Sunday, November 12, 2006

Make it a Mini-Workstation if you are short on Room!

By Christina VanGinkel

You did your homework, walked all through your house, assessed every possible location where you might be able to claim some space to create a workstation for your favorite hobby, and you have come up empty handed. So what can you do besides give up your favorite hobby for lack of space?

Create a mini-workstation!

Even if you live in a tiny one-room studio, you can create a mini-workstation for your favorite hobby. The object of a mini-workstation is to have a spot to keep a current work-in-progress with just a few essential tools. No, this solution will not work for every hobby, or for everybody, but it will for many. While you may have to keep the majority of your hobby's materials packed away, a mini-workstation might be able to provide you with just enough space to keep you happily ensconced in your favorite pastime when you have just a few minutes of time, maybe an evening free, and not a lot of room to dedicate one hundred percent to the hobby you enjoy and all the supplies it entails.

The difference between managing to provide a whole room for your hobby and creating a mini-workstation, is that that even those people who are truly strapped for space, can usually still come up with a small corner, drawer, or empty spot to situate a roll away cart. Keep this in mind as you look for a space.

Where are some good locales to create a mini-workstation? Drawers are good. Bedroom dressers, kitchen drawers, or the drawer of an entertainment unit can all be commandeered into becoming a mini workstation.

A closet that is already a busy place might be able to afford you the room to keep a rollaway cart, or a small stationary set of drawers or freestanding unit designed to house a craft or hobby supplies.

The kitchen might also be a good locale to scout out a spot, especially if you have an extended counter in the kitchen, where you might be able to store a roll away cart underneath when not in use. Be sure to consider empty or unutilized shelves in a pantry, or even a corner of a pantry with some counter space.

In a living room or family room, a footstool or ottoman that is hollow for storage can work, especially well, especially if the hobby is the sort that does not need a lot of surface area to enjoy, such as crochet, knitting, or cross-stitch. You can keep everything tucked away out of sight when not in use, but all your gear can be easily accessed even when you only have a few minutes to work.

To uncover and take over any spot or space, you must first identify it the same as if you were claiming a complete room for your own. If the space is currently in use, can the things there go somewhere else, or if it is empty, do you really have the room to add anything, or would you just be creating clutter. Even a mini-workstation should not be situated where it is going to be in the way.

Other issues you might want to consider include if you are going to need to be able to plug something in, then try to come up with a spot close to a convenient plug in to store your mini-workstation, else wise you will find yourself having to drag things all around, and that is what you are trying to get away from. Also, consider if your mini-workstation should include its own work surface. Too often, when coming up with something like a mini-workstation, we become too focused on the storage issues, and overlook the actual use of the things that we are pulling together, to help make our hobby more accessible.

A work surface could be as simple as a tray that you store with your supplies, or a built in part of a rollaway. Shop for a rollaway, which has a top that expands by pulling it out, or that flips up with a support, similar to the drop side on a typical sewing cabinet.

Any mini-workstation should also be something that can easily be stored away, without a lot of fuss. The focus of a mini-workstation being that you no longer have to leave all your things lying about when you are done. Easily stored, easily accessed, add up to even more fun!

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