Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Pretty Organised: Work Space

It seems like ages ago that I was asked for more articles of an organisational nature here on Charade (whoever you are, I’ve totally forgotten how and when you asked – but at least I remember that you did!) Well, I’ve finally gotten around to it, and you know me, if a subject takes my fancy enough, I’ll only go and make a series out of it!

I’m calling the series ‘Pretty Organised’ and will be touching on the four main elements of modern living: work space, bedroom, kitchen and bathroom. Hopefully, even if you’re a student in halls (or in a shared house like me) there’ll be tips you can take away to improve the space you do have.

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Work space can mean different things to different people; to you it might mean the edge of an old wallpapering table in your granddad’s shed, or a boring built-in desk below a well-used corkboard in your university halls, it could even mean a whole room to yourself (golly!) Whatever the case, there are ways to make it pretty. And why? Because a pretty workspace makes for pretty amazing work – and lots of it.

On Your Wall

Ugly corkboard? Cover it with fabric! If you’re always struggling to find a pen, that roll of sticky tape, or a notepad to jot down a quick idea, then try a board with pockets like this one from PB Teen.

If you have a busy schedule that’s always changing, a whiteboard like this one from Organized Living (pictured above) could be perfect for you. You could even benefit from a chalkboard; buy a cheap but ornate old frame at a junk shop, then paint a wooden backing for it in chalkboard paint – et voila! A modern twist on period style to flaunt all your most important notes.

A calendar is invaluable to keep your time organised, as well as your space (who needs to swim through a sea of post-its just to see where you have to be Wednesday afternoon?) I love Dodo calendars for students, or this Desktop Calender from PB Teen.

On Your Desk

Magazine files are absolutely my favourite fighting weapon in the ongoing battle to get organized – but they don’t always have to be boring old wooden Ikea jobbies. Check out these brocade ones (pictured above) from The Container Store, sure to bring glamour to any work corner. Or, see this tutorial by my sister that will help you construct surely the prettiest (and most budget-friendly) magazine file ever?

Keep personal and work items separate. If you want your workspace to act like one, then steer clear of loading it up with every day magazines, bills, letters etc. You don’t stuff them in your kitchen cupboards do you? No, because you want your kitchen to work as a kitchen. The same rule applies here.

If you’re pushed for space and it’s necessary for the two to go together, there are still ways of keeping them successfully separated and avoid them meshing together. If you have a desk with drawers, or shelves above it, allocate each one to either work or personal items.

If you are stuck with stacks of magazines, cut down by cutting up and organising only the best articles and pictures into a large scrapbook. You could also colour code, for example. blue folders for work/study and pink for personal items.

On Your Shelf

Got a growing collection of books that don’t particularly look the business on your shelf? Arrange them in colour! I know this probably sounds like the nerdiest thing ever, but I did it and it’s such a small thing but really brightens the look of my work area, giving the impression of continuity rather than clutter – and that’s certainly the impression I want to give myself when I sit down to work!

Around the Edges

Be brutal. What do you need in your work area and what don’t you need? What helps you stay focused and get the most work done, and what distracts you? In every area of our living space we should be aiming to keep clutter to a minimum, but nowhere is it more important than the space in which you need to excel the most: your work space. Either just imagine, or physically take every item out of your work space – what deserves to be put back?

An assortment of stackable boxes, like the ones shown above from Crate and Barrel, are great to squeeze into the corners of your work area and file away important bits’n’bobs that may not be of great importance right now. A labelled mini filing cabinet or box is also a great space-saver as it avoids countless cardboard folders. What's even better is that you can fill it with beautiful dividers like these Paris File Folders from Paper Source, or make your own. Sty-lish.

Make your work space work for you. You could put every organisational tip imaginable into action and still not have a space that specifically suits you. The prettiest work area will be the one that feels most comfortable, inviting and creative to you.

In amongst all your magazine files, boxes, folders and letter racks – have beautiful pictures, photographs of your friends and family, special ornaments, a lovely lamp (pictured above), your favourite mug (pictured above) and other things that bring a smile to your face, and don’t make you dread sitting down at your desk. Kept organised, these elements are as important to your work space as anything you could buy at Office World.

What are your tips for a pretty organised work space?


LauraCassidy said...

Thank you for doing this series! I have been putting off tidying my desk for weeks but this has inspired me to tackle it!

Ella said...

Another great post! I just love the white board, so cool with the calender and cork strip. Can't wait to read the rest of the series :)


Rosie Unknown said...

I really need to get my desk organized! Note to self: make up, laundry, and food are not a part of homework completion!

ras said...

I really just try to keep mine free of clutter, however this doesnt always work. So I have a lamp, a downsized desk, a couple of in-trays and a set of desk drawers. I have my Degree framed on the wall above me, so I look up and see what I can achieve when I put my mind to it, and some pictures and Ornaments from my travels and things my family brought back for me. I also like to have an incense stick on the window ledge so I get the occasional waft of Nag Champa. Its taken years to perfect what I need around me, but this seems to work. Cheers, Love your work.


Vanessa said...

Nice post! I visited your sister's site, and I love love love the DIY magazine file. Thanks for linking to it!

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