I have a downfall in my search for organization...the mail. All the bills and papers and stupid-stuff-you-can't-just-throw-away-because-someone-might-steal-your-identity mail. I hate dealing with it and worse I hate filing it. I have set this system up so I can file things once a week instead of every day. The top has a flag that says "File It" where all the mail goes to be filed. The bottom has a flag that says "Hold It." This is where any important papers I still need go, manuals for my computer and printer, and cards or notes I'd like to keep. By doing this, everything has its place and it is more manageable for me.
I know we've all been there...you need a pen to write down someones number, but one is no where to be found. Thank you IKEA for this wonderful solution. This wonderful bar was actually in their kitchen section with the holders meant for kitchen utensils to dry after washing. I took the spin in a whole new direction and attached this to the wall right next to my desk. The first container is for pens and pencils. The second is for markers and highlighters. The third is for address labels that I periodically receive in the mail from organizations I donate to. All these things are at my fingertips whenever I need them!!!
I have this little tray attached to the desk that I think is meant for a keyboard. Seeing as I have a laptop, I figured I would put it to other use. I have 2 long desk drawer organizers that I got in the Dollar Spot at Target when I was in college. In these are scissors, whiteout, tape, glue/glue sticks, post its, staples, and hand lotion. I also use this space to hold a package of CDs, paper clips, a 3 hole punch, and a box of envelopes. A great way to use otherwise wasted space.
The last storage piece that I use religiously is a set of severely beat up bookshelves I got from Freecycle Indy when I first moved back to Indianapolis. I had the intention of using them in my classroom....that I didn't have my first year of teaching, so it seemed only natural to bring them to my house when I moved. I have one other one that I use in my guest bedroom to hold picture frames. These 2 shelves house all my college education books, regular books, cookbooks, documents I want to save, yearbooks, my college diploma, and a number of other things. I have placed picture frames in front of many of these things to break it up. Right next to these shelves, you'll see 3 boxes. In these boxes are all of the things I might need. Two of them contain all the freebies I will be using in my classroom for my token economy and one contains extra office supplies. They are housed inside storage boxes I got in packs of 3 last summer at IKEA for less than $2 a pack and labeled with blank index cards and tape.
Some people may think this is too much to have the boxes out in the open, but since they are all uniform and have labels, I actually like it. I get in and out of them too frequently to store them away in an area I cannot readily access. This makes the most sense for me. The whole area is less than 3 feet and it fits into a corner I would otherwise just leave empty.
What storage solutions work for you in your at home office space?