School has officially started in New York City, but for some, that means our homes just got much quieter. When your kids go off to college, it's the perfect time to organize and rework your space to ensure you're using your home to the best of your ability. As a professional organizer in New York City, I can help my clients evolve their grown children's bedrooms into multi-functional space that still allow for a private space when their kids come home to visit. Today, I'm walking you through how to transform your spare room to a home office in a five easy steps.
CLEAR THE CLUTTER:
Begin to transform your spare room to a home office by sorting through any belongings your child didn't take with them when they moved out into three categories: Storage, Donate, Photograph and Recycle. This can be the most challenging part of the process for parents, and where hiring a professional is key. Children's belongings often hold sentimental value, so I categorize these items differently than I do for most other parts of home.
Storage - Decide on how many storage bins you can accommodate in the room's closet. Once that number is defined, stick to it. For items you know your child will want in the future, sort them into the bins designated for storage in the spare room's closet. This may be out-of-season clothes, books, or memorabilia.
Donate - When you begin sorting, donate anything your child doesn't need any longer. These will likely be larger items like kids bedroom furniture, along with too small clothing or old electronics.
Photograph + Recycle - Here comes some tough love - you don't need to save every book report, term paper, or art project from your children. This can be the most challenging part of the process for parents. For my clients, I photograph all their art projects and written papers and turn them into a photo book. This becomes a fabulous keepsake, and takes up a fraction of the space. After photographing, everything can be recycled.
SWAP THE FURNITURE:
While you'll want to use the space for a home office, it's important to still have a place for your child to stay when they come home for holidays. In the tight quarters of New York City, I am in love with murphy beds that tuck neatly away until needed. Not much larger than an armoire, they look beautiful while closed up and leave ample floorspace year round.
Bring in a simple writing desk (you may be able to repurpose one from your child's room). I love this version for the hidden storage solutions. Create a space your laptop, mail drop station, thank you notes and a few office supplies. If you're strategic about what supplies you need, you shouldn't need more than a single drawer at your desk. Save some surface space by using a bright, adjustable floor lamp next to the desk instead of a traditional task lamp.
Add a comfy reading chair to give the another purpose. Is there anything more luxurious than a designated spot to read The Times on Sundays?
SELECT EFFECTIVE STORAGE SOLUTIONS:
My first priority with clients is to repurpose existing storage solutions. By adding labels, you likely won't need to invest in new storage solutions. Label each of your child's storage boxes clearly, listing all contents inside.
Add a rolling filing cabinet to the closet to house important paperwork, which can be used as an end table when the murphy bed is in use. Scan or photograph any paperwork you don't need hard copies of.
Roll and label any spare electronic chargers, extensions cords or power cords after donating any duplicates.
Save space by only keeping a single pair of sheets for the murphy bed, and store them directly on the bed while it's stored. This eliminates any need for linen storage in the room.
I'm here to help! Leave your questions in the comments below or reach out to me directly here.
The Aesthetic Organizer is a professional, personalized service that helps New York City residents organize their homes, simplify their lives and maximize their precious space. You deserve a beautiful, well-thought out home. Curated closets, organized bathrooms, cheerful children’s play areas and functionally spaced kitchens are only the beginning. Contact me here to experience the benefits that come with Aesthetic Organization.