24 September 2010

The Office

We've done well with our office, although it is still a work in progress.  Long ago we decided we didn't need a dedicated office space, both because we didn't have the luxury of space and because a removed office space didn't match how we utilize the computers and office supplies.  

Eventually, our office evolved into a standing work station with files below.    We used a section of kitchen/breakfast nook space:  my husband had his computer on a high shelf that we installed at his standing height specifically for the computer, and I had a hacked metal box on the counter.  A hole was drilled into the side for cords, with the computer cable and power strip inside the box.  A mail center/bill paying station was given prime real estate on the counter next to my laptop.  When I needed to do a lot of work on the computer, I just moved my laptop to the kitchen table.  

Since our move, my office is a zippered pouch on the closet shelf holding two plastic envelopes, for pending items and papers to be filed, the checkbook, and a few stamps and envelopes.  A compartmentalized box holds office supplies, such as a few pens, tape, rubber bands, and scissors.  I also have my laptop with me, sitting on top of a console table.  Since this table isn't high enough to function as a standing work station, I move it to the kitchen table or couch to do work.  This has worked very well; the only thing I am missing is the file box.

So, as I've been thinking of what our new office will look like, I think it won't be much different from what it was.  We like our standing work stations, so we are toying with the idea of combining the office area with a room divider of sorts to separate the space between our living and dining rooms.  
Right now we still need our filing system, which is just a fire proof box, one file box for current files, and one box for last years files.  Every January, I shred the old files and then move the current papers to the old file box (this is excluding tax returns and other items that must be kept for longer than one year).  I have two expandable files inside the file boxes for investment paperwork.  While this system works well, we will likely go paperless in the near future.  We have our eye on an excellent scanner that can scan all size documents with a very good document feeder.  We can just place a stack of differently shaped papers in the scanner, press the button, and go.  My husband has it all planned out with external hard drives and whatnot, but we still need to actually pull the trigger.

With this plan, all I really need is about 1-2 feet of horizontal space and a shelf or drawer for files.  This can easily be done in a living/dining room area, and then the computer is easily accessible for the whole family.  The standing work station allows me to quickly search for something on the internet without having to sit and get settled.  Since I use the internet frequently for everything from a dictionary to recipe searches, I really enjoy that kind of accessibility.

I will try to post a picture of this space when it is complete, although since we haven't even moved into our house, who knows how long it will be.

So, what don't we need?  a billion pens, drawers full of old unsorted papers, huge file cabinets, a big desk, and a dedicated room for an office. 

Next up:  the dreaded kitchen

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