Where’s your home office?

Categories: The Juggle, Working? Living?


Once upon a time, I had an actual home office. It had a desk and file cabinets and a door that closed, and I shared the space with my husband, whose stuff took up the far side of the room but left me with plenty of space to spread out.

Then that room became the nursury when my youngest daughter arrived. My husband’s desk moved to the family room, which was fine as he preferred to work on his laptop rather than at his desk, and mine went into the guest room, which was fine, too. Then the guest room became our oldest daughter’s bedroom when our youngest son arrived. And my desk and file cabinets and papers and, well, crap all got stuffed into a niche next to my closet. Where I hated to work because it was away from the rest of the family¬†and, juggling two jobs, I always had some work to do when I’d rather be spending time with the kids.

Fast forward a couple of years. The desk in the niche is covered in dust and dominated by an enourmous computer monitor that I never use; my 2008 Mother’s Day present and I camp out at the dining room table, surrounded by a swath of papers and clippings and products I’m preparing to review. It’s an imperfect system — much clearing out must be done in order for us to sit down to dinner some (most) nights — but if I have to work from home with the little kids around, they’re pretty happy playing fort under the table while I type.

Many work-at-home moms flee to a local coffee shop to work, ponying up $5 for a latte and free Wi-Fi in order to be able to work peacefully for a few hours. Others have dedicated office space (and a tax deduction) in order to separate work and home. But still others are nomads, like me, camping out in family space or wandering the house and neighborhood with laptop in tow.

Which made me wonder: Do you have a home office? How do you keep things organized, and how do you keep your work life and home life separate if you can’t simply close the door between them?

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4 comments so far...

  • I used to work a lot at the kitchen table outside of the nanny’s hours, but now I mostly stay at the table in my bedroom. I found that the more time my computer stayed in the “living area,” the less I was able to focus on either work or kids.

    I try to keep everything electronically. I keep physical files to an absolute minimum. For hardcopies that I “have” to save, I have file space away from my work space. I still have a couple of “piles” of to-do’s because I never seem to catch up on my work, but I consider that reasonable.

    SKL  |  July 9th, 2009 at 10:09 am

  • Keeping everything electronically is a great idea. My biggest paper issue is with bills, but scanning them in (and backing everything up regularly) would take care of that…

    Lylah  |  July 9th, 2009 at 10:14 am

  • I hate keeping up with paperwork- I love the scanning idea. Unfortunately, said scanner is buried in the former home office, which has now become the dropping point for Goodwill donations, the never used slow and old desktop PC, too-small toddler clothes in stacks waiting to be organized and put away in the attic, and those piles of bills waiting to be filed. We desperately need to tackle the office and make it usable instead of wasted- and junky- space, but that’s more time I can’t seem to find. For now, I work on the laptop on the couch.

    KJones  |  July 15th, 2009 at 5:12 pm

  • You should contact the bizymoms Syracuse community to get your blog featured to their large mom community. I am sure they would love to read your posts.

    There is a form on their expert page, http://www.bizymoms.com/experts/index.html </a

    Amanda  |  August 6th, 2009 at 1:36 pm