Tip #98: Keep your home office simple.
I’ve alluded in the past to doing some of my work at home. In the past five years, as I’ve made my way through graduate school and continued on to working a combination of freelance and full-time jobs, my apartment has doubled as my workspace for at least part of the work week. These days, my full-time work at Gardenista takes me to a busy midtown office a few days a week, but I still spend a few days a week working from home (the better to cram in a 12 hour work day, my dear….heh).
Questions of work/life balance and how I’m failing at it aside, I get a lot of questions about how I manage to work from home, especially in such a tiny space. Readers email with questions (only sometimes with a hint of incredulity) about where I keep my books and binders, my printer and office supplies. Pens? Pencils? Receipts?
And I’m afraid this answer might not be possible or plausible for all of you, but it’s the truth for me: Mostly, I don’t keep any of them at all. I have my computer, my mouse and felt mousepad and a keyboard. And that’s about it. I don’t keep a printer at home. I have one box of files and folders that I keep in the closet and I keep a wine crate of camera equipment and external hard drives stowed under the couch. A minimum of pens and pencils get stowed in one of my toolboxes.
My particular line of work doesn’t demand a lot of hardware or printing so I’ve chosen to keep my home office as minimal as everything else around here.
But in case you find yourself overwhelmed by your own home office, here are a few things to consider:
Home offices tend be the place in a home where miscellaneous stuff gets stashed. A pile of sentimental birthday cards get tucked onto a shelf, back issues of a favorite magazine get stacked, never to be flipped through again, cords to electronics you no longer own get shoved into drawers.
Go through your home office and consider what you keep there. Is it filled with things you actually need to complete your work, or is it crammed with things you just can’t bring yourself to deal with. Ask yourself: “Do I actually need 15 dried out markers taking up precious real estate?” No, no you don’t.
Tiny apartment survival tips #1 – 97, right here.