Living and Learning: The Home Office

The one room I miss the most since we've moved here is our office. Just yesterday, my husband went back to retrieve yet another stack of books for me so I can be ready for our church's parenting workshop coming up this weekend. It is the one room I am looking forward to returning to on our move back!

Our home office is a tiny one, but it works for us. When we knew Jonathan was arriving, we had to do a reconfiguration of our house. At first, our office took up our third bedroom, but as we were moving Janna into it, we needed another place to work. With sketches in hand, my husband proposed idea after idea, looked into how much it would cost to expand our house and finally came up with a workable solution. For two weeks, he worked non-stop to build our little office, its bookshelves and its matching desks. I think that is why it is so special to me: it is a labor of love, a reflection of his ingenuity and his handiwork.

For us, the office serves many functions. As with most offices, it is where our computers are situated, along with all the paraphernalia that goes along with it. Therefore, it is where I do my writing, my school planning, and my correspondence.

My main problem is I am a notorious paper piler (see photo). I cannot hide that fact. Unlike my daughter who has a place for everything and everything in its place, I am finding myself constantly shifting through piles of stuff finding that one piece of paper (do you do that too?). Most of the time it doesn't bother me, but there have been moments when I know that I am wasting precious time because of my lack of discipline in this area.

Even though the office is probably the only untouched room in this house, it is also the one I am going to need to spend the most time organizing. There are several things I am going to need to work on to make it a little more efficient: 1. Create a place to file work in progress at the end of the day. I love this idea.

Source: Goodbye, House. Hello, Home

2. Create a place to hold finished work that needs to be filed. 3. Create a filing system with categories I actually need to file that finished work. 4. Plan a time to systematically purge unnecessary paper or scan it for reference later. 5. Do the same thing with my computer files: documents, e-books, school records, etc. 6. Organize my library: teaching materials, books, CD-ROMs, e-books, and reference books and keep only the ones that I am currently using on the shelves. I l0ve these DIY risers...I think I'll try this for our extra-wide bookshelves!

Source: Good Housekeeping

7. Create an easily accessible system of storage for books that my kids are not using this school year. 8. Create a storage area for office supplies so we do not purchase duplicates unnecessarily (we are so bad at this...because we can't find what we bought previously! This needs to change!) 9. Organize my desktop so that I have a home for everything.

I think the first thing I need to do is look at what doesn't have a home. At any given time, I am usually researching several topics, which results in piles of books, computer printouts, and files of notes and papers. I still like to write my thoughts out by hand, and those thoughts may be on scrap pieces of paper, a little here a little there. Sometimes I feel like the proverbial absent-minded professor---so wrapped up in big ideas but terrible in the organizing department.

However, I also know that I am shooting myself in the foot when I am not efficient. Though it's going to take me awhile, I need to figure out how I work and to develop systems that work for me. I think that's what is going to take the most time for me to figure out---my workflow, thought process, and areas of blockage.

Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of work. Though the days are long, I realize I truly love the work I do---teaching my children, writing, ministering to others. Guide me in how to create a space in my home that allows me to do these things while using my time wisely. May all I do be a glory to Your name and Your Kingdom. In Jesus' name, Amen.

If you're in the same boat, here are some articles that might help:

General Office Ideas:

Goodbye,  House. Hello, Home

Martha Stewart

Filing system:

Home Management Filing System

Basics of a Good Home FIling System

Desktop:

12 Tips for an Organized Desk

Today's cleaning checklist for the office.