Creating a Home Office with Found Space

I live in Toronto where space is at a premium and you have to get creative to fit everything in. I’m fortunate to have three bedrooms in my home, but when my youngest son was born last year I lost my home office. It wasn’t a space I spent a lot of time in, however, I liked to write in it and I liked to close the door and get all of the nagging tasks off of my to do list. When the crib moved in and the desk moved out I had to rethink my work space.

Not surprisingly, the office moved to the dining room table. It was the largest flat surface, so it was perfect. I wasn’t willing to accept that the table would turn into a dumping ground because it was now the main working space of the whole family now. I had an existing cabinet that held household items. When the space took on the role of work space, I reorganized it as the office with everything from supplies, working papers and my computer.

Here is a brief overview of how I arranged it:

Bottom shelves

  • Charging station for the computers. The cords come in the back so they don’t get strung all over the floor. A small hole drilled in the back of the cabinet made it possible to thread cords through.
  • Working papers for home (bills mostly) and work – I keep them in individual folders so they’re easy to pull out and work on.
  • My camera, easy access so I use it
  • A tiny bit of space to use if needed, but mostly just to see the empty space when I open the cabinet

Upper shelves

  • General office supplies: tape, pens, scissors, tape, sharpies, post-its, extra printer paper, notebooks, folders etc. etc. Everything is labeled for easy retrieval. Even my boys can find what they need without asking.
  • Power cords, in individual bags labeled with what they charge. If you don’t know what something charges, get rid of it.
  • Art supplies for the kids – and me!
  • General hardware – external hard drives, external keyboard, mouse, USB keys
  • Stationary, thank you cards

Everything I need from the office is in this cabinet, 9 shelves and a table. Magic happens here in this found space.

There are days I have to leave the house to get work done, but most of the time this is a great space and when I’m done at the end of the day, I can put it all away in the cabinet and transition the space to family dinner or game night or whatever role it transforms into next.