November 18

how i stay organized, sans office

I instagrammed this photo the other day, and your responses inspired me to do a few blog posts on small space living + working. So here we go!

I don’t have an actual office. I have a dining nook that faces the coffeemaker and the oven.

How do I feel about this?

I love it.


Here it is–the dining nook / office. Lovely, isn’t it? This is usually what it looks like in the morning, before I really get going. That little grey sette is where I work each day, and by the end of the day, our Docksta table is covered with cf cards, film rolls, yellow legal pads, and empty coffee cups.

About 6 months ago, my hubs and I decided to vastly purge our lives and commit to a more simple lifestyle. We shed a whole lot of stuff that had been weighing us down, and we moved into an apartment the size of a shoebox, so there’s really no room to add more stuff.

We’ve never been happier.

And I don’t have an office. I was worried about it at first. I’ve always had an office. I always found so much peace in having an office. How would I get along without one? Would I be able to separate work from personal?

But it turns out it’s more than fine–I love it.

If you’re a creative business owner and you don’t have an actual office space, this is just a reminder:

It’s perfectly okay.

No one said you needed a gorgeous, white-painted-floors loft space to be successful. You don’t have to have an office for people to take you seriously. You can dazzle and charm, even if your workspace is right next to your toaster oven. You just have see it as a challenge to get creative. And then do the deeds, create the art, build the business.

Ask yourself…

Can I outsource that? // I outsource my packaging + shipping so I don’t have to keep drawers of supplies.

Can I switch to an online program? // I use ShootQ and Outright to track my business online, rather than having papers, files, and cabinets that take up physical space.

Can I abandon this completely for a better solution? // I stopped delivering photos via DVDs in the mail, and started delivering them online. BONUS: my clients love the instant downloads + simple sharing + cloud backup.

Can I shrink this? // I took my giant workflow chalkboards off the wall and translated my lists into one glittery gold binder. (Spoiler alert: these workflow lists will be available in the CJP Shop once it launches in a few days!)

Can I hide this in plain sight? // We have a pretty buffet piece in our living room that looks like a bar on top, but inside holds hard drives, equipment, yellow legal pads, etc.

Can I let time, rather than walls, be my boundary? // To keep a healthy separation between life and work, I let the clock dictate which area I focus on. And when it’s time to focus on life, I put away all things work.

And if the answers end up being no, ask yourself…

Can I go against all reason and logic and try anyway?

You might surprise yourself.

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Posted in A Day In The Office, For Photographers

5 Responses

  1. Victoria says:

    I absolutely ADORE your heart behind this. So lovely, and the space looks perfectly Caroline. Love to you! XO

  2. Caroline! I love that you do your photos online! Could you possibly tell me the website or software you use for your clients to download?

  3. Mary says:

    Love this so much! Especially your heart behind the whole thing!

  4. SiteHouse says:

    Love this perspective! Great attitude and great way to challenge yourself!

  5. Laura Barnes says:

    Thanks so much for sharing this, Caroline! It’s so fun to read about other photographers office space and what works for them! xoxo

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