Home office organization series, part 3, or organizing products

We all love organizing products, even the most disorganized among us.  Maybe it’s because buying them gives us a sense of satisfaction (well, it does for me) and the feeling of “doing” something about disorganization in our lives.  I am usually not one to buy a random product unless I have an actual need for it, because buying a bunch of totes/plastic shoeboxes/what have you only contributes to the very thing I’m trying to combat by buying them in the first place.  As much as I love The Container Store, Target, and Bed Bath and Beyond for their wondrous selection of organizing products, I rarely buy something just because I like it.  I have to have a REASON and a specific purpose for a product in order for said product to make it into my cart.  I encourage you to think along the same lines!

As far as organizing products for the home office, there are thousands (if not more) products out there, and truthfully, every single person is going to need different ones and different combinations of them.  So, the point of this post is not to suggest products that I think you should run out and go get for your office space, but merely to let you know the TYPES of products that are available for you to use while staying organized and having the things that you need on a daily basis at hand.

The first, and probably most obvious, product in which I recommend investing is a good, sturdy filing cabinet.  How many drawers you need, what it looks like, and what size folders it holds are all up to you, but this is definitely something I think everyone should have.  The one I currently own is a not-too-pretty black metal filing cabinet with two drawers…although I covet a nice, pretty, wooden one.  I use the first drawer for our personal files (we don’t have a lot because I hate keeping papers and only keep those that are absolutely necessary), and the second drawer does/will hold client files for my business.  I hopefully will never need more than two drawers for any of the above-listed purposes, but you may need more.

Filing_Cabinet

The second item I believe every office needs is a good set of desk organizing tools, such as a pencil cup, a letter tray (or two or three, stacked on top of each other), and a business card holder.  You should keep pens and pencils on your desk in a compact pencil cup so that you always have them at a moment’s notice.  It also doesn’t hurt to keep either Post-It notes or a notepad in a cute holder so that you can jot down notes whenever you need.  At my old work office, I had my pencil cup, a three-tiered letter tray, my business card holder, and a desk-sized calendar on top of my desk (I think I got rid of that at some point because I didn’t ever use it).  Everything else went into my drawers (which also held organizing tools; we’ll get there in a second).  You shouldn’t have much on your desk or you risk easily becoming overwhelmed by the amount of “stuff” that accumulates.

So, drawer organizers.  There’s not much to say about them except having small organizers inside of your desk drawers will help to reduce the “junk drawer” effect that unwieldy, small office supplies can have on your desk.  Anything that you don’t use on a daily basis should go inside of your drawers, and should be corralled with contraptions such as these:

desk drawer organizer

Try not to keep many loose things in your drawers as that will just contribute to clutter. Scissors, tape, stapler and staples, extra notepads, extra pens and pencils, highlighters, rulers, hole punches, binder clips, paper clips (there is a small paper clip holder that you can buy instead of letting these float around ~ mine is a small clear box with a magnetic hole in the top so that you can just slide the paper clips inside), and pushpins should all stay in their homes separately with a nice organizer such as the one above.

Although these aren’t necessarily related to organizing, I also highly recommend a good desk lamp (I have a banker’s lamp on my desk that provides ample light for my office space) and a shredder to dispose of old papers that you don’t need/want to keep but that should be shredded for security reasons.  One tool I have in my organizing arsenal right now is a three-drawer plastic Sterilite cart.  My desk only has one very small drawer, and I need more storage than that.  This is what it looks like:

Sterilite_3_Drawer_Wide_Cart_3230_Housewares-resized200

In the first drawer, I keep office supplies (except for the pens/pencils/highlighters I’m currently using, which stay in a pencil cup on my desktop) ~ tape, stapler, extra pens, etc.  The second drawer houses filing supplies, such as extra hanging and interior file folders, and notepads.  I keep all of my business stuff that I have (including extra business cards, stationery, etc.) in the third drawer.  All of the drawers are labeled for ease of access by me.  I plan on actually repurposing the three-drawer cart as soon as I get a new desk with more storage and drawers, but for now, it works just fine.

Lastly, my most favorite office organizing find is not something you typically find at an office supply store, but at Michael’s instead!  My mom and I came up with the idea to use this awesome, super cute scrapbooking tote as a non-stationary stationery tote (ha! Get it?  A MOVING stationery tote?).  It has handles and tons of pockets and is perfect to house pens, stamps, return address stamps or labels, and oodles of notecards/thank-you notes/birthday and other occasion cards.  I keep mine tucked into a cubby hole in my desk and when I need to write a card or a note, I can just pick up this tote by the handles, take it wherever I need it to go ~ for example, if I want to take it downstairs with me to watch tv while I write ~ and know that everything I need is there.  This has been a popular item with clients and people who see me at markets, and I’ve even had one client ask me to “make” one for her.  I have used two as silent auction/door prize items as well.  Check it out!  The pictures below are my own personal stationery tote:

DSC_1292

DSC_1290

Cute, huh?  Let me know if you want me to put one together for you!

Okay, that’s all for now.  More blog posts to come this week as I’m very behind on my blogging and have a lot of information I want to share.

Keep it simple ~

5 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Lawfrog said,

    I LOVE all your ideas, particularly the stationary tote. What a wonderful idea and it would make it so much easier in terms of knowing where all the stationary is when needed and being able to cart it everywhere. I could sit in the doctor’s waiting room and get so much done with something like this. Thanks for that idea, a trip to Michael’s is in my future.

    • 2

      lcorganizing said,

      Shelley, don’t forget that Michael’s has a new coupon in every Sunday’s paper (and usually in the Wednesday store circulars that come in the mail) for 40% and sometimes 50% off of a regular priced item. The stationery totes often go on sale, too, so you can get them for $12-13. They’re so cute, too!

  2. 3

    Lawfrog said,

    So I finally went to Michael’s today (got a gift card for Christmas) armed with my coupon and I bought this tote! In fact, I bought the exact same one you have pictured. I am about to organize all my stationary products into it. I LOVE IT! I can see it’s going to be a wonderful organizational tool and make things SO much easier for me. Thanks again for this amazing idea!!

  3. 4

    That is one jammed purse!

    • 5

      lcorganizing said,

      Xacto ~ I’m not sure if you read the whole post or the caption to the photographs, but that isn’t a purse. It’s a stationery tote that I created to hold all of my notecards and other stationery so that I can transport it easily upstairs and downstairs when I need to write notes or cards. I keep it in my home office, and it only holds stationery ~ it is most definitely not my purse!


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