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What’s In Your Home Office?


I once met a freelance writer who had the home office of my dreams. She built it out of the mother-in-law suite above her garage. She installed internet, a separate phone line (plus fax line), a heater, and a built in desk. She had her own filing cabinet and was talking about putting in a mini-fridge.  

It is my understanding that she used her office about once a month, when the mood struck.  

Compare that to my own home office, complete with laptop computer on top of the dining room table right next to a stack of all of the paperwork and tax documents that I have collected since the beginning of this venture.  

I use my “office” for several hours every day, when my mood strikes me to be doing just about anything but. 

In her blog about our original business plan (http://emomsathome.com/freelance-parent/setting-goals-for-your-freelance-business/), Lorna mentioned that I felt pretty strongly about having a storefront office outside of my home. While I am aware that that all but defeats the purpose of being a WAHM, my main reason behind this request is to have a space—an organized space—that is separate from the place where my family eats. 

The rest of my home “office” is spread out through my house. I have a printer with fax and scanning capabilities on a computer cart underneath our family’s PC, but I rarely ever use that computer. I bought folders to organize Berry-Brewer Agency’s paperwork and formal documents, but I have yet to use them or to find a place to store them once I’ve done my organizing. I have a few books on freelance writing and running a business lying around on my bookshelves (or on the aforementioned dining room table). 

According to the tax books I have consulted, in order to count your home office as a deduction on your return, you have to have individual spaces for all of your deductible items. For example, if you buy books for business purposes, they must be kept in a different bookcase (or even just on a shelf) separate from the rest of your personal books in order to be legitimate. If you have a filing cabinet, either the entire thing or one specific drawer must be used for business purposes alone.  

I would love nothing more than to have a space dedicated for my things and my work—a place where I can go, shut the door, and really focus on my writing. Unfortunately, that contradicts the entire reason I’m working from home in the first place: to watch my daughter. I get the feeling I might be termed an “unfit mother” if I just stick her in front of the television so that I can run away, lock myself in, and concentrate on something else. 

Somewhere, there is a very fine line between having a workspace in your home and having a living space among all your work. I just need to find it. Maybe it’s under all that paperwork. 

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    On October 18th, 2007 at 3:19 pm, Kaj Rietberg said:

    I understand what you mean. I have a little place in the top of hour home. I can site there. In our other house didn’t have it and this is really great.
    The working place isn’t finished, but it is almost.
    And I love it already.

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