>Portable home office

>I didn’t win anything in the Magic of Wilderness competition. Nevertheless, it was a good exercise that got me writing.

One of the good things about working at home is that I don’t have to make do with a cold sandwich for dinner (lunch). I keep forgetting this and yesterday I tried to get excited about a bit of cold chicken between 2 slices of bread. Then I spotted the cheese and onion quiche … Mm-mm. Saturday to Monday I had hot bacon, cheese and shroom sandwiches. Yesterday I had hot quiche.

For a long time I’ve not been satisfied with the location of my desk at home. I used to have a whole room to work in and the furniture was bought to fit that, but since I moved here I’ve had to scale down the number of modules I have, and they’ve been pushed into a corner of the bedroom where there’s no window.

I have 2 two-tier bookshelves that are perched on the desk because I can’t find my drill bits to put them on the wall. So that means with the laptop riser, 2 printers, a copyholder, a telephone, a desk lamp, and everything else, the work area is cluttered with books and bits and bobs, and these 2 bookshelves. It’s very messy.

The window is a big problem. I am a writer that gazes through a window without seeing. People often walk past my window at work and they must think I’m daydreaming, but I’m actually working Very Hard. And I miss that window at home.

I’ve toyed with getting a mirror or a nice painting to hang above the desk, but that has the same problem as the bookshelves (drill bits). I’ve toyed with knocking a hole in the wall and adding a new window, but that could be pricey and messy. I’ve considered adding an extension to the back of the house or putting a staircase in my bedroom and opening up the loft, but those have the same problems as the window idea, only much, much more. I’ve also toyed with moving the desk beneath the existing window, but as it’s a corner desk and that’s a flat wall … Or I could have the bedroom completely re-fitted bespoke, but there’s the money problem again (and the mess).

So what’s a girl to do?

Well, I’ve been working at my laptop on my lap in the living room, but that’s done nothing for my posture and the mouse pad must be turning me into something deformed. So I’ve moved the laptop riser, complete with proper mouse and speakers and everything, down to the kitchen table, which rarely gets used other than as a dumping ground – see a blank surface, dump something on it.

There’s still room for me to eat and drink at one end, if I want, but the home office has been set up at the other end. It seems to be making me more productive, I don’t have as many aches and pains or headaches (peering down at the screen), I can see daylight and, if I leave the living room door open, 2 windows. Also, in the summer, I can sit with the back door open and work with birdsong, fresh air and sunshine. Yesterday the kitchen was filled with beautiful sunshine and I only had to venture upstairs to the dark and dingy bedroom to print off work.

Of course, I DO write in longhand so that and any editing I do is away from the computer. Plus, if I sit in front of a computer, I’m distracted by the internet. So I suppose I could declutter the desk area, get those shelves up, and leave the laptop there. It just needs brightening and making more attractive so I want to work there. And I’ll need a portable heater too, as it’s cooler in there than anywhere else as I can’t sleep if it’s been too warm and stuffy, so the radiator is on very low.

However, I also prefer designated places around the home and don’t like other areas intruding on them. The living room, for example, is where I relax, read, watch television, listen to music, and receive guests. It is NOT an office. Maybe that’s another reason I don’t like the desk in my bedroom.

If money were no object, I could always move house. Failing that, there’s the extension or the loft conversion. Failing that, there’s the bedroom refit, including new window. Failing that, it’s simply making what I have a nicer place to work.

Where do you work? And what would you do if you were me?


10 thoughts on “>Portable home office

  1. Josie 3 March 2010 / 11:11 am

    >my sewing is usually done in one corner of the kitchen table, I thought I might have had son's bedroom when he moved out but Kitt had other ideas!spare bedroom – where the computer is, not much desk space to work on(pine desk from ebay – £15 then hard drive is stored in an entertainment unit, £5 from ebay, with the printer on top) and storage is a white shelf from Ikea, HENSVIK, which is actually from a kids bedroom range, that way I have storage without taking much room up and hubby's storage is a cupboard type tv cabinet from ebay 99p (pics somewhere on blog somewhere – label de-clutter)Josie x


  2. Diane 3 March 2010 / 11:43 am

    >I'm going to have to give it some serious thought. I think my biggest problem is daylight and lack of sunshine, which means the work area needs to be at the back of the house … but that's where the teeny, tiny spare bedroom is and the kitchen … although It's also where the extension would go, and that would give me an entrance to the office without traipsing through the house. But I can't afford that.Might have to look at getting a cheap table for under the window, keep some of the drawers and cupboards, but dump the massive corner desk. :o( (It was so perfect before.)I'll have a free telly to a good home too …


  3. Devon Ellington 3 March 2010 / 1:49 pm

    >I would build a desk in front of the window by either setting file cabinets or book cases with a sturdy board over it that's the appropriate length and width for both the space and comfort. I'd get rid of the corner desk and replace it with sanding bookcases. I don't have a window in front of me, but I do have paintings, and I do have windows to my left. I currently have my desk set up in the living room — I can't have my workspace in my bedroom, because I'd never go to sleep.When I move, I want to set up one room just for the writing, or have an outbuilding on the property that I use as a writing studio. Right now, I'm "making do", but I find, very often, that I have to pack up and go somewhere else.I write in longhand on the kitchen table. I like working there, but can't stand the thought of having an office nook in the kitchen.


  4. Josie 3 March 2010 / 1:58 pm

    >perhaps have a look in Barnsley Hospice furniture shop at stairfoot, a good range of items(second hand) and fair prices too, I got the metal framed futon sofa bed for £40 + £15 delivery and hubby's wardrobe for £15Josie x


  5. Diane 3 March 2010 / 2:01 pm

    >Yeah, Devon. I could build a desk like that with the existing modules (cupboard units) I have. I have a board in the yard that might clean up ok – it used to be the top of the massive coffee table I got rid of from the living room. Getting rid of the huge corner desk would require a HUGE declutter, which is always a wrench but often very good. I could put the rest of the modules there and the 2 massive bedroom chests that are currently at the foot of the bed. (Or I could get rid of some clothes while I'm having the declutter …)I like to write in the yard with a parasol up when it's cool enough (it's a bit of a sun trap and gets very hot), so I could write/edit at the kitchen table and keep it clear of office stuff. When I'm sat at the table, Holly is often sat in a basket on top of the tall fridge/freezer either watching me or dozing.I think I need to get those shelves hung up on the wall … and the electrics done, which will cost around £100 …


  6. Diane 3 March 2010 / 2:03 pm

    >I know one of the van drivers for Barnsley Hospice fundraising, Josie. Might drop him a message, see if he knows of anything coming in or already in. I usually go to the pet/animal shelter shops in Goldthorpe or Wombwell, but they don't often have furniture.


  7. Kate Walker 4 March 2010 / 7:05 am

    >Hi DianeMy apologies – I meant to drop by much sooner than this and say how great it was to meet you at Fishguard. I can't believe how much time has passed since we were there! Blame it on the dreadlines.It was lovely to meet you in persona nd I'm so glad you enjoyed your trip. I hope I'll see you again at another event – Caerleon or Fishguard next year?The Babe Magnet sends greetings and hope the work goes well.On the where to work front, I'm lucky in that we bought this house becuase it had an extra room that could be my main workspace but with a good laptop I can work in any part of the house. Ah yes . . . work …that's what I should be doing!Kate


  8. Diane 4 March 2010 / 9:24 am

    >Lovely to see you here, Kate. I've been dropping by, reading your blog as you've been updating it, but you seemed to be so busy since getting home I thought I'd let the dust settle before bothering you.It was great to meet you at last, and the babe magnet of course, and I really enjoyed the Fishguard weekend – no longer a writing workshop virgin!


  9. Abi 4 March 2010 / 10:32 am

    >I do my research at my pc which is in the living room beside a window but my youngest is at home a lot as she does 15 hours at nursery. Otherwise I write my articles etc… on my laptop either upstairs in the bedroom or in the living room during the evenings.In about ten-15 years time I might get a writing room when the kids move out!


  10. Diane 4 March 2010 / 10:35 am

    >I had a writing room once, an office, a study – twice in fact. I'd get loads done in those days. I do a lot of research at the pc too.


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