For people who work from home, a home office often means sharing space with another essential room, whether it be the living room, the kitchen, or, as is often the case, the bedroom. This can present multiple problems, especially if you share your bedroom with a partner. From unsightly clutter to an overflowing office area that creeps into the rest of the room, a messy desk in the bedroom can lead to an unhappy spouse and an untidy house. Keep your work under control and your “roommate” happy by using some of these organizational tips to streamline your bedroom-based office.
Yes, that elegant one-piece desk looks so cool, but unless you live an entirely paperless lifestyle, it’s not going to stay picture-perfect for long. Choose a desk with lots of drawers so you have plenty of space to keep essentials nearby and avoid clutter overtaking the surface of your desk.
Ditch the Shelves
While shelving may seem like the perfect solution to your storage woes, if they’re useful and you go to them every day, then they are difficult to keep tidy. If they are more decorative, then a better option is something actually decorative, like a nice big print or painting on the wall. As a plus, something bold and bright can distract from any clutter that’s crept onto your desk.
Gone are the days when your desk had to have a big bulky printer or ugly black wireless router tucked underneath it, taking up all your foot space and looking very unattractive. Wireless printers and computers mean you can tuck all your essential office equipment away in a nearby closet and then simply connect to it wirelessly from your streamlined desk.
Closets Are Your Friend
Speaking of closets, the best way to contain clutter in a home office is to have a designated office closet. If you can’t give up space in the one you put your clothes in, then invest in a simple armoire that matches the decor of your room. Store everything you need for your business in here, from supplies like printer paper, ink cartridges and stationary to important correspondence, electronic accessories and all those other office essentials that quickly overrun even the most organized home office space. When you’re done working for the day, put everything back in the armoire, shut the doors and return your bedroom to the tranquil place it should be.
Keep It Under Control
While an armoire or closet is a great way to corral all your office essentials, make sure it doesn’t get out of control too quickly. Use simple storage solutions such as canvas boxes, baskets and file organizers inside the armoire so you can easily find what you need and store it away when you’re done. You could also use the inside of the doors for corkboard or dry erase boards to help organize your schedule while keeping your bedroom walls clean and simple.
Don’t Forget to File
A filing cabinet is an essential tool to control clutter, even in a small home office tucked into the corner of a bedroom. Jodi Holtzband of SpareFoot recommends taking time to deal with your paperwork each day so that it doesn’t pile up on your desk: “Take some time to sort through any stray papers and organize them. Recycle what you don’t need, file what you can and keep visible only those that require action. Set a calendar reminder to deal with incoming paper if you tend not to file immediately.”
While a metal filing cabinet might fit into some decor, there are other elegant, attractive options that will fit into a more traditional bedroom look, helping you keeping your papers organized without making your bedroom resemble a Kinko’s copy shop.
Perfect Your Work/Life Balance
The key to a home office in a shared space is to balance the needs of both uses. Don’t sacrifice your bedroom for your work life or vice versa. Make sure you have the tools you need to do your work properly while also maintaining a calm, distraction-free atmosphere conducive to relaxation and sleep. Creating a space that helps you achieve both these things will be a huge step towards maintaining that elusive work/life balance.
Jennifer Tuohy is an experienced home office worker who writes on organizational ideas for The Home Depot. Jennifer work from her home in Charleston, S.C. To research armoires and other furniture that can help alleviate a storage crunch, Home Depot’s website offers a wide selection.