Small Spaces: Making Room for an Office

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Positive Effects of Downsizing

If you’ve ever downsized, you know it takes some adjustment to ‘fit’ into your new, smaller space. When I moved from southern California to Oregon I was actually looking forward to it. Even though a smaller home was the goal in an effort to simplify my life, it did pose a need for some serious creativity.

I’ve been an official anti-desk person for years now. After owning several of them in various shapes and sizes, and still using the dining room table to pay bills, etc., I gave my last one away without regret. Nevertheless, while I didn’t need a surface to work on, there were electronics, necessary paper, both used and unused, and a lot of miscellaneous to house somewhere. I no longer had a room to call an office and I preferred not to keep it all in a closet.

When my professional organizer daughter made the suggestion to place the sofa on an angle, she solved my problem. It seems such a simple solution, though I doubt it would ever have occurred to me. Now it sits on an angle as you can see in the photos, and I have an official–if tiny–office. I was happily surprised to see how much usable space that one little move gave me. It’s perfect and just exactly what I needed.

Add Two Bookcases for Multi-Use

Moving the couch to an angle actually improved the traffic flow of the room as well. It’s a natural walk around the couch to the kitchen and dining room. It makes good use of the living room floor space too. Rather than having a wide open room, it makes the conversation area cozier.

The only purchases I made for The Office were two low bookcases. All I required was the storage space.  One bookcase sits against the wall under a mirror, and is home for the printer. Beside it sits the ever-useful shredder.

The other bookshelf lines up against the couch itself, serving as a console table.  That is handy when someone sits on the couch. Hidden from sight are its two additional shelves where I have small drawer storage units and bins to hold the miscellaneous little office stuff, like paper clips, stapler, tape, etc. The couch keeps it all neatly out of site.  Two would actually fit along the back of the couch. You might find that too, if you need more space.

Whenever I need the tape or packing materials they’re right there. I’ve added a bin with a few tools too, so if I need a hammer or pliers, I needn’t stop what I’m doing to find them in the garage. Considering there is only about ten square feet of floor space there, it contains a remarkable quantity and variety of goods.  It’s so well hidden, you could use it for anything.

I went with the low shelves just like the one pictured here.  It’s available in black too.  Need more space? You could easily use a tall unit for the one on the wall.   The wall space would actually hold a computer stand or small desk if you need one.

Baskets are for More Than Decor


The final things we included to help organize were three stacking baskets at the end of the sofa. I love the look of them to begin with. They seem to warm up a room. Besides holding a bunch, they also provide a surface to set a drink or a plate. I’d recommend stacking so you get the proper height from them. You can use them for all sorts of things, but here are some suggestions:

Paper towels, paper or cloth napkins, place mats, towels, magazines, extra books (be careful of the weight though) sewing/knitting supplies, note paper/pads, extra tissue boxes, dry food like pasta or crackers, DVD’s, flashlights, pet supplies coupons, magazine clippings, or anything else that tends to accumulate!

The possibilities are endless. We use it for things we want handy, near both the living room and the kitchen. They are handy in the bathroom too, for anything from rolls of toilet paper, extra or guest hand towels, bandages, vitamins, cold/flu medicine so it’s all in one place. They are a great option to provide a home for odds and ends, covered and hidden, yet easy to get into and very handy.

Baskets and Boxes – Fit anywhere – Hold anything

What on My Shelves

  1. The Printer
  2. A 3-drawer unit holding office paraphernalia, replacement ink cartridges, post-its, etc.
  3. Books
  4. A bin holding extra batteries
  5. A notebook of take out menus
  6. More books
  7. An Italian language course that is on my list for this year
  8. Assorted mailing envelopes and packaging material
  9. Printer paper
  10. The Writer’s Digest along with several instructional manual and guides.
  11. The Strong’s Concordance
  12. Two photo boxes
  13. A bin holding essential tools so they are handy
  14. Still more books (after all, they are called bookcases)

Keep it Neat

In a small space It becomes very important to keep things thinned out and picked up. It doesn’t take long to feel the clutter taking over. When I think of how much stuff I used to keep on hand to use eventually, it’s actually embarrassing (and let’s not even talk about the garage).

Does one really need a box of five hundred pencils? Or fifty plus pens? Those are some great items to donate, to pass along to others who will use them before the ink dries up. Even if I only get rid of one thing at a time, it’s progress. Every few months I go through and thin what doesn’t get used to avoid build up that would crowd The Office.

All in all, downsizing has been a great lesson in what I really need and use. It’s also made me look in every room wondering if there isn’t another hidden space waiting to be put to good use. But I’m still delighted with the space we created just by moving the sofa a few feet!

Organize Your Shelves

Shoe bin sized containers are great for collecting stapler, paper clips, and other office supplies, tools, extra batteries, and tons of miscellaneous.  See thru container so it’s easy to grab the one you need.


Or try a small drawer unit.  The space inside is wider than the shoe box, but not as high.  You get 3 divisions that way.  I use both.






These smaller, colorful boxes offer further separation of all the stuff.  They will hold a package of printer paper, greeting cards, labels, and more, besides the office supplies and tools.  They are so bright and cheerful too.


Merry Citarella, often writing as Merrci, writes on a wide range of topics. Recently relocated to the Oregon Coast in the northwest United States, she frequently writes travel features on the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She specializes in health and aging, Alzheimer’s Disease, food, lifestyle, and book reviews. For more information you can see her on The Writers’Door. You can read more articles here or at her websites Mystery Suspense Reviews .

Author: Merry Citarella

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