Tuesday, April 3, 2012

What's In a Space?

Jack and Eloise lounging in the office window on the day bed.

If you have a home office or studio you might face this same dilemma: can I justify the extra overhead of a "real" office or can I make my home space work as I grow my business. This week I've been reminded of the importance of work space when I determined to tackle my dysfunctional home office before deciding if I can stay or if I must go.

  • The first thing I had to do was re-establish the primary use of this room of mine: Office, not pet retreat, not daughter's online retreat, not husband's extra library space. I might be a book designer but that doesn't mean I want my office crammed with books that have nothing to do with my business. Everyone else in the household had to remove their belongings or risk me doing it for them. I channeled my inner-tyrant and shockingly it worked.
  • The next thing I did was figure out what wall I wanted to face. I sat in my chair and turned in every direction until I felt most at ease and--voila--I had my furniture arrangement. One of the advantages of a small space is you have limited options once you place your desk. I'm calling this an advantage because I believe in the old adage of making a virtue of necessity.
  • I also realized I could make due with a smaller desk and so freed up some just plain open space to make me feel more comfortable. Ah, the widening horizon...
  • I further realized that while I didn't have time to clear away all the clutter in a permanent fashion, I could at least banish much of it to the attic or basement. OK, out-of-sight-out-of-mind isn't the best adage in most situations but in a pinch it can work for home office dwellers. I'm much less oppressed by boxes of paper up in the attic than surrounding my desk. Filing be damned.
  • Next up is a new coat of paint, but for now I've simply decided on the color. I want the weather a bit warmer before I spend a day with open windows while I paint. But at least I can imagine painting this room and I think I know the color scheme.

I'm feeling MUCH better and more productive. Now I just have to decide if home and work can continue to mix as easily as they have in the past. Right now the allure of separating work from home is about as strong as the compulsion to keep work at home.  I'm so accustomed to designing with a cat on my lap and a dog at my feet maybe I'd become dysfunctional if I moved. Yikes...next up psychological clutter. Anyone have a spare attic...

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