Be honest. Are you using a dining room table as an office space? Are you cramming school spaces into bedroom corners, or sectioning off areas in the living room for schoolwork? Learning and working from home can be challenging under the best circumstances. But when you don’t have a dedicated place for work or school, it can feel downright impossible to concentrate.
Take a deep breath. We’re here to help. We’ve organized a few easy, affordable steps you can take right now to create a home office or classroom you’ll actually want to spend time in. Let’s get started!
Commit to the Space
It might seem like a great idea to work from the comfort of your living room couch, but it’s not a good idea to blend work and personal life. If you have the space to create a dedicated office or classroom, commit to it! Don’t ask these spaces to pull double duty, or you’ll find your personal life bleeding into the workspace. And that usually means clutter. Use a spare room, an unused nook, or a guest bedroom corner and commit that space to be used solely for schoolwork or your home office.
Stock Up on Supplies (But Don’t Go Overboard!)
You might be tempted to go on a spending spree when you visit the office supplies aisle in-store or online. But don’t buy supplies you won’t use – that just creates unnecessary clutter. Stick with the basics:
- A pen/pencil holder
- A pack of sticky notes
- A notebook
- A calendar
- Computer accessories (keyboard, mouse)
However, just because you’re “sticking with the basics” doesn’t mean you can’t opt for visually appealing supplies. Pick out fun, colorful, cute supplies that make you smile or help you focus. Remember, you’re creating a space you’ll enjoy spending time in. For school spaces, let your young student pick out exciting prints or notebooks with their favorite cartoon character.
Find a Home for All Your Devices
Work laptops, personal laptops, iPads, phones… Does it feel like you have a never-ending cache of devices? Don’t let them clutter your workspace or your child’s desktop. Find a place for all your electronic devices. Set up a docking station that can hold the devices you use every day and place it near an outlet so you can charge them overnight. Here are a few options:
- Eco Bamboo Device Charging Station, $44.99
- Simicore Charging Station, $39.99
- Prosumer’s Choice Tablet and Smartphone Charging Organizer, $9.29
Alternatively, you can use a desk organizer or even a plastic letter holder paired with a USB charging dock to do the job.
Add Shelving to Your Office
Shelves accomplish two goals: First, they’re handy places to store extra supplies or items you don’t need daily. Second, you can use them to create dynamic, beautiful accents to your office or school space. There are tons of shelving options to choose from, ranging from wall-mounted shelves to sturdy shelving units with built-in drawers. Look at your budget and pick an option that works the best for what you’ll need. If your work requires a laptop and little else, you can probably opt for shelves that will house plants and picture frames. If your home classroom needs art supplies, extra notebooks, or other materials, you’ll want to pick shelves that can accommodate them.
Go for Bins, Cubbies, or Cabinets
Yes, we just recommended shelving for storage. But bins, cubbies, and cabinets are all great options for storing the stuff you don’t necessarily want to see on shelves. If your goal is to reduce clutter (isn’t that true for all of us?), then it’s nice to tuck a stack of papers or rarely used cables out of sight.
You can use cubbies to display items or pictures as well as tuck items away in bins. You can decorate containers with labels to make it easy to find what you need (great for crafts!). And cabinets are great for organizing belongings – a great option if you have more than one student learning from home.
Don’t Make the Space Utilitarian
Your home office or classroom doesn’t have to be all business. In fact, creating a space you want to be in requires you to add some style and personality. Here are a few ways you can spruce up your space without creating more clutter or a distraction:
- Paint the walls or add colorful wallpaper to one wall or section of the room.
- Hang framed prints, photos, and posters on the walls.
- Add a small lamp to your desk, so you can adjust lighting while you work.
- Bring in fresh flowers or plants for a bit of natural color.
It’s possible to create a dedicated space in your home for work or school that you want to spend time in. And it doesn’t have to be expensive. Explore options for building a de-cluttered office or classroom that fit into your budget. You can find affordable ways to bring in color, excitement, and beauty to this place. And remember – separating your office means you can turn off work at the end of the day. That’s the type of work-life balance we all should aspire to have.