Setting Up Your Home Office

So, you have finally made the decision to start your own home-based business, but you have to figure out where you are going to put your “office” and just what you will need to run it efficiently. Here are some tips that should get you up and running in no time.

  1. First, you need to find a great spot to work. If you have a separate room that you can use for your home office, that’s great. That is the ideal situation. But, if you don’t have an entire room to spare, then you can set up in a nook, on a stair landing if it’s big enough, in a corner of the living room, or in a loft. Try to separate the space with a folding screen or decorative barrier of some kind. Locate it in a place that is as far away from household traffic and distracting activity as possible. Wherever you choose to work, make sure that is a dedicated spot so that when you are there you (and others in the household) will get the message that you are “at work”. Extra tip: Having a dedicated space will be important if you plan to use it as a tax deduction.
  2. Find a place with as much light and ventilation as possible. If there is limited natural light, use adequate general and task lighting. A bright place to work is conducive to productivity, not to mention being easier on your eyes. If you have a dark spot, just keeping the wall color a lighter hue will reflect what light you have more effectively.
  3. You will need a clear work surface. Your desktop should have only the essentials such as a phone, a fax machine, and a computer. When you are working you should have only the project at hand on your desk. That way you will not be tempted to move from one thing to another.
  4. Treat yourself to a really comfortable desk chair. You will want to spend more time working and feel better at the end of the day if you are sitting in a well-designed office chair. Extra tip: Many areas have stores that sell used office furniture, which can be great places to snag a leather executive chair for half price!
  5. If you don’t have extra floor space, use the walls to hang cabinets and bookshelves and build up. Use bins and baskets to group items together (i.e. stationary in one box, catalogues in another). Be sure to label each bin so that you don’t waste time searching for things. Extra tip: Craft stores have all kinds of labeling choices in the scrapbooking section.
  6. Reference materials should be close at hand, but not on the work surface. They can go on the bookshelves above your desk.
  7. If excess computer and electrical cords are unsightly, they can be coiled inside a rubber turtle that you can buy at your office supply store. Data cords and electrical cords should be kept separate. Extra tip: The plastic tabs from bread bags make great markers for cables, etc. so that you know which cord is which.
  8. Gather CDs and organize them in a binder and store it on your bookshelf. That way they are all together and at your fingertips when you need them.
  9. Make use of color-coded files and large paper fasteners to keep documents and papers organized. Finished projects and archives can be kept somewhere other than your office, like a closet or the attic.
  10. Keep all of your extra supplies in a closet or in a bin on your bookshelves, or even in a box under your desk if there is room. Keep only the supplies you use every day inside your desk and use compartmented organizers to keep them neat. Try to remove all irrelevant items (personal bills, brochures, etc.) from your work area.
  11. You can personalize your home office by hanging framed diplomas or any awards that you might have as a pleasant reminder of what you have achieved. A vision board can be hung where it is easy for you to see as a daily reminder of what you plan to achieve.

There are pros and cons to having your office in your home, but I personally feel that the good points far outweigh the bad. If you have self-discipline and adequate space to operate your home-based business efficiently you should be on your way to a rewarding experience.

To your success,


Two sites I recommend for additional help with organizing are DeClutter Fast and Get Organized Now. They have great ideas!

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