Organizing a home office can be difficult. Your work space might be shared with home space. The desk at which you work throughout the day could be the same desk at which you pay bills at in the evening.
That creates a particular problem for organizing your home business items. You might not give this much thought in the beginning, but there are many reasons why having an organized work space will benefit you. In addition, keeping your work items separate from your home items can help you at tax time.
Let’s look at some ideas for organizing your at-home office.
First, consider where your home office is – or will be – located. If you are able to take over a room in the house, you are in good shape. Organizing will be simpler than those who share another space in the house, like the family room or master bedroom.
Either way, consider the unique challenges that your space poses. Where you can you file your papers and other items that need to be organized? Do you have a space for your notebooks or manuals that you might need? If you sell items, do you have space to store your samples and display materials?
Next, purchase just enough organizing materials that will help you get the job done. We say “just enough” because many of us can go crazy buying organizational helpers. Things like files and boxes and white boards can send us into a purchasing frenzy. We go crazy. But if you buy too much, you can overwhelm yourself and create a situation that’s ultimately contrary to creating a solid and useful workspace.
Try to get yourself organized before you begin working. If you are setting up that home office, you will thank yourself over and over again for taking time to organize things before you actually began working. This creates a seamless transition into working at home.
All of this organizing can be made more difficult if you share your space with the rest of your family. If you work in the family room, for example, you will not only need to make sure your items are kept separate from the rest of the family’s items, but that they are somewhat decorative. You won’t have the luck to have an office to make a mess out of. You’ll want your space to be clean because you and your family as well as guests will see the space.
Finally, as you think about organizing your work space, consider exactly what you need the office space to do. If you sell cooking items, you’ll need an area to store your samples (or perhaps those could be stored elsewhere) as well as files for customer information and catalogs. If you run an in-bound calling business, you really only need a place for your headset and phone and perhaps a notebook and pens. You might also need files for your paperwork.
In the end, you want your home work space to work well for you but without doing more than it needs to do. If you waste time making the space do more than you need it to, you are committing yourself to a larger investment of new business money, and you’re taking more of your home space than you need to. While working at home is ideal for many people, most home businesses will naturally encroach somewhat into the family space. Your goal is to keep your items organized and to create a good working environment but without forgetting that your home is first priority.