Don’t let lack of space deter you from starting a freelance career if that’s the only thing that’s holding you back. On first glance, you might think you have no space at all. But with a bit of creative juggling, everything is possible.
Here are some ideas:
Define Your Area
Depending on what kind of freelancing you’re starting, you’ll have certain criteria your workspace needs to meet. If you create and sell handmade products, for instance, you’ll need a different kind of area to the type needed if your work is mostly computer-based.
Aside from the purely practical, you should also take into consideration:
● Any health and safety concerns.
● Do you need good ventilation?
● Do you need a safe place to keep potentially dangerous tools?
● Maybe you need a large area for cutting or laying out shapes.
● Perhaps your main concern is peace and quiet so your train of thought
doesn’t get broken.
Lighting is also important. Do you need a window, or somewhere to set up stage or studio lights? Do you need the flat light from north-facing windows, and would a south-facing window be too warm?
Bear in mind you’re going to spend considerable time working in your space. Think carefully about what you need from your new home workspace before jumping right into the first empty corner you spot.
Convert a Room
If you’re fortunate enough to have a spare room, be quick and commandeer it. Being able to shut the door on your ‘office’, either while you work or at the end of the working day, is golden.
However, most of us use all our rooms at home, even if they’re only occasionally used as guest rooms. Guest bedrooms tend to be furnished as bedrooms, and this makes it difficult to create a functioning work area. Having the best of both worlds takes a little creative thinking, which luckily is something most freelancers are pretty good at.
There’s probably a self storage facility close by, where you could rent as much space as you need to hold bedroom furnishings while you don’t need it for guests. You can store spare beds while you don’t need them, creating an empty room for your work area. Even folding beds take up a lot of space at home, but having them tucked away in self storage means you don’t have to turn guests away. Then when friends coming to stay, you can simply swap your work furniture and equipment for the contents of your storage unit – instant bedroom!
Alternative solutions include multi-function furnishings such as sofa beds (or daybeds), and installing extra shelving to hold professional equipment. Choose attractive containers to house the tools of your trade and, while still being practical, they won’t make guests feel like they’re sleeping in your office.
Create Multi-use Areas
If you can’t take over the guest room for business purposes, the next solution is to make a workspace in one area of a family room. You might choose to section off a part of the living room, or even work from the kitchen table.
● In the kitchen. Rearrange the cabinets so you have one just for work-related equipment, and choose the one that’s closest to the table you’ll use.
● In the living room. Make best use of bookcases by turning them sideways to form right angles with the wall. Use the shelves on the ‘working’ side for textbooks, computer peripherals or stationery. If it’s a closed bookcase, decorate the back that faces the living area to make it attractive. Arrange the books on open-shelved bookcases so the spines face in alternate directions. Adding a few trailing plants creates an attractive display.
● In the dining room. Think about putting your big dining table in self storage while using a smaller one for everyday family meals. The floor space you gain can house your desk or other free-standing equipment. You still have the big table waiting for when you need it.
● In the bedroom. You could swap the chest of drawers for a small desk and put a plastic drawer tower in the bottom of the wardrobe. And don’t forget the space under the bed.
Sometimes you have to come at a problem sideways. By taking advantage of local self storage units , investing in multi-purpose or storage furnishings, and carefully considering what kind of space you actually need, it’s possible to perfectly carve out room for your new freelance career.
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