It’s a well-kept secret that my “studio” includes a Target desk, my beloved iMac and one darling blue chair from T.J.Maxx. My sister Rachel has a matching desk next to me and both desks are in our bedroom. I won’t deny that some days I wish our room was a bit bigger than 12 x 12–but this works, and that’s what counts. Perhaps someday I will have a bit of a larger space, but I get tons of work done here each week and I’ve discovered some secrets to making it an efficient working space.
1 | Clear the clutter
Well, duh, you might think. But clutter isn’t just the trash that needs thrown away. Get rid of any nonessential paperwork on your desk. I like this gold file organizer from Target to keep essential info organized and I also have a (much less beautiful) file organizer tucked away in a closet with business and banking documents and any receipts I need to save. I try to only touch paperwork once, so if it hits my desk, I try to put it where it needs to go right away so I can keep paperwork clutter to a minimum.
2 | Pare down to the essentials
One thing I noticed browsing Pinterest while I was still decorating this space was just the sheer impracticality of some ‘desk inspiration.’ Stacking a glass lamp on top of a stack of 6 color coordinated books looks cute. Until you bump the books. Also, gold desk accessories of every.single.kind. might look cute, but I don’t really use scotch tape or need a giant stapler.
So what do you need? Space for a journal, room for your coffee cup?
Figure out what you spend the most time doing at your desk and make sure there is room for those activities before buying out Anthro’s desk accessories section. ;)
3 | Resist the urge to buy
I love shopping for home decor items more than clothes. Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve dreamed of decorating little spaces. We would get Pottery Barn’s catalogs and I would cut them up and create collages of different rooms and calculate a budget of how much it would all cost. So this runs deep for me.
Even though I have a whole board of things I could buy and am tempted on a regular basis there are a few criteria any office-related buy has to fit:
- Is this an essential that I need? Pens, paper, and notebooks fall into this category.
- Will this meaningfully enhance my work? Will it inspire me and create joy?
- Will this item FIT if it is not a smaller consumable or essential? Always measure items you are going to buy for a space.
4 | Keep it organized
My desk is for work. I don’t eat there, and I clean it off after my morning and afternoon sessions. These few things can radically help keep the small space under control and it’s much easier to do in 30 seconds twice a day than letting things slowly pile up.
4 | Decorate simply & with meaning
Your eye needs a place to rest after looking at a monitor or thinking hard. Whether it’s a blank wall on the other side of the room or low-key decorations, create a visual place of simplicity.
As someone who is highly sensitive to sensory stimulation, this is key for me. I’d go crazy without some white space and I think better when there is a place I can rest my eyes away from the computer screen.
A vase of fresh flowers and a candle add some joy. I like flower bouquets of one color or type of flower and simple scents. Also, buy a comfortable chair. Like, one that is padded. It makes a big difference after several hours. ;)
Computer – Apple
Candle – from my Mom, but these caught my eye at Anthropologie
Flair Pens – Amazon
Mug/Pen Holder – Anthropologie
Letter Holder – Target
Pinboard – Thrifted/painted – Favorite at Pottery Barn
Vase – Similar at Pottery Barn
Favorite Blank Notebooks – Amazon
Planner – Rifle Paper Co.
Desk – Target
Chair – TJMaxx – Similar here