You do have space for a home office, even though it may not feel like it as you wade through the mounds of laundry, the undone homework, and the toys that litter the floor of your home. If you just plan to work occasionally in your home office, then a corner of a room, kitch, breakfast or dining room is ideal. As long as you can close up your area to keep prying hands away, this can work for you. Before I began working full time from home, I went to Walmart and bought a big green tub — the kind with the top that you can store just about anything in and I loaded in my office supplies, my laptop, my resource materials and anything I was using on a project into the tub. Though I did have to unload it for each use, I found at that time that I only used the box about once a week – I would have liked to use it more, but with two kids under the age of 3 it was unlikely. I was either busy, too tired or both.
For a while I had my office in the bedroom. This was nice because I had a quiet place, free from the noise and distraction of the rest of the house. This also meant my husband, my mother or a babysitter had to watch the kids because I could not see or hear them. Also, it became difficult to fall asleep because as I lay there drifting off, I could see my undone work and too many times I crawled wearily out of bed, switched on a tiny light at 2am and finished up just one last thing.
Yes, you could say I didn’t have self control, but it’s like that spot on the carpet that is there — and your eye goes to is. Then you use some cleaner…then you trim away the stained part…then you still notice it…and it goes on and on…
I felt that I needed to keep an eye on my household, so I selected the kitchen as my office — the lifesource of our home – and it allowed me to hear and monitor what was going on in my own home.
I bought a tiny little rolling computer cart and with my green tub, that got me through a lot of days. I also got rid of everything on one shelf in my kitchen that I rarely used – I tossed plastic tubs I didn’t use and I moved some of my nice dishes (carefully wrapped for storage) in to yes, another plastic tub from Walmart. This one was blue.
I found that I could store my office supplies on that kitchen cabinet shelf and it kept me from “unloading” my desk each time from the box. I also kept postits of important information –like log in and passwords for my accounts on the inside of the kitchen door. That became my office supply closet – I still used my tub for reference materials, but it was much easier because it now contained folders, books and my legal pads.
When I needed to print, I simply went into the area where the kid’s computer was and hooked up my computer. I suppose I could email it to their computer and print from there, but keeping all my files on my laptop — and having it be my laptop only – not shared with the kids or my husband — gave me a mental break – a physical distance between my work and my family life.
I do have to say I love my kitchen and to sit at my table at night and write with a cup of tea as the children do their homework is really fun. I find the fuss a lot less when they know Mommy is doing her homework, too.