Do you need to set up a home office, but live in a small space? Here's our guide to making the most of the space you have.
Whether you keep a home office space for your main career or extra freelance work, it’s an essential way to stay organized and on-task. But, if you live in a big city or just have a small place, making room for a home office can seem like an impossible hassle.
Thankfully, with some creative thought and the right organizing of items, you can create a small home office quite easily. Your needs will differ based on how much room you have, of course, and whether or not you have roommates or live with family. I’ll give you some tips for furniture to select, along with ideas for reducing clutter and making the most of the space you have.
Select the Best Space
You’ll need to select the space for your home office carefully. For example, putting it in the living room might mean you’re constantly bombarded with distractions from the people you live with. Setting your space up in the garage may work for temperate seasons, but what about when it gets warmer or colder?
Try to find a place where you can get some peace and quiet when you’re working. You can always hang a curtain or use a closet space if you’re working with a studio apartment.
Get the Right Desk
If you need to set up a home office with very limited space, you’ll have to select your desk strategically. One option is to get a standing desk for your small office space. Since chairs take up room, you’re already saving space just by making this simple change. Plus, standing desks come with the benefit of burning more calories during your workday. They’re also better for your circulatory system, and help you stay more alert throughout the day.
Organize, Organize, Organize
This factor is the most important one of all when it comes to creating a home office in a small space. Get specific, labeled compartments for keeping different types of documents, such as “to sign” papers or outgoing mail. Make sure that you throw away unneeded papers as soon as you can to help yourself stay organized and free from clutter.
Another method for better organization in a small space is consolidating your devices. As of now, you probably have multiple office machines doing different tasks. You may want to consider upgrading to machines that perform multiple functions, such as faxing, copying, and printing.
If you’re still working with a scanner that’s separate from your printer, look into updating your office devices. Just remember that keeping a place clean after you organize it is easier than having to have an intensive de-cluttering session once a month.
Consider a Paperless Office
Piles of paper can clutter your space within no time after you organize, so going paperless in your home office is one potential solution to this. There are many advantages to reducing or eliminating paper use:
- Fewer costs: Every piece of paper costs something, whereas every email is free. When you think of it this way, using paper in today’s day and age seems like an inefficient way to spend money. Plus, you’ll save on postage by using email instead of snail mail, and using less paper is better for the environment.
- Saving time: Hunting through a large file cabinet to find information can be a thing of the past if you move your information over to digital files. A digital storage method will sort your documents for you and make them much easier to access quickly. You can then send them off instantly via email rather than printing and mailing the information.
- Less clutter: When you’re printing files and using paper every day, it can pile up pretty fast. By using paperless, you’re simply creating less clutter. Without a ton of pages to keep track of, you’ll use a lot less space.
As you can see, even if you don’t go completely paperless in your home office, reducing paper usage has many advantages.
Switch to a Wall Calendar
Keeping a calendar can help you immensely with staying organized and on schedule. It’s a quick and easy way to keep all of your dates and information from post-it notes in one, simple place. If you’re working with a small space for your home office, consider getting a Dry Erase Wall Calendar. By doing so, you’d immediately be eliminating the hassle of pulling out a physical calendar book to find information.
Use Wall Shelving
There are a number of benefits to using shelves on the walls of your home office. For starters, they don’t require as much space as other storage methods and take up no floor space. They’re also easy to install and can be used to put anything you want on them.
Although they’re usually held in place with small brackets, they’re durable and reliable. You can use wall shelving to hold papers, photos of loved ones, your clock, or whatever else you need.
Divide an Existing Room
If you’re working with a single bedroom apartment, you may have trouble finding the appropriate space. If this is the case for you, you can divide up an existing room (like the bedroom or kitchen) for multiple uses. For an office space, it’s best to use a corner so that you aren’t facing the rest of the place and getting distracted by your family or roommates. Bamboo dividers are one option for splitting up a room, or you could use bookshelves.
Be Firm with Roommates or Relatives
If you share your space with other people, you’ll need to set clear boundaries with them about your office. If your work area is in a common space, let them know that you aren’t to be disturbed while you’re at your computer. And if they must speak with you, ask them to treat you like you’re at work. Otherwise, it’s too easy to get distracted throughout your day.
Knowing the best way to make the most of a small space is a great skill. Once you master it with your home office, you’ll find that you can apply the same tips and tricks to other areas of your home.