At Letter Jacket, we’re not afraid of the digital. But if you know anything about us, you know that we are also champions of the “analog” —experts in how to get your paper from one place to another. And when it comes to other parts of office life, it’s not always a digital solution that works best. You still need ways to organize the office supplies, papers, and other necessary stuff that ends up in your office—and often, on your desk. (Sometimes that “stuff” includes your thoughts.) Here are four office organizing tools, some classic, some new, for you to fall in love with—or fall in love with again.
This one requires an office cabinet makeover. But before you decide “I don’t have time for that!” think about what gets in the way of being your most efficient and happy office self.
In busy office life, it’s often the small inconveniences that add up to irritation and wasted time. One of the reasons supplies get so easily disorganized is that you’re trying to stack them. This means that they get jumbled more easily, and with items stacked behind other items, it can be harder to see what you’ve got, grab what you need, and keep track of your inventory.
We don’t mean to sound like a Billy Mays infomercial. But if you’ve never seen a supply cabinet built with drawers rather than shelves, you’re missing out. You can pull out drawers to see every single item you have. You’re stacking items horizontally, not vertically, so you don’t get messy towers of office paper, envelopes, and sticky notes. Optional dividers keep smaller items in separate cubbies. And, of course, you can keep all your different office envelopes separated, neat and handy.
Pencils and pens
This is a really simple solution. But sometimes the pen is mightier than the app.
Keeping a stash of solid pens and pencils around is one of the best things you can do to keep your office sane. First of all, it’s a simple way to make everyday office tasks convenient. We all need to grab something to write with at a moment’s notice. Secondly, you are a grown-up. Your office deserves grown-up writing implements. The last thing you need is cheap pens and pencils that don’t work or ones you don’t like.
It’s also still true that hand writing notes and drafts is one of the number one memory hacks and can help keep complex thoughts clear. If you’re struggling with MeisterTask, maybe it’s time to bring back the To Do list. If you need to get a handle on the boss’s newest “big idea,” handwritten notes laid out on a pinboard can be a brain-boosting alternative to processing material on a screen.
Have you figured out “your” pen or pencil—a kind you love writing with, and that dries
quickly when you write, not leaving that smudgy smear on the side of your hand? You might even find a brand of pen or pencil that aligns with the brand aesthetic of your company and keep stashes of them around the office.
A corral for your stickies (yee-haw)
If you corral your different sizes, shapes, and colors of sticky notes that help you stay organized, you will thank yourself. But a sticky note corral isn’t just for stickies. A quick Internet search will bring up all kinds of fun solutions, “desk caddies” to keep small and often scattered desk items handy. Again, make the little things easy for yourself.
And go with something you like—ideally a desktop organizer that reflects the aesthetic of your organization’s brand. If black plastic is not your thing, don’t you dare buy it. You and everyone else who comes through has to look at it all day. And it will just get passed on to someone else who doesn’t particularly like it or end up cluttering a cabinet.
Keep your organizers both sensible and attractive, and you won’t end up with oh-so-ironic yet oh-so-real organizer clutter. You can find desktop caddies made of various metals, decorative cardboard, burlap, felt, and even recycled materials. Look awesome, and never look for a paperclip again.
Walls and corners
Two of the most convenient but least-noticed office organizing tools? You don’t have to buy them—they’re already there. You just have to take advantage of them. It’s your walls and corners. Some of the tidiest and most helpful desk organizing solutions come in the form of corner shelving and wall hangings—many can hang over the tops of cubicle walls as well. From envelopes, papers, mail, and pens to potted plants, headphones, hot pots, and photos, nothing beats an on-the-wall storage and organizing solution to keep your desk—and your mind—clear.
Remember: when it comes to cabinets, think horizontal storage, not vertical. And when it comes to organizing your desk, it’s the opposite: vertical, not horizontal, organization tools will help you make the most of your space.