This is a guest post by Nicole from Dollar Tree and she shares some practical and do-able tips to get your home office ready on a shoestring budget. Since I will be working on a home office revamp soon, I find these tips really useful for myself as well:
One of the hardest parts about working at home is feeling like you’re at the office when you’re at home. This can affect productivity, especially when the kids see no division in their access to Mom, even if you tell them you’re working.
One of the facets of being a work-at-home mom is playing the part. You may find that when you act as if you’re on the job, people around you are more likely to treat you like you’re on the job. Depending on what type of work you’re doing, you’ll probably need some basic office supplies and a place to put them. At the very least, use a desk or table, a trash can and a chair.
If you’re working on the computer or the phone, set up a workstation that looks and feels like an office space.
Here’s how to create a home office that is functional yet fun to be in and doesn’t bust the budget:
1. Designating an Area
Find a place at home that you can use as an office. While an entire room is ideal, consider using a section of an existing room if necessary. Whether it’s the former nursery or a corner of the family room, designate your area. It’s where you go when you’re working. If it has no walls, you’ll need to create some boundaries. Try building a partition with filing cabinets and a bookcase to keep costs down.
2. Creating Office Space
Making a home office is fairly easy. Painting a room is a good starting point. Choose a color you can live with for awhile and make a noticeable change in the room’s decor with a few fresh coats of paint. Older children and teens can help with both design and manpower. This is a good opportunity for them to learn how to measure and use a paint roller.
3. Painting Your Home Office on a Budget
Use leftover paint from a previous project or buy some on sale. Pick up some painting tools and supplies from a discount store to make it a more affordable project. A paint roller, drop cloth and painter’s masking tape are the basic essentials you’ll need to transform the space into an office. While you’re at it, purchase some inexpensive paper towels and a kitchen-sized plastic garbage bags.
Put the plastic bag over your painting tray and push out the excess air so that it fits the tray’s form fairly well, taping it in place. Pour the paint into the bag-covered tray. This makes clean-up much faster when you’re done painting, since the paint will never touch the tray. You can pour any leftovers back in the paint can and safely discard the paint-coated plastic.
4. Practical and Frugal Office Supplies
Your office will need more than a desk and chair to become your office. Get organized. Pick up some basic office supplies online, such as pens, paper and tape. Use file folders to separate your projects, receipts and tax information. Put up a calendar or a white board to help you stay organized.
5. DIY Decor To Dazzle
Deciding how to decorate your walls is a matter of personal preference. Younger children will enjoy drawing pictures for you that you can hang up on the walls. They can also make signs for your office. If you don’t have windows, perhaps your little artist can draw a window picture as well. Add a few personal photos to infuse warmth. A framed quote to inspire you. Older children can help you decorate and move furniture.
6. Ground Rules for a Functional Home Office
Part of what makes the office idea work is setting the guidelines and changing how things work when you’re in that space. Home office management is sometimes as much about appearance as it is physical effort. While working at home has its challenges, it also has its rewards. Designate hours and determine what type of distractions or interruption policy you’ll have that helps you be a work-at-home mom.
Do you have a designated home office? What tips out of these do YOU think will you use to amp up them functionality and fun factors? Share with me in the comments.
Nikki is an independent writer for DollarTree.com. Dollar Tree offers great deals on office supplies, party supplies and more.