Space-saving solutions for your home office
Working from home is so popular right now, and, according to the latest studies, can actually make you more productive than working in a traditional office environment.
If you are lucky enough to work from home, you know all about its benefits: greater flexibility, the ability to structure your time without someone looking over your shoulder, and, of course, the ability to wear sweats to the office and have your cat as an office-mate. All of these make working from home an ideal situation for many of us.
However, if you live in a small apartment and space is at a premium, you may struggle to find space to spread out, organize, and store your work documents, office supplies, files, and more. In addition, you want to feel like you have some separation between work and home–you don’t want to feel like you’re living in a cube farm.
Luckily, there are many great ways to keep your small space from being overrun by your home office. Here are a few.
- Dedicate a closet
If you have a coat closet or linen closet that you don’t fully utilize, you might consider creating an in-closet office space. Think vertically with stacked shelving and organizational items like crates for hanging files, plus a workspace and, if possible, a chair that slides in completely. Then when the workday is over, close the door and the entire office is self-contained, out of sight and out of mind.
- Create an office-in-a-box
If your workstyle is sitting with the laptop on the sofa while a Real Housewives marathon is running in the background, you may find that your work materials get scattered all over your apartment. Since you’re not looking for a desk setup, storage is the priority for you; plus you’ll still need a place to store files, supplies, and more. Create a dedicated box with all of the office supplies you need neatly organized as well as dividers to allow you to organize files and documents. Then, when the workday is over, put everything into the box and store it in an armoire or on the floor of your closet. This way, you won’t allow your work to overtake your home and you’ll be able to find what you need when you need it.
- Use under-furniture storage
You may already use shallow under-the-bed storage boxes for your out-of-season clothes, but why not use them for your work supplies? Files in one box, office supplies in another, and both stored under your sofa at the end of each workday ensures that you can set up and clean up quickly while utilizing that dead space beneath the furniture.
- Use a kitchen cabinet
Looking for an easy way to organize files and supplies without having a file cabinet taking up valuable floor space? Choose a kitchen cabinet and install drawer slides or standing tray dividers and use the cabinet as a convenient, built-in mini storage for all of the work-related materials you need to organize. Again, the idea is to optimize space that is already built-in, so that your home doesn’t look like an extension of your office space.
- Hang it up
Need a desktop but don’t want to take up space? There are floating desks you can purchase that include storage spaces and fold up completely at the end of the workday. Like to DIY? Mount a flat surface on hinges or L-brackets to create a floating desktop in a corner of your apartment. Or, to keep things fun, hang the slab from a ceiling joist with chains or rope. In fact, think in terms of wall space rather than floor space whenever possible, with shelving, vertical file pockets, and other hang-up elements that utilize the potential of a corner or nook that is currently dead space.
Whatever you choose, the keys to having a useful and user-friendly home office come down to storage, convenience, and the ability to disconnect. Have a home for everything, but make sure you can put your work life out of sight when you’re done for the day. That will help you create the balance you’re looking for while taking advantage of the productivity and positive benefits working from home provides.