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May 27

Organizing a Home Office

Posted by: Steve Marr

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At the risk of dating myself, I bought my first house in 1975.  At the time I used the small, extra bedroom as my home office. At that point in my business life, I used the office mostly for personal tasks.  However, since my first home; I have always had a home office of some type. When I left my corporate position in the late 1990s, my home office became significantly more important.  On some days I would spend between eight to twelve hours in my office writing and talking to clients.

When I organize my office, I divide it into two categories:  what I need and what I want.


My Needs

  • Desk

I need flat surfaces because when I’m working on a project, I like to spread things out.  Frequently, it includes a lot of papers. If I’m doing a research project, I may have three or four books out with other printed articles as I work at how to present specific concepts. Some people operate better with just a computer terminal and no paper.  However, in my situation, I need to put things out in front of me. 

  • Files

I keep several files in paper form that I want ready access to, so I have my key files within arm reach. I’ve placed a lot of items on my computer by scanning or saving documents.  Even when I think something may be in a printed file, I may go to my computer because it’s easier.  Still, I key some printed files. 

  • Desk Chair

I have back pain issues, so I need a comfortable chair that allows me to sit for extended periods of time in my office. I also require very good quality lighting because I don’t like to work in the dark. If I have these items in an office, I can work almost anywhere. These are my needs.

My Wants

I also like to incorporate a few of my wants which I believe help me work better.

  • Window with a View

I have a spectacular view of pine trees and some mountains outside my window. There are times I push my chair back and just look out. It gives me an inspirational view as I reflect on some point or problem.

  • Book Cases

I have a sizable bookcase because I like books. I use many on a regular basis either to recommend a volume to someone or when I am involved in research or writing. I don’t need these in my office, but I prefer them available.

  • Memories

I also keep items that have sentimental value in my office. I have six antique clocks in my office that I’ve collected over the years.  They remind me of the past but also that time is fleeting, and I need to use time wisely. A shelf full of mugs from different companies remind me of the time I spent helping people find business franchises that fit them. I also keep an old-style coin bank where I deposit my change every day to donate it to missions. When I drop these coins in, it reminds me to pray for the overseas mission program for my church.

If I met with business clients in my home office, I might alter my furnishings to present the best to my clients, but it is rare that I have visitors at my home office. 

Proverbs instructs us, “By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established.” (Proverbs 24:3, ESV) Building a home office is a bit like constructing a home. Use wisdom from the Lord and establish what you need first.  Then, satisfy reasonable wants as much as possible.

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