Q&A: Office Space – The Switch from Dorm to Apartment

Silver Mesh DooDad Cups offer easy, attractive organizationQuestion: I’m moving from a dormitory to an apartment, and for the first time I need furniture! I’m trying to populate my apartment in a reasonably affordable manner.I purchased a used desk that does not have any drawers, and I’ve quickly realized how much I need some drawer space for all the junk I have. Because of the strange design of my new desk, there isn’t any space on the desk top (it’s a two tiered desk). However, there is plenty of space underneath the desk for some type of drawer unit. I’d prefer it not be plastic. I don’t even know what you would call such a drawer unit, thus I haven’t had any luck finding one. Any ideas?

Answer: My most recent desk purchase for my home was a desk with absolutely no drawers. It forced me to pare down on what I kept hanging around. What I wound up with was a lamp, my desktop computer, a pencil cup, my stapler, a file box and a small container to hold flash drives. The desk has a place for CD storage so I didn’t need a tower. I was shocked when I took stock of what I used on a daily basis. I thought I needed space for all sorts of other things, but I really didn’t.

The first thing I suggest you do is figure out what items you need regularly and make sure the storage system you plan accommodates those items keeping them easily accessible at all times without being in the way.

You did not mention what your new desk is made of nor the budget you are working with so I’ll give you several options.

Wood Two Tier Shoe Shelf - repurpose into a shelving unit under your deskFor a non-plastic option, go for a Two-tier wood shoe shelf. The height is low enough to easily fit beneath a desk and it offers plenty of surface for organizing your essentials.  For organizing your shelves, try our Acrylic stacking bins. They could also be placed beneath the 2nd tier of your desk for more organizing possibilities. Other options include our wicker sorting baskets or several of our silver mesh doodad cups.

Although the style is more asthetically appropriate for a dorm room, which you are moving away from, one relatively inexpensive option for the space beneath your desk, though it is plastic, is stackable cratesTurned upright, they are great for holding standard sized files. When turned on their side, they create a shelf space that would allow you to take advantage of desktop organizers that may not otherwise fit on your desk. Some models of stackable crates can be outfitted with casters so you can roll them out from under your desk as needed. Iris Rolling File - a hardworking solution to ofice organization

A more expensive option, but one that is well worth the money, is an Iris Premier Rolling File chestIt is also made of plastic but it has glossy black finish and a thick, cherry laminate top giving it more of a furniture look. I have one of these in my office and absolutely love it! There are 2 deep drawers and one file drawer. It comes with casters so you have the option of rolling it out as needed. Check the height allowance of your desk before installing the casters, though.

If you decide to do without the desktop organizers, you can certainly use any number of household items. Yogurt cups, jelly jars, even small platic juice cups provide inexpensive organizers for sorting and storing all your office supplies. Place the containers in a shallow box or tray to keep them from sliding around.

See & Store Magnetic Containers are compact and stay out of your wayFor metal desks, try magnetic storage for your smaller supplies. See & Store magnetic containers are available in stainless steel or white and can be used for all sorts of small items. They can be stored out of the way on the side of your desk.

Plano Stowaway Bins hold all kinds of tiny office suppliesIf you don’t have to dig around for paper clips and rubber bands very often, store them in a multi-compartment organizer like our Plano Stowaway Bin These bins come in various sizes, are made of durable plastic, and snap closed to keep your stuff secure. Some can even be adjusted to accommodate your needs. Tuck it away under your desk until you need it.

One last storage option is to keep all your recent personal financial files handy in a large Show-Off tote. Large Show-Off Totes are great for holding files(Note: Keep other household files in another area of your home – not with your financial papers) I keep mine in one of these for each year and keep the current tote under my desk. Have a folder for each bill (automobile, credit cards, bank statements, etc). Once the bill is paid, file it away in this tote. You’ll always know where your most recent bills are. And since they are organized by year, you’ll have everything together at tax time. I used to use the paper/cardbord expandable files, but since I have past years stored away in a basement, I opted for the water-resistant plastic.

I hope this gives you some ideas for your desk area. This is an exciting time for you and I wish you all the best!

Happy Organizing!                


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