The 5 Rules for Creating a Makeshift Home Office

Get your sh*# together, it’s National Organize Your Home Office Day!

Yay! Yet another day that no one knew existed before some company told us: National Organize Your Home Office Day. Did you know you had a home office? You don’t? Well, you do now! And you need some more stuff for it.

You know, to organize it. All of the pens and stationery and notebooks that you’re going to buy are gonna need to get organized and put into the drawers and shelves and containers that you also need to buy for National Organize Your Home Office Day!!!!!

Okay, not really. But even if I didn’t have a job that allowed/forced me to work from home, I would want a home office for all of the voracious Pinteresting and YouTubing I would have to do in order to learn how to be an interesting and beautiful person.

Anyone can trick people into thinking they’ve got their shit together! All you need is a shelf on your wall that you can point to and say “this is my home office.” It’s as easy as taking your laptop off of your lap and placing it directly onto a flat surface that isn’t the floor. Ta-da! You’ve got yourself a home office!

Not sure if you have a home office or not? These basic rules for a home office will not only help you decide whether or not you have a home office already, but it will also help you shape any current space into a home office! With that number of uses, I can’t believe these rules are being provided for free!

Rules of a Home Office

1. You gotta have stuff to put your stuff on.

Obviously, you can’t have an office without a desk! (Well, as you’ll see, we have actually found a way around that…) But mostly, you need a place to put the stuff you work on. Whether that’s a laptop, a notebook, or some type of gross craft, /jealousy, having a desk or surface with which to organize your passions is most definitely essential.

Please admire our half respectable, half utterly lazy desk choices. And actually, one extremely ergonomic choice that would actually behoove all of us to try, #3, but you and I both know that everyone’s headed towards that Netflix-Enabling Broke & Lazy Girl’s Ghost Chair, #5. Let’s settle on #6, the couch-friendly happy medium.

Affordable Home Office Desks

1. Fahd White Birch Panel Office Desk, $57.99
2. Furinno Computer Desk with Hutch, $95.99 $51.99
3. Inval Rolling Laptop Cart, $52.99
4. Winsome Cambridge Foldable Bed Desk, $74.99 $71.24
5. CB2 Acrylic Bed Tray, $79.95
6. School Desk Laptop Table, $119.99 $69.99

2. You gotta have stuff to put your littler stuff in.

Where are you gonna put all your sloth paperclips if you don’t have more stuff to put your stuff in?! But really, what is a home office if not a bastion of organizational tools? Finally you can use that drawer in your kitchen for actual kitchen tools!

Storage for Home Office Desk

1. Grey File Organizer, $14.99 at TJ Maxx
2. Threshold Desktop Organizer, $8.99
3. Loft by Umbra Photo 4 Clip Frame, $19.99
4. Naturals Wooden Tab Paper Sorter, $19
5. Headstrong Desk Caddy, $55
6. CB2 Scope Wall Pocket, $9.95

7. Poppin Accordion File, $12
8. Rectangular Wood Chest with Ceramic Drawers, $29.99

3. You gotta get work done.

If you’re not getting any work done while you’re there, your office is just another place you play Candy Crush in pajamas while wearing your favorite lipstick. (How are you going to know when you want to wear it out if you don’t know what it feels like to wear? Basic practice!) Use these cooler versions of ordinary productivity tools and find the happy place between form and function.

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Cute Unique Home Office Supplies

1. Sloths on a Vine Picture Hangers, $12
2. Memo Mountain Cork Board and Pins, $15.99
3. All Natural Zebrawood Jams Bluetooth Speaker, $59.99

4. Stick & Pull Tape Dispenser, $29 $17
5. The Happiness Planner, $30
6. Desk Lamp, $39.99 at Marshalls
7. Ideas in Bloom Desk Organizer, $14.99
8. Dot & Bo Wisdom Owl Desk Stamp, $33 $20
9. Dot & Bo Stamp of Approval Desk Stamp, $29 $23

10. Mini Business Card Filing Cabinet, $12.99
11. Retro Pen Set, $4.99

12. Pretty Polaroids Notecards Set, $14.95

Bonus: the speakers are a productivity write-off because tossing on a pair of headphones or putting music on while you work has been shown to help you complete tasks faster and have better ideas!¹ So are the pictures of your dumb friends because apparently, thinking about people you love makes you happy.

4. You gotta have stuff that makes you want to be there.

My strategy is to fill my space with commiseration. I’m not the only one who thinks fulfilling a deadline is less fun than eating ice cream and watching science documentaries! And some of those people happen to make art. It’s a perfect marriage.

What The Hell is The Right Answer

The Right Answer, $14

Typography is office-friendly and puts me in an awesome mood, but it’s not for everyone. Long story short: surround yourself with things that make you want to spend time there! If that means “a great selfie background,” I not only support it, I endorse it.

5. You gotta have a plant.

Adding a plant to your desk will actually help boost your productivity, too! Not only that, but it’ll help you through the day by reducing fatigue and helping you stay focused.² (For the unbearably lazy: there’s even some evidence that the plant-shaped pencil holder from rule #3 may do just as good a job as a real plant.) There are tons of other reasons you should have a plant, but they also happen to be gorgeous. Take inspiration from these botanical home offices from around the web:

Here’s a really good list of the best plants for desks. If plants aren’t an option for you because of allergy or office limitations, no worries, just keep photos of nature-like things around. It has a similar effect.³

Hopefully you found a way to spruce up your sewing area or deck out your decoupage studio and upgrade your productivity in honor of a made up holiday!


¹Teresa Lesiuk. 2005. The effect of music listening on work performance. Psychology of Music. 3(2):173-191.
²Ruth K. Raanaas, Katinka Horgen Evensen, Debra Rich, Gunn Sjøstrøm, Grete PatilBenefits of indoor plants on attention capacity in an office setting. Journal of Environmental Psychology. March 2011. 31(1):99-105.
³Rita Berto. Exposure to restorative environments helps restore attentional capacity. Journal of Environmental Psychology. September 2005. 25(3):249-259.

Lindsay Ginn

Livin' in your basement, eatin' your canned foods.