For work at home parents, the extra space needed for an office might seem impossible.
It’s difficult enough to live in the homes we have (with just enough areas to eat, sleep and relax) without needing a quiet, self-contained space to get work done.
But with more than 61% of people hoarding items we don’t use everyday around the house and just under a third (26%) of us with a whole room in our home filled with junk, there might be a solution.
The first step is to get rid of unused items and selling them on eBay is great way to do this. To overcome your hoarding instinct, sort your possessions with a good friend who will give an honest answer to the question: “Do I really need this?” When you’ve decided what to sell, take a little time to make your photographs look professional and be sure to accurately calculate postage costs (so they don’t eat into your profits).
Start by deciding exactly where your home office is going to go. Sounds obvious but remember, you could be spending a lot of time there – and depending on what equipment you need, you may need access to several power outlets and phone sockets. Work out too, how much space you’ll need for furniture items such as a desk, filing cabinet and any other items necessary for the work you do.
If you need to find a new home for clothes, bed linen and soft furnishings, installing a wardrobe in your storage area is a sound investment. This is because it has a small footprint and will allow you to hang clothes and store the foldable items below without taking up too much floor space. Place bubble wrap inside anything leather including shoes, handbags and purses and give items with straps and buckles plenty of space so as to avoid creases and impressions.
Anything wooden will remain safe in a dry area, so long as you apply wood varnish or wax. Again, you can minimise the floor space you occupy by flat packing wood furniture where possible and protecting each piece with a thick cloth or offcuts of carpet.
Take care with books. Although they can be heavy (and therefore easier to handle if stored in smaller boxes) the spines need to be protected when storing for prolonged periods. For this reason, keep books flat. Also, as you could end up with quite a few boxes depending on the extent of your collection, we recommend making a few notes on the side of each box to help you locate any book should the need arise while it’s in storage.
Once you’ve made extra space, either by harnessing storage in your home, garage or at a self storage facility, you can begin to better organise your work space. A key consideration is phone and Internet access. Make sure the room receives a good mobile and wifi signal – you might want to relocate rooms if it will affect your work. Contact your Internet provider once you have decided on the room to make into your office and they can advise on how to get the best wifi reception (for example, they may help you update software to your router that can help with speeds).
Furniture wise, shelving is often a good idea to give you more space. As well as a comfortable office chair and desk, think about solutions for documents and archiving.
Lighting is also a key consideration. Make the most of natural light and invest in good quality desk lamps. An ‘uplighter’ floor lamp can bring warmth to a room – especially over the gloomier winter months.
As your business grows, so may your business storage needs. You may, for example, need space to keep promotional literature, stock and archived files such as tax returns. You can make this process a lot easier by storing papers and documents securely offsite. Records are important and have to be maintained, but storing them requires a lot of space and self storage allows you to keep your files organised in one location making them easy to sort through when needed. After you’ve done this, any paperwork that can be found on a website or email should be recycled.