Home Forums Living Spaces Your Home Office Help me unclutter a revision area please!

This topic contains 12 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by  lottielot 8 years, 11 months ago.

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  • #158808


    I now have less than a month to go before my finals, and a lot of other stuff going on before then too. My study stuff is usually pretty organised in bags and boxes so I know where everything is. However, my everyday study is usually done on my bed, on my laptop on the sofa in the lounge, or on the go when out with the kids etc. Revision needs to be done by hand though, I have 3 hour exams so have to start practicing that writing. I don’t have a desk, and I’m finding it really hard to revise on the sofa or on the bed, the bed is bad anyway cos it’s bad for the back to bend over all the time, plus it doesn’t give the right relaxing feel to a bed which adds up to better sleep for me. I really feel like I need to have a dedicated revision area (which I can then use for my masters work too), but where? I could use the dining room table, but it’s very dark in there, plus my dh sees it as a dumping ground for everything. Better than before a good uncluttering but not great still and it’s distracting. Last year I had ds2’s room to use as a study as he used to share with ds1, but that’s out now. My bedroom has a little corner I could maybe use, but would a small desk just be a waste of space? I need a reasonable area to spread out lots of books and do my mind maps and lots of writing, I suppose I could sprawl that stuff onto the bed too. My bedroom is annoying as it has 2 bookshelves, one tall and skinny which squeezes next to the bed and one shorter and wider which takes up half one wall. There’s a long radiator under both windows which means that space is taken away. Then the bed is miles too wide, I like a big bed but this juts out way beyond the (king size) mattress and takes up almost the whole room. Should I rearrange the whole room, buy a new smaller bed and buy a new desk? Or should I buy some super-strong lighting for the dining room and either use the table (actually, it’s a bit high, I just realised) or maybe a nice-looking fold-up style desk for in there (the other furniture in there is expensive and quite formal)?
    Suggestions on a postcard please! I need to get moving on this, don’t want to spend the next month trying to get ready for revising πŸ™‚ I’d rather buy decent furniture which could be used for years than something cheap from Ikea (not that there’s anything wrong with Ikea, we already have plenty!)

  • #171542


    Help me unclutter a revision area please!

    Even before read through the whole post, I was going to suggest a new lamp. Possibly a floor lamp as it would provide light from a higher level. You will need a comfy, supportive chair also, whether that means buying a new one, borrowing or repurpoeing another chair in your home.
    I would suggest waiting til your exams and papers are finished to decide on buying any new furniture. I suspect you and your family can live through another month of the dining room being a little cluttered. I’d say exams are a priority at this point. Good luck with them!

  • #171552


    Help me unclutter a revision area please!

    I’m reading this website instead of revising for my own exams so I’ve no room to talk!!!

    I think I agree with irishbell about the new lamp and waiting until after the exams to buy any more major new stuff. Could you go down to the library and use the desks there just to do your writing practice? I’m in the same position exactly as I have a three hour handwritten exam coming up frighteningly soon and I can only write by hand for about five minutes before I get cramp in my hand.

    Sorry I’ve no great ideas, but good luck!

  • #171561


    Help me unclutter a revision area please!

    Since this is rather an immediate problem, I advise finding a way to make the dining table work. Exams won’t go on forever, then the dining table can go back into its proper use, and during your next course you can take a little more time to think through what kind of study area you want.

    1st, a good sturdy standard (floor) lamp with adjustable lights. 2nd, a chair or stool that will put you at the right height for comfortable writing on the table. 3rd, a footstool if you need one for comfort.

    And after exams, probably your best option is some new furniture for the bedroom – shelving, a study desk, and maybe a new bed (how can it be bigger than a king-size mattress??). PEEP, baby!

  • #171569


    Help me unclutter a revision area please!

    Here are some ideas that don’t match up with your desire to buy good furniture, but might be workable.

    Buy a long, perhaps light weight foldable banquet table like this:

    Then you can place it in the bedroom and put the long, low bookcase on top of it possibly, or maybe the bookcase will fit underneath.

    Or perhaps the new table can be placed in the dining room temporarily or occasionally. You may need a carton to place the current project in to clear the banquet table and fold it up, or if you use the dining table, when you are done studying each day.

    Perhaps you can dedicate just one space for your studies. It makes sense that it would be the dining room since the bedroom seems to be tight and uncomfortable, plus it already has a good function of sleeping space, and the dining room’s purpose right now is “dumping ground”. (Do you use the dining room for dining?)

    Maybe a tray or basket in the dining room, on a side chair or buffet, can be designated as the new, smaller dumping area. Or if you are moving your studies to the dining room, then a shelf in the bedroom might work for the dumping space.

    I agree that better lighting and family cooperation in the dining room sound like your best options right now.

  • #171588


    Help me unclutter a revision area please!

    Remove a door from the closet and rest one end on the short bookshelf. Place the other end on a shelf of the tall bookshelf or on a sawhorse. Poof, temporary desk.
    Here’s an old Workspace of the Week link that might inspire you.


    I had a hollow core door on two short bookshelves as a desk for 15 years. It was deep enough to have the computer and a set of shelves (from the shoe organizer in my closet) to hold more items.

  • #171600


    Help me unclutter a revision area please!

    chiming in to agree that the fastest easiest solution is to commandeer the dining room/table, and organise some lighting and a good chair.
    a couple of halogen desk lights should cover a whole table nicely.
    do you need a bookcase or filing cabinet as well?
    can you close the door…..and keep it closed?
    can the husband box up the “stuff” and put it under the dining table or even better, sort through it and put it where it all lives?

  • #171603


    Help me unclutter a revision area please!

    oooh, thank you all my lovely chums for such good advice! I was erring towards the dining room table study option myself, the other problem I didn’t mention is that half the reason it’s the dumping ground is that it’s the first flat surface you hit when you come into the house. Also, it’s not at all private as it’s slap bang in the middle of the house, so as much a corridor as dining room. Long term the bedroom is a much better option, so I will put the task of sorting the bedroom on my to do list, and take note of all your good ideas. In the meantime though, I’ll sort out:
    some decent lighting
    a decent chair which will help me reach the table properly (dining chairs very low, table very high)
    a clutter-free surface (dh under a warning that anything on there will be thrown out)
    the dining room is actually about a million times better than it’s ever been, it’s more one of those perennial problems relating to dh and I having different (and non-communicated) ways of filing papers. Then as soon as a few bits of paper make their way there, more seems to be magically attracted, till the surface disappears. Add to that a printer without a home and 2 cats who shed hair all over the table, and it’s all a bit unconducive to studying! However, with a good array of lighting I think I can make it OK, I don’t really need to leave lots of stuff out as I have all my textbooks etc already in bags and can tidy up quite quickly. However, a big fat sign saying ‘REVISION IN PROGRESS, MESS WITH MY STUDY NEST AND SUFFER THE CONSEQUENCES’ migh help πŸ™‚
    thanks again, will sort it out this afternoon and get into it after dinner.

  • #171623


    Help me unclutter a revision area please!

    trillie, LOL! You did kind of go off there, but I suspect many of us can relate.

    DH and I were fortunate to find a midcentury apartment that has a large open space comprising dining, “living,” and den areas. The living room is empty except for bookcases and full-length mirrors – we knew right away we wanted it for rehearsal space.

    We put the couch and TV in the den, and we eat most of our private meals there, but the dining room has a table and chairs for 10. We are the only couple in our circle of friends that hosts dinner parties, something we enjoy doing and that our friends also enjoy, but none of them have the infrastructure.

    The dining table also serves for conferences (we are involved with various dance organizations/events) but I have become quite good about not letting junk pile up on it. As lottielot noticed, one sheet of paper can magically become ten, but a clear space tends to stay clear.

    Oh, and lottielot, I am in favor of a SIGN. πŸ™‚

  • #171646


    Help me unclutter a revision area please!

    We built our house using a basic design but incorporating all the things we liked from previous places we’d lived, or trying hard to eliminate the ones that annoyed us! Consequently, we have no dining room, a cozy living room, and a bedroom with 2 very large closets and space for music system and listening to it, as well as my husband’s desk. Downstairs he has a wood shop and I have an office and a separate sewing/craft room. Of course we have a bathroom and also a laundry room. After 10+ years we added on a small addition to the house which gave us a better staircase arrangement, and a lovely little entry room which houses a couch, end table and good lamp for quiet reading, as well as a large coat/boot closet conveniently by the front door.

  • #171661


    Help me unclutter a revision area please!

    OK, I cleaned the crap off the table (and cat hair), rehomed the printer on a nearby bookshelf (suitable place for permanent home for it), found a really good lamp, found a wastepaper basket (essential for chucking in screwed up paper covered with drivel!), commandeered ds2’s step stool which is quite high, moved the flowers to the other end of the table so I can admire the sunflowers when I get bored, and brought all my study bags and boxes down to the dining room. All set, and much easier than studying elsewhere, it’s the most glamorous study nest ever. Dh even sat down at the table this morning and did some work on his laptop before work, so he obviously appreciated somewhere clear as well πŸ™‚
    We do need a dining room, the kids and I eat at the tiny, tiny table in the kitchen but it only fits 3 of us, dh usually eats later in front of the telly, but during the winter we eat Sunday dinner (usually a roast) most weeks. Plus if we have guests then we need an indoor table as well as our outdoor one. I wish we’d originally bought a smaller fold-out table as it takes up most of the room, but at least if I’m studying here it serves another purpose πŸ™‚
    I fully agree with using a house as it fits your needs, but we’re quite constrained in having a rather cramped Edwardian semi with quite small rooms (though high ceilings, which I love). Most people along our road have knocked through the dining and lounge rooms to make one big room, but both of our rooms are lovely (when tidy!), and our lounge room is really cosy and comfy during the winter. And we’d still have a horrid narrow hallway, so the mess would just spread from the dining room into a larger area. Also, we have a biggish, bright and airy loft extension (my dh’s domain, lol) so we have a bigger room if we want it. We tend to move around the house according to the seasons, that’s why it’s good to have a cosy lounge (not so nice in summer) and an airy one. My dh has always been one for rearranging the furniture, we used to live in a tiny one bedroom flat and we ended up moving our bed into the lounge so we could get away from our neighbour’s washing machine!
    pkilmain, I am so jealous of your entry room πŸ™‚ When we had our kitchen redone I designed it for the way I work and how we eat, and every day I cook in it I admire the job I did of it! I made a list of everything I hated about the old kitchen and looked in all the showrooms for ideas. We’re about to do up our bathroom now and I’m going to do the same, I hate that room with a passion! And while I’m getting an electrician in to do that and some other jobs, I am going to buy a really expensive, lovely, dimmable ceiling light for the dining room πŸ™‚ I can’t do much about the one window and north-facing aspect, but at least some better overhead lighting will help. We have some really nice furniture in here, the walls are a lovely colour, I have my favourite painting in here, which coincidentally matches the walls and furniture and I have a nice rug too, so this room deserves something better than the crappy tiny lightshade it currently has…
    Anyway, enough procrastinating, off to do some revision. Thanks again for the impetus!

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