How to Create a Dedicated Workspace Without Space

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Having a dedicated workspace is crucial to productivity and quite frankly, sanity. But, this begs the question, what if I don’t have room for a “dedicated workspace?” That’s where I come in! I’m going to help you think outside the box and find productivity (and sanity) regardless of any space constraints you may be facing.

Think with me, just for a moment. When I say “dedicated workspace” what do you think of? I would venture to guess that your first mental image is probably an office area you have pinned on Pinterest. Naturally, it was created, or at least inspired by, Joanna Gaines, right?

Dreaming is important, but reality still smacks us in the face. Jo-Jo didn’t design your space, did she? Guess what? She didn’t design mine either.

As classroom teachers and homeschooling parents, we are lucky to have a desk or table to dedicate to ourselves. (In most cases, even these areas are fair game for everyone else’s stuff.)  So, I decided to give you some creative solutions to 3 problems we face when trying to create a workspace in an area with limited or no space.

3 Problems When Creating a Workspace

Not Enough Room in the Classroom

When I taught in the public school system, my classroom housed 24 desks, 3 tables, and my desk. Not to mention the other randomly assorted pieces of furniture like filing cabinets and bookshelves.

I liked to call the space “Clutter Central.” Remember, I don’t like clutter, and I couldn’t be an effective teacher when every time I walked in my classroom, I had a claustrophobic episode! So, I decided something had to go.

I knew my teacher desk was never used for anything other than a drop zone for ungraded papers, lost and found items, and the occasional stray Pokemon card. (Sound familiar?)  Sadly, the inside was so much worse. Honestly, it looked like Wal-Mart threw up in it…file folders, confiscated Pokemon cards, data sheets, notebooks, “treasure box” items, snacks, and TONS of hand sanitizer {just to name a few} had taken over the space that was supposed to be mine.

So, I decided rather than keeping a desk that was taking up valuable real estate, I got rid of it. I moved my computer and a few necessities over to a table. This gave me the top space I needed for working with my kiddos, but forced me to be creative with storage.

Honestly, getting rid of the desk was the best thing I could have done. It opened up the space, and it forced me to get rid of stuff that had been hiding in the desk for far too long. I used a teacher toolbox to organize all of the various paperclips, pens, rubber bands, etc., and a couple of 10 drawer carts to organize the paper clutter.

Amazingly, I never missed the desk! I actually found that I was much more organized without it. Remember, I didn’t give up my workspace; I just changed the form. I still had a space for everything, but it had evolved into a much more user-friendly space.

Solution:  Remove the desk and get creative with storage.

Personal Workspace Needed in the Schoolroom

Fast-forward a couple of years, to when we started homeschooling. I knew that we would have a “school” room dedicated to housing all of our school items. However, the small room became cluttered very quickly when three desks were introduced. Another claustrophobic episode was eminent; I had to figure out a way to maximize the space, and it was going to require some creativity.

I knew my boys needed their own space, so their desks had to stay. The only option I could even imagine was taking out my desk. I figured if it worked in the classroom, it would work in the schoolroom. Unfortunately, I neglected to remember that in the classroom, I had a table to work from. In the schoolroom, I removed my ENTIRE workspace.

Getting creative with space

Now I had nowhere to keep my teacher editions, my “I’m Invisible” light, my timer, and all of the other things I needed on a daily basis. From an organizational standpoint, it was stressful because I spent way too much time trying to locate the things I needed.

We ended up removing an oversized bookcase out of the room, and bringing in two simmer bookcases. This created a similar footprint, but gave me more vertical storage space. This gave me to a space for most of my stuff, but I still had nowhere to work.

So after a few failed attempts at bringing in other furniture pieces to use as a desk, I ended up with a small table. Amazingly, by adding the two smaller bookcases, and using the table for my desk, I maximized the space!

Solution:  Use a table for a desk, and replace the large bookcase with two slimmer bookcases.

No Room for a Workspace Anywhere

Sometimes, you have absolutely no space at all. You don’t even have a place to put an extra chair. I know how this feels because I had NOWHERE to put my “teachery” stuff that I brought home from school…laminator, laminating sheets, extra books, etc until we built an addition on our home two years ago.

However, where there is a will there is a way! And I discovered the secret to creating my workspace anywhere. Are you curious?

Well, I simply created a portable workspace. Get a bag or tote, and fill it with the items you need to work. The usual office supplies can be stored in Ziploc bags, and binders containing important information and be included in your portable workspace. This allows you the freedom to take your office with you wherever you go, and you don’t have to sacrifice any square footage for a permanent space.

At any point in time, I now had the ability to grab my bag and work wherever I was, and it was a game-changer. The only thing I needed was a table, and I was open for business! I was able to take my workspace with me in the car, on trips, to school, to my house, etc. In fact, I still have a portable workspace that I take with me when I go out of town even though I have a dedicated workspace in my home.

solutions for lack of space

Solution:  Create an “office in a bag,” to provide yourself with a portable workspace.

Do you find yourself needing a place to work, but having little to no space to call your own? Maybe you need a space to grade papers or work on lesson plans, but you just don't have anywhere to keep all of your stuff. Discover 3 common problems and some creative solutions for each one. #organization #teachers #homeschooling #workspace

Remember this, you don’t have to live in a huge home to create a workspace for yourself. Get creative and think outside the box! You can have a workspace…even if you have no space.