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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Home Un-Office

Nearly a year ago, I made a huge life change and accepted my current [dream] job. There were lots of benefits to me taking this position and making the change, but one of the coolest side benefits came with the remote opportunity. 

Since my schedule has me traveling about 60% of the year (based on my rough estimate, occasionally I am on the road less or more), basing this job out of Virginia where headquarters is doesn't make much sense. I've long wanted to use my talents to work for a sorority's headquarters, but the Northeast is my home and my Boyfriend's career is here as well, so moving just wasn't on the table. Two years ago, when I graduated- I would have picked up and gone anywhere, but time has changed and ultimately I really do want to be within a few hour's drive of my parents as I start to lay down roots. 

That aside, working from home was an adjustment. We have a spare bedroom in the apartment and when I moved in ten months ago, set that room up as a joint office. Both of our desks, bookshelf, and his old bedroom set and bed made it a dual purpose room where we could host an overnight guest and get our work done. I happily settled in my routine of "going to work" in my new space- but found that as the day went on I would migrate back out to our living room ever so slowly. My desk itself was too small, the room was louder due to construction and being closer to the street, darker with less natural light than the living room, and I felt isolated and lonely in such a quiet space. 

Ultimately my cute "minimalist" desk became a dumping zone- piles of unopened mail from when I was on the road accumulated, stuff that didn't have a "home" found its way onto my desk chair, etc. It was unsightly and brought down the energy in the room. Boyfriend grew frustrated at the ever growing pile and the overall lack of appeal the room now had. I realized that I needed to make a change and that the desk wasn't serving me, and thus- enter my Un-Office Cart!

I realized that while I needed a place where my work stuff could "live" and something that could mentally trigger that the day of work is complete. After researching lots of different options, I went with the cube system from Target. The modular option allowed me to build in the exact shelving and drawers that I wanted, and the optional casters made it a mobile unit which was really important to me. As the days grew warmer I found myself wanting to work outside on our porch. Aside from the fact that the back porch itself needed some TLC, lugging my materials in and out was really frustrating. A cart could wheel around with me and be where I needed it to be! At the dining table when I needed a big surface to spread out on, on the porch when I wanted to be outside, and yes- next to the couch if I was having a day where I felt under the weather and needed that extra comfort. 

I purged a LOT of items from my old desk. Most of the stuff that was in there just didn't make sense for my work style or my needs anymore. I pared down to a minimal file system that lives in 1/2 of the bottom drawer of my desk. I used my Fold N' File from thirty-one  to split the bottom drawer in half and hold my files upright. The back of the drawer holds my work binder that I use to organize files for each extension while in process and on the road, padfolio, and Powersheets. I also stick my everyday notebook and planner in there when I am not using them- but since they are in rotation they often find themselves on the shelf with my computer. The smaller drawer holds pads, pens, business cards, a phone cord, USB drives, glue dots and other knickknacks I reach for often. And the shelf on the top provides a nice home for my computer and iPad when not in use. To contain mail and items to be filed, I keep a paper tray on top and that also allows me to have a space to hang my Oh Snap Bin with hand cream, ear buds, and hand warmers tucked inside. 

Close ups of the file drawer and my little tray. 

I have been using the cart now for about a week and I LOVE it. It keeps my "office" tidy, has helped me purge things that I really didn't need but was hanging on to, and rolls around with me wherever I want to work from- and at the end of the day, work is out of sight, out of mind! 

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