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Get Organized: Creating Additional Surface Space

written by: •edited by: Jean Scheid•updated: 6/27/2011

Many home office workers lack the proper amount of surface space. There are several simple and inexpensive ways to add surface space to any home office desktop.

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    A small table, such as a card table, is a great option if you need space to spread out papers as you work. Position the table adjacent to your desk so that you can take advantage of the most surface space available in one central location. If you don’t have access to a table, you can easy create one by positioning a flat board across 2 two-drawer filing cabinets. This alternative provides you with drawers to store your documents as well as the surface area for spreading out.

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    You can use a bookshelf to store three-ring binders, work-related books, blank CD-ROMs, reams of paper, and other additional office supplies. Find a bookshelf that will meet your long-term needs. Sometimes 2 shelves will be sufficient; other times you may need something larger. In my personal office, I have a 4-shelf system that is raised off the floor. This allows me a space to store items underneath (I keep some archived files in 2 boxes under there). If your office space is limited, I recommend finding a tall, narrow bookshelf over a wide one. This will allow you the maximum storage area without making your office seem crowded.

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    Move Your Computer

    If you do not use your computer a lot, it might make sense to take it off the desk and put it to the side on a small table. This will allow you to use the desk for spreading out paperwork and keeping up with the stuff you spend the most time on. Keep the computer table close to your desk for convenience. Another option is purchasing a laptop that can be stored away when not in use. Laptops also provide the flexibility of working from other locations, such as your backyard, a hotel room, a coffee shop, etc.

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    Roll Away Island

    Many home decorating and department stores sell small kitchen islands on wheels. These are also a great option for the home office, especially when space is limited. Some islands have sides that fold up to increase surface space, or can be folded back down to save floor space. And because your island will be on wheels, you have the flexibility of moving it wherever you need the additional workspace, or pushing it up against a wall when not in use. For an added bonus, purchase an island with cabinets to store your office supplies.

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    Use Your Wall Space

    Build shelves above your desk to store your printer, office supplies, etc. and get them off the desk. Your items will still be easily accessible, but won’t be taking up valuable surface space. Be sure to securely attach the shelves so they can withstand the weight of whatever you plan to store on them.

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    File Cart

    Papers can quickly pile up on your desk, taking away valuable workspace. If you have trouble finding time to file paperwork away, make it easier on yourself by purchasing a file cabinet on wheels. Roll the cabinet to your side while you are working. Anytime you are finished with a document, simply file it back in its proper space rather than putting it to the side of your desk. This small tip alone can greatly increase the surface space you have to work with. It will also help you later on when you need to locate a document. It is so much easier finding a piece of paper that is in it’s designated space rather than one that is thrown into a pile.