Your job allows you to work from home, but your house–like many others in New Orleans–is on the narrower side. Thus, one of the only spare rooms you had available for your home office happens to be quite tiny. A few months later and clutter has made the room feel even smaller. How can you make the most of the space you have in a small home office?
The following tips will help you optimize your home office space:
- Use a file organizer or a filing cabinet
- Repurpose household bins for office items
- Have dedicated stations for printing, mail, etc.
- Repurpose small containers for office odds and ends
- Take advantage of wall space
- Ditch the furniture and other items you don’t use
Keep reading for actionable info on the tips above so you can neaten your home office and feel less cramped. Before you know it, your productivity will soar and you’ll get more done in your home office than ever before.
Create a Home for Your Files, Such as a File Organizer or Filing Cabinet
Of all the clutter that hogs up room in your slim home office, it’s papers that are the most egregious. You would have assumed that a few documents here and there wouldn’t have dominated so much of your space, but when you look at your home office, you have mountains of paperwork everywhere.
Paper clutter like this is undesirable for so many reasons. Piles of documents on the floor are a tripping hazard. The mess really takes away from the appeal of your home office, and it takes you an eternity to search through your paperwork to find exactly which file you need. You feel like you’re digging around for a needle in a haystack.
It’s time to get your office paperwork under control with a file organizer. A metal desktop organizer lets you keep all of your most necessary documents within arm’s reach. If you need to limit space even more, an accordion-style plastic organizer can hide neatly in a drawer when not in use.
If you have so many papers that you don’t know what to do with them all, you might think about upgrading to a filing cabinet. Even a small corner cabinet or a thin, tall one would be better than nothing. Soon all of your documents will have a home, and you can organize them alphabetically, chronologically, or by whatever criteria you prefer.
Take Bins and Other Storage from Around the House and Use Them in Your Office
That magazine rack in the living room that no one’s using could really help you store your project folders for the year. Those bins for the kids’ art projects that haven’t been touched in months could be the perfect place to keep your portable hard drive and leftover charging cords.
Breathe new life into your household containers by taking what you already have and repurposing them for your office. You’ll like feeling thrifty, and you’ll also quite appreciate what a difference this makes in organizing and optimizing your small home office.
Make Dedicated Office Stations
If you worked in a traditional office, you wouldn’t sort your mail in the same place you print your documents because there’s bound to be mix-ups, right? You can also create more cohesion in your home office by setting up dedicated stations for particular tasks.
For instance, if you print and scan files often for your job, then you know how much precious space a bulky printer can take up. It’s not just the printer either, but you need to store printing cartridges and spare paper too. If this stuff is strewn amongst everything else in your office, then you often have to go on the hunt for what you need, wasting time.
A dedicated printer station will establish a place for your printer that’s reliable. Your printer will be away from your desk so you have more room, the cartridges and other accessories will be close by, and you can work more efficiently.
If you often get work-related paperwork mailed to your home, you probably bring it up to your office and then lose it amongst all of your other piles of paper. It might not be a bad idea to consider a dedicated mail station where incoming and outgoing mail is stored in separate bins. This way, you’ll never miss a bill or an important piece of mail again.
Repurpose Small Containers for Office Odds and Ends
Paper clips, notepads, pens, pencils, pins, staples, USB drives: all these essentials are super tiny. You don’t want to just put loose office items in your desk drawers where they can disappear, so they accumulate more and more on your desk or other available surfaces.
If you’re tired of these small items seemingly multiplying, then a few small containers ought to do the trick. If you have spare utensil holders, that would work, as would art supply bins for paintbrushes. Even old jewelry containers can corral your office odds and ends.
Once you have these small items organized, put your bin in your desk drawer and then open it up whenever you need something.
Use Wall Space
With no more space on your desk or the floor, you might feel like you’re out of options for optimizing your home office. Instead, simply look up. Your walls are the ideal space to further your organizational goals.
HGTV recommends different ways to utilize your wall space including adding a whiteboard to the wall so you don’t have to use notepads for jotting down your ideas. A wall calendar can replace a desktop calendar, and a filing system on to the wall clears up yet more space. Switching from an oscillating fan to a window air conditioning unit keeps you cool but uses space efficiently. You’d be amazed how using the wall can really open up your office.
Get Rid of Extraneous Items
Now that you’ve been in your home office for a few months, you know what your daily responsibilities require of you and what you need to use to get those duties done. You might have thought a corner chair would create an ambiance in the office, but in reality, all it’s doing is reducing what little room there is.
If you have items in your office that you’re not using at least once a week, then it’s time to reconsider whether you want to keep those items in there. That goes for extraneous furniture first and foremost, but also other office items you thought would become a part of your routine but haven’t.
You might even want to look at your office chair and consider its size. Is it simply too big for such a narrow space? Buying a smaller office chair doesn’t mean giving up ergonomics or comfort, just streamlining your home office solutions for a more open space.
You love everything about your New Orleans home except how narrow some of the rooms are. If your home office doesn’t offer as much space as you wish it did, then it’s especially important to make the most out of every square inch you do have.
The optimization tips in this article should be a great place to start. Once your home office is more organized, you’ll love spending time in there, even if it’s not the biggest room in your home.