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Guide to office and desk workspace organizers

Organizing your office will help you feel more in control, more competent and more productive. An organized office also minimizes those distractions of searching for what you need.

Before choosing the right office and desktop workspace organizers, consider what you need first by:

  • Purging your junk: Take however long you need to purge, even if it's a day or two. It'll be well worth the time to rid your working space of useless, dust-collecting crowding clutter. Remember to shred documents with any identifying personal information or account numbers.
  • Catching your junk: Once the junk is purged, you'll want to designate one place as a junk catch-all when it comes into your office. Your catch-all space should have a larger trash can than you already have and a tray or basket for items you're not quite ready to put in the circular file. Don't hide your trash can. The more visible it is in your office, the more likely you'll use it to toss junk instead of letting it pile up.
  • Finding your desktop: Most people thrive working on a clutter-free desk. If you love a messy desk, make it at least more of an organized mess using document trays with labels.

Now that you've purged and know what tools you need to get, here are some tips on how to choose exactly the right organizing tool for your desk and office:

  • Organizing your desktop: If you spend much of your time on the computer, you may not need many other supplies to do your work. Whatever supplies you have can go into your desk drawers and organizing trays. Maximize the space on your desk by using stacked letter trays, a sorter for hot files, a pencil caddy, a literature sorter (which gives you additional shelf space on top of the sorter) and something personal and inspirational. If you have room, try an anti-static, anti-slip desk pad to hold your laptop, tablet, monitor or keyboard still on your surface. To keep papers in place and readily available, use a distinctive, eye-catching paperweight to help remind you to work on the pile.
  • Organizing your files: You likely have electronic files and also plenty of physical files, even in your semi-paperless office. Just the act of organizing your files helps you know where documents live and what you have. There's no right or wrong way to develop a filing system. Just do it to whip your office into shape. Keep your most used project files on top of your desk in a dedicated wire file organizer. Hang wall-mounted or magnetic file pockets or holders near you for other files you tend to refer to most. Next, organize your drawers into zones of files (for example, by project, alphabetical, by date or by name). For files you need to keep but rarely use or refer to, consider consolidating them into a accordion file that you can place in a closet or other out-of-the-way storage area.
  • Organizing your books: Bookends are often overlooked office organizing gems that are functional and decorative, while giving your space personality. Nothing can beat the sturdy universal metal bookends to keep your books upright, but there's more to bookends than meets the eye. For example, consider a double-duty pair of bookends with built-in stash drawers. Bookends in interesting shapes, such as anchors, oversized chess pieces or lions, are fun additions.
  • Organizing your literature: From stacks of printer paper to pamphlets to your collection of magazines, you need a way to organize it all so they stay crinkle-free. For paper and pamphlets, try document sorters, which are boxy organizers that are divided into compartments to hold letter-sized items. Place them on your desk if you have room or slide one or two on your shelf. For magazines, consider the classic upright holders that can slide into place on a shelf. They come color-coded and have a place for labels so you can keep track of the year or name of the magazine. Though many are utilitarian in design, there are also decorative magazine holders to fit into any office decor.
  • Organizing your little things: Though you may be used to digital business cards, you'll still have your fair share of physical cards that need attention, too. From the traditional Rolodex tray to an impressive leather business card holder, there are plenty of ways to capture each for future reference. For your own business cards, keep a card holder on your desk. It'll remind you of how proud you should be of your work, your business and yourself.