The Online College Instructor
Navigating the Virtual College Classroom

Home Offices: No Clutter Here!


First off, spend some time on your work environment. I’m not an interior designer or a professional organizer, but certainly working in a space devoted to just exactly that – work – keeps your residence from becoming a giant work elephant you wind up tripping over wherever you go. Yes, work spilling into spaces throughout your home does occasionally happen. The key is to put that elephant back in its own space at the end of your workday.

Work insinuated my entire home until last year. I finally realized that working at home had become an endless, all-consuming task of re-organizing piles of paper (so much for the paperless world), moving my computer, with its Hydra-like wires, from one place to the other, and finding textbooks used pillars of knowledge constructed in corners of the house. Clearing out a space, which my husband and I had already used as an office, was the key. Painting it, adding a wall-length desk-high counter space, and adding shelving units and baskets (for file cabinets) created a space, which was clearly designated for work and nothing else.

That’s not to say that work still doesn’t spill over into other rooms of my home, but at least, at the end of the workday, I have one place to rest my work. All the trappings of academic life are neatly filed and stored, including all the digital equipment I use for my online classes: camera, printer, scanner, etc. A word about printers and scanners: There are units on the market that combine many copying features, including scanning, printing, faxing, and copying. They’re worth the price because you wind up with only one unit instead four, saving useful desk or counter space.

Enough of my HGTV advice.

To read more about my experiences as an online professor, click on the Working Online tab at the top of this page.


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