So you need a great home office for your work-at-home venture…but you’re just starting out, and money’s tight. Here are a few tips to save money on that home office while creating something lovely and engaging at the same time.
Hit up estate sales. Who wants a big modern desk when you can find a massive rolltop with lots of character? You’re looking for a desk that can handle your computer, gives you plenty of space to write, and has space for the items you need within easy reach. Look for something with a handful of drawers and perhaps a cubbyhole or two for your soon to be great home office. You will also need space in the desk for your hard drive and other items that are required for your business.
You can find a professional-looking and very functional desk at estate sales for a fraction of the cost of buying it new. You might even be able to talk the auction house into delivering it to your door.
Barter like crazy. Do you have huge boxes of envelopes but you really need a box of printer paper? Online swapping forums and neighborhood business meetings offer a great chance to get what you need while you get rid of something else that is taking up space.
You can also barter your services for the things you need. Do you require a professional set of business cards and brochures? Perhaps you can negotiate the price of the goods by offering services in exchange. For instance, if you have a sign-painting company and the local copy store needs a new sign, you just might have the basis of a sweet deal.
Invest in energy-saving items. Choose computers that use less energy (ask your computer salesperson for details). Keep your printer, fax machine, and other items turned off when you aren’t using them. Plug everything into a power strip – it not only protects your electronics in the event of a power surge, but it gives you the opportunity to turn it all off when you leave your office area. That saves lots of pennies on your electric bill!
Decorate sensibly. If you have an office where you will be greeting clients, make sure it always looks neat, and choose your decor wisely. Even if you aren’t going to have clients in your office, make a point of keeping the area inviting and warm – you will be spending a lot of time in that space! Choose artwork your children have created, pick out an inexpensive frame, and hang it where you can see it everyday. Take your time scouring flea markets and yard sales for decorating gems.
Keep it comfortable. Part of being a stay at home mom is having more time to spend with your kids, so make them a priority. Find small desks for them, and complete those desks with crayons, books, notebook paper and the like. Help them choose their own art for their “workspace.” If you allow your children to come into your soon to be great home office, consider setting up their desks in the corner of your room so everyone can work together!
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