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Contact me at Mom25dogs@gmail.com

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Home Office

Everyone needs office space in their home. Whether it's for writing checks and mailing your bills or you actually work out of the home. I got on the Internet and found some great ideas for office space. The photos I found will be at the end of this post.

The first thing is to determine what you need the space for. Do you need a place to take care of your bills, a recording studio, a place for Internet surfing, a craft spot, etc. Once you know what you need the space for, decide where to carve out that space.

Then begin to mentally design the best layout for your office. You can roughly draw it out on a sheet of paper. Move things around. See what is the most efficient layout for your study.

One thing you might think about is making space in more than one area in the home as "stations".

For instance, you might want an office "station" in the kitchen where you do your recipes, party planning, and a spot for the family to keep up with their schedules, a way station of sorts. A place for keeping cookbooks, a laptop, a family calendar, your day planner, etc.

Another office station might be in your master bedroom for doing your daily devotions, writing cards, journaling. Keep your cards and stationary, stamps, pens, blank books, Bible at this station in a small desk.

Another office station might be a central place for kids to do their homework, surf the Internet, gaming. This needs to be in a spot where parents can keep an eye on them like the den...NOT hidden away in their bedroom.

Another office station might be where you and/or your husband do office work at home. You will need desks, comfortable office chairs, computers.

Another office station might be a craft room for your sewing, scrapbooking, rubberstamping, genealogy, serious music, etc. You would need a table, good organizing for the supplies, etc.

Another office station might be a comfortable spot for blogging, Internet shopping, research, writing.

As you can see there are a lot of different needs and it doesn't have to be crammed into one room. Or it can be. If you are building a house or looking to purchase a home, keep in mind what you need as far as office space. Think outside the box. Offices or office stations can be made in basements, attics, closets, corners, under staircases, garages, back porches, outbuildings, a spare bedroom, sunrooms, etc.


Under the stairs

Breakfast room

Back porch




If you have a large room, small children and you spend a lot of time in the office, then you might plan a corner for your children to play, read or craft while you work.

Once you decide what you want the space to do for you, and you determine where the space will be, then think about what you need there in order to do what you need to do. Do you need a small desk, a large desk, a table, chair, computer, supplies, shelving, etc.

Personally I don't care whether everything in the office matches and it looks like a magazine room.

It's your house and it should work like a house, not just be picture perfect. As long as it's organized, clean, functional, and does what you need it to do, then it's successful. If you have a fancy room that has nothing in the drawers, nothing on the shelves, not a single piece of paper on the desktop...it's wasted space. It's just for show. It's just an expensive and fancy showroom and a waste of money.

A real office will have projects going on all the time and it will be heavily used. On the other hand, having too much clutter, dust and dirt isn't acceptable either. Look around your office/office station. Do you have empty coffee cups, cereal bowls, bottles of water or wine glasses? Is your computer keyboard so filthy that it's a wonder it still works? Is your computer so dusty that it would make you sneeze? When was the last time you wiped your desktop? Do you have so many stacks of paper that it leaves you no desktop to work on? Are things sitting around on the floor and furniture so that you can't find anything? Do you have little sticky notes all over from several years ago? Are cords trailing across the floor? You may need a major overhaul. If it's no longer functional, it's filthy and you avoid it...then it's just as much a waste of space as the fancy showroom office I mentioned earlier.

Purge, purge, purge. Get rid of stuff you don't use. Empty your trash can. Remove all but a few personal items or decorative items. If you have 50 pictures in frames in your office, you don't have enough room for storage and organizing. If you have all kinds of decorative or collectible items taking up valuable real estate then you are wasting functional office space with clutter. Dust and wipe regularly. Keep the floors clean. File stuff away. Try to get ahold of the cable and power cord clutter. Organize.

If you have a choice, then try to include cabinets with doors and lots of filing drawers. Those items stored in cabinets with doors and drawers will stay cleaner and have less dust. As far as I'm concerned, you can't have enough file drawers.

For myself, this is what I need an office for:
Genealogy research
Scrapbooking (paper and digital)
Bookkeeping (I'm a former bookkeeper and have a degree in accounting so my finances are indepth and very detail oriented. I can't seem to help myself. I'm gonna try to downsize the amount of work this year because it's ridiculous how much time I spend doing our personal finances.)
Light sewing
Record storage
Internet surfing and web shopping

We have a former sun room with it's own patio. It used to have skylights and it has 2 patio doors and a large, built in plant shelf overhead. We made that our study. The skylights had begun leaking so Stan took them out. He replaced the old sliding glass doors with patio doors and I use the overhead plant shelf for storing. It has a terra cotta broken tile floor. We had the room wallpapered, Stan added some lights and a cabinet for me. We purchased a real wood, walnut desk and some filing cabinets at a used office furniture place. Needless to say all 3 pieces were cheaper than buying the fake wood stuff at an office supplies store. They even painted the filing cabinets dark brown for me and it was still cheaper. My mother gave me 2 old dark wood Ethan Allen etageres that I use for storage too.

At first look, my office seems cluttered but keep looking and you will see, it's all clean, organized and functional.

The dog beds by the door are the ones I throw out on the patio when the dogs are outside. So they stay by the door. I use the etageres to hold genealogy notebooks, scrapbooking magazines, historical books, scrapbooks that are in progress and scrapping supplies.

I must have a TV in my study. It's a necessity with me.

The door here opens to the stairway up to the attic. My upstairs attic space is wall-to-wall bookshelves.

You see the overhead cabinet? We bought that for $20 at Habitat For Humanity Thrift Store. I painted it with the trim color and Stan hung it up for me. You will see what I keep inside in the following pictures.

Gosh, I hate all the cords but I've been trying to get a handle on them. I have each cord labeled (at each end) with what they are for. Then I fed them through the hole Stan cut in the bottom of the cabinet and this is where I keep my USB hub, cable modem, external hard drives, wireless router. He put another hole on the side and it's open to the outside on the other end so there is plenty of air flow. These items can create their own heat and you don't want a fire.

Now let's break it down a little. This is my sewing cabinet.

In this cabinet I have some material but mostly boxes with scrapbooking equipment in them. One box is for wire tools, another is for glitter and glue, etc. The tall box contains all my printed 12 x 12 scrapbook paper (vs. solid colors).

Here is where I keep my printer ink cartridges, my labeler and supplies, etc.

This drawer houses all our manuals, warranties and their matching receipts. It is organized into Yard Tools, Business Tools, Kitchen Appliances, Electronics, Computers, Cell phones, etc.

This is a scrapbooking drawer.

I keep the surge protectors on top of the desk in the corner so they are easy to get to if I need to unplug during a storm or emergency. I try to hide this unholy mess with the little bulletin board.

This also shows one of my desktop computers and beside it is a scanner my uncle gave me to scan slides with.

This file cabinet has my genealogy files in it. And the plastic drawers beside it stores my software, paper and photo paper.

This is the back of our second desktop computer. You can see that I keep it clean and as organized as those stupid cords will allow. There are no dustbunnies or cobwebs or lint stuck in the fan.

Boxes of old photos are organized in matching boxes on my etageres.

I came across this at an antique fair. It was made using old wooden cheeseboxes for the drawers. It was missing 3 drawers but I found 3 old cheeseboxes to replace them with. I use this little cabinet to store all my rubberstamping pads and rubberstamps. It has 12 x 12 plastic drawers on top where I keep unfinished scrapbook projects. On top of that is a basket that I keep the dog coats, a summer hat and bug spray in. I let the dogs out into the fenced backyard from the study.

I use this old display rack for holding misc items that don't have a specific place to go. I got this for nothing.

I use this large plastic drawer set to hold solid color 12 x 12 scrapbook paper and ribbons. The little containers on top are compartmentalized and hold various scrapbook items.

Here are some more crafting supplies. I have a ball of twine in the terra cotta pot. The boxes contain my glue guns/glue sticks, Dremel tool and attachments, craft paint, craft paint brushes, felt, beading, etc.

I use this planter for my colored pencils and pens.

This basket holds my paper cutter and tape guns/tape supplies.

I have dog beds in the office to allow my dogs a comfortable place. But Persephone rarely has to use one of the floor beds as she likes to be right on top with me.

I came across an old film reel container and I added magnets on the back and hung it up on the metal cabinet. On top are my tripods, and some misc stuff.

With genealogy, I use the laptop to look something up on Ancestry.com and then type it in my database on the desktop one so I keep them together.

Now let's look at other home offices. I tried to find a good range of photos from the Internet. I was looking for stuff that is do-able and use-able, modern and vintage, colorful and neutral...I hope I have found something for all different styles and tastes.

Here are some extra "office" shots to get you motivated.

For more on organizing your home office check out these posts: http://sharonscrapbook.blogspot.com/2010/03/filing-system-for-home-offices.html
http://sharonscrapbook.blogspot.com/2010/03/filing-for-taxes.html and http://sharonscrapbook.blogspot.com/2008/02/tax-time.html and http://sharonscrapbook.blogspot.com/2010/02/receipt-clutter.html and http://sharonscrapbook.blogspot.com/2010/01/home-office.html

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