Set Up Your WAH Office on a Budget
I enjoy going to the office store as much as any other type of store. But as fun as it is to buy office supplies, it can get expensive and often time, I don’t need all the stuff I want. If you’re starting out and don’t have a big budget to equipe your home office, these work-at-home experts have some tips to help you get the most bang for your buck!
Stephanie de Montigny from Pure Natural Newborn Photography is a fan of cheap and functional!
- Thrift stores are your best friend for DIY projects on a budget. I recommend that you look for your statement piece at second hand shops so that you can find something that is truly unique to set the tone and theme for your office. Whether it be an amazing chair, a vintage desk, modern artwork, or a beautiful set of drawers. Get this piece first to set your office theme, and make sure everything coordinates with it, in colour palette and style. You can find office-friendly items like frames and vases at thrift stores too, and at amazing low prices!
- Find ingenious alternate uses for inexpensive items. For example, magnetic spice jars from IKEA can act as paperclip and thumbtack holders and be kept off your precious desk surface space. Another great idea is to use hot-pads as cool shaped cork-boards on the wall.
- As much as you may want a sleek, minimalist desk, you need office storage so make sure you have enough drawers and shelves to store your archives and supplies. A great way to do this on the cheap and still look stunning is to line up a few night-stands together and turn them into a DIY bench with a piece of wood and some padding or cushions. This allows you to keep your super simple desk, but have the storage space you need. Bonus that it doubles as a comfy office seating area!
Aisha Cargile, MBA and co-founder of McCord and Cargile Marketing Resources, suggests planning out your space and grabbing multi-use items!
- Plan out your space before you start purchasing new items for your home office. What will you be doing and what do you absolutely need to have? Focus on the optimal placement for these items. Having enough room for your printer comes before buying that color coordinated desk set.
- Use dual-purpose items whenever possible. Multi-function is the way to go. Paperclips are great and cheap but binderclips are great for holding more paper together, hanging files you want to keep handy on your walls, clipping your cables to your desk and keeping them from tangling up and they can be labeled.
- If you live with others, have a way to close off your workspace or a clearly established signal for when you require peace and quiet in your work area. You do not want to be on the phone with a client or your boss while your child, spouse or roommate is dancing the macarena in the background.
Devay Campbell, SHRM-CP, Career Coach and Business Mentor also suggests multi-use items and utilizing what’s already in your home.
- Purchase pieces with a dual or multiple uses. I purchased a desk with built in shelves around the top and the side of the desk. Because of the this, I do not have purchase extra storage for supplies. My extra printer paper, pens, paper clips, tripods an anything you can think of can be stored on the desk. I also use the top shelves to hold my favorite books.
- Use items you have around the house already. You may have a stand or table that is not in use. It will be perfect place to sit your printer. Do you have artwork that you removed but did not get rid of because it didn’t fit the current décor. Dust them off and create a cozy space for your home.
- Avoid pricey retail stores. Discount stores, flea markets, Amazon, and yard sales are a great place to look for quality items for a fraction of the cost. You can create a nice, productive area to work in with a smile thinking about all of the money you saved.
Fraser Sutherland from Storage Vault, suggests going bare-bones to begin with.
- It’s time to rethink the office, what do you NEED to be able to do your work? Wi-Fi and a laptop or a large stock of marmalade? Get you absolute need items and then wing the rest
- Chairs can be expensive, but if you’ll be spending long hours sitting down then you need a happy bum.
- Furniture doesn’t need to be pricey. Ask around in your friend group and in your family, if anyone has what you’re looking for. You’ll be surprised how many folk have things lying around that they neither need or want, but just haven’s had the time to dispose of.
Cheryl J. Moses of She Grows It Digital has some great money saving ideas for setting up your office.
- You don’t need a fancy desk or anything like that. You can create a space and improvise by using the kitchen table. You can also purchase a small desk at Wal-mart for less than $40 and move some furniture around for a designated area to work.
- You may need a place to store your office equipment and materials. You can use bins to store papers and whatever else you are using. Amazon has some foldable storage basket bins for an affordable price that slide right into a small space. You can also purchase some plastic stackable storage bins at dollar stores.
- A file cabinet would be of good use for your documents and to keep your paperwork in order. Check out some yard sales around town. You can find some really great steals from someone else’s trash.
Tips from Leslie:
My first home office was a in a coat closet hobbled together with items I already owned. While I don’t recommend a coat closet, when you’re starting out, using items you already have to equip your home office is the most budget-friendly option. Start by making a list of essentials. What do you absolutely need in order to work? Then start by scavenging your home to find the materials. If you don’t have everything you need, the next step is to look for low-cost options such as thrift stores, yard sales, Freecycle, etc. If you have to buy new, look for the lowest cost option and find discount codes or coupons. For example, do you really need the $8 pokadot binder? The $2 plain blue one will work the same.
Leslie Truex is an ideaphoric writer, speaker, entrepreneur, social worker and mom trying to do it all from the comfort of her home. Since 1998, she's been helping others create careers they love by providing work-at-home information and resources through Work-At-Home Success.
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