5 Home Office Must Haves for Real People


To say that I'm a "nester" would be a colossal understatement. Anytime I move to a new apartment or house, I drive the people unlucky enough to exist in my crazy-sphere nuts with my overzealous, Type-A desire for everything to be just so. I also tend to combine moving with a general refresh of my living space, since it always seems easier. It's not.

When moving in February, I decided my color scheme would be pink and gold and girly, and proceeded to complete the following tasks -- while simultaneously working full time starting our marketing company, Streamline-Marketing.com, keeping up with book stuff, maintaining friendships, and getting general life things done.

  • Painted a random of assortment of vases, picture frames, knickknacks, and the mount to my deer antlers gold.
  • Found pleasing arrangements of fake pink flowers.
  • Printed a ton of new photos to frame.
  • Searched high and low for a pink rug that didn't make me feel like a third grade girl.
  • Slept on the couch while new carpet was laid in the bedroom.
  • The list goes on...

That's not to say that I buy a bunch of crap I don't need. On the contrary, I like my space to be clutter-free and organized so I can be productive. I find it particularly annoying when I come across articles that stress how much I need a giant pen-holder with a minimum of 50 pens in it. (I only use one at a time, so why do I need 50? And if I don't have 50, why do I need the giant pen-holder on my desk?) Or those articles telling us how we've got to buy a shredder. And not, just a shredder, no. It has to be an expensive shredder. Considering my business is almost entirely paperless, I have no idea what I would do with a shredder.

So, let's chuck all that out the window.

Here are 5 home office must haves for real people.

1. A desk that suits you, and only you.Home Office Desk Ikea Samantha Peterson Author

Okay, it's obvious that you need a desk, unless you prefer to work from the couch with your computer on your lap (which I've also done). For all intents and purposes, we're calling that a desk too. My desk is from IKEA and is three parts, two cabinets that each hold up one side of the glass table top, which looks like a giant fingerprint.

I spent a lot of time trying to decide what desk I really wanted, because a lot of the modern desks that have no drawers look really neat-o. But then, I thought a little harder about what I really need in a desk.

See that top left drawer? That's full of a windstorm of brightly-colored index cards that hold the rough outline of my next novel. There are two pens in there (not 50), and some ear buds. The second drawer has a lot of gum in it, because when I'm writing I get a super bizarre oral fixation and chaw and chaw and chaw.

For me, this desk is perfect, and it's big enough that I don't feel cramped when I need to spread my notes out. For you, it might not work at all. Maybe you're the kind of person that needs all of your files right where you can see them. Maybe you'd feel at home with just a tabletop rather than a formal desk.

I have a couple of chairs that I use interchangeably. I don't like rolling office chairs. I realize that's pretty uncommon. But again, it's all about me! Just like yours is all about you.

What kinds of things are you looking for in a work desk?

2. A System

Pink File Folder System Pink file folder system

I don't have much by way of papers, but I do have a lot of things that I feel guilty throwing out. For example, I have owners manuals, vaccination records, maps I've used traveling, and sheet music for the piano. I really don't like file cabinets for this type of thing. They look impersonal, cold and are pretty expensive.

Instead, I created my own system for organizing these things. I bought two packs of Ikea file folders and some pink scrapbook paper. Girly labels that I trimmed in gold completed the look. It cost less than $30.

Whatever system you decide upon, it has to work for you.


3. Things That Make You SmileOwl Scentsy

That's right folks -- an owl Scentsy makes me smile. Oh, come on, you know what a Scentsy is. It's one of those little ceramic things with a light inside and yummy smelling wax that goes into a dish on the top.

And it's DAMN CUTE. <Insert Smile Here.> See! It worked!

On the left, there's a photo of my brother and I. Clearly, I'm pretty amped that I'm smashing him. He's pretty amped to be smashed. Without fail, this makes me smile.

I also require a lot of natural light. I'm a little like a plant that way -- stick me in a dark cubicle and I will die. I'm sure of it. Notice in the photo above that my desk faces a giant window. During the day, sunlight comes in and half-blinds me. I love it.

What are the little things that you need to make you smile through the day? Anything that can help you reduce stress and get done what needs to get done is worth some valuable desk real estate.

4. Equipment & Stuff

Of course you need your computer, printer, mouse, or whatever else you need to do your job. But that stuff is boring to talk about. So let's move on to the last thing you (a real person) must have for your home office...


5. A Pal

Black Cat on a White Fur Rug Ciaran

If you're lucky, you have a pal as good as mine. Ciaran (pronounced Keer-in) is my kitty. He likes to lay on the white faux-fur rug beneath my feet and sleep.

If you're lucky enough to work from home, I hope you have a pet, friend, or someone to hang out with.

It can get pretty lonely without one!