Written by Mervyn Kaufman
A dedicated home office is practically a luxury. Instead, we're forced to resort to the design equivalent of a hostile takeover, claiming a spot in the kitchen or family room. No need, though, for the takeover to be hostile. The trick is in controlling the clutter. Start with paper, the main culprit. Piles of documents and a profusion of sticky notes may be great reminders of what's next on the to-do list, but spread all over your desk they become unsightly. File, recycle or shred papers and mail every day. And be sure you have enough storage. Instead of drab metal file cabinets, consider file boxes that slide onto shelves. Bright or whimsical desk accessories can help round out the look.
Niches and open shelving are convenient places to stash items you want to keep track of. Compact cubbies make nice interim storage for bills, incoming mail and papers requiring attention—just don't cram them full.