12 Ways on How to Organize Office Supplies at Work
How do you organize office supplies? Read on to learn 12 ways, so you know where everything is!
Cabinets overflowing with crumpled papers, staples buried elbow-deep in each desk drawers, and a singular box brimming with pens of every color of the rainbow…
Does this sound like a nightmare to you? Well, it’s a reality for many businesses that struggle to know how to organize an office or organize office supplies, and it makes work arduous for employees on the prowl for materials and requires frequent office cleanouts, which can waste valuable work time.
It’s not only mega-messes hampering employees, either; even relatively clean offices can operate more efficiently by optimally organizing office supplies. So we’ve dug through overstuffed drawers and scoured piles of papers to bring you 12 office supply organization ideas to productively secure your smaller items or materials anywhere from a cubicle to a corner (or home) office.
#1 Solving the Pen Problem
Perhaps the most misplaced item on this planet is the humble pen. Both inside and outside the office, this most-essential utensil has a reputation for magically getting up and walking away.
But where do all the pens go?
The answer’s easy in an organized office: Into a little transparent storage space.
These miniature, multi-drawer plastic pieces are used for various functions across different professions. Mechanics throw their nuts and bolts in them, tailors use them to house needles and thread, and savvy office workers purpose them for packing away their pens.
Each color of pen should be assigned its own compartment. And since you can see through the front of the drawers, you know exactly what you’re getting before you open them up for easy access. As a bonus, less airflow around your pens will keep them from drying out.
And if you’re on a budget, these containers can generally be found in arts and crafts shops or dollar stores. They are the cheap and simple answer to keeping an assortment of conflicting colors in an old coffee mug.
#1B Pondering Pencils: The Case or the Canister?
When they’re not traveling from place to place tucked behind an ear, pencils need a proper spot to call home too.
An upright canister with a removable lid is an optimal choice to stow away your HB #2s. They can be easily carried around to hand out during meetings or when colleagues need to scratch down quick notes. The lid also prevents any pre-sharpened points from poking unsuspecting fingertips.
Getting a transparent canister makes it even easier for you to keep stock of your pencil stash.
Just make sure that there’s a sharpener on hand if you move it far from the supply cabinet.
#2 Selecting Sharpeners
Speaking of sharpeners, without them, pencils would be pretty pointless.
While a singular, desk-mounted rotary sharpener may conjure up memories of simpler times in elementary school, they’re pretty inefficient in an office environment—and a bit messy.
That said, if your office is in your home, spin away.
At work, passing out handhelds is the speedy solution. Just make sure they have covers—graphite clutter is dirty and can require special chemicals to remove from fabrics and other surfaces.1
#3 Placing Post-Its
If you keep more on hand than just a stack affixed to the break room fridge, keep the sticky notes near the pens and pencils. There, they can be easily scooped up for their sole purpose: To jot things down.
#4 Positioning Paper
Determining why your office uses the majority of its paper clutter will dictate where to store it.
Businesses usually print with most of their paper, meaning they run through stacks of it frequently. In these common cases, paper is best stored close to the printer for easy replacement—making it one of the few bits of office supplies kept separately from the rest.
Alternatively, if you keep paper for other purposes, such as drafting diagrams, it's best placed with the other materials it’s used with.
Whatever you use paper for, be sure to keep it in a cool, dark place that’s relatively dry (such as a cabinet or supply closet) if you plan to store it for long. Heat and humidity get to paper and can warp or rot it over time,2 and you’re just asking for a paper jam if you’re stuffing wavy sheets into your printer.
#5 Creating a Cord Collection
Cables and wires are an everyday essential in the modern office. Extension cords and power bars fuel laptops at meetings, and ethernet cables give us connection in Wi-Fi dead zones. There are certainly important reasons to keep many cords on hand.
That said, the charger for your early 2000’s flip-phone can safely go in the trash.
To ensure the longevity of your important cables:
- Wrap them moderately tightly, but not so hard that you physically bend them.
- Use mesh or other organizers to keep them together.
- To see what’s what at a glance, use a permanent marker to label the bundles.
A covered plastic container or storage hook can keep unused ones all together for an easy storage solution, just stack similar cables on top of each other in an orderly fashion.
#6 Stowing Scissors
Common sense dictates that sharp objects probably shouldn’t be kept in drawer dividers with other things, especially if you’re going to dig your hands in without looking.
In fact, it’s probably best that scissors aren’t kept in drawers at all. Their blades can easily be dulled by scraping against other surfaces. Then, when it comes time to cut, they can’t even slice warm butter.
Instead, hang your scissors on one of those ornamental mug trees as a storage solution. Their blades will stay suspended, and they’ll be easy to locate amongst other supplies. Plus, the stands are short enough to stash inside a cabinet if you’re trying to keep surfaces clear.
#7 Tackling Tape
Rolls vary in circumference and size, but all have one thing in common: The hole in the center.
Using this intentionally-produced loophole, we can store our tape in less space than before.
Simply stack smaller rolls into the holes of the larger ones to save space. Placing them all on a tray together will allow them to come in and out of storage spaces easily.
#8 Stashing Staples
You may think that staples are all the same and only serve to bind paper but, truthfully, they vary in size and use.
You may keep a small size on hand for short documents, a larger gauge for pinning together lengthier projects, and even bigger ones to affix posters to walls.
In order to see which box houses which size at a glance, press one of the corresponding staples through each of their tops before putting them away.
#9 Adapt and Augment
Even if the furniture of your workstation setup is set in stone, that doesn’t mean you can’t modify it to the max. Consider mountable storage solutions to optimize your office space, like under-desk drawers or cabinets closer to the ceiling.
#10 Caching… Coffee?
Coffee may not necessarily be a bonafide member of the office supply family, but what workspace is complete without a dark, warm pot brewing nearby?
If you have a lot of caffeine-craving colleagues, then your office likely goes through bags of coffee routinely. Be sure to store grinds in an airtight container after opening them so that office employees get the tastiest cup of java possible.3 Ground beans crave darkness as deep as they are,3 so putting the container in the storage cabinet with the other supplies isn’t such a bad idea.
Just don’t confuse it with the canister full of pencils or ask why the mugs aren’t on their tree!
#11 Rubber Bands: It’s Time to Throw the Ball
Rubber bands are known for helping pack things away, but seldom is thought given to how to store them.
Often, we get more than we bargained for when we try to pull a single rubber band from the bag and its whole family decides to pop out with it.
Instead of haphazardly tossing open bags in a drawer, you can stretch the rubber bands over paper towel tubes. Doing so makes taking your desired amount a breeze, and they won’t get too stretched out.
Bonus: They stash away easily inside supply cabinets, either upright or stacked in a pyramid formation.
#12 Tidying Up Tacks
Thumb-tacks, pushpins, or whatever else you may call them, we’ve all impaled a finger on them at one time or another while taking one from its box. Pokey pins can be downright dangerous, even if the pain from their sting is only temporary.
In order to neutralize the poking power of pins, pull them from their package and pierce them into a piece of thick cardboard. Even better, poke them into a small corkboard before stowing them away.
Whatever you implant the pushpins into, just be sure that it’s thick enough, so they don’t penetrate through and scratch other supplies (or a colleague’s digits).
Securely Stow Your Office Supplies in a Buffet Credenza from Juniper Office
You have your pens packed into little drawers, your scissors hung, and your staples punched through the lids of their boxes.
Still, the question remains: Where are you going to put it all?
It’s not really organized if everything’s just sitting out, even if it’s all neatly sorted.
A stylish buffet credenza from Juniper Office has all the room you need to store away your neatly organized supplies—however you choose to arrange them. Its spacious interior can hold the pencil canisters, rubber band rolls, and tape towers that your office needs to operate productively. Our contemporary-yet-timeless design compliments any decor scheme with customizable faces and features. With Juniper’s office organization furniture, knowing how to organize your desk just became much easier.
Juniper Office helps your business flourish while looking its best by catering to its organizational needs with style.
- University of Georgia. Remove Stains from Pencil Lead, Graphite. https://site.extension.uga.edu/textiles/care/stain-removal/remove-stains-from-pencil-lead-graphite/
- Library of Congress. Care, Handling, and Storage of Works on Paper. https://www.loc.gov/preservation/care/paper.html
- National Coffee Association. How to Store Coffee. https://www.ncausa.org/about-coffee/how-to-store-coffee