Thursday, March 20, 2014

Why Every Mama Needs an Office {and how to make your own, no matter how small the space}

I took early retirement at the ripe old age of 33. That was 7 years ago. Though I haven't looked back, I've been surprised about one of the things I miss the most about working: an office of my very own. 

So. Over Christmas break I decided to give myself a little gift and it didn't cost me a dime. Yep, this mama rigged up an office of her very own. I don't know why I didn't do this years ago.

This fancy sophisticated office sits in a tiny corner of my bedroom, wedged between the chifferobe and the window. It's roughly 3 feet wide and 2 1/2 feet deep.

I plundered the house for my office furnishings, dragging in one of our former homeschool desks and snagging a lone mismatched chair from the attic. A spare lamp, a pin-board, my diplomas {only because they are pretty} and a few pieces of art finished off the space.

This makeshift office works hard every day. Though we can all agree that a writer needs her own desk and chair, I've been surprised at how much I use this small space for all sorts of work. I pay our bills, plan our groceries & meals, study, e-mail, make lists, and return phone calls, all at this humble Ikea desk with the $5.99 table-top. 

It gets messy every day but each morning I clean it up and start over again.

Though I don't know why, my desk has made me more productive and serious about my work. It's provided a designated space to ponder and plan, listen and write, and tackle the mundane with a bit more gusto than I possessed pre-office. There's just something about having a legit place that belongs only to me tucked back in the corner of our little home. It makes me feel official and allows me to work with intention and a I daresay a bit of professionalism. Even if I'm just paying bills or making my to-do list in my pajamas.

Plus, a mama's office can feel like a makeshift retreat, a quiet{ish} space away from the dishes and the legos.

Do I have dreams of a bigger office? Sure. Perhaps one with a tufted chair and ottoman in the corner {so I can read in luxury}, lots of bookshelves, liberal doses of art, two lovely lamps, and a desk that allows for a bit more sprawl. 

Just for fun, here are some of my favorite smallish-space office inspiration photos:
30 Creative Home Office Ideas: Working from Home in Style

white & pretty


No traditional home office? No problem.

shelves enable quicker arrangements and an easier way to swap frames or objects in and out of the composition

And last but not least, I'm in love with Ann Voskamp's writing space, which really is like a tiny chapel retreat. Isn't it just the loveliest? I'm afraid I'd lock myself in there and never come out.

Ann! xoxo


Though I'm so grateful for my own small sacred space {even though I still indulge in dreaming of an office with its own door and walls}, I'm reminded that I somehow scrawled about 450 posts during the past 5+ years on this blog. And I did it without a dedicated space of my own. 

I wrote at the kitchen table while the kids did math, on the sagging-in-the-middle sofa, and cozied beneath layered blankets on my bed. I wrote in local coffee shops and on trips to the beach and sitting in a folding mesh chair in the driveway while the kids rode scooters around me. I've paid bills on my iPhone and from the living room floor, scribbled to-do lists in pick-up lines, and held important phone conversations in my van while it's parked in the garage because the noise inside the house was just too dang loud.

The art of the multitasking mama knows no bounds. Her work is not dictated by walls or swivel chairs or well-designed interiors. Amen?

But if our own workspace / dreamspace is just one hour and a few random pieces of furniture away, it's kind of a no-brainer. 

Why not carve one out today? I wish I'd created a tiny office years ago. If we wait to have the perfect space in place, the world may well end before we ever pound the first nail into the wall. 

So fetch that tiny table from the attic and steal a chair from the kitchen table. Shop the house for a lamp and some pretties for the wall. Heave the dresser to the left a few feet and stake your claim on that little corner there beside the window. Yep, right there.

In a house that's bursting with laundry and crumbs and plastic super heroes, save your own day and set up shop. 

It's time mama got an office of her own.


How about you? Do you have a designated work space just for you in your own home?

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  1. I do have a space but right now it's so . . . well, blah. We have a separate schoolroom space where my two boys and I all have separate desks, but I definitely think there are some things I can do to liven up my particular area. Between you (pic #6 would be my dream office space!) and the Nester, I definitely feel inspired to make some changes. Thank you for the nudge to do something different and create a space that I love!

  2. You've got the Bonhoeffer! A very good book. Love the space. It looks so cozy.

  3. Yes I do-but it's always a work in progress and it's often shared with the rest of the family. I love that and I hate that-that my stuff often gets used and misplaced. We're a work in progress over here.

    I love those inspiration pictures-they inspire me to go make a few tweaks to my space!

  4. I have a space that I want to transform, but--and this is going to shock you--I've been so slow on the actual transforming bit. I feel inspired.

  5. Man. Thanks for this post. I have a tiny nook in the kitchen, but after your prompting, I cleared it off and decorated it with some of my favorite things. I think it's going to be a game changer!

  6. Hello there, I am new to blogging, I love your blog and your office, I do not have one yet, for now my kitchen counter acts as an office, but hopefully soon I can get an office of my own, bedroom is a great idea.

  7. Thanks for this post Queader! Now I've got to get on and implement more thank you..


  8. Nice

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