A Space of My Own

Virginia Woolf famously said, “A woman must have … a room of her own if she is to write fiction.” While I don’t write fiction, I do write. Sadly, however, I don’t have a room of my own. I live in a split-level three bedroom house, which is roomier than some of my friends’ homes, but does not afford me a room for writing. When I was pregnant with my son Jacob my husband and I lost our office to the cause of our kids each having their own room. The computer moved downstairs to a corner of the family room, which is otherwise filled mostly with toys.

It was a full year or more after the computer moved that I got the call that I had been laid off from my job. I didn’t realize it yet at the time, but that day marked my transition from part-time work outside the home mom to full-time work at home mom. I soon discovered that trying to be productive from the corner of my family room was much more challenging than trying to be productive from my cubicle in an office. Any sort of separation between family and career was erased. I’m not complaining – there are many upsides to this. I have much more flexibility when it comes to being with my kids, for instance, which is a big plus for me. I’m glad I made the switch.

At the same time, I often long for a room of my own. A room that I can close the door on when the work day is done. A room I can retreat to when the noise in the rest of the house is too much. A space that isn’t filled with toys and discarded apple cores and so on. My husband and I frequently talk about this conundrum, of lacking any type of home office. We haven’t found any great solutions. However, recently it occurred to me that I could at least make a few changes to my workspace, to make it a little more functional.

For the past couple of months I’ve been on a quest. The first step was moving the printer off of my desk. We accomplished that in October, when we got a working wifi printer, which now lives on the top shelf of a closet. That cleared off my desk. Step two was getting rid of my clunky old desktop computer, and moving on to my laptop. (You’ll be glad to know I kept disco mouse, though.) We did that in November, which cleared more space in my desk area. Step three was clearing out my old bookshelf, which hasn’t actually contained books for ages, and making space for my sewing supplies and sewing machine. We did that in December.

The job was finished this weekend. We made the pilgrimage to IKEA for a new floor mat, chair and doors for my bookcase. The result is a corner of a room that is totally mine, filled with my work and crafting supplies. My sewing machine is no longer hidden in a cupboard when it’s not in use, and sharing space on my dining room table when it is. My fabric is no longer stuffed into an overflowing shelf in my buffet. My desk is no longer covered with things I don’t need, want or use. And I finally have a chair I actually like, rather than one that my husband bought himself 15 years ago for his bachelor apartment.

A work and craft space of my own
My completed space

I’m hoping that Virginia Woolf was only half-right, and that a space of my own will suffice. For now, I have to say, I’m very happy with it. It may not be perfect, but it’s mine. My own little corner of the world. It is sweet, indeed.

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  1. … i would go entirely nuts without an entire room of my own … but you probably realise that by now. i don’t think it influenced my decision to stop at only one Wee Guy … or maybe it did …
    ebbandflo (@pomomama)’s last post … midlife monday: timeMy Profile

    • I will be honest – I think my willingness to settle for a corner has a lot to do with the start of school. When my kids are out of the house, it matters much less whether I have a door. Although, if I were using the sorts of tools you do, I’d probably want a door and a lock.

  2. I am on the same boat – sans the being fired or have kid #2 – where I live in a split home with 3 bedrooms. We have the Room#3 still as an “office” that I mostly use since I edit my photography. But I sense once child#2 comes, that reserved space will be given to someone else.

    Congrats on setting up something that is both functional and of your like.
    Mama and the City’s last post … 2013 Bring It OnMy Profile

  3. Beautiful work space – we have one more room and one less kid, yet it still seems that we all end up working in the same area. I think the new year is calling for a new purge to get some of our space back in working order. Thanks for the inspiration!
    Jenn’s last post … My cat is Newton reincarnateMy Profile

  4. Luckily, Kim and I have a room of our own for work. In fact my door is shut right now as I’m tackling my list. If we have another kid, this might change…
    Happy New Year to you Amber!

  5. Oh, it’s gorgeous! I definitely think reclaiming even a space as your own is a step in the right direction.
    allison’s last post … New year, new….nope, same old meMy Profile

  6. Oh, I can relate to this! I have no room of my own to write either, with two kids in a 2 bedroom apartment space is pretty tight as you can imagine. Your corner looks awesome! My “room” is a cafe down the street. For now anyway…
    Dana’s last post … Where my (GF) Peeps at?My Profile

    • The cafe down the street was my space for the longest time. In fact, I know lots of people who just bypass the idea of a home office altogether. At the moment I prefer to work here, but I can definitely see the appeal of getting out of the house to work.

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