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Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared on Living on the Cheap.
If you are among the millions of Americans who work from home at least part of the time, you’ve probably noticed that you’ve needed to establish a few guidelines for you and for those who live with you.
Your needs will vary depending on the work you need to do, but a home office or official work space is a must.
Not sure how to organize your home office? Start with these tips.
Carve out a place to call your cubicle
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No matter how small your home is, dedicate a spot that can be called your office for the workday. You may need to bring in equipment from your workplace to make the home office adequate, such as printers or lights. (Some employers are providing this equipment; ask before you go and buy your own.)
Find a space in your home that will accommodate the equipment you need. If you decide the dining room table is a great space for you to work, then this space should not be used for other purposes during that work time. Lunch should be served elsewhere.
Will this space be quiet enough for you to work? A spare room might be a better choice than a seat at the dining room table, if you share your home with others.
Think creatively. Is there a little-used area in your house — or even your garage or sunroom — that would be more private?
A friend’s husband recently transitioned to working at home. After a short time working from the master bedroom, he stapled old sheets and blankets on the walls of the unfinished basement to create the ultimate blanket fort office.
It worked perfectly, giving him a space away from the family energy, and he didn’t have to clear his work off the bed every night.
Use DIY organizers for work materials
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When you have a family, the home office often looks more like a kindergarten classroom with paper, pens, markers and more strewn around. Keep the kids’ art supplies somewhere else, and organize your space.
Sure, you could go into that fancy organization store that has containers of all shapes, sizes and colors. They even have containers you didn’t know you needed. But it’s easy to spend a small fortune in one of those places. Instead, make your own storage containers to clear up your clutter and pay little to nothing, depending on what you have in hand.
When it comes to office organization, it’s the little things that need to be corralled. The loose notes, the paper, pens, rubber bands. Once you have a place to put all that stuff, you’ll notice your work area looking cleaner and easier to use.
Organize your paper and scraps, as well as pens and ledgers, with boxes. All you need to make your own is a medium flat rate Priority Mail box (free at the post office) or other reusable box and some pretty paper. You can use gift wrap, newspaper, anything you like.
Put the box together and seal one side. Then, cut all four tabs off the open side. Next, using your paper as a guide, cut what will be the bottom so it …….