Working With a Small Office Space
For many, we have to adapt to working with a small office. If you are a blogger, photographer or a graphic design professional who only uses a computer with minimal equipment, storage isn't as much of an issue so a simple desk would suffice. For others like myself, not having enough space to run your business can be challenging. I actually print and produce all of my own orders, so I have four printers and two letterpress machines on top of what a standard office would have. I will show you some ideas on how to minimize the clutter and maximize the space.
When I first started out, I had a beautiful Pottery Barn desk that I absolutely loved. However, I was lacking valuable real estate in flat surfaces to package my orders, so I needed to make a change. If you have a business with a physical product, finding a flat surface to organize and package your orders can be so challenging in a small room. I purchased two dining tables from Ikea as my desks instead, and this alone has done wonders for me to print and package my orders. It also offers the perfect height for me to utilize as a desk. Try to stay away from bulky furniture, as this can make the room feel small and difficult to work in. Think outside the box like utilizing folding tables instead for flat surface space. You can store them easier to only have them out when you need them versus trying to walk around large furniture.
Blog Post Coming Soon: A Tour of My Studio Space
Maximize Drawer Space
In the four years I have had my business, I have probably gone through all of my drawers at least fifty times! Try to keep only items that you absolutely need, and remove all the other items that are not directly related to your business. I have several drawers in my office, so about twice a year I will pull everything out, remove from my studio what I no longer need, and reorganize each drawer so items are easily accessible.
Use Your Walls
If I didn't utilize wall shelving, my studio would be a nightmare. By using the vertical space in your room for storage, this can really keep you organized and allow for more items in your office or studio. I use the Elfa shelving unit below to house my envelopes, samples, pre printed stationery, etc.
Find Storage Elsewhere
While my studio is small and I do not have a closet, I have been able to use other parts of my home for additional storage. I am very lucky to have an extra closet upstairs, where I can store my bulk shipping supplies like boxes, crinkle paper, etc. so I only keep what I need in my office. Think about other storage opportunities in your home that may allow you to remove some of the excess items not used everyday, to declutter your space. This could be extra room in a closet, the attic, a garage, or the basement.
Utilizing Empty Space
Since I have switched to using dining tables to maximize my flat surfaces, I didn't have any drawer or file space, so I needed to find a solution. I found these Alex Drawer Units so valuable, and they slide right under my tables and give me the necessary storage I need without taking up floor space. I also use under the desk for additional storage, like the two white boxes you see below, which house my shipping supplies like crinkle paper, extra tape, shipping envelopes, etc.
Also very important, I have to use crevices in my office to store larger, bulkier items that I do not have the space for. Since I do a lot of packaging with my business, I generally store most of my boxes in a spare closet upstairs; however, I also need to keep some readily available, so I use additional space in between the wall and my furniture to achieve this.
Since I make paper products, all the printing, cutting, etc. will leave my office quite messy with paper dust and scraps. I have two Alex Drawer Units as well as a printer cart from CB2 that are on castors so I can move them around. This makes it incredibly easy for not only cleaning, but for rearranging the office as necessary.
The Small Stuff
Sometimes, finding a place for smaller items can be a bit challenging. Think of unique ways to store these items, such a small plastic container if they are going in a drawer. I use a lot of twine in my business, so a wired basket like the one below is a great way to display smaller items that may have visual appeal.
I also have small bins inside my drawers to keep paper clips and other small items easy to find and clutter-free.
Get Rid of It
If you don't need it, get rid of it. Sometimes this can be difficult when going through your office, because most become paranoid that they might use something again. I have a standard rule that if I haven't used it in six months, it goes in the trash (or try to sell it to someone else). If you are really afraid of needing something you haven't used recently, try storing it in another part of your home to remove it from your office.
Hopefully, you have some natural light in your office from a window or a door. When working in a small space, it is important to not block your natural light source. This can give the appearance of having a larger room, plus I believe it is necessary to have in order to bring the outside in, so you do not feel "caged" day after day. I have blinds on my windows, to control the light as necessary. I wouldn't recommend using heavy curtains, as they can look bulky and take up space.
For a small room, try to stay with neutral, light colors that will compliment your decor. I have chosen a soft tan color to go with my white theme, and offers a subtle contrast while providing light in my small room. Darker colors make a room feel smaller, so having a light color will give the impression that the room is larger.
While we all dream of the day for a large, spacious studio or office, many of us need to work with what we have available. Hopefully these tips will assist you in not only having a clutter-free office space, but will also increase productivity by becoming organized. What other tips have you done with your office or studio to maximize space?