February 11, 2013

Home Office Makeover: Lessons Learned

Here I am, in the business of organizing home offices, and I felt like the cobbler’s child.  I’ve been working out of my own home office for years and there were problems in my set-up I could no longer ignore.

I needed to treat myself like a client and re-define my workspace.  Other posts have detailed the project, but today I want to tell you about lessons I learned or were reinforced through the process.

Know what you want.  I had a clear idea of how I wanted my office to change.  I considered logistics and my workflow.  I sat in the current space and visualized different arrangements. I knew that while I like sleek, uncluttered surfaces, I also wanted the space to be inviting and allow it to get a little messy.  Color is important to me so I paid attention to color choices. I wanted to keep most of the existing furniture but thought about ways I could make the old pieces fresh. I spent a lot of time thinking before doing anything.

Plan ahead.  Once I knew what I wanted, I made a list of everything that needed to get done.  Everything!  I brainstormed and wrote down whatever came to mind without worrying about sequence.  I measured everything. Everything!  I measured the current bookshelf to determine the minimum linear inches I needed. I measured the largest items I was planning to shelve to determine shelf depth.  I measured furniture so I could draw a floor plan.  I thought about where I could work while the office was in flux, and how to accomplish that.  I estimated how long the project might take and what I needed to do ahead of time to miminize disruptions or delays.

Ooops! The sander chewed off more paint than planned, leaving an uneven surface to paint.

Expect the unexpected.  No matter how well you plan, something will not go as expected.  I tend to beat myself up if I forget something in my planning, or if I don’t have a Plan B.  But, hey!  You just have to roll with it and re-group.  I didn’t try out the sander I borrowed before using it on a closet door.  The damn thing ate through four layers of old paint when all I wanted to do was rough up the surface.  So I smoothed the edges as well as I could and knew that only I would notice the flaw after it was repainted.

Pat yourself on the back. When you are the client, you have to remember thank yourself for a job well done.  Focus on what went right.  Step back and admire your work. Take pictures and show off!  Be your own best testimonial – you deserve it.

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