Need a home office for your business or side hustle, but you are short on space? Need help creating a relatively distraction-free environment so you could get more stuff done? Let’s face it. When starting out in business, shelling out money to lease office space isn’t exactly high on the priority list.
Working from home is a more cost-effective solution. Yet how do you create a home office space that works for you?
Here are 5 tips to get you started.
1. Prioritize a mulit-functional room.
Decide on a room with multi-functional potential. Preferably you’ll want a room where you can close the door shut to keep out distractions, such as a guest room or master bedroom. A spare room could do double duty as work space and guest room.
Put a couch or bed against one wall, then place a desk and desk chair on an opposite wall to do your work. In a bedroom, you could use a night stand to also act as a work desk. If neither rooms are an option, the kitchen, dining room or living room coffee table may have to do. You could also use a walk-in closet, unused hallway or area under the stairs if space permits.
2. Rethink your room layout.
Rethink how you use furniture and accessorize if needed. Table surfaces not in use could act as makeshift work spaces. Wall spaces could be used for mounting bulletin boards, letter holders or supply organizers. Want something portable? You can bring out a rolling cart with wheels or simply a laptop backpack with some office supplies.
A cart will allow you to create a portable home office anywhere in your space. A laptop backpack gives you the opportunity for the same, and also to head over to a local coffee shop or a co-office sharing space as needed. When you plan to have meals or entertain guests, you could simply roll the cart to another room or place your backpack away from food preparation. (I’ve found the Ikea Raskog trolley to work well.
3. Keep the kids occupied.
If children need to be in the room, provide a seat at the table (or have a kid’s table near you) so they can work along side of you. Depending on how old your children are, younger children can be occupied with crayons and a coloring book or school-aged children can do their homework.
4. Tune out distractions.
Buy noise canceling headphones. White noise iPhone apps are great for this. Just do a “white noise” search on the iTunes store. Otherwise, open a browser and YouTube search for “concentration” or “focus” music to get you in the productivity zone.
5. Keep everything decluttered.
You know what they say? A clear desk equals a clear mind. Having a place for everything will help keep you organized and sane. At the end of your work day, take 5 minutes to put things away. Discard what’s no longer needed. Organize whatever you decide to keep. File loose papers. That way, you could start work tomorrow with a clearer slate.
With these five tips, you could set up your home office, make your small space work double duty and keep things organized for maximum productivity.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Lori Rochino is based in the greater Philadelphia area. Her work has appeared in SUCCESS, Huffington Post and Examiner. She’s the author of Fifty Shades of Simple: How to Prioritize in the Age of Information Overload. As a Declutter Coach and Design Visionary, she helps empower women entrepreneurs overwhelmed with physical clutter in business and life by organizing them from the inside and out. Connect with @LoriRochino on Twitter.