When I started my t-shirt business in 2007, I set up my home office in our second bedroom – the bedroom where my new baby, who was going to be born in a few months, was supposed to sleep. By the time he was born, that second bedroom was full of t-shirts, cardboard boxes and paperwork and it was pretty clear that I was not going to be moving out of it any time soon. So we ended up sharing a bedroom with my son, which worked out great.
I was loving my office space, but when my second baby was about to arrive, I knew that I had no choice but to move my home office out of our second bedroom and turn it into a real bedroom for my two kids. But where would I store the shirts? Well, it just happened that at the same time my orders were increasing and I wasn’t able to manage shipping them out on my own, so I ended up sending everything to a fulfillment house and moving my desk in a dedicated space in our living room.
That worked for a while, but when my husband and I decided to move back to NYC to a one bedroom apartment with our two young kids, I knew that I would no longer be able to have an office at home.
I rented my first office away from home
When we got to NYC I ended up renting a desk in an architecture firm on 17th Street and 6th Avenue, which was great! I could walk to it (it was about a 30 minute walk each way), I could be around people all day and I didn’t have to mix work with family. It was a win-win for everyone.
But there were times when I need to work a bit more during the evenings or the weekends (especially when I was preparing for a trade show or working on a new collection and I was collaborating with my factory overseas), so I set up a small desk in our living and worked there only when absolutely necessary.
That was a few years ago and in NYC, where space is tight and a 700 square foot apartment is “big.”
Now that we are back in Colorado and have a bigger house, I have the “luxury” of having a separate office space at home. I can close the door when I need to record podcast interviews, I can shoot videos in my office and I even have a couch that I can sit on when I want to take a break from the computer screen and read a book or plan out my day/week/month.
Then everything changed!
While I have enjoyed having a home office, I missed interacting with people on a daily basis, so when Galvanize, a co-working and educational space for entrepreneurs, announced it was opening up a campus in my city, I knew I had to be a part of it. I was one of the first people to sign up for a desk there – and lucky enough that it’s a stand-up desk, which is all the rage right now, and for good reason!
So now I have two separate offices – a “home” office and an “away” office, which both serve different purposes for me. My home office serves as my podcast recording “studio” and my afternoon workspace (until the kids come home from school) and my office at Galvanize serves as my community, my meeting space and my office in the mornings.
I feel like I finally have a workspace situation that is ideal for me! And when Staples reached out to me as part of their campaign to offer cost-effective solutions for entrepreneurs, I knew this was the right time to really create my ideal work spaces.
My “Away” Office Essentials
Here’s a picture of my office and desk at Galvanize. As you can see, the space is modern, new and, most importantly, uncluttered. One thing that I have learned about myself over the years is that I perform at my best when I have an environment that is free of clutter. That means no extra stuff on my desk, on my walls or in my office. So when I got the opportunity to shop at Staples (which is one of my all-time favorite stores – I literally can spend an entire day there!) and create my perfect desk, I did just that.
Here are my “away” desk essentials that I purchased from Staples:
- Samsung 23.6″ LED Monitor – I love my brand new 13″ MacBook with Retina Display, but I find that I work better when I have a bigger screen to look at and this Samsung Monitor helps me to do just that
- Allsop Metal Art Jr. Montor Stand – Now that I have a stand-up desk, I needed a stand to raise my Samsung monitor so that it’s at eye-level when I stand
- Staples Wired USB Keyboard and Staples Wired Mouse – I find the keyboard and mouse on my Mac to be too small, so purchased a wired keyboard and mouse that easily plugs into my MacBook. I’m one of the few people who doesn’t like wireless (I still have an old-fashioned wired DSL connection at my home office) and this keyboard and mouse make it easy for me to use my MacBook with more efficiency.
I also have a plant, a stack of magazines that I use for PR research and a bottle of Synergy Kombucha on my desk – you can find these on my desk pretty much any time!
My “Home” Office Essentials
Just like my “away” office, I prefer my home office and desk to be uncluttered as well. You’ll see in the picture below that I keep the stuff on my desk to a minimum and I love the view that I have from my home office.
Here are my “home” desk essentials that I purchased from Staples:
- Staples Wired USB Keyboard and Staples Wired Mouse – these easily plug into my 21.5″ iMac and make my typing super easy and comfortable
- AudioTechnica ATR2100USB Wired Cardioid Dynamic Handheld Microphone – since starting Season 2 of my podcast, one thing that I’ve been focused on is better audio quality. This mic is amazing, affordable, easy to use and it makes my sound 100 times better than what I was using before.
- Technical Pro MC2PKG Condenser – this mounts my mic on my desk and allows me to move it around, so I can record standing up or sitting down
- Omnitronics Microphone Pop Filter – helps to reduce excess noise and makes my sound more clear
- Sharpie Ultra Fine Point Permanent Markers – I love to use different colors for different purposes when I plan out my day (my “must do” for the day is often in orange, the rest of my to-do list is blue and I use a variety of other colors for different purposes)
- Staples Wire Mesh Stackable Desk Tray – I use this to hold and sort magazines that I’m researching, my planner and printouts of content that I need to proofread
- Brother MFC-9340CDW Laser All-in-One Printer – you can’t see this in the picture, but I use my Brother Laser Printer/Scanner/Copier for EVERYTHING
As you can see, both of my workspaces are free of clutter. I do have a file cabinet where I hold other paperwork and office tools, but that is away from my desk on a separate side of my home office. I find that the less “stuff” I have on my desk, the easier it is for me to concentrate and focus. My desk does get messy with magazines and to-do lists once in a while, but that’s all a part of being an entrepreneur.
If you’re looking for some inspiration for your workspace, check out this great resource that Staples put together.
Now that you have a sneak peek into my offices, it’s your turn! I’d love to see a picture of your workspace. Leave a comment below or share it here. Can’t wait to see where you work!
This post is in part sponsored by Staples.