The barista rolls his eyes when you stake out the best table so you can have a quiet meeting.
Your product samples have overtaken your dining room table. And the couch. And the kitchen counter. And your bedside table.
Your dog thinks her name is “StopbarkingBella,” rather than just, you know, Bella.
Do any of these apply to you?
If so, then it’s safe to say you have outgrown your home office.
Whether you’re looking for a quiet place for a meeting, a more streamlined environment or just someone to talk to, even true-blue work-at-home enthusiasts often determine it’s time to branch out.
Coworking is a new model that has grown rapidly over the last few years. Coworking spaces are communal office environments, shared by an assortment of fellow freelancers, independent contractors and solo entrepreneurs. Some provide a dedicated desk, while others don’t–but most offer various perks such as coffee, supplies, recreational activities and networking opportunities.
But, when you head to your shiny new space, complete with furniture and its own coffee machine, what should you do with your old stuff?
Clear the Clutter First
Before you do anything else, heed the advice of Nick Braun, founder and CEO of PetInsuranceQuotes.com. “Take it as an opportunity to get re-organized,” he says, noting that he ended up throwing out or recycling about one-third of items in his home office, taking one-third to his new space; and putting the other third —mostly files and documents— in storage.
“I am now much more efficient, and am no longer embarrassed to have clients and visitors come by the office,” he says.
What to Keep
So what makes the cut? You’ll probably want a desktop computer, and certainly a laptop for on-the-go meetings, but besides that, your office machines will be covered by the coworking space —including paper and toner.
Roxanne Roark of Heroic Search recommends personalizing your space with small knick knacks or items that represent your personality or brand. “Bring a mug, or seven,” she suggests. “We love bringing in our branded mugs because a lot of spaces also have a kitchen with a dishwasher and we’ll leave a few for others to use, too, as a conversation starter.”
“Small indoor plants and trinkets from travel can make your workspace warm and inviting without overwhelming your second home,” says Alyson Hendrix of Ove Design Group. But, she cautions, don’t bring items that have strong sentimental value. “Although co-working spaces value security and trust between their members, you want to make sure that something special doesn’t turn up missing.”
While the site will probably offer basic office supplies like paper clips, sticky notes and the like, Ali Schwanke, founder and marketing strategist at Simple Strat, was delighted to discover that she could store customized stationery and envelopes in the printing room so they were easily accessible.
What to Ditch
Buh bye filing cabinet. Seriously, your new space will be small so don’t bring all your old client files and other unnecessary paperwork.
Scan it so it’s easily accessible on the cloud, or consider using a service such as valet or on-demand storage, which will catalog your items and bring them to you when you need them.
And don’t forget that the distractions of home are likely one of the reasons you’re leaving in the first place, so don’t bring them with you, recommends Melissa Mannozzi, CEO of Underground Creative Group. Mannozzi kept her home mailing address for business to avoid the midday mail distraction.
“In my case, I would get sidetracked by magazines and anything related to my hobbies,” she says.