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Getting started: Finding a place and setting up

By Jane AndersonStaff writer of The Christian Science Monitor / February 4, 1982



In ''Getting Organized'' (New York: W.W. Norton, $10.95), Stephanie Winston offers suggestions for selecting and putting together a congenial and functional office, studio, or workroom. Choosing the right location Here are some questions to ask yourself in selecting an appealing and practical location:

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* Do you prefer a sunny room or a shaded one? Keep in mind the time of day you will be working.

* Do you like being near windows or do they distract you?

* Do you need isolation, or is it better for you to be near people?

* Is there enough space for a desk, drafting table, or other necessary equipment?

* Is the general area structurally sound?

* Is there a convenient electrical outlet and telephone jack?

* Will the area be unobstructed during the times you want to use it, or will it get in the way of other household functions? Can these functions be switched to another time or place?

Most important, the author advises, never select a corner or location you don't like with the idea that it is ''practical.'' The area must feel comfortable to you and make you feel ''internally clear.'' Tips for setting up Any workroom requires three main elements: a surface to work on, a place for materials and tools, and storage arrangements.

Work surfaces. The number of work surfaces you need depends on the processes involved in your work. Most work requires one main work space. But a person who sews, for example, needs two: one for pinning up patterns and one for sewing.

To determine a comfortable height for your table and chairs, consider whether you will be standing or sitting while you work.

To determine the appropriate size of the table, consider the size of the materials you're working with: a pattern, a ''mechanical'' for book designers, long pieces of wood for carpentry.

A placement surface should be large enough to hold the materials or tools you'll need as you work. It should be located so you hardly need to change position to lay something down on it.

Storing materials and tools. When figuring out a place to put things, ask yourself, ''What do I plan to do with this?'' rather than ''Where shall I put this?'' as a guide for placement. Stand or sit in a working position and go through the motions of your work. Place the items most frequently used close at hand where you reach for them most naturally.

A pegboard for hanging tools or materials, shelving the wall, or a rolling cart under the work counter are just a few suggestions for convenient access to your tools.

Lighting. Natural light is generally best if it can be arranged. Artificial light should illuminate the area without glaring. A lamp with an adjustable neck is adaptable to whatever job you are doing.