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Office supplies are kind of addicting to buy. (Wait, is that just me??)
But then they start to pile up. Then the pile falls down. Suddenly there’s a mountain on your desk, in your drawers, and all around you, and you can’t even find the thing you actually need!
Ahh! How do you organize all of these office supplies?!
Don’t fret, fellow office or school supply nerd! I’ve got an easy system for you to follow to get this
obsession collection in check!
Just follow these 5 simple steps and you’ll have a clean work space and a happy collection of organized office supplies in no time! (and it just might stick!)
5 Steps to Organize Office Supplies
1 . Sort into daily use items & stock items
Most of us keep a nice stock of things like paper, notebooks, folders, sticky notes, pens, tape rolls, etc. that we don’t really need! At least not yet!
But everyone knows it’s cheaper to buy in bulk! Plus, sometimes we’re at the store to get one thing, forget if we have this other thing we see here (on sale!?) and pick one (or three?!) up just in case.
Suddenly we look like the supply room at Office Max… whoops.
What you must do FIRST to organize your office supplies is to determine what are DAILY USE items, and which are STOCK items.
The “daily use items” don’t necessarily have to be used every single day. But they should be supplies that you use at least once a week, or on a fairly regular basis.
Ask yourself: will it throw off my work flow if I have to go get this item in the middle of a “normal” project?
If the answer is YES, and it is a reasonable object (small-ish and can fit nicely in a stack / folder / container in your desk drawer), then it passes the test! It can stay!
2 . Neatly store daily use items
Now that you’ve figured out what needs to stay at your desk or immediate workspace – we need to actually organize these office supplies somehow.
Don’t just stack everything up and throw it back in your desk drawer! I know it’s tempting – but resist the urge!
Try to have a separate area for each of these categories:
- Writing Utensils
- Scissors / cutting tools
- Tape / Glue / Adhesives
- Hole Punches / Staplers / Tape Dispensers
- Small Items (paper clips, binder clips, safety pins, flash drives, staples, SD cards, etc.)
- Notebooks / Notepads
- Blank paper
- Paperwork / Files
Depending on the type of desk and storage area you have, there are some different options for actually storing these things.
I’m a big fan of modular drawer organizers for the first few categories. They allow you to separate your items out and see them all without wasting a large space on small items.
If you find the right ones, you can even choose the sizes that you want, and add on over time if necessary.
Some of these office supplies should get their own drawer or container within a drawer or shelf. Pencil boxes are great for glue, scissors, tape, etc. They’re also stackable, and easy to label!
Notebooks can stack up in a drawer, or stand up between other desk items.
Blank paper and paperwork should have folders that lay flat or are held upright so they do not bend or fold over. These folders should be clearly labeled and easily accessible.
My personal favorite way to store folders is to hang them in (the proper) drawers, filing cabinets or mobile file boxes!
The key for step #2 is to organize your office supplies in a way that gives you quick, easy access to them when you need them – but gets them off your desk and out of your line of vision when you don’t.
One less distraction = More productive work time!
3 . Organize stock office supplies by type and frequency of use
Now for those items you did not deem important enough to stay at your desk every dang day?
(These may simply be important supplies you have a LOT of – so you choose to put MOST of them into the stock area. No one said this is an all-or-nothing endeavor!)
Find a place (like a shelf in the storage room, a cabinet, etc) that you can safely store your items where they can remain organized, safe, and out of the way.
Then separate them into similar groups:
- Paper / Notebooks / Folders
- Writing Utensils
- Small Items
- Glue / Adhesives
And stack them up, or file them away. Whatever office supply organization options are available to you in this storage area – use them!!
Still keep your things fairly easily accessible so you can grab them when necessary- and keep them “out of sight and out of mind” to minimize work distractions and inefficiency!
The key here is to get them consolidated and away- but not hidden from yourself! You want these office supplies to be easy to find when you need them next time!
Pro Tip: Don’t stack up SO MANY things that you can’t get out something that you need at the bottom or middle of the stack. No one likes getting crushed by reams of paper, or stabbed by hundreds of pens, hurdling down at your face!
4 . Find the best organizers or containers for your office supplies
I have a few favorite options that I mentioned before, but here are more specific suggestions:
For Paper / Paperwork:
- Every day folders – Manila
- Every day folders – with pockets
- Every day folders – with prongs
- 3 Ring Binders
- Hanging Folders (but only if you’re going to actually hang them up!
- Portable File Folders
- Paper Trays – Like these or these
- Filing cabinet
- Filing Boxes
- Standing File Holders (For these, you must be careful about them bending over the side and being permanently folded… you have been warned)
- Wall Organizer (this is especially great for small offices, home offices, or any other time you’re a bit short on space!
…can you tell I’m an organization nerd yet?? 🙂
For Writing Utensils
For All The Other Small Items
- Modular Boxes
- Drawer Dividers
- Stackable Organizers
- Set of Drawers
- Command Hooks!
- Handy Dandy All-in-one Holders like these
Try some of these options, or something similar, to fit your personal space!
5 . LABEL the new homes of each item (especially if you work in a shared space)
Finally, once you figure out how to organize office supplies in your work space and know you like the homes you’ve found – consider labeling each spot!
This will help remind you where everything goes, so there are no excuses when the time comes to clean up!
Labeling each office supply’s home is particularly helpful when sharing workspace with others! You can’t be mad at them for making a mess if they don’t know the proper procedures!
Help out yourself and your coworkers here! Your un-stressed self will thank you later!
What space are you looking forward to organizing?
Is your office a wreck? Is your home office the place with disorganized office supplies? Do you have kids with a mountain of school supplies you need to tackle?
Get in there, follow these 5 easy steps and make it happen! I believe in you!
Remember, there are sooo many benefits to being organized! It’s totally worth the work on the front-end! 🙂
remember: make good life choices!
Save it for later!