After getting divorced (after having moved to another country and then back home as well) I have a truckload of belongings and one room to my name. Clutter and chaos and a massive lack of storage space meant I had to part with a lot of things. I was able to store some away in the basement of the house I live in. However, that still leaves me living in a house where I only have the bedroom to use as my own space.
It’s not easy finding space for a home office and a home business. Often people aren’t running a business, but they have their computer and like to have a set up where it is easy to use all their electronic gadgets – like a digital camera, a printer, a scanner, possibly a fax and your recharger for the mobile phone too. That’s a lot of stuff to fit onto a computer desk. But, it can be set up in a corner if you don’t have a lot of clutter.
Treat Yourself to a Decent Computer Desk and Chair
I bought myself a computer desk. It has a shelf on top for the monitor and a shelf at foot level for the computer tower. I keep all the cables running down the backside and once in a while I give them a dusting off. The desk level is where I keep the computer mouse and the mousepad. (You should have a mousepad if you don’t already – they keep your mouse cleaner underneath).
I am currently sitting on the second of my computer chairs. The first wasn’t as comfortable as I thought it was going to be. Make sure you sit in any chair before you buy it. I also put felt furniture pads on the bottom of the chair legs to keep them from marking the floor or making noise when I pull the chair in and out. If a chair isn’t working out a week after you buy it, the store should let you exchange it for another.
It is a good idea to have a footstool as well. This lets you elevate your feet and will help your posture if you are going to be sitting in one place for a while.
Busting your Home Office Clutter
I don’t find it so uncluttered to have my home office set up in the same room I sleep in. But, I’m working with it – so can you, if that’s the space you have to work with.
Two things which are really important are to keep the two areas defined from each other and to stop any build up of stuff. This includes, but is not limited to, laundry, coffee cups, assorted paper, notes and notebooks, pens and the odd toothbrush.
I have been working on finding a space for everything and keeping everything in it’s given space. You may think that is easy, it is not. The paper clutter is the hardest to keep controlled. This is my area to work on all those little things and they soon pile up. I found a small filing cabinet and then I found a short plastic drawer tower (that’s what the manufacturer calls it). I have been trying to keep the paper in the file cabinet and the pens and paper (for drawing on or writing notes) in the drawer tower. I have them, one on either side of my computer desk.
I do have a scanner which is currently under a pile of paper clippings which I was sorting out this morning. There isn’t quite enough room for my scanner on the computer desk right now. I’m working on that. I took an old Mac computer from my sister which I wanted to explore and that is taking up space I really didn’t have to give away.
My cables for the digital camera(s) are on top of my desk. I want to get a hook which I can put up on the wall and then have them hang on the hook. This is a great way to keep them from being lost in the day to day clutter. It also helps prevent them being harmed from getting banged around or stepped on if they slide off the desk and onto the floor accidentally. You can even use a twist tie to wrap the cords so you won’t have them trailing down very far when you hang them up.
I do have a bookshelf too, which is for my non-fiction books only. I have them sorted by topic. I keep the fiction books in a mesh bag as I read each book it goes into the bag to be exchanged at the second hand bookstore. Not keeping every book goes a long way to helping keep clutter cleared up when I don’t have a lot of space.
Keep the Kitchen, Bathroom and Laundry Room out of Your Home Office
Last of all, I have two laundry baskets. One for clothes which are freshly cleaned and ready to be put away. Even if I slack off a bit, the clothes are still not being added to the clutter. The other laundry basket is for dirty clothes to be washed. Clothes are a big problem for clutter. Last winter I did my best to part with some of my clothes. I was surprised how hard it was to let go, even things which I have not worn in awhile for assorted reasons.
Also, I keep a container in the linen closet for all my shampoo, toothpaste and related bathroom things. I don’t like to keep my toothbrush in the bathroom itself. I think it would get mildewy. So it’s great having all those things in a small space of their own.
Another big thing which you should do for your home office is to keep all eating in the kitchen. I do have a coffee here while I’m working. However, I almost never eat food while sitting at the computer. It’s much easier not to have dishes and crumbs and crud on my keyboard and around my work area. Even if your keyboard looks not too gross, try picking it up and turning it upside down. Take a look at your computer mouse too. the bottom of it as well as the top. Clean the gross-ness you have wrought.
Rearrange Furniture to Suit Your Space and Your Needs
If you have more space than a bedroom you can do a lot more with your home office. For me, I have the computer desk on one side of the room and the bed and clothes closet and drawers on the other side. I also have two large storage containers with books, computer CDs/ DVDs and some hair clips, etc. One of these fits inside the clothes closet and the other sits at the bottom of the bed, like an old fashioned hope chest.
Don’t Forget Office Supplies
Office supplies stores can be a lot of fun to shop around in. Start out as a window shopper, looking but not buying much – if anything. Decide what will really be useful, what will fit in your space and is there assembly required (or extras to buy for it). For something like extra pens, pencil crayons, etc. You just need a place to put them. However, it’s nice to have a cork board or a whiteboard, some place to leave yourself notes, stick up magnets or fancy thumb tacks. You should also have a calendar.