By Lisa Kanarek
A typical home office rarely has space for more furniture than a desk, credenza, bookcase and file cabinet. However, with most home offices, it's not how much space you have, it's how you use that space. When setting up or reevaluating your current home office, think vertically and put your walls and corners to work.
|Lisa Kanarek is one of the nation's leading home office experts and the author of several books including Home Office Solutions: Creating a Space That Works For You, and is the founder of HomeOfficeLife, a firm advising corporations and individuals on all aspects for working from home.|
Add shelves above or next to your desk to gain more storage space and to reduce desktop clutter. You can use open shelves or a hutch that sits on your desk to increase your storage space. (If you share an office, you can place two desks with hutches facing each other.) A tall, four-shelf bookcase furniture piece, ideally with adjustable shelves, can hold dozens of books and reference materials. Adjustable shelves make more sense than fixed shelves because they eliminate wasted space above and below the shelves. A good way to organize your books is by subject or category. Any non-business books could be stored by author. Designate one area of your bookcase "unread books" or "when I have the time" books.
Create a "satellite" home office for times when you need to be in another room, but you want to stay organized. A mobile file can house your current papers (those papers you use on a regular basis) and can be moved easily from room to room (for example to your bedroom, game room or family room) if necessary.
|Danforth mobile file|
Open up more office desk space by storing memorabilia, cards from friends and clients, or phone lists on a bulletin board instead of in piles. Avoid posting tasks to accomplish or important project information on it unless you know that you will refer to the board daily. If you are visually oriented and want to see at a glance the status of various projects, use a bulletin board or white board separate from your memorabilia board to track your progress. Make sure you divide the board into columns and label each column.
Attach wall pockets or "hot files," (mesh or wood holders) to the wall to hold papers, supplies, or anything else you need to have within reach. Wall pockets can hold about 100 sheets of paper or four to five file folders and are an ideal way to keep papers in sight, yet organized. Make the holders easily accessible by placing them near your desk. If your family is cluttering your desk or chair with papers they want you to see, label a wall pocket "incoming" and attach it to the wall near your door. The wall pocket not only serves as a hanging "in" box, it provides a way of controlling how much paper enters your office. The wall pocket system works only if you clear out the pocket often.
If you are constantly pulling the phone off your desk (and want to save even more space), attach your phone to the wall. Also, use a headset to give you the flexibility to reach information or supplies you may need while you're talking to clients. If your phone system and handset make it impossible to place your phone on the wall, use a phone riser to hold your phone and lift it off of your desk. Then you can store pads of paper or supplies in a container under your phone.
|Danforth corner unit|
Place a V-shaped desk unit (either two or three connected pieces) in a corner and put your monitor and other equipment near the middle (at the V). This arrangement leaves room on either side to handle paperwork and projects. Some units come with a hutch above and shelves below for storing reference materials and supplies.
If you use an L-shaped arrangement, make use of the point of intersection by adding a printer stand with shelves beneath. You won't waste valuable desk space and you'll increase your storage capacity. Another option is to use a rolling cart to store extra files or supplies below your desk.
|Preston Ridge lateral file|
Make one piece of furniture serve two purposes. For example, a lateral file cabinet can hold your copier or printer on top and files inside. (A hint about lateral file cabinets: if you don't want your files facing left or right, place two letter-sized frames front to back so when you open a drawer, the files are facing you.)
The next time you feel the need for more space, keep in mind that there is nothing wrong with letting the problem drive you up the wall or literally back you into a corner.