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50 Office Storage and Organizational Hacks Using Everyday Items (Plus Blueprint Storage System Upgrades!)

blueprint storage rack

Guess what’s the number one, hot real estate trend? And it’s not housing.

Yep, that’s right. Offsite storage.

So much so that, according to a New York Times article, 1 out of every 10 Americans rents offsite storage, making it the fastest growing segment in commercial real estate for the last 40 years.[1]

But just how much storage space is there? 

Surprisingly, more than the total number of Starbucks…by five times. Which is a lot since there’s practically a Starbucks on every block by now.

Actually, the rough estimate comes out to a little over 50,000 storage facilities.[2]

When it comes down to it, do we really need that much stuff? 

Probably not.

In fact, according to Anthony P. Graesch, Connecticut College assistant professor of anthropology, we’re not doing this on purpose.

He states in a New York Times interview that nowadays extended families live farther away from one another, which means you’re probably not seeing Grandma every other day.

So, for the holidays and occasional meetups, guess what you and your family are going to do to make up for that lost time? Toys for the kids, new microwave for you and your spouse—in other words, give gifts, which amount to stuff.[3]

(And, because you see your relatives few and far between, it will be more painful to throw these things away. Learn about why it’s painful to throw stuff away in The Power of The Organized Workspace (And How Blueprint Storage Systems Helps).)

Plus, Graesch discusses that when we go grocery shopping, we tend to buy bulk goods. Why? Because it beats making one or two more trips.[4]

However, we end up forgetting what we bought. We may remember we got trash bags, but we forget we purchased 500 of them and have stored the extra in the closet.

So, when the trash bags under the sink are gone, what do we do? We buy more trash bags, and the cycle continues.

Chances are, you have some excess stuff at home that could be put to good use. And you can always make your workspace more efficient, so why not combine the two?

Your excess bulk can actually have a purpose other than taking up closet space. And your productivity will increase at work because you’re more organized. It’s a win-win.

(To learn why you’re more productive when your workspace is tidy, read Science Explains Why You Need a Blueprint Storage Rack.)

Check out our 50 office organizational and storage hacks, where we take over 35 everyday items, and transform them into functional office equipment.

And no, we are not talking about using an empty coffee mug as your pencil holder.

blueprint storage system

Image Credit: 1.) Huffington Post 2.) Apartment Therapy 3.) Mason Love 4.) Mason Love 5.) Better Homes & Gardens 6.) Bre Purposed 7.) Instructables 8.) My Sweet Savannah 9.) Den Garden 10.) Remodel Aholic 11.) HGTV 12.) Balma Gil 13.) Big Blueprint Hanger 14.) HGTV 15.) HGTV 16.) BuzzNick 17.) Buzzooks 18.) HGTV 19.) Ivy In The Bay 20.) The Organised Housewife 21.) HGTV 22.) Imgur 23.) Langton Designs 24.) BuzzFeed 25.) label me Merritt

1. Shoe Organizer Can Hold More Than Shoes

Hang an empty shoe organizer on a closet door in your office. Or, if you don’t have a closet, use the wall. To free up space, use the pockets to store excess office supplies such as pens, pencils, paper clips, and rubber bands.[5]

Blueprint Storage System Organizational Upgrade: SR6 Workstation Rack

Consider this blueprint storage system item for holding larger items like oversized folders, documents, and, as the name suggests, blueprints. Besides the door and wall, you can also hang the SR6 Workstation Rack on your cubicle, which makes it a great option if you have a door-less workspace.

2. Dishrack File Holder

Instead of wet dishes, place file folders, loose documents, and pamphlets in your dishrack, and set it on your desk. You can always spray paint the rack a different color to better fit your office’s style.[6]

3. Mason Jars Screwed Under the Desk

Empty and wash a couple mason jars. Using a drill, screw the mason jar lids to the bottom of your desk. Store erasers, notepads, and staples in the mason jars screwing them on their respective lids.[7]

4. Mason Jars on the Side of the Desk

You don’t have to store your office supplies underneath your desk; try the side!

5. Cutlery Tray on Wall 

Have an old cutlery tray you don’t use? Secure it to your office wall. Drill some hooks in the vertical slots. Now you have storage to hang the office and breakroom keys. Not to mention, your own keys, phone, and wallet.[8]

6. Lattice Bulletin Board

Secure a slab of lattice onto your office wall. (You can first paint it to match the office vibe.) Now you have a spot to post memos, that photo from last year’s holiday party, announcements, and the Tuesday lunch in reminder. All you have to do is attach them with some binder clips.[9]

7. Lego Pot for Your Office Plant

So, you have a pile of Legos thrown aside now that your kids have outgrown them. Grab some of those Legos, and make a Lego pot holder. You may want to put the Lego pot on a saucer for water draining purposes.

8. Wire Kitchen Racks for Incoming and Outgoing Mail

Pin those to the wall. Add a sign on each, one for incoming mail; the other for outgoing mail. Now, it’s easy for co-workers and clients to drop off important documents. You can always secure these to the front of your office door to minimize work disruption.[10]

9. Cabinet Drawers Become Office Shelves

If you’re throwing out an armoire, don’t discard the shelves. In fact, drill them into your office wall for some new and improved office shelves. (Feel free to paint them before installing them.) They can now hold those policy and protocol binders, not to mention office manuals you’ve crammed in the bottom of your closet.[11]

Blueprint Storage System Organizational Upgrade: Shelf Conversion Rack

Why not check out the Shelf Conversion Rack? Especially if you have some extra space in a file rack, shelf, cabinet, you name it. That way, you have hanging space for the documents that are piling on your desk as we speak.

10. Add Coasters on Cabinet Drawers

Stick some coasters on an unused cabinet drawer, and wheel it under your desk. There; space for your extension cord or even your printer, depending on the size of the drawer.[12]

11. Binder Clips to Hold Up Charging Cords

One of the simplest office hacks. Attach some binder clips to the side of your desk. Place charging cords between the metal loop. And you’re set![13]

12. All Out of Mints? Don’t Throw Away That Container

Use a mint container for small office supplies such as paper clips. (Tic-Tac mint cases work the best for this.)

13. Tape Vinyl Jackets to Your Office Door

Tape a Vinyl Jacket to your office door to store documents that need a second look before being sent out. You could also tape two Vinyl Jackets for incoming and outgoing mail if you’re not into the wire kitchen racks idea we mentioned earlier.

14. Mason Jars Become Office Supply Holders

Yes, we’re mentioning mason jars again—they’re that adjustable. Glue five mason jars together, with three jars in one row and two in the other. Once the glue has dried, set them on your desk. Place pencils, pens, sticky notes, and paper clips in them.[14]

15. Leftover Cookie Tins

You cleared your closet and found some leftover cookie tins from the holidays. Dust them off, stick a label on them, and voila: storage for labels, business cards, and work receipts.[15]

16. Soda Boxes Now Store Work Snacks

Most people stash some work snacks in their desk: trail mix, crackers, pretzels… However, your conventional office divider is too small to hold these snacks. Which means they’re clumped with the rest of your awkward-sized office items (i.e. stress ball, extra coffee mug…). Now you can organize these snacks by fitting them into an empty soda box. (Feel free to wrap the soda box in wrapping paper to hide the soda packaging.)[16]

17. DIY Holder for Dry Erase Markers 

Yes, your soup can hold more than just soup. Tear off the paper from an empty soup can. (You can spray paint the can for an added aesthetic effect.) Glue some magnets on the side of the can, and it should stick to your magnetized dry erase board. Now, you have storage for your dry erase markers.

18. Tuna Cans as Office Supply Dividers

Clean the tuna cans and tear off the paper. Fill the cans with small office supplies such as erasers, paper clips, staples, and tape. Stash in a desk drawer.[17]

19. Coat of Paint + Old Shutter = Document Holder

Paint an old shutter, and secure it on the wall. You can now drop incoming and outgoing mail in the slots. Or use it as a file organizer by marking each slot with a designated letter.[18]

Blueprint Storage System Organizational Upgrade: Wall Mounted Rack

Try the Wall Mounted Rack. It can hold 2 aluminum (and 3 poly) hangers per inch, and you still have room to thumb through the documents. As the name suggests, mount it on the wall for accessible vertical storage. You can also add a second tier to free up even more office space.

20. Magazine Holder Under the Desk

Drill magazine holders under your desk. They’re great to store folders you rarely use but still occasionally need. Now, you’ve freed up desk space for more frequently used binders and reading materials.

21. Muffin Tin Office Supply Divider

Stash an unused muffin tin in your desk drawer as a cheap alternative to traditional desk dividers. It’s great for small office supplies—bulletin board pins, magnets, erasers…[19]

22. Magnets for Your Keys, Scissors, and Stapler

Simple. Secure some magnets underneath your desk. There you go, a spot to hang your keys, scissors, stapler, and any other magnetic office supply.[20]

23. Place a Bread Tag on Your Tape

Having trouble ripping a piece of tape? Secure the end of the tape with a bread tag, which will make it easier to rip.[21]

24. Bring the 80s into Your Workspace

Use a cassette case as a cell phone or business card holder.[22]

25. Spice Rack Office Supply Holder

Place those tuna cans we mentioned earlier in a spice rack for a DIY office supply holder. If you’re not a fan of the cans, traditional pencil holders will do.

Want a pen? You can spin the rack instead of wasting minutes sifting through erasers, pencils, sharpies, everything else other than a pen.

blueprint storage system

Image Credit: 26.) BuzzFeed 27.) Two Twenty One 28.) The Merry Thought 29.) Make And Bake 30.) decor8 31.) Mountain Modern Life 32.) A Beautiful Mess 33.) Pinterest 34.) Simple Play Ideas 35.) Dream A Little Bigger 36.) Numisology 37.) Hello Innovation 38.) Martha Stewart 39.) Painting Rocks 40.) Crafting A Green World 41.) One Good Thing By Jillee 42.) Good Housekeeping 43.) Popsugar 44.) HGTV 45.) Popsugar 46.) Google 47.) Landeelu 48.) Lifehacker 49.) Big Blueprint Hanger 50.) Sheila Zeller Interiors

26. That Basket That Used to Store Toys is Still Useful

Attach it under your desk. Instead of Legos, Barbie dolls, and toy trucks, it now holds your extension cord, charger, and printer cords.[23]

27. Plexiglas as a Whiteboard Alternative

Nail a slab of Plexiglas onto a board for an alternative version of the whiteboard. Not digging this? Take an unused picture frame, glass still intact, and voila: your quick-and-easy DIY whiteboard, great for writing down your daily to-do list.[24]

28. Broom Head Desk Holder 

Cut off the end of a broom. Clean the bristles, and stick some pencils and pens in it. Your desk holder is complete.[25]

29. Colored Clothespins to Flag Important Items

Paint clothespins a bright color that’ll clearly signal “important status.” Pin them on important documents that need to be looked at right away.

30. Clipboard Organizational Wall

Mount several clipboards on the wall. Attach documents to each clipboard that must be looked at. That way, you ensure that work is tackled today, not buried underneath a paper stack.[26]

31. When you have an old pipe

Mount that old pipe you were about to chuck on the curbside to your wall. Attach small buckets to rings, and hang them up. These buckets can hold anything, from office supplies to extra Tupperware.[27]

32. DIY Corked Bulletin Board

Put your wine cork collection to use. Glue the wine corks together, and then glue the corked edges to a frame. Mount the frame to the office wall. Stick some pins in—your new DIY bulletin board.

33. Candle Holders for Your Doo-Dads 

Place your doo-dads in empty candle holders on your desk. These may be concert tickets you’re not ready to part with. Or a rock your kid gave you a couple years ago. Whatever they are, they now have a home.

34. Lego Pen Holder

Use those Legos again to build a pen holder.

35. Clothespin Memo Holder

Glue one end of the clothespin to a slab of wood for a DIY memo holder. Make sure you only glue one end; gluing two wouldn’t allow the clothespin to hold the memo.

36. Thin Drawer Paper Holder

Throwing away a tool organizer? Keep one of the thin drawers, and use it as a paper holder.

37. Lego Figures Can Hold Your Keys and Cords

Attach the Lego and Lego figure to the side of the desk. The figure’s hands can hold your keys and cords. Use as many Lego figures as needed.[28]

38. Envelopes on Bulletin Board

Need a place to stick documents that are smaller than the standard 8.5 by 11 inch? Stick them in envelopes and pin them on your bulletin board. That way, they aren’t buried underneath a stack. And you can deal with them head on.

Blueprint Storage System Organizational Upgrade: 1 Tier Blueprint Storage Rack

Look into the 1 tier blueprint storage rack to reduce your towering stack of documents. The reason this is a great blueprint storage system is that you can hang up any size document—bigger and smaller than the typical 8.5 by 11-inch size.

39. Rocks Make Great Paper Weights

Your child’s pet rock can now be put to good use. Use a rock or heavy-ish weight to keep papers from flying away.

40. Magnetize Anything for a Personalized Effect

Need more magnets but want a more personalized look? Attach magnet strips onto sentimental items that have no use but are too painful to throw away. That way, the sentimental item is being put to good use, and your brain doesn’t have to suffer the pain in discarding a personable belonging.

For reasons why your brain associates tossing out items with pain, go here.

41. Ice Cube Tray Can Be Your New Small Office Supplies Holder

Those pins, staples, small sticky notes now can have a home. Stow them away in an ice cube tray.[29]

42. Medicine Pill Organizer Comes in Handy

If that doesn’t work for you, consider using a medicine pill organizer.

43. Keep Those Toilet Paper Rolls

Toilet paper rolls are great for keeping tanging cords together. Wrap the cord in a tight-ish loop, and slide a roll over it.[30]

44. Hang Office Cleaning Supplies Using a Curtain Rod

Install a thin curtain rod in your office closet. Then hang the office cleaning supplies on the rod. Doing this makes the most of your vertical space while freeing up storage room below for heavier items.[31]

45. Plastic Bottle Charging Station

Yes, a plastic bottle can be your charging station for your phone.

To make this, cut the bottle horizontally, leaving about three inches of space. Once you reach that three-inch mark, cut vertically for about two inches. Do the same to the other side. Cut the bottom third of the bottle as well as the 2 by 3 -inch plastic section from the rest of the bottle.

Then cut a 1 by 1 inch square in the plastic section. That’s to go around the charger and outlet while the bottom of the plastic bottle holds your phone.

Spray paint the plastic bottle if you’d like.[32]

46. Wide Cup, Removable Adhesive Method

If you don’t want to go through all that work creating a charging station, do this. Get a short, wide cup that your phone fits in. Attach some removable mounting putty (or whatever adhesive you’d like, as long as it doesn’t damage the wall) to the cup. Stick the adhesive cup to one of the lower sides of the outlet.

47. Color Coordinate Cords

Color coordinate the different cords by attaching a different color tape around each one. You can go one more step by labeling what cord goes to what.[33]

48. Bread Tags for Cords

You can use bread colored bread tags for this too.[34]

49. Vinyl Jacket in Go-To Binder

Let’s say you’re suddenly called into an impromptu meeting. Or a client needs you on site immediately. Plan for these unexpected changes by having a Vinyl Jacket with your needed office supplies in your go-to binder. (By go-to binder we mean the binder with everything in it that you would need for an emergency call.)

50. Door Knob Coat Hanger

Don’t take up space with a traditional coat hanger. Drill a door knob into the wall for your coat and/or scarf.

That’s not all…

While compiling these office storage and organizational hacks for you, we came across some honorable mentions.

(Most of these are office hacks that don’t have to do with organization and storage, but are still useful.)

Honorable Mentions

-Place your coffee cup on a charger to keep it warm.[35]

-Or stuff your burrito in an empty mug while you’re going through emails.[36]

-Stick a wet sponge in a plastic bag and place in the freezer. And you now have an icepack for your lunch.[37]

-Stick your phone in an empty mug for a cheap-and-easy speaker.[38]

-Stick some Silica gel packets in your drawers to prevent damage caused by moisture.[39]

-Have an AAA battery become an AA by stuffing a small ball of foil in the empty space.[40]

Want more storage hacks? How about that blueprint storage system? Contact us!

 

Feature Image Credit via Tim Grouw

______________________________________________

[1] New York Times: The Self-Storage Self

[2] becomingminimalist: 21 Surprising Statistics That Reveal How Much Stuff We Actually Own

[3] New York Times: The Way We Live: Drowning in Stuff

[4] New York Times: The Way We Live: Drowning in Stuff

[5] Huffington Post

[6] Apartment Therapy

[7] Your Modern Family

[8] Better Homes & Gardens

[9] Bre Purposed

[10] My Sweet Savannah

[11] Den Garden

[12] Remodel Aholic

[13] HGTV

[14] HGTV

[15] HGTV

[16] BuzzNick

[17] HGTV

[18] Ivy In The Bay

[19] Better Homes & Gardens

[20] BuzzFeed

[21] Langton Designs

[22] BuzzFeed

[23] BuzzFeed

[24] Two Twenty One

[25] The Merry Thought

[26] decor8

[27] Mountain Modern Life

[28] Hello Innovation

[29] One Good Thing By Jillee

[30] Popsugar

[31] HGTV

[32] Popsugar

[33] Landeelu

[34] Lifehacker

[35] Hello Innovation

[36] Mashable

[37] BuzzFeed

[38] Huffington Post

[39] OfficeDesk

[40] Hello Innovation

Everything You Need to Know About a Blueprint Storage Rack

blueprint storage rack

The truth is, Americans are accumulating more stuff. To be exact, according to the LA Times, the average American home has 300,000 items.[1] (Read on to learn how a blueprint storage rack helps.)

The same article states that a quarter of people with a 2-car garage don’t actually have room to park their cars inside it. And only 32% have room to park one car.

However, this stat says it all: we’ve consumed twice as many material goods compared to 50 years ago.[2] And these materials aren’t cheap.

A Wall Street Journal article pegs American material goods spending at $1.2 trillion…per year.[3] In other words, we spend a lot of money on “stuff.”

Reasons why we accumulate stuff

But what gives? Why are we spending more on nonessential goods?

We could chalk it up to a lot of reasons. Material possession, for one, brings a sense of security to many.

Also, for a lot of people, items hold symbolic and sentimental meaning. Perhaps your now-passed grandmother gave you a treasured family heirloom.

Or you can’t let go of those concert tickets because they’re associated with your teenage years.

You may then pass these possessions down to your kids. So, they may not only receive your things but your parents’ parents and so on. Meaning the further accumulation of stuff.

Surprisingly, we may have more stuff simply because it’s easier to. We have eBay and Craigslist. Not to mention, most brick-and-mortar retail stores now have an online store as well.

And we live in a society where posting your possessions via social media is encouraged. This provokes us to buy more stuff. Because who doesn’t want the latest iPhone that Chris posted on his Facebook wall?

So, what now?

This brings us to the end-all, be-all question: what can we do about it?

Because a bunch of stuff lying around wreaks havoc on our brains, productivity, and mood.

You can read more about this in our article, The Power of The Organized Workspace (and How Blueprint Storage Systems Helps).

The answer to this is simple: store smarter.

This doesn’t mean investing in a storage unit. It literally entails making the most out of your available space. So, taking advantage of wall space (aka vertical storage) as well as nooks and crannies.

And with that, a blueprint storage rack can come to the rescue.

You see, your accumulation of stuff doesn’t just end at your house. It extends to your workspace too. The beauty about a blueprint storage rack is that you can use it for your house and workspace.

It can also get you the best of both worlds: ultimate organization and no need to throw away precious heirlooms and memorabilia.

How?

Read more to find out!

Plus, learn the many ways you can use this storage system, and who benefits from it the most. 

But first, what exactly is a blueprint storage rack?

In a nutshell, this is a storage system that allows you to hang blueprints, artwork, oversized files, drafts, iron-on transfers, hanging print files, samples, and patterns.

The main reason why it offers more storage space than your typical file cabinet is the hangers. You can get either aluminum or poly hangers. Both can hold up to 60 prints.

Given that your average filing cabinet can only hold roughly 27 inches of space, you’re much more likely to store more files, blueprints, and so forth in the rack. Plus, it can hold a variety of sizes, not just your standard file dimensions.

While this storage system can hold a number of documents, it is perfect for blueprints, hence its name.

That said, what are blueprints?

Basically, a blueprint is a design plan or technical drawing that communicates an idea.

Its purpose is to provide a road map, making that intangible idea become a tangible one.

Background

Originally, the blueprint was invented in 1842.[4]

Essentially, it’s a copy of a drawing.

To get that copy, you had to trace the drawing on translucent paper. Then, you added a mixture of ferric ammonium citrate and potassium ferricyanide to the translucent paper.

And then expose the translucent paper to light. The negative spaces on the translucent paper would turn white. The two chemicals would combine and the drawing would be blue.

After this, you’d dip it in water and get a double negative. The drawing would be in white and the background was now blue or blue print.

So, it’s no wonder why this type of drawing became referred to as “blueprint.”

This was the old way of doing it.

Current method

Nowadays, blueprints are developed via the diazotype method.[5]

This means the light-sensitive paper is mixed with Diazonium salt, reactant, and acid. The acid’s purpose is to prevent the salt and reactant from reacting with one another.

Place the original drawing on top of the light-sensitive paper. And give it some light. Voila! The light obliterates the salt.

Afterward, use ammonia gas or a solution as a developer after the light exposure.

This neutralizes the acid, preventing it from further reacting.

Doing this ensures the rest of the salt reacts with the reactant. And the result: blue dye.

Why people still use blueprints?

While blueprints have been around for a while, it’s safe to say they won’t be going away anytime soon.

The reason being, they’re much more affordable than large posters or printed paper designs.

Why are the blueprint storage racks great for blueprints?

Your standard blueprint measures around 12 by 18 inches at least. And 24 by 36 inches the largest. (Some blueprints are also 18 by 24 inches.)

Given these measurements, your blueprints aren’t going to fit nice and neat in filing cabinets or a shelf. In fact, they’re most likely going to stick out and cause clutter.

As we know from The Power of the Organized Workspace (and How Blueprint Storage Systems Helps), clutter increases stress, lowers reputation, plus a slew of other reasons.

This is when it’s more beneficial to hang them up. Since a (24-inch) blueprint storage rack are capable of holding up to 4,000 prints, it will be a while (or never) before you run out of room. This gives you plenty of time and space to organize.

So, who needs this product?

Here’s who benefits the most:

-Architects

-Graphic Designers

-Risk Management

-Engineers

-Landscapers

-City Planning

-City Zoning

-Teachers

-Anyone who has a significant number of files

-Clothing Designers

-Artists

-Anyone who wants to display their samples or have them on hand

-Anyone who has a home office

-Anyone who has a cluttered office and/or home

What are the benefits?

A blueprint storage rack has many more benefits than just size. Here’s how it helps:

Better Organization

Many contractors have blueprints (rolled-up and not rolled-up) piled on top of their desks, bunched in file cabinets, you name it.

Unfortunately, while it’s quick and easy to just lie a blueprint or drawing on your desk, it does build up.

This level of disorganization could cost you a client (hence profit loss), lowering your business reputation and adding hours to your workday.

Instead, spend two minutes’ tops hanging your blueprint on the rack. Getting in the habit of doing this prevents clutter, which lowers stress and allows you to lead a more balanced and healthy lifestyle.

We go more into details about the repercussions of clutter here.

Less possibility of causing a safety hazard

If you need to leave the building immediately for whatever reason, disorganization can cost you minutes. In some cases, this won’t matter.[6]

But you never know. You may find yourself in a situation where minutes, in fact, do count.

To ensure you’re able to enter and exit your office easily, reduce clutter by hanging up blueprints and oversized file folders on the blueprint storage rack.

And, on top of this, paper and cardboard boxes are very flammable. Depending on the circumstances (i.e. smoker, matches or lighter not extinguished, damaged power cord…), you could increase your chances of starting a fire.

Again, hanging your drawings and samples away from your desk will decrease the possibility of this happening.

And what about trips and falls?

Stacked cardboard boxes impeding your walkway can significantly increase your risk of tripping and falling.

Or the tripping and falling of a co-worker…or even a client.

Since we do live in a litigious society, it’s not worth the risk of a possible lawsuit.

Helps prevent ergonomic injuries

According to a Safety + Help article, “Perhaps the most prevalent injuries in an office setting are related to ergonomics. Because office workers spend the bulk of their day seated at a desk and working on a computer, they are prone to strains and other injuries related to posture repetitive movement.” [7]

By having your files and blueprints hung up to where you have to get up and move from your chair does help to prevent these types of injuries.

Getting out of your seat

Sitting throughout your workday does increase your risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, not to mention a slew of other health consequences.

So, not only would you limit ergonomic injuries, but moving to get files from the blueprint storage rack would help in lowering your risk of health effects associated with sitting.

Studies even show that standing while working can increase your productivity levels and decrease stress.[8]

How?

It’s simple: the human body wasn’t meant for 8 plus hours of sedentary activity.

No file cabinets falling over

Yes, if file cabinets aren’t secure they can fall over. This normally happens because they’re packed with files and documents, which causes a weight imbalance. And then…voila! It falls.

Filing cabinets that do fall over can cause further office damage such as damaging power cords (which, as we mentioned, can lead to fire hazards) as well as damage to the floor and/or office furniture.

With this type of rack, you don’t have to worry about a weight imbalance (because of the hangers with finger space) or the blueprint storage rack falling over. This prevents damage, aka less money.

No trip risk, as opposed to file cabinets

Tripping from file cabinets…

Yes, there is such a thing.

Forgetting to close filing cabinets or not being able to (because they’re stuffed) can cause tripping. This can and does apply to desk drawers as well.[9]

Utilizing the aluminum and poly hangers can help prevent trips from happening.

Ordering is a drag…so you don’t have to

Perhaps you work at a school or corporate office where ordering new office furniture requires more time and effort than it’s worth.

You have to fill out an order sheet. The order sheet is approved and processed. Overall, this process can take days, and, depending on the company or organization, months.

This makes it a drag when you need office furniture and supplies. And some people do end up forking over their own money to bypass this lengthy endeavor.

That’s fine for pencils (not really but it’s doable), but not when you need another file cabinet.

To not be sucked into the system, a blueprint storage rack can store more than your typical file cabinet. This eliminates the need to fill out that order sheet and stack excess papers and boxes (which then prevents safety hazards remember?).

More space

Ok, so you’re out of horizontal space. Why not go vertical? We mentioned this in a previous article, but let’s go more in depth.

Unfortunately, with filing cabinets, you can’t stack two on top of each other. (Two words: not safe.)

However, you can add another tier to the blueprint storing racks: 2 Tier Storage Racks.

You won’t face safety problems. And remember how a blueprint storage rack can hold up to 4,000 blueprints? Well, now you increase that twofold, so 8,000 blueprints.

Reminds you to take a break

Some people take a 10-minute break every hour. In fact, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends it.[10]

Keep forgetting?

Standing up to go get an oversized file from one of the poly or aluminum hangers can serve as a physical reminder.

Waste less time digging through documents

Instead of pulling out extra file folders to see if you’re closer to your designated file, you can easily leaf through the hanging files or blueprints.

In fact, the documents should have a comfortable finger space in between each one.

So, less time finding the file. (Did you know we spend roughly 10 minutes looking for lost or misplaced items?)[11]

This especially saves time (and perhaps awkward moments?) during a client meeting.

Fewer lost documents

With so many blueprints on top of your desk and stuffed in filing cabinets, you’re bound to lose a blueprint or two.

This means you lose not only that document, but the precious time you spent creating it.

According to one design service company, a set of plans for a 1,800-square foot home can take two to six weeks to draft. Two to six weeks! We aren’t talking a couple of days here.

With project on top of project, where are you going to fit in that time?

The blueprint storage rack makes it less likely for this to occur.

Fewer missed opportunities   

What were you doing when your boss needed an extra hand? What about that office meeting? You may have been looking for your missing drawings.

It’s no wonder. People lose up to 9 items per day.[12]

And since we’ve already established it takes approximately 10 minutes to locate a missing item, on a bad day you’re going to spend up to 90 minutes finding missing folders and lost blueprints.

So, you have some missed opportunities.

To reduce that (and perhaps put you in bonus contention?), install a wall mounted rack or 2 tier storage rack.

Didn’t catch everything? That’s alright. Here’s a summary of what you need to know:

-We accumulate a lot of stuff for a lot of reasons: sentimental and symbolic value being two of them.

-And we are accumulating more and more stuff!

-This means we have to store smarter…in our homes and offices.

-Because there’s a host of health effects associated with clutter.

-Luckily we don’t have to invest in a storage unit.

-We just need a blueprint storage rack.

-Which is a storage system for blueprints, drawings, samples, and oversized files.

-Since this storing system does have “blueprints” in it, what’s a blueprint?

-To put it simply, a blueprint is a drawing that communicates an idea.

-There’s two types of methods: diazotype and the original method.

-Some blueprint storage rack benefits include: more space, less of a safety hazard, a break reminder, and fewer injuries.

Want more information? Contact us.

 

________________________________

[1] Los Angeles Times: For many people, gathering possession is just the stuff of life

[2] The Story of Stuff: Referenced and Annotated Script

[3] The Wall Street Journal: Number of the Week: Americans Buy More Stuff They Don’t Need

[4] How Stuff Works: What exactly is a blueprint?

[5] How Stuff Works: What exactly is a blueprint?

[6] Safety + Help: Recognizing hidden dangers: 25 steps to a safer office

[7] Health + Safety: Recognizing hidden dangers: 25 steps to a safer office

[8] TIME: Sitting is Killing You

[9] [9] Health + Safety: Recognizing hidden dangers: 25 steps to a safer office

[10] OSHA: Ergonomics in Foundries

[11] Daily Mail: Lost something already today? Misplaced items cost us ten minutes a day

[12] Daily Mail: Lost something already today? Misplaced items cost us ten minutes a day

The Power of The Organized Workspace (and How Blueprint Storage Systems Helps)

blueprint storage systems

There’s more behind a messy workspace than some loose documents and a mile-high stack of file folders.

An OfficeTeam study[1] reveals that a messy desk influences your professional reputation.

In this study, 65% of HR managers stated a messy desk “somewhat affects it [perception of that person’s professionalism].”

65%!

Hate to break it to you, but workspace organization matters.

But there’s more to organization than just reputation. Organization has been linked to reduced stress, better time management, and a more balanced life.

That sounds great!

Which is why we created this article to show you can tackle clutter once and for all.

In this article, you’ll learn:

  • Why your brain tricks you into thinking everything on your desk is important
  • How to organize your office space
  • The benefits and scientific explanations associated with organization
  • How to beat clutter

Not to mention, how blueprint storage systems can help you accomplish this.

Read on to learn more.

Why we keep stuff

Those company Angel’s tickets you went to last year? Yep, definitely need those.

Expired coupons? Sure, why not?

Broken pencils? Can always tape them.

You see, our brain tricks us into thinking everything on our desks is important.[2] We look at an item and boom, “super important” label pops right up.

Perhaps, this is because the same regions of our brain associated with pain light up when we throw sentimental items away.

Your brain has your self-interest in mind (no pun intended).  It wants to keep you away from all things painful…including “the pain of throwing stuff away.”

But that’s not all…

Some people view items as security. The more items you accumulate, the more secure you are.

Others don’t like making decisions. And decluttering involves making a lot of decisions—should it stay or should it go?

And then, some people have ineffective time management skills. There’s never any time to clean up. Too many projects due. Too many clients calling, and so forth.

Couple our brain’s trickery with our personal preferences, and it’s no wonder decluttering isn’t on the top of the to-do list.

However, that doesn’t mean it’s not important. Quite the opposite actually.

Benefits of organization

We’ve already mentioned in our previous article, Science Explains Why You Need a Blueprint Storage Rack, more clutter equals more stress.

But did you know you’re more likely to choose healthier food options when you work in a tidier environment?

Eating Habits

An experiment[3] had participants work in a neat space for 10 minutes two times per day. Those that did this were more likely to choose an apple over chocolate. The opposite effect happened to participants who worked in a messy office during those same time intervals.

Remember how clutter overwhelms your brain and boosts your cortisol levels up?

Well, perhaps we want that chocolate (or insert whatever sugary/salty treat) because it’s our coping mechanism for the clutter.[4]

Exercise

Yes, decluttering is a form of exercise. You’re getting your heart rate up, lifting and carrying out boxes.

You’re bending up and down, organizing your office supplies and documents.

You’re utilizing blueprint storage systems, by hanging up oversized files in the wall mounted rack.

In fact, tidying up for roughly 30 minutes burns 100 calories.[5]

Not only do you exercise literally from decluttering, but having an organized office means more time for exercise.

According to a survey, we spend on average 10 minutes looking for a lost item (wow!).[6]

Also, the research found we lose up to nine items every day.[7]

Ok, suppose you’re having one of those days where nothing seems to go right. You do lose those nine items.

Let’s do the math.

If it takes us on average 10 minutes to locate one lost item, multiply that by nine, and you spend around 90 minutes looking for those misplaced office items.

That’s a lot!

If you take the time to organize your office space, you’ll have less of those days. That means some of those 90 minutes can be spent working out.

So, a tidy desk really does promote exercise.

Social Effects

A lot of times, disorganization can lead to shame and embarrassment.

Remember in our previous article we mentioned it does matter what people think of us?

In case you don’t, here’s a brief snapshot. It’s not that we care very much what people outside our circle think of us; it’s the people inside who matter. This circle includes family, friends…and co-workers.

(Read more about this in our previous article, Science Explains Why You Need a Blueprint Storage Rack.)

Yes, co-workers.

So, when we have a messy desk we may not want to draw attention to ourselves and our messiness. We may be afraid of our co-workers’ judgments.

If 65% of HR managers perceive employees with messy offices less professional, it’s safe to say some co-workers may believe the same.

Even if no co-workers’ perspectives change, we’ll start to become worried, believing that they have.

Nonetheless, this shame and embarrassment build up, making us not want to interact with our co-workers, whether that means teaming up on a project or shooting the breeze for a few minutes.

Our own messiness creates a physical (the clutter) and emotional boundary around us that prevents us from letting people in…

As you know, humans are social. It’s in our nature to interact with people. Poor social health leads to a slew of health problems such as developing a cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, autonomic dysregulation and even an early mortality.[8]

How can you defeat this clutter and increase social interaction?

You can incorporate one of the blueprint storage systems to make your office tidier. This tidiness establishes trust and professionalism and makes you look more reliable and in control.

Plus, it’s more convenient for employees to share information with you and vice versa. Since physically there’s more room to spread a project out on. And you’re not embarrassed or ashamed of your office.

Sleep

Yes, disorganization in the workplace messes with your sleep.

According to the Sleep Foundation, young adults (ages 18-25) need 7-9 hours of sleep per day. Adults, 26-64 in age, still need those 7-9 hours. It doesn’t change until you’re 65 years and older. This age group needs 7-8 hours of sleep daily.[9]

In order for us to get those 7-9 hours (or 7-8 hours for seniors), we need to finish work at a decent time.

Spending up to 90 minutes looking for missing items or that important project in a messy room wreaks havoc on your sleep.

You’ll come home an hour or so later than you normally would.

Because of the increased stress associated with a cluttered workspace, you’ll feel worked up.

Due to this stress and poor time mismanagement, you won’t get those 7-9 (or 7-8) important hours of sleep.

You’ll wake up tired, go to work, and the cycle repeats.

Use the blueprint storage systems. An organized space will get your circadian rhythm back on track.

You’ll save more money

65% of HR managers stated a messy workspace affects their perceptions of the employee’s professionalism (we mentioned this in the beginning).

Well, these higher-ups are responsible for giving you bonuses, raises, and promotions.

So, having a clean work area may benefit you financially.

Not only could your professional reputation with your superiors earn you more money, but you’ll save the company more money.

It costs a corporation $120 on average to recover a missing file.[10]

Even crazier, 70% of business people lose computer data, which ends up costing $18 billion per year (yikes!).[11]

So, organization goes further; you need to organize computer files too.

By being organized by backing up your files, you’ll save the company money. And if this organization carries over to your workspace, you’ll get more work done. (Tidy workspaces mean more productivity.) Because of this, you’re more likely to get a bonus, raise, and/or promotion.

You see, it pays to be organized.

How to beat clutter

Now that you know the benefits of a tidy workspace, learn what steps you can take to have an organized office.

Purge, purge, purge

You first have to figure out what you do and don’t need.

Catch-It Space

To do this, have a catch-it space.[12]

This calls for separating the mail and documents you receive into designated areas.

You’ll need a credenza (or plan table) and trays, a wall mounted rack or SR6 workstation rack, and a trashcan.

After you have those items, separate your current files, documents, and mail into “important and urgent,” “urgent but not important,” and “non-urgent and not important.”

You’ll then select one of the office equipment pieces with the category.

For instance, a tray for “urgent but not important” and a tray for “important and urgent” could be on the credenza or plan table.

Of course, trash will go in the trashcan.

One-Drawer Strategy

Of course, there’s no one-size-fits-all. If that organizational purging strategy doesn’t work for you, do this.

Take everything out of your desk (including what’s on top), drawers, and file cabinets. Put it in a desk drawer. (If you have a lot of stuff you may need two.)

Start working. When you need a particular item, pull it from the drawer and give it a “home” (designated spot).

Give it some time. After a few weeks, whatever is left in that drawer is the stuff you don’t use. You can then discard these items.

KonMari Decluttering Method

But maybe that style doesn’t work for you. What about this?

Go to the office on a Saturday (this is worth it, trust us), and go through all of your things.

For each object, ask you self “Does this bring me joy?”[13]

If you’re having trouble with this, as some office items don’t really bring joy, try changing the question to “Does this have a purpose?”

If it does, keep it. If it doesn’t, discard.

The KonMari method stresses to purge by category rather than area. So, first go through your office supplies. Then, tackle the files…

Once you’ve decided which items stay and which go, give each item that stays a permanent “home” or designated spot.

Ok, how do you maintain the tidiness when papers come in?

What to do with incoming paper

Simple. Have two trays for incoming mail. That way, people can quickly drop off a document without adding to your clutter.

Separate the trays, “Old” and “New.”

The “New” tray is for newly dropped off mail, documents, and files. Designate a time of day to sort through the “New” pile, separating them into “important and urgent,” “urgent but not important” and “non-urgent and not important” areas.

If you’re strapped for time, place the “New” papers into the “Old” tray. That way, you have a day or two to sort through the stack without feeling overwhelmed.

Read on to learn more organizational tricks…

Organize by frequency

 This goes hand in hand with the “important and urgent” … areas. The most “urgent and important” should be the closest to you, while the “non-urgent and not important” is farther away.

That way, you’re in arms reach of the critical stuff you need to deal with that day.

This is important, as it’s easy to become sidetracked while walking to pull out a file or document.

Use vertical file holders to make this happen.

In a CNN Money article, Amy Trager, a professional organizer, stated that “vertical file holders help avoid stacking folders on top of each other and overlooking the ones, not on top.”[14]

How blueprint storage systems helps with this

When you can see the files, you won’t forget them.

This is where the SR6 workstation rack comes into play.

(This may be a part of blueprint storage systems, but doesn’t have to just apply to blueprints.)

In fact, you can hang files, documents, paperwork, even art on this rack.

What makes it so useful is that you can make the most out of the limited office space you have.

The rack can hold on average 3 poly hangers per inch and 2 aluminum hangers per inch. This leaves room to thumb through the documents.

Just to let you know, each poly hanger holds up to 50 documents, and aluminum hangers hold up to 60 documents.

So, there’s no reason for you to have a huge stack of files piling up on your desk.

You can designate this workstation rack as “important and urgent,” and place it on your dominant side, closest to you.

Whatever you do, don’t place “non-urgent and not important” into a drawer. Doing so leaves it out of your sight.

You know how the saying goes, “Out of sight, out of mind.”

Which begs the question, what are the drawers for?

What drawers are for

Divide up your office supplies.

Put the office supplies you use on a daily basis on your desk. For the supplies you only use once or twice a week, leave them in the drawers.

Make sure when you do divide the supplies, to group like with like. For instance, group pencils, pens, and erasers together because they all have to do with writing.

Go Vertical

Don’t have any office space left? Yes, you do. You’re just out of horizontal space. Go vertical instead, and use wall mounted racks.

(This is where blueprint storage systems come in handy.)

They’re great when the floor space is tight, as—just as the name indicates—you can store files on the wall. Plus, you can add another tier for more storage capacity.

Because you can easily thumb through the files (instead of having to bend over and dig through them in a drawer or cabinet), you’ll save time retrieving the paper.

This is great since the average retrieval time of a piece of paper is about 10 minutes.[15]

 Incorporate the 1-In-1-Out rule

Now that your space is tidy, you don’t want to re-clutter it by bringing in more items.

Use this rule to monitor your office stuff.

Say, you just bought this informative, industry-based book. You want to have it in the office so you can reference it from time to time.

That’s great. Bring the book in. Put it where all the other books are. Now, take out a book you don’t use. 1 in, 1 out.

This way, you use your office space to its optimal capacity and don’t go overboard.

Try this creative, organizational hack

If you’re stumped on organizing your office space, take a picture of it.

Look at it, and assess your space from an “outsider’s perspective.”

You can also literally get an outsider’s perspective by asking a co-worker. Or show the picture to friends and family and have them weigh in.

Aim for “tidy enough”

Keep careful of perfectionism; it’s a productivity killer.

If you find yourself meticulously sharpening pencils or straightening up files for 30 minutes, chances are you’re in the thick of it.

You know, perfectionists tend to procrastinate. It’s because they aim for perfection.[16] Perfection isn’t a bad thing; a lot of times, though, it means you don’t get much done.

So, aim for “tidy enough.”

When tidy isn’t effective

Albert Einstein once said, “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?”[17]

He’s got a point.

A study shows that participants in a messy room came up with “28% more creative” ways to use a ping pong ball than those in a tidy room.[18]

So, when you need to brainstorm ideas, leave your desk a little messy.[19]

Or, if you prefer a messy desk, tidy up before you head home.

That way, you still communicate to your higher up you’re still professional.

How have your organizational habits impacted your work? Do you notice a positive difference when your office space is tidy? Let us know.

Also, be sure to check out our blueprint storage systems!

 

Image Credit: William Iven

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[1] OfficeTeam: Out of Order

[2] Lifehacker: Top 10 Office Decluttering Tricks

[3] SAGE journals: Physical Order Produces Healthy Choices, Generosity, and Conventionality, Whereas Disorder Produces Creativity

[4] Shape: How Cleaning and Organizing Can Improve Your Physical and Mental Health

[5] Health: 10 Chores that Burn 100 Calories

[6] Daily Mail: Lost something already today? Misplaced items cost us ten minutes a day

[7] Daily Mail: Lost something already today? Misplaced items cost us ten minutes a day

[8] NCBI: Social Relationships and Health: A Flashpoint for Health Policy

[9] National Sleep Foundation: How Much Sleep Do We Really Need?

[10] Oprah: 10 Steps to a Cleaner Office

[11] Oprah: 10 Steps to a Cleaner Office

[12] Inc: How to Organize Your Office for Maximum Productivity

[13] goop: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese art of decluttering and organizing by Marie Kondo

[14] CNN Money: Here’s how your desk should be organized

[15] Oprah: 10 Steps to a Cleaner Office

[16] Psychology Today: Perfectionism as a Roadblock to Productivity

[17] Science alert: 10 Workspaces of Some of the Greatest Minds in Science

[18] American Psychology Association: A messy desk encourages a creative mind, study finds

[19] 99U: The Perfect Workspace (According to Science)