Getting your desk space organized

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Posted 19 Jul 2007 in Soulville

This is post #1 from the land called SOULVILLE. A quick description – I am HarriMac and the name of this feature comes from “The Wiz” (awesome movie, you should check it out).

This weekly feature will carry “How-To’s” about community service, sports and sporting goods, computers, web design and graphic design, home needs and organization; occasionally there will be some reviews of something new I’ve found or gotten (I’m such an athletigeek). So, tune in every Thursday and look for the good stuff.

I’m open to suggestions about what the viewers of The Pink C want to see here, so leave a message in the comments or send a note via the webform and lemme know what you want. Enjoy! ❗

Today’s Post – “Getting your space organized”

As the summer (which just started!) begins to wind down for those of us that are students, it’s time to think about back to school organization. I lived in a dorm for EIGHT years and now an apartment but the sense of student organization remains the same no matter the dwelling. A good desk, great lighting, some type of distraction (darts anyone?), a place for books and papers you’ll never look at again, places for school supplies and organization for your living area(s) are going to be exactly what’s need to make you and your stuff fit in one place. It won’t get you that 4.0 you wanted, but you’ll look dadgum good when it comes to finding things in your pad. This week and the following 2 weeks will be dedicated to THE DESK AREA, THE BED & BATH AREA, THE FOOD AREA…


Some of us can call this an office space now. Others are still just living with that little cramped up POS desk that’s shoved into an already tiny jail cell. However, this is one space to completely make your own. Organization here is important because so many things you use in your daily life – class, work, playing, etc are here. Many of us spend so much time at a desk just to use our computers. If you’re like me, you practically live at your desk (but don’t study!).

Use old plastic cups or mugs as places to store pens, pencils and loose change (separate one for quarters), and grab some 3M poster tabs to hang hooks or pictures up on your desk without them falling off. Your flash drive on a lanyard? Hang it up. Keys? Hang them up. Better yet, get a cheap caribiner and put both your keys and flash drive on it. Hang this up. If you get in the habit of putting these items in a single place every time, you’ll never lose them. If you have a bookshelf attached to the top of your desk, get one of those plastic over the door hooks like you would use in a closet and hang this up on the edge of the bookshelf – hang empty bags (lunch bag, workout bag, Coach purse, etc) on it and get them off the floor. Stick staplers and hole punches and other items that can be put in drawers, in drawers.

Have extra things like paper clips and push pins but don’t want them rolling around? Grab a school box at WalMart and throw them in there. Great for transport of art supplies too and for a buck, unbeatable. Get at least one good set of book ends. Though you may never read the book you paid $150 for because it was “mandatory”, you might as well take care of it so you can get more than $5 back at the resale. Got any business cards or other things to stick up? Get small cork squares instead of a huge cork board and put them anywhere in any kind of design you want. Saves on space and you can use as many or as few as you want.

Computer cords – hate em. There are a few cheap ways to stay organized with all the cords that’ll be coming off your desk – either metal free hair ties, twist ties from bread packages, or those plastic clips made just for this purpose work. but another thing that works is to get a pair of toddler socks, cut the toes off and use that. Easy to get your items in and out and it won’t fray your cords or bend them and mess up their insides. ALWAYS use surge protectors, and to save space, use poster tabs to hang these where ever you want. I really like putting them up on the wall so they stay off the floor and keep cords out of my way. It’s really easy to pull the cords out and you don’t have to get behind the desk to do it.

Storage – My desk is usually always covered with stuff. So I get a plastic bin for my wall (or make one with manila file folders) and put mail in it so it stays out of the fray. Once I’m done with whatever mail that is, I sort it by category (feds that take my money, school that takes my money, money thats coming to me, family, other) and use some pretty nifty expandable file folders to store them permanently if they need to be stored. When you permanently store, put these folders in a crate that you designate just for things like this. I also use plastic bins to hold homework or papers I’ve gotten back that I have yet to hole punch and put into a binder.

I use binders a lot. At the end of every semester, all my notes and homework and papers, etc are all hole punched and put into a 3 inch binder then stored away in case I need the material again. Make sure to label your binders so you know what course material is in them. Once you find out whether you’ll need this material again, you can decide to keep the material in part or whole or throw it all away. If you recycle like I do, make sure you remove staples before you toss in a recycling bin. During the semester, I use a smaller binder or a notebook, then transfer the material I am through with into the bigger binder so I can keep my backpack light. This works pretty well, especially if you’re reading a million articles or switch topics weekly.

Speaking of backpacks, this is the desk away from home. It is the ultimate item that makes you cool or not on campus (but who cares??). Pick one that is comfy to you and will also fit the items you carry daily. I use multiple bags because there are some days I want a messenger but have a lot of things, somedays I want a messenger and don’t have a lot, some days I want a backpack and some days I’m just lounging and don’t need a lot of anything. Make sure you have enough pockets to carry the basics – writing utensils, keys, snacks, notebooks, etc. If it looks cool but is inefficient, you’ll end up purchasing something else later. I like multifunctional items – I also like to keep things like chapstick and writing utensils in every bag so I’m not stuck without something if I’m throwing things in a bag running out the door. Keep your bags cleaned out so you can ALWAYS find things you’re looking for and hang them up whenever possible.

Don’t forget – your desk is your place. But don’t keep things there you never use. If you barely use it, put it in a sealable bin under your bed or on a shelf and pull it out when you need it, but save your space for things that you use regularly and put them back in those places. I’ll be back next week to talk about the bed and bath areas and organization in those areas. So take the week and start looking for great things to get yourself at some of my favorite stores – Walmart and The Container Store. Don’t forget – the organization only works if you understand it. Good luck!

HarriMac enjoys a well lived life with a large serving of soul. Her special feature, Welcome to Soulville, appears every Thursday. Subscribe to the Welcome to Soulville feed to get new installments in your feed reader.

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