The Complete Freelancing Mom Office (Finally!)

As we discussed in the comments of another recent post, every freelancer has a different ideal office situation. Usually

Rebecca Garland Home Office Photo 1
The wall of built-ins in the new office provide storage and a desk.

we just have to make do with something less than desirable for a time, especially if we’re trying to play mom while also enjoying a home career.

Personally, I’ve had a long-time dream of a cozy library style office, but it didn’t seem to be coming to fruition very quickly thanks to first space, then budget and finally time constraints. For more than six years I worked on a folding table stuck wherever I could find space.

Recently I started working on my real office, office however, and I’m pleased to say the project has progressed quickly and I can finally announce that….

I have a complete office, and I love it!

What makes the office so special? Many things. But most importantly, it’s a reflection of all that I do and am in the course of a day, week or year.

The Desk

Of course, the most important element in my new office is a desk. My new desk is part of a wall of built-ins I finished up a couple of weeks ago. The desk is down on the end and it’s only about three and a half feet wide.

I’ve lost almost three feet of space from my six foot table, but that’s okay because I’ve gained it back in the other eight feet of counter top to my left on the built-ins. The desk holds my monitors and keyboard. There’s space for my pens and gum and mouse. Everything else I need has its home elsewhere in the room. The simplicity of the workspace is outstanding.

The Built-In

The largest portion of this room is the new built-in. The long counter top holds the printer and has plenty of space to spread paperwork out as necessary as I sort things. I can wrap presents on it or stack magazines on it. I can sort files or invoices on it. And it’s pretty stained wood!

Under the counter top is eight feet of cabinet and drawer space. Overnight I gained more room than a walk-in closet when it comes to storing files and my stuff I use for various home projects. My tape measure sits next to my scrapbooking paper and my utility knife.

Rebecca Garland Home Office Photo 2
The pedestal table works well for homework and dinner if necessary.

Suddenly all of the office supplies, markers, laptop accessories, CDs and file boxes have a home where they are hidden away. They are no longer stacked in a closet somewhere. Best of all, since it’s all mine, I can find what I need without having to dig past Christmas decorations or fish water (another story for another time.)

Above the cabinets are my bookshelves. I have an entire wall of shelving dedicated to my books. Some are professional, some are grown-up books I read for fun, and many are my young adult and kid books collected for my alter identities of mom and teacher. It’s these shelves that create the “library” feel to the office.

The Workspace

In the center of the library/office, I have a pedestal table and four chairs. As I’ve described previously I use this table for helping two little boys with homework. After all, this is a rather critical function of mom’s workspace. The table can also double as a dining room table if I want it to or additional space for filing and sorting out dozens of Christmas presents.

The Pretty Things

Finally, the best parts of my office are the parts that make it totally unique and mine. In one corner is my giant wingback chair. My grandmother’s antique coffee table makes a terrific end table, and

Rebecca Garland Home Office Photo 3
Antiques and a big chair make the room perfectly personalized.

after only a month, the table is stacked with books I’m working through. The secretary in the other corner is antique as well and holds special things that simply don’t have a home anywhere else in the house – collectibles, special files in the locked drawer, stationary.

The Satisfaction

Most of all, the completed office gives me a tremendous amount of satisfaction. I finally, after six years, feel like I’m working on my own career in my own space. Having a special place that reflects what you’re about makes it more desirable to come to work, especially if you’re tacking on three hours to a day that’s already very full. Often I just look around and smile at the things around me.

Does this make me a better writer? Eh, who knows. One thing I do know is that having an ideal office and working space makes me a very satisfied writer. I’m finally content to know that my office matches my career – unique, customized and totally situated to this freelancing mama lifestyle I live.

I hope everyone is able to enjoy their workspace as much as I’m enjoying mine.

How close are you to your ideal workspace?

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Rebecca is a full-time everything. She teaches English and reading to her much loved, if challenging, high school students during the day and is a freelance education writer in the evenings. With almost ten years in the classroom and advanced degrees in business and information science, Rebecca specializes in materials that inform, educate and entertain. Rebecca indulges herself by pretending to have spare time and writing about the ups and downs of being a freelancing mama whenever she gets a chance.

9 thoughts on “The Complete Freelancing Mom Office (Finally!)”

  1. It looks gorgeous! Perfect space.

    I’m a paint job and a custom file cabinet away from my dream. I’ve situated the den just so, and I’m just choosing colors in my head. We have a ton of projects going right now, but this one is all mine, and I know what I want. Getting the time is the issue!

  2. Thanks Jenn! Sadly I almost never open the windows since I work at night and they are on the front of the house where everyone would be able to see in. I don’t look so hot in my work P.J.s 😉

    Lori – I totally understand about time. It took me more than six years to get to a point where I’m proud of my workspace. And I’ll probably change it all again within the next six years. LOL!

  3. Your story inspires me to accomplish much the same effect. I am motivated by the feeling of satisfaction that you share. Keep it up!!

  4. My partner and I are moving into a space where we’ll have a library/office. I’m so excited to have a door to be closing on my work! One day, when we buy a place, I’m sure I’ll want to do built ins. For now, having a desk in a room with a door that closes – and we’ll have a table in there and his desk as well makes me quite happy.

  5. Nicely done! I love that built-in.

    My “office” is mainly scattered throughout the first floor of our townhouse — a little mailing station over the wet bar, my laptop on an ottoman, my file box beside me, a bookcase across the room w/ my magazines, etc., but I’m working on making it a little more office-like soon.

  6. It looks amazing! My office is a crate that can carry my binders, a few books & kid-distraction devices as well as my laptop. I migrate from the kitchen to living room to bedroom on any given day. Surprisingly, I’ve never had an issue with this. I know some writers need their dedicated space. I might change my tune when I have the opportunity to actually experience that. 🙂


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