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Getting Organized: In Small Spaces


Struggling to stay (or even get?) organized? Maybe you resolved that 2011 would be better, and yet, by the end of the first month, you feel overwhelmed and have no idea how to stay on top of it. You know that getting organized will help you stay on top of where everything is and make you more productive as a result. However, where to start? Over at I'm an Organizing Junkie, the organizing guru exhorts us to write down 52 organizational things that need to be accomplished over the next year, such as cleaning out the freezer, or re-purposing a book shelf, etc. Then, each week, tackle one job. Why not apply the same principle to organizing your work space?

Getting Organized in Small Spaces

It's all good and well to say let's get organized, and it's quite another to actually do it...especially if you find you have a small space to work with. While the same basic principles still apply, there is some tweaking that must be done to accommodate for smaller work spaces. Go ahead and line up your keyboard, mouse, and monitor centered in front of you, but positioned correctly.

(As a reminder, your screen should be eye level and about 20 inches from your face, while your keyboard and mouse should be snug together, in front of you on the desk, or ideally, on a keyboard tray which allows your arms to slop downward.)

Once you've set up your equipment properly, move on to getting rid of clutter and establishing a good filing system (see previous posts). These steps will especially help you in a tight spot. Having excess papers and junk around just dwarfs space anyway- so get rid of it! If you don't have enough space for a proper filing system, ask your manager or boss if there's any you can use away from your desk. It's worth a shot anyway.

Tips for Making the Most of a Little

Now we're on to the nitty gritty. How can you maximize what little space you have?

  • Try a smart, space-saving ergonomic desk. They are designed to not only provide ergonomic comfort and ease, but also to maximize space. Often they do this by having a small footprint, but a tall frame, thus taking advantage of the upward space most everyone has. Another bonus is that most are adjustable and should also provide ample space for your printer and equipment.
  • If your actual desktop space is challenging, try a mini keyboard. Minis chunk rarely used keys (such as number pads) and focus on the majors, thus producing a small keyboard that is sure to save space.
  • Use a keyboard tray. A keyboard tray will completely remove the keyboard and mouse from your desktop, thereby freeing up that work space.
  • Try a sound machine. Chances are, if space is an issue, you're in a cubicle. Any cubicle worker will tell you that noise is a problem that comes with the territory. As such, cover it with a sound machine. You're sure to make more of your time that way.

Do you have any space-saving tips? We'd love to hear them and from you!