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This topic contains 14 replies, has 12 voices, and was last updated by  smallLife 7 years, 5 months ago.

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  • #159312


    Alright, I am at it again. I have been struggling for a while now to figure out how to set up a home workspace in a very small space. I decided to use a corner of my “dining room” in my 700 sq ft apartment for that purpose, but have been unsuccessful at figuring out how to organize everything. Right now I have a desk, a small set of drawers next to it, and a couple of various boxes (white KASSETT boxes from Ikea and clear plastic boxes) for my filing system. I have a large scanner/printer, and a laptop that I cram onto the desk. I cannot install shelves on the wall, nor do I have a spare closet to make into an office. I am now out of ideas on how to set up an efficient home workspace for a very small space after perusing a ton of websites (including the Unclutterer featured workspace feature!). Does anyone have any good ideas about how to set up an efficient and organized workspace?

  • #186687


    Home Workspace Ideas

    How deep is your desk. Would you be able to fit a 3-4 foot high bookcase on top of the desk? You’d have to attach it to the desk with screws on the bottom or brackets on the back, so it doesn’t fall on you. That or you could by a hutch for the top of the desk, which might be a better option because it wouldn’t have the bottom shelf. There are some photos here. http://images.search.yahoo.com/search/images;_ylt=A0PDoTGXzgFOHVgA.RqJzbkF?p=desk%20hutch&fr=fptb-yff40&ei=utf-8&x=wrt&fr2=sg-gac&sado=1

    Office supply stores would be a good place to start looking. If you know someone who can build simple things from wood, you could design one to suit your needs.

  • #186695


    Home Workspace Ideas

    IMC, what do you do and what equipment do you need for it?

    That’s the start: what’s the workspace for? Do you need a glitter tray? (I do, but not all the time) do you need two computer screens? An in-box? What’s your plan for using the space?

  • #186700


    Home Workspace Ideas

    Rosa asked a really good question.. we could use a little more info as to what you need to organize/use/do.

    Go back to IKEA:


    Buy this bad boy with the biggest of the cube bookcases that will fit into your space. They stack too. You can put a second one of the bookcase units on top if needed. They are very flexible as to the many possible configurations. Use baskets or other containers to corral small supplies that need to stay together inside one of the spaces.. for example, you could have one basket for commonly used basic office supplies.
    IKEA makes drawer inserts for the Expedit series too.

  • #186701


    Home Workspace Ideas

    Hi all, thanks for the replies so far! There are a couple of uses for this space: filing papers, using my laptop (without additional screens), using my printer/scanner for projects, and using it for some crafts. I don’t have *too* much stuff for crafts, but would like a basic workspace and location for the small amount of supplies I do have. It is also where I deal with mail and paying bills, so easy access to my files is necessary. I considered getting the EXPEDIT set up, but even the double bookcase set up does not fit (and blocks a light switch).

  • #186710


    Home Workspace Ideas

    How about a fold-down countertop above a regular desk your laptop can sit on? I swear I saw one of those in Erin’s workspace posts – a little desk (filing drawer, laptop & scanner on top or scanner in a under-desk drawer or shelf) and then a fold-away above it so instead of having to stow everything, you can just open a flat surface for craft work as-needed.

  • #186727


    Home Workspace Ideas

    I’m a big fan of ergonomics when it comes to office-type workspace.

    The first two priorities should be a desk surface and chair properly matched to each other — I find 26-28″ is a good height for the desktop, to put the laptop or keyboard at a comfortable height. The standard 30″ table is usually too high for comfortable prolonged typing. The chair has to be adjustable to put your forearms at a nice, flat angle to the keyboard (For purposes of assessing the right height, I pretend I have no wrists and try to type that way).

    Before you install anything, I suggest doing a mockup of your planned workspace by setting up a board as the desk and adjusting it till it feels just right.

    Also try to get the overhead light slightly behind you or to either side of you, rather than right on top or to the front of where you’ll be sitting. The goal is to send the shadows to the floor but not generate hot spots or weird reflections. (Definitely experiment with the laptop to see what’s easiest to read.)

  • #186798


    Home Workspace Ideas

    i am starting to feel like the elfa salesperson around here!
    have you looked at elfa shelving?
    it is infinitely reconfigurable and customisable, because it is modular…you buy the bits you need and assemble them how you need them.
    elfa does require drilling into the wall to install the top rail, then everything else hangs off that (it is very stable).
    when you move, it is no big deal to putty and paint a few holes, up high on the wall.
    and you take the elfa with you.

    with elfa, you can easily work around the light switch.

    my own office is made of elfa…desk, drawers, shelves.
    i have been very happy with it.
    it has helped with my efficiency and productivity….it looks far nicer than the motley collection i used to have in there….it all still looks like new….it enabled me to use every inch of space.

  • #206823


    Home Workspace Ideas

    i would really evaluate if you need all of it out all the time and then see what can be tucked away.

    i live in a tiny apartment and have a desk/office space in the corner of my living room. things like file boxes get tucked away in a closet because i don’t need them all the time. it’s worth the slight inconvenience to have it out of sight for me.

  • #206850


    Home Workspace Ideas

    I lived in a similar-sized place for three years and took over the dining area as my office. Instead of a dining table, I had a hollow-core door supported by bookshelves as a desk. One of those bookshelves was facing inwards and housed the computer tower. I had sets of the plastic rolling drawers for storage. Behind me as I sat at the desk were a set of low bookshelves and a short file cabinet.

    I used bins on the bookshelves to store items that were bulkier then a file folder. All I had to do to access anything was to turn the swivel chair around.

    Since I lived alone, I could have meals at the kitchen tall counter/bar, at the desk itself, or in the living room from a tray.

    Thinking back, I realize that I not only had all of my personal items in that space, I was not working at a school at the time and had my entire classroom-load of school items and science stuff in the storage closet on the balcony! What would I ever do without the boxes that copy paper comes in?

  • #206857

    Home Workspace Ideas

    I live in a teeny apartment. The guy next door has a bunk bed above his desk and it looks really cool. Probably not cheap though.

    I bought ditto paper by the case. Made my life easier.

  • #206915


    Home Workspace Ideas

    I looked at some of the bunk bed desk setups online (and on the sidebar ads here) About $500-800. is what you might expect to pay.

    I wonder if a captain’s bed might be rigged up with shelving or file drawers under a fairly high bed.

    RV websites might be good for ideas on this topic.

  • #206948


    Home Workspace Ideas

    IMC, is there anything in your current setup that is working for you? And what in the current setup isn’t working for you?

    From your first post, it sounds a bit as if you have added several small storage pieces to your office setup–the small set of drawers, the IKEA boxes, the plastic boxes. I’m guessing you have various things in various boxes, and no place to put the boxes.

    Does your desk have drawers or is it mostly just a work surface? I know the cool-looking desks don’t have a lot of storage built-in, but in a small space, I’d go for a desk with drawers on either side to best utilize that space. Then I’d add a two-drawer file cabinet on one side of the desk. All the office supplies you use regularly should fit in the desk drawers. Depending on how much paper you are storing, you could also use one of the file cabinet drawers for storage–it would be good for your craft supplies. The top of the file cabinet can hold the printer/scanner. Then add a small bookcase–if you don’t have wall space enough, put it next to one side of the desk, perpendicular to the wall.

  • #207030


    Home Workspace Ideas

    @mskris: another option for disguising books and journals is to use magazine holders. If you face the tall side into the room they have a more decorative feel which makes it look more uncluttered. That entirely depends on what kind of information you have and how much space it takes up (is any of it available online?)

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