materials, including office supplies, client binders, and resources are in one room.  I kept my large play sets on a shelf in the laundry room next door since I rarely use these right now.  I was so excited about the organization that I went ahead and planned out my themes for the next year!  If you would like your own, editable Theme Therapy Sheet, then head on over to see the fabulous Jenn at Crazy Speech World.  

While I will miss working in the schools and collaborating with teachers and support staff, I am thrilled beyond measure to have a space to call my own and a growing, private speech practice!  Now all I have left to do is Keep Calm and Speech On!


  1. There are different approaches as to working while at school or at home. Having a different setup for the two makes the transition easier. What's more, you have more control on what to do with your home office. This can help you you work more efficiently. Anyway, it's great that you had fun doing this project. Take care!

    Doyle Townsend @ Urban Fitout

  2. Congratulations on getting those new cabinets! It’s a good thing your husband was able to help you in putting it up. Anyway, upgrading your office once in a while is always nice. Not only does it make the office look neat, but also improves your quality of work. Thanks for sharing this with us. All the best!

    Maggie @ TheFindConsignmentB.Springs

    1. You are correct, Maggie! Thanks so
      much for leaving feedback!!

  3. I am so happy that I came across this post and your blog! I am starting a private practice and am hoping to create a home office. I have been obsessing over what type of storage to get and I love the way you organized your office. Great ideas! :)

    1. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment, Alison!! I have to say that my IKEA cabinets do not disappoint! Good luck in your private practice endeavors;)