July 22, 2014

How to Create More Space in Your Small Home Office

small home office space

Even with a tiny space, you can create an organized home office.

Most work-at-home professionals, like freelance writers, don’t have an extra room ready to convert into an awesome home office. Between kids, pets, spouse, etc., they have to make room for work wherever they can. Check out these cool tricks to maximize your space, and even save a bit of money.

1. Switch to a laptop

If you have a bulky desktop computer with a CRT (tube) display, swap it out for a slim, trim laptop. Even a cheap business laptop can perform basic office tasks like word-processing, web browsing, and basic photo editing; and because battery life matters in laptop design, they use eight times less power than the equivalent desktop, which will save you money on your electric bill in the long run.

2. Efficiently use wall space

If you limit your office usage to the available floor space, you’ll end up with a very cramped looking home office; but by building up, you’ll find room for almost anything you need. You may want to invest in tall, narrow filing cabinets and bookcases, and consider installing floating shelves for office accessories. In addition, rather than cluttering your desk with Post-Its or loose scraps of paper for your notes, you can also invest in a glass whiteboard and you’ll have more room for stuff that can’t go anywhere else.

3. Make effective use of the space under your desk

Ideally, you should have a desk with drawers and a rollout keyboard tray to save on desktop space. If your desk doesn’t have drawers, place a small file cabinet (or even a nightstand) under your desk to serve the same purpose. Also, you should keep your shredder, wastebasket, and printer under the desk, along with any other large office appliances that you could easily reach from your office chair.

4. Get a desktop organizer

Creating a sense of open space in your home office involves cutting clutter. Everything in your office should have a designated place—and you should resist the temptation to create a “junk drawer” because they have a tendency to grow over time. If you’re not sure where to put a particular item, consider whether you really need to keep it in your home office. You can invest in a cheap desktop organizer to hold your pencils, pens, markers, etc.—and you should always remain vigilant and put everything back where it belongs when you’re done with it.

5. Control the flow of junk into your office space

Just like losing weight, decluttering requires that you to control of your intake as well as output. As a rule, every time you bring a new item into your home office, you should find something else you can get rid of, or at least store elsewhere in the house. A good rule of thumb for pack rats: if you haven’t used the item in six months, you should probably donate it, store it, or throw it away.

6. Prioritize your incoming bills and mail

Procrastination causes a significant amount of clutter and claustrophobia in home offices: when you get a bill, you don’t want to handle it right now, but you also don’t want to put it away and forget about it, so you leave it on your desk. Then another bill, or letter, or item on your to-do list comes along, and you repeat the process until you have mounds of paper on your desk. To solve this problem, you should get an in/out box, and refuse to let the inbox fill up. The discipline of keeping a clear desk will also help you stop procrastinating and handle things as they come, which will make your life easier in itself.

Sparkle with us: Share some of the challenges and victories you’ve experienced while working in a small home office space below.

About Angela Taylor

Angela Taylor works a freelance writer and author. She finds joy in her life as a loving wife, mother of two beautiful twin girls, and owner of a standard poodle named Morty. She graduated with her Master of Arts Degree in English from the University of North Carolina. During her time in university, she wrote a number of children's short stories that focus on a set of curious twin sisters and their dog (go figure).

Comments

  1. Thank you for posting this!

  2. Nice article! #5 and #6 are my downfalls. Plus I save old manuscripts I worked on as if the IRS was going to audit me on them in ten years.
    Nellie recently posted..5 Things From Childhood You Should Unlearn To Be A Successful AdultMy Profile

    • Nellie, I think that’s where many work-from-home professionals fall short — at least at first. I got a handle on mine right away by separating household bills from biz bills and letters. Household ones go in an inbox way off in yonder room for Dragonslayer to take care of and the ones for my biz go in my inbox. I made a rule that I must take care of it that day, throw it away, or file it that day (if it’s something that just needs to go in a certain file). It works!

      xo
      Samantha Gluck recently posted..Does Your Home Office Inspire You or Tire You?My Profile

  3. Thanks for these great tips!

    My saying is, “Less is more.” Don’t try to cram a bookcase, huge desk, file cabinet, over-sized chair, and other office furniture into your home office. Look for multi-purpose pieces. Also, choose a wall color that gives the illusion of a bigger space.
    Amandah recently posted..Comment on How to Promote Your Book (Even if You Hate Marketing) by Savvy Writing Careers| Authors and The 50 Shades of Grey Way to Grab Media AttentionMy Profile

    • I totally agree, Amandah. I’m of the “less is more” belief system in all home decor endeavors. While I do love a home-y, warm look in the family room and elsewhere, I don’t like the clutter of too many throw blankets and pillows. Same goes for my home office — I adhere to the Spartan look — yet with a few textures to warm up the space.

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