Help needed on organizing papers on top of desk

marie26September 5, 2007

I have a computer desk which the pull-out shelf broke a long time ago and I now have my keyboard and large flat screen monitor on top of the desk. There are also 2 small speakers on either side of the monitor as well as a desk calendar. I have drawers behind the desk that I can get to by just turning my chair around but I've found that when I put things in a drawer, I "forget" it's there. Out of sight, out of mind sort of thing.

My problem is the accumulation of notes I write and papers that I need to do something with before filing. What is the best system for on top of the desk? Vertical or horizontal? Is there one that takes up minimum space since 2/3 of the desk is taken up by the computer and keyboard?

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Buy some folders, the kind with pockets. Sort the papers into recognizeable piles. For me, thsat would be "to-do" ,recipes, gardening, pets, bills, taxes, misc. Keep sorting to the bottom of the file and put the now-neat folders away. At least once a week cull one folder.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2007 at 4:06PM
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Find a handyman to help you reinstall the pullout shelf. Even if all the parts are broken, it's possible to buy a replacement shelf for about $70. (there are more expensive ones, of course)

You can also buy the slide only for about $30, (here's another version)and then get a piece of plywood to fit on it.

You can get monitor stands to elevate the monitor over a cavity or over drawers (of course, you can make one out of wood, too--basically, just an upside-down U). Their intent is usually to influence the ergonomics of looking at your monitor, but they could increase your surface desk space, too. You could maybe even find a double-decker one that would, in effect, create two cubbyhoes.

But of course, also tackle the paper, etc.

I think your own desk makes a difference--what sort of wall space is there for a bulletin board, or stick-on cork tiles, etc.

You could even put stick-on cork tiles on the front of a desktop vertical file sorter (either complex or simple ).

Or on a desktop hanging file holder.

If you have a bookcase beside the desk, you could put it there.

Are these notes on small pieces of paper, like sticky notes? Can you somehow create little cubbyholes to put them in until you can file?

And of course, you need to have a routine in which you sort out those papers, etc., so they don't just pile up (as Click & Clack, the Tappit brothers, would say: "don't drive like my brother!")

    Bookmark   September 6, 2007 at 10:08AM
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I love the Tappit Brothers!!!!

I live off of bulletin boards. I have shelves above my computer desk that have a small strip of cork (I put it on) on the edge. That's for immediate notes. Then I have a bulletin board on the wall and one on the side of the 4 drawer file. They work great for me.

I keep a couple of pocket files -- large labels -- for business correspondence and invoices. True -- my business is very small but it works.

For me -- It needs to be vertical -- in front of me. Once it is horizontal, its asleep (like I am in front the tv at 9 pm at night!!)


    Bookmark   September 6, 2007 at 10:53AM
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I work from home and juggle 10 to 12 clients at a time. This rotating file has been a life saver (see Desktop Organizer link below)...

Also, for writing projects I use ticket rail Ticket Rail (the thing that is used in restaurants for orders for the kitchen). I have it attached to the wall above the PC desk. It is perfect to hang up to three pages of the document that I am working from. Then I don't have to used desktop space for a page holder.

Here is a link that might be useful: Desktop Organizer

    Bookmark   September 6, 2007 at 1:23PM
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Thank you all for your ideas. I really like the Desktop Organizer but I don't think it will help me to organize my papers.

Shelving under the monitor makes perfect sense. The next time I go into town, I'm going to check that out. I hadn't thought about it before but the monitor is most likely too low.

The desk is in the living room right behind the couch so I don't have wall space to hang up bulletin boards or ticket rails. Maybe in my next house since they are also solutions that would work for me.

I also don't have the clearance to use a pull-out shelf where the desk is situated right now. The back of my chair is at the edge of the kitchen. The living room/ kitchen is one big open area divided by carpet in the living room and tile in the kitchen. Again, something to think about for the future.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2007 at 2:18PM
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Marie, FYI: The center section of the Desktop Organizer is a hanging file folder system. I have about 15 hanging file folders (one for each client) with erasable tabs that clip on to the folders.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2007 at 2:35PM
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Mustangs, thank you for letting me know about the hanging file folders. I did not realize that from the photo. I'll have to check this out when I get to Staples. I hope they carry it.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2007 at 5:19PM
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I think Office Depot carries it as it was an exclusive item made for one of the apprentice teams for Donald Trump's show.

I ordered it online after see it demonstrated on the show.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2007 at 5:50PM
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We only have Staples. I don't like ordering items like this that I haven't seen. I'll look up the measurements and then decide.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2007 at 6:47PM
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A bulletin board is a good place to pin up small notes so they aren't all over the desk. I laid out all my papers. Sorted them and gave each group a folder with a title and line them up in one of those metal stands (Staples/Walmart). It's an every day thing. I need to get everything straight when the day is over so I don't face a mess in the morning. You have to keep at it and always have a folder on your desk labeled TO DO ASAP.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2007 at 9:33PM
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I also stopped using sticky notes.

I got a smallish notebook, and I open it to a single page (fold back the cover, so it's 1-page big.

Then I write stuff on there. When the page is full, I look at it, and cross off what I can, then transfer other stuff to a better place if necessary, and move any notes over to the NEW page.

Sometimes the transferred material w/ be really short--only a "tickler" to keep me from forgetting, and I can flip back in the book to find the full details on the page where I took the notes.

So I get the 'out in front of me' part, bcs the notebook is. But I don't have loose notes to get covered, or to lose their adhesive and fall on the floor, etc.

So I didn't organize my desk; I organized my note-taking.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2007 at 10:48AM
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