I've been thrown a little challenge: how to create an organized workspace for a working mom-to-be who plans to bring her office home, at least temporarily, rather than placing her baby in childcare right away. The gauntlet has been tossed and I'm picking it up! Those who know me know that I loooove to get things neat, organized, and all set at proper right angles. (Okay, so I don't take it quite that far, but I do have a nasty habit of alphabetizing things. heh heh)
The office space is what was formerly a guest bedroom. The workspace itself is the Mikael desk from Ikea. (I'll try to get y'all a picture soon - MovableType is being cranky and not letting me load it for you here at the moment. For the moment, please click over and take a look at the desk. I've linked it so you'll get a new window - that way you can read my ideas and view the photo at the same time.) Let's tackle the workspace itself first, then we'll head into some general room ideas next week. Read on:
First of all, this is actually a very good desk design to work with, particularly if you like to have "a place for everything and everything in its place". I know it may seem small at first, but there are ways to get around that, I promise. I should know - I work in a corner of my living room, and I used to have a full room for my office. It's a change, but it's very, very doable with some planning.
Now, here's where the picture goes a little awry: see that desktop computer and flat screen monitor? Nix those. Put a laptop on the slide-out keyboard drawer instead. That way you can slide your computer out of the way and have plenty of desk space - no monitor to fight with, even if it is streamlined compared to the monsters of yore. Secondly, getting that CPU out of the side storage opens up a wealth of space for other storage products. (I take my own advice on this, folks; I'm typing on a laptop on a keyboard drawer right this moment. heh heh)
Now that your monitor isn't taking up desk space, you've also cleared yourself a nice spot on the wall. What goes there? A small corkboard where you can pin up essential paperwork, "to do" lists - whatever you need to have in front of you while you work. Again, keep the desk space clear whenever possible. You want the corkboard up on the wall so you're not doomed to piles of paperwork.
Now, see that white backing board on the right hand side? If that's not already a white-board material that you can write on with dry erase markers, make it so. Put up a small white board or get chalkboard paint from your local hardware store and paint it on there. Either way, you'll have a spot to jot notes and lists. Want to really make it fun? Paint magnetic paint on first, then the chalkboard paint. Then you can use magnets (fun, funky, cheerful, or the kind with business cards on 'em) to put up paperwork, pictures of your friends and family, or whatever you like.
Another option for that space is to keep going with the storage concept they already have there. Instead of just one DVD storage area, add more shelves. Make them big enough to stand books on, or custom measure them to hold attractive baskets for office supplies, software, and the like.
The desk drawer over the CPU space looks good-sized - not very wide, but fairly deep. Hit Staples or another office supply place and look for stacking/sliding drawer storage or containers for holding everything from paper clips and rubber bands to notepads and pencils. There's a dizzying array of organizing items out on the market; don't be stuck with things that don't fit your drawer. Use a brown paper sack or a large sheet of paper cut to fit the base of the drawer as a template in the store. Write the measurements of the drawer ON the paper and take a measuring tape with you - that way you can line up baskets and other goodies and then measure their height to make sure your drawer will close!
Another fun idea for smaller things like paper clips is to get magnetic containers and stick 'em to the wall board you've painted with magnetic paint. Again, you're freeing up desk and drawer space and you can arrange them in fun ways if you like. No alphabetizing necessary. ;-)
See those dividers up top? Frankly, I'd take those off. Instead I'd use some lightweight but sturdy baskets or boxes for storage. Make sure you don't overload the containers though, and secure them well if you're in earthquake territory like me. If there's not already a lip on the front and sides of the hutch top there, I'd install them. That way if you do have a quake (or a little angel rams the desk with her baby carriage) you don't have heavy boxes coming down on anyone's head! Use those boxes for storing items you don't need to access frequently. Or mix it up by using two boxes and placing books, an attractive piece of artwork, or some other "brighten your day" piece in between the baskets. Just because you're working doesn't mean the space can't still say "home" to you!