Setting up a Home Office

Over the weekend my wonderful partner finished building my brand new office in our new home. It makes it so much easier and more pleasant to get work done in a space that looks and feels good and of course is functional. I still have some decorating to do, but in the meantime, here are some tips that help us create a space that I love working in.



Even before we moved into this house, I knew that my office would be in an alcove at the top of the stairs. But I still didn't decide where everything would go until we moved in and I had spent a couple of weeks in the space to see what the light was like coming through the window, how the space felt and what I needed to have in arms reach. For example, I got a set of drawers from Ikea and started using them but it felt really odd having them on my left. I needed them to be on my right for easy reach.

desk build.jpg

I made notes with measurements of the space and once we had planned out where the desk and cupboards would be I made sure all the measurements and sizes were in a note in Evernote so that I had all the details handy at the hardware store.

desk plans.jpg

Setting up

    An important rule to set up a productive office is to have the most used items in arms reach at all times. One of the great things about a small office is that almost everything is in arms reach! 
  • Drawers - I have set up my drawers with all my stationery on my right as I am right handed. I keep pens, paperclips, stapler etc in the top drawer and I go into that multiple times each day. My "new" filing cabinet (bought second hand and repainted) is within arms reach on my left. I haven't set up all my files yet but the ones I use the most will be in the top drawer.
  • Paperwork on the desk - I have an in-tray to keep any new mail or quickly scribbled notes in a neat pile until I get a chance to sort through them. Then I have series of folders in a step file to keep bills "TO PAY", documents or invoices "TO BE FILED", any paperwork relating to "CURRENT/UPCOMING JOBS" and receipts "TO BE LOGGED" in my accounting software
  • Magnetic Whiteboard - This is nice and close on my right and has anything I want to keep in sight as a reminder and my daily to-do's. I have a small printed calendar nearby but most of my scheduling is done in Google Calendar.
  • Everything else - other reference material or things that aren't used as often are out of the way in overhead cupboards and shelves.
desktop collage.jpg

Using and Tweaking

  • Having homes for everything now means at the end of each day I can tidy up and leave my desk clear. This means I can start nice and fresh the next day and also my family doesn't have to look at an eyesore when they walk past.
  • After being in a temporary office for a while and not having proper storage set up, it's easy for those out of sight supplies to get a bit out of control and messy. Now that I have things set up the way I like, I can figure out what I'm using and what I just don't need anymore and clear it out.
  • Even though I have set up most things, I may move things around on my desk a bit while I'm settling in and getting a feel for what really works in this new space.

Then I can really get into the important task of decorating and putting up a few pictures and adding a bit of colour. Oh and working, yes I'll be working at my new desk too!