For the Donald Trumps of the world, a workspace is truly a space — one that is vast and populated with large desks and shelves. Even the view in a head honcho’s workspace exists on a grand scale, whether it looks out on the Manhattan skyline or at the Pacific. With so much size and space to play with, there are seemingly an infinite number of possibilities for decorating and hacking a corner office for comfortable working.
But what about those of us who work from offices the size of a shoebox? With negligible wall space and next to nothing for a desk, setting up ergonomic solutions is a challenge that calls for extra-creativity. It’s certainly possible, however. Here are a few fun ways to hack your “shoebox” into a healthy, productive space.
1. Make Your Standing Desk a Murphy
Murphy beds are an age old space saving tactic for studio apartments and guestrooms. In many hotel rooms, ironing boards operate via the same principle: pull it down from the wall when you need it, fold it back up when you’re done. Why can’t desks operate by the same principle? Simply attach a solid board to your wall via a hinge, pull it down when you’re using it and fold it back up when you’re working on other tasks that don’t require a desk. Voila, space saved! You could even install two fold-up desks at different heights, so you’ll have both a sitting and a standing desk when you so desire.
Of course, this tactic only works if you keep a minimal amount of supplies on your desk (which we go into further below), as you don’t want to have to remove and find other storage spots for your stapler, your pencils, and really, anything much more than your laptop.
If this doesn’t sound like a good idea for your desk, then at least keep the “fold up into the wall…or just fold up in general” principle in mind for other office supplies and furniture, like lighting or writing trays.
2. Hang Your Chair
Who ever said that office chairs are best when they’re big and bulky must not have heard about hanging chairs — all the better if you rig it so that it can be pulled up to a high ceiling when the day is done. Alternatively, a simpler solution would be a stool, which you can fit easily under your desk when you’re not working — that is, if you’re not folding your desk into the wall. Or, just stand the day away to feel better, increase your productivity, and of course, save space!
3.Keep it Lean
Could your old office have been a feature on the show Hoarders? If so, it’s time to think minimalistic. Small offices just won’t work if they’re piled high. As mentioned above, the more things you have, the more frequently you’ll have to rearrange everything. What’s more, small spaces become almost instantly cluttered, and you know what they say: cluttered space means a cluttered mind. And of course, there is the little matter that shoebox office simply has a cap on how much you can even get in there in the first place, minimalism or no!
To make sure you’re keeping things lean, try to adopt a multi-purpose mentality. Opt for an all-in printer, fax and scanner rather than purchasing each of these items individually, and use items like paper binders not just to keep your papers together but also to hold wires in place. The more an item can do, the more welcome it should be in your tiny office.
4. Use Your Walls
Shelving is a great space saver in offices of any size, but it’s all the more so in small ones. Hanging shelves not just over your desk but also on at least one side of your office and filling it with decorated boxes will give you an easy way of storing items in a place other than your desk.
But walls don’t just have to be for traditional storage; if you paint them with whiteboard or chalkboard paint, you can turn them into a calendar for tracking schedules or a big blank sheet for brainstorms. Alternatively, try hanging a shower rod and shower hooks from a wall and hanging cups or boxes from them to store your office supplies. Even a cloth shoe organizer can be adapted to store office supplies.
5. Create the Illusion of Space
No matter how many space saving tricks you employ, there’s no getting around that a shoebox office can just feel small. But it doesn’t have to be that way. If one is available, position your desk in front of a window so you can see out. Try hanging mirrors across from each other to create the illusion of infinite space. Or, simply paper your walls with views of the world’s most vast natural vistas. You’ll feel like you’re approaching infinity in no time!
6. Opt for Travel Office Accessories
If you use accessories as you work, you may be wondering how you can possibly fit, say, that keyboard, which is so essential to your comfort and productivity, in your space. The answer is simple: opt for smaller, lighter travel accessories instead. And not just any travel accessories — opt for ergonomic versions, like a travel keyboard and mouse. Here you’ll find all of the comfort and custom fit you need, with all of the space saving options that make a closet/shoebox/postage stamp office feasible.
As more and more of us move to cities, there is an increasing need for home office solutions that work on a tiny scale. But just because you’re working from a closet, doesn’t have to mean feeling cramped or claustrophobic. With these tips, you’ll stay comfortable and productive while keeping it small!