I’ve always imaged my perfect workable office to be this fantastic mansion sized library. Full of different woods and dark warm colors. And of course walls lined with beautiful floor to ceiling bookcases, full of books. A place where I can decorate with dragons and swords regardless of who likes it. It’s MY room. It also would have a loft that goes completely around the room, offering me a second floor for book storage. Attached directly to this amazing library/office is a pentagon shaped sitting area with walls and roof made of glass. A place where I can hang out on super comfy chairs, read and work on my books and grow plants.
Unfortunately, I highly doubt I will ever have even a remotely similar office, at least not until the youngest of my five children has grown, graduated college and completely moved out. Not only because this would obviously cost me a truckload of money, but also because I don’t know if I want my kids in there. Maybe when they’re adults, but not now, they are far too destructive.
Until that day when I get to open those solid wood double doors, I will have to learn to cope with the space I have. Currently that space actually consists of two spaces. With both my husband and I being self-employed we have a formal-ish office in the basement next to the kids hang out space. My second office space is really just an old secretary I repainted and moved into the family room.
It never fails, I create an actual office in our house, but find it difficult or not practical to work in there. Hence the secretary in the family room. I can work and be were the kids are during the day and keep an eye on them. It also helps when everyone is hanging out, I can work and still be present. I call it my mini-space. My little office.
If you already have an office area set up for you, does it work? Or do you often find yourself gathering stuff from that space to actually go work in another? If you do, you may need a mini-space of your own.
First, ask yourself where you usually end up? On the bed, the couch, at the kitchen table or counter?
What things do you tend to need most often when you do wander? Make a quick list. I’m serious, write it down somewhere now.
Next, look around those spaces you usually end up. What’s there? Can any of it be repurposed to something usable? The key here is to try to find pieces of furniture that you won’t have to move whatever it is you need to work every time someone comes by, or if you have kids, where they aren’t likely to get into it or spill on it. It helps if the furniture isn’t normally used for something else that it will still need to be used for, like the dinner table.
If you don’t have anything that will work, do you have something somewhere else that you can find room for? Don’t be afraid to rearrange rooms. I’ve done it.
If you still don’t have anything worth moving, try checking out resale shops, garage sales, or just hit the store and buy something. Make sure it will fit whatever must needs you have and the space itself. If you don’t want it to look like an office space when your not working, look for something like a secretary or a hutch. Everything closes up when I need it to.
Once you get the furniture to where you need it, start organizing those must need items. The key here is to practical. Do you really think you will need all 1,000 of those paperclips? Can you set up your printer to print through Wi-Fi? You probably also don’t need all of those reference books at hand. It’s best to start with less, because no matter what, you are going to accumulate things. Every so often I re-organize my space. Bringing down those items I really don’t need in the mini-space.
The purpose of all this is to really save time and be able to be more productive when you are working. If you end up at the kitchen table, how many times do you end up running around back and forth to the office? How many times have you been sidetracked or distracted on one of those office runs? I know I can’t stand noticing the dishes need to be washed again, or the garbage bag needs changing.
Do you have space to add a small all-inclusive desk behind or next to the table? You’d be surprised how many things can be a functional work space without always looking like a work space.
My mini-space is stocked with my current files and projects, small amounts of various office supplies, my calendars and schedules, reference books (only the ones I really like) and my laptop. And just because, I included one mini dragon candle holder and a sword shaped letter opener.
I’ve never liked having my office or desk in the family room, or any other well used room before. It’s the clutter and mess that goes with it that always bothered me. But I’ve found a way to work with what I have. Most importantly, I’ve learned to be happy with the space I have. Sure every once and a while I need to be able to spread out. Those times, I will end up down in the basement office or even at the kitchen table. But it isn’t long-term. Once I’m not I’m back in my mini-space.