My home office often looks more like a kindergarten classroom with paper, pens, markers and more strewn around. I have visions of a perfectly organized space with a spot for everything and everything in its spot. But to get from the kindergarten-like chaos to the Martha Stewart-like organization, you need to have a place to stash all your necessary supplies .
Sure, you could go into that fancy organization store that has containers of all shapes, sizes and colors. They even have containers you didn’t know you needed. But it’s easy to spend a small fortune in one of those places. Instead, make your own storage containers to clear up your clutter and pay little to nothing, depending on what you have in hand.
When it comes to office organization, it’s the little things that need to be corralled. The loose notes, the paper, pens, rubber bands, etc. Once you have a place to put all that stuff, you’ll notice your work area looking cleaner and easier to use.
Paper: What really got me on this kick was making this cool paper storage box for FREE. This box is ideal for extra printer paper, scrap paper, construction paper, and more. All you need to make this is a medium flat rate Priority Mail box — these are available for FREE at your local post office — and some pretty paper. You can use gift wrap, newspaper, anything you like.
Put the box together and seal one side. Then, cut all four tabs off the open side. Next, using your paper as a guide, cut what will be the bottom so it is about 1 inch longer (measure from closed end to opened end) than the paper you plan to store in it. For my printer paper, I made the bottom about 12 1/2 inches long. Next, cut what will be the top, 2 inches shorter than the bottom. Then, cut the the side, angling from the bottom to the top. Look at the image to see my cut box.
Notes and paper scraps: We all have these — receipts, reminders, phone numbers and more. They easily pileup into a sea of colored paper. The key is getting them off the desk but keeping them in sight. I found a couple of decorative ways to do just that, depending on your office style.
The first uses cookie sheets. You can use old ones, but depending on the shape your sheets are in, you may want to pick up an inexpensive one at Walmart or Target. You can use spray paint to make simple, color-coordinated magnetic boards to hang next to your desk. You can also use self-adhesive shelf liner to cover a cookie sheet with a pretty design or scrapbook paper as well. You’ll notice the board in the second link also includes steps to make a pencil holder to attach to the board.
You can also make a magnetic board using sheet metal, fabric and an old frame. Grab a piece of remnant fabric from the store if you don’t have any. And if you don’t have any unused frames, grab your Michael’s or AC Moore 40% off coupons and get a simple one at the store.
And of course, with a magnet board, you need magnets. You could buy some, but after making your fancy board, why not go one step further and whip up some magnets? There are tons of DIY magnets on Pinterest, but a few of my favorites are: Glitter Magnets, Scrabble Pieces, Scrapbook Paper, and Pictures (image only).
Pens, pencils, scissors: This may sound less than nice, but some decorative paper can turn paper towel and toilet paper rolls (and I think I saw an oats canister, too) into perfect containers for all these desktop essentials.
Miscellaneous items: There are always lots of little things lying around a desk. Here’s a cute vase-like container you can make easily out of an old juice or soda bottle. Ideal for paper clips, thumb tacks, or those handy little magnets you made. Personally, I might spray paint this one to give it less of a “soda bottle” feel. An inexpensive spice rack could also be used to store tiny objects such as rubber bands, thumb tacks and paper clips.