Raise your hand if you like to call your office space “organized chaos.” Don’t be shy, it’s okay. It’s sometimes difficult to keep things organized — as soon as you get a system going, you’ll have to pull something out of the bottom of your neat stack of files, or your just use those specific pens so much that there’s no point putting them back in your clever drawer organizer.
One thing leads to another, and you end up looking like a shmuck who doesn’t know how to work in an office (an actual problem: over half of Americans judge their coworkers based on how messy their office space is, and the time spent looking for things that have gone missing in the black hole of clutter costs America $177 billion every year).
Luckily, the internet is rife today with “LifeHacks” that turn simple office supplies into genius innovations to organize your day in ways you never knew you needed. Here are some favorites.
1. Cable organizers
Chargers, Ethernet cables, chargers, usb connectors, headphones, chargers, there are still a lot of wires in this wireless age. This is an oldie but a goodie: just thread the end of your cables through the ring of a binder clip, then clip the clip to the edge of your desk. Now you can easily reach for whatever you need and let it retract out of sight when you’re done. It keeps everything from being tangles and frees up space on your desk where wires may have nested before.
Other clever wire solutions include using toilet paper rolls to store less-often used wires and extension cords and peg boards to mount external equipment out of the way.
2. Turning binders into anything
Cheap ring binders can be turned into just about anything, even non-office things. Typical 3 ring binders can be turned into bird feeders or tool hooks just by unscrewing the metal rings from the binder and screwing them back into a tree or wall. Using cheap ring binders and hole-punched binder pockets will give you a more office-practical solution for storing small parts, organizing business cards you receive, or any other small think you have too much of but need to reference often.
Tangentially related, the cheap laser labels usually used for binder dividers have other uses. stick them to anything you need to label — especially helpful for that binder clip wire organizer so you don’t mix up your external hard drive usb with your iPod usb. Use them on folders so you can easily peel them off and re-label the folder later.
The nice thing about cheap office supplies is that you can scribble on them, cut them up, glue them together, cover them in colored duct tape, and create completely unique organization solutions that bring a little professionally appropriate personality to your workspace. Let’s face it, the office gets dull, and it takes a toll on your mind to feel like just another anonymous cog. A little joy, a little burst of color, can do a lot for a worker’s morale. That IS important for efficiency and production, after all. So cover your cheap ring binders in fabric, paint your chargers with nail polish, label everything with designer tape. Bring a little more happiness and organization to your work life.