Wednesday, September 2, 2015

I'm Just an L-Shaped Desk Girl in a Small Office World

Not my porch. I wish.
(Photo by Jade, via Morguefile)
The room that is my office used to be an open-air porch. Not a wraparound porch like the ones you see on beautiful old southern homes, but rather, a step-outside-and-check-the-weather cement slab structure with four corner posts and a roof. When my daughter was small, she loved sitting out there with my husband when it rained. Although my husband has forgiven me for enclosing the porch (he was complicit in the decision, after all), my daughter has not. The patio we installed off the back of the house is consolation, though, and she's coming around.

I've spent a lot of time over the past several months organizing my workspace by my styles. But space is a fixed quantity, and there's only so much I can do to create work space and storage. What I'd really love is an L-shaped desk so I can cater to my I need to see it style and spread the stuff I'm working on out on one leg of the L.

But an L-shaped desk won't fit into my converted porch office. And I do love the desk I have and the small niche I've created, so I have to get creative. In the absence of my L-shaped desk, I:
  • Use a tray table. Turns out it's useful for more than eating dinner in front of the television. Perfect for a small space, it folds up when it's not in use, and can get pressed into service as the makeshift "L" when I need to see things I'm working on. 
  • Pull out the rolling bin that lives under my desk and stores files. I love my rolling bin, purchased close to ten years ago at The Container Store. The bin used to be auxiliary storage in my office at school, and now that I'm retired, it's parked under my desk where it houses years' worth of information I've collected on organization. If I simply need a place to park a binder or textbook I'm using, I roll out the bin and lay the materials on top. When I'm finished, it tucks back under the desk. (I also have the top of an old tray table that I can use if I need to make the top of the bin more desk-like).
  • Flip the lid of the bin beside my desk. In a small workspace, auxiliary storage is a fact of life. One such storage solution is a fabric bin beside my desk that holds class files and notebooks. When I'm finished working, a lid covers it all up. Flipped upside down, the lid holds loose papers and files I'm in the process of using, keeping them contained in the process.
None of this is rocket science, but rather, an extension of organizing by STYLE. Once you know what works for you, solutions sometimes present themselves. After all, nothing's easier than using  your "default settings."

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