How to Make Your Workspace Work for YOU (whatever your job may be)

 


We have a guest blogger today, which I am SO excited about because I know that y’all are going to LOVE this post as much as I did!

We all love to be organized when we work… but most of the posts out there (mine, included) typically focus on how to organize an office workspace. 

But what if you’re an artist, sculptor, beekeeper, etc. etc. and you don’t JUST need to organize an office, but a whole workshop?! 

Never fear! Jeriann Watkins from dairyairhead.com is here to help you get organized… no matter what your job is! 

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Organizing Your Home Workspace to Meet YOUR Needs


There are countless tips online for organizing a home office, but many of those focus only on computer-centric office spaces.

Organizing a traditional office is one thing, but many entrepreneurs need to build a workspace where they can create products and store inventory and/or supplies.

Below are some different types of home workspaces and how to begin organizing them.


The Traditional Office


(Image Source: Megaprint Office Murals)

The home office can take many forms, but is often a space for tasks involving paperwork. Emails are written. Reports are created. Calls are taken. Tasks that require a computer are completed. 

The most important organizational aspect of a home office is being able to find information. This includes information for customers, as well as information for the IRS and other administrative entities. 

In the image above, you can see how one person added a large design element to their home office without taking away organizational space. By putting a printed map on the ceiling, the owner was able to personalize their space without taking away wall space for shelves and filing cabinets.


Home Office Organization Tips:
  • Filing cabinets are your friend. There’s a reason that they are an office staple. Filing cabinets are one of the best ways to keep papers safe from damage and easy to categorize and find.
  • Establish a filing system. This will save you countless headaches when looking for purchase histories, dealing with audits, or simply tracking client information.
  • Organize digital files. Even if most of your filing is digital, it is best (and sometimes legally required) to keep hard copies as a backup.
  • Think about workflow. If you complete the bulk of work at your computer desk, then organize your office so that the things you use most are easily accessible from the desk.
  •  Build out accordingly. By putting items you use least in draws and shelves further from you, you will keep the area directly around you ready for action! Those papers you only keep for legal purposes? That filing cabinet can go in an inaccessible corner.
  • Keep personal items separate. This is especially important if you’re claiming a tax deduction for your home office space. You can only claim the space if it is only used for business purposes. Keeping your personal items out of your office will also keep the clutter to a minimum and leave space for the work-essential items you need.



The Workshop


If you create products that require power tools, you probably describe your work space as a workshop. Workshops are designed for efficiency in completing tasks, as opposed to efficiency in finding information. 

This means that workshops need enough space to move about safely and complete production of your productsIf your products require the use of power tools, it is likely that the best place for your workshop is a garage-type area. 

The debris from sanders, saws, and other equipment requires regular cleanup to ensure a safe workspace. A concrete floor will be much easier to maintain than a carpeted space. You also may need to consider ventilation if your products require the use of paint or other materials.


Workshop Organization Tips:
  • Think “safety first”. When organizing your workshop, make sure there is plenty of space to operate the equipment you use regularly. 
  • Keep specialty equipment in mind. Specialty equipment often requires extra safety precautions. For example, I just bought a miter saw for my craft business. The manual states that in order to ensure safety, the saw must be secured to a worktable. Since I’m cutting through wood, which causes lots of sawdust, I changed my original plan of keeping the saw in my craft room to moving the saw into the garage and building a secure worktable for it. 
  • Add to your workshop over time. As I continue to use more power tools, I will organize my garage further to become an efficient place to work in. 
  • Choose low maintenance storage units. Fabric cube organizers are nice for papers and office supplies, but they’re a bit delicate for storing dirty tools, paints that might leak, and other workshop products. 
  • Consider metal storage lockers.They’re easy to clean, and have long been used for storing cleaning products and other potentially hazardous materials.

The Artist’s Space


Many people are starting their own businesses creating craft and specialty items. With the popularity of sites like Etsy, there are more opportunities than ever to sell handmade products to a wide audience. This means that crafters who organized their craft space for personal use may find themselves with a space that is not optimal for their new craft business. 

Artists and crafters looking to monetize their creativity will need to design a space that works for their specific craft and workflow. For painters, this means storing supplies efficiently, having a comfortable work area, and having a place to safely store completed work. People selling pottery will likely need a larger space to work, and an area where falling clay won’t cause problems. 

Knitters and others who work with textiles need to find efficient ways to store yarn and fabric so that it’s easily sorted through and unlikely to get tangled.


Craft-Space Organization Tips:
  • Look for object-specific storage. If you work with large swathes of fabric, hanging them in a closet may be the easiest way to see all you have at once. If you make centerpieces or other crafts out of bottles, shallow-depth wine racks will allow you to maximize your space.
  • Cut the clutter. With creative workspaces, it’s easy to save items because they have “potential”. Make sure this doesn’t lead to an abundance of clutter.
  • Every quarter, go through your supply inventory. If there are items that seem to be getting in the way, make plans to use them or find a storage solution in the next quarter. If an item remains on your trouble list for multiple quarters, it may be time to discard or donate it.

These are just a couple of tips for organizing different home workspaces. Do you have organization strategies that have worked for you? Share in the comments!


Jeriann Watkins is currently in the process of organizing her very cramped craft room for her farmer’s market booth. You can check out her adventures at dairyairhead.com
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Good Habits for College Classes



Class. To go or not to go? 

That usually seems to be the question. 

I mean, we know that  it’s probably best to go… but the freedom of not having to be there is just so tempting sometimes.  

Plus, there is always so much to do. Occasionally, we’re just positive that we could be more productive if we skipped class and spent that hour by ___ (insert biggest stressor of the day) instead. 

If going to class feels “unproductive” to you, here are some ways to change that and get the most out of your time spent on campus!



Here are my top “good” habits for college classes:
Bring Your Planner
Not only would I never in my life have come to class without my planner. I kept it open in front of me at all times. This just kept  dates in my mind (next class, we’ll be talking about this chapterthat assignment is due a week from today… etc.). I definitely, definitely suggest doing this!

Listen Proactively

For my new teaching job, we’re reading the book Teach Like a Champion. There is a technique in the book called SLANT, which provides an easy for students (or “scholars) to know how they’re expected to sit. Our brains usually take their cues from our bodies, and if your body is saying “Hey, this is interesting and I’m excited to hear it! Then your brain will pay attention, too (probably).
S: Sit up
L: Listen attentively
A: Ask and answer questions like a scholar
N: Not your head
T: Track the speaker


Stay Active

Unfortunately, most college courses are still lecture-style. As in, you’re sitting passively, listening (or looking like you’re listening) for nearly the entire class period. If you struggle with staying focused the whole time, I would definitely suggest writing the whole time. Just start taking notes at the beginning of class, and keep on until the end of class. This does two things: First of all, it keeps you engaged, actively doing something throughout the lecture! And secondly, you leave with some pretty awesome and thorough notes that your classmates will totally envy.
Build Class Time into Your Schedule

Remember at the beginning of this post where I talked about to go or not to go to class? The answer is always the same: GO TO CLASS! Even if you have the study guide, Even if your professor puts the Power Points online, Even if you have a friend who promised to take notes for you. Build class time into your schedule and stick to it!
Keep Your Class Stuff Organized

If you’re going to math class (bless your heart), keep your pencils, calculator, book, graph paper, altogether in the same place every time! The worst thing is showing up unprepared! Try getting some of those $10 canvas bins from Target and making them your “class bins”. This will make it easy for you to grab your stuff and go (and hopefully keep you on time)!
College classes can be annoying, boring, and feel like time wasters BUT they’re also the reason you’re there!

Just show up, take notes, and try to learn something (of course)! 😀 

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Pop & Store Document Boxes

I have really been working on streamlining our home lately. My goal at the beginning of July was to get rid of anything in our house that we did not use or specifically cite as one of our favorite things. So far it’s been working pretty well! 

Since we don’t have a designated office space like we used to, all of our office items are out in the living room… books, chargers, notebooks, papers, writing utensils… and ever since we moved in, it has been driving me absolutely crazy! 

I have searched and searched for a system, and I believe that I finally found one! Pop & Store Document boxes! They really streamlined the look of our living room. I love to keep all my old planners but I didn’t love seeing them on the living room bookshelf every day. 


Some of the coolest features of these boxes are that they have scratch resistant surfaces on the bottom, that they are so durable, that the foldable aspect of them makes them reusable and super easy to store, and that the metal-enforced corners keep them from getting frayed!



Having a sleek way to hide those items has really created a more cohesive and zen little look in our living room. I also love these boxes because they are so sturdy and durable. They are perfect for stacking and storing heavy items like books or hiding stacks of paper. 

I went with document boxes because I have ridiculous amounts of paper to deal with. However, the Pop & Store system comes in several different sizes in order to help you store whatever it is that you need to store! Think: crafting supplies, magazines, electronics, etc! 


I recently made the transition from teaching in private schools to a public school and the thing that has just blown my mind is the amount of paper public schools use! Daily attendance, rosters, flyers, questionnaires, memos, reminders, schedules…


The list is literally endless (probably). I have  a nice little stack of paper that I’m so excited to get organized into these boxes. If I were using them in a dorm, I would probably create little “class kits” and keep unsightly textbooks, rough drafts, syllabi, folders, etc. in them! 
Additionally, these boxes come in a variety of (very collegiate) colors. I chose white since that goes along with the very bright and neutral theme of our living room. However, there is a blue that would have been perfect for my college! 

If you’re interested in grabbing some for your dorm room or office this fall, you can find them here: www.popnstore.com