How can a mirror, a picture frame and a game board help you organize your work area this summer? (Organizing tips for business professionals and entrepreneurs)

TheElephantInMyRoom.net   TheElephantInMyRoom.net

 

In the 80s, I use to like a show on the CBS network called, MacGyver (… for those of us who remember it).  Although it was fictional, I enjoyed how the main character, Angus MacGyver, would just get common objects around him and create something totally different but functional.  I was a kid but even I knew that it was a genius concept and super cool at that.  So how does the concept of a show from over twenty years ago relate to getting organized?  Well, I’m going to share a few quick tips on how you can “MacGyver” or repurpose a mirror, a picture frame and a game board to help you organize your work area, whether it’s your office at work or at home.

Need something to post friendly reminders to yourself and prevent your desk from becoming a cluttered eye-sore?  How about creating a memo board… out of a mirror.  Why not take it a step further… a magnetic memo board!  Just grab a framed mirror that you really like (or take a short trip to your local thrift store), give it a little TLC by may be adding a coat of paint, swap out the glass with a metal sheet from your local home improvement store, cover it with some fabric, add a few magnets, and there you have it!.. you’ve got yourself a handy (and fancy, I might add) way to temporarily store those reminder notes, networking cards, or shopping lists.  It helps you to keep your desk cleared of the thousands of tiny paper-items we consume on a regular basis and, if you’re like myself, your memo board can be customized to fit the décor in your work area.  Check out a previous post I did on how I used this same concept to create a vision board.

TheElephantInMyRoom.net

Need a place to discreetly store away and maintain your mobile devices?  What if I told you all it takes is a dual, 8×10 picture frame and a drill? Now, you have a convenient and clever charging station.  Just remove a couple of the templates and the glass from the inside of the frame, carefully drill a hole in the side of the frame where you want to thread your device cords through, and WHAA LAA!  Wanna personalize it even more?  Take one of the templates and glass that was removed from the frame and place it on the top so that you can add your favorite photo.  Be sure to seal the glass down and the edges where the frame slides out in order to secure anything from falling out.

TheElephantInMyRoom.net   TheElephantInMyRoom.net   TheElephantInMyRoom.net

An organized desk usually consists of an area to neatly store your commonly used office supplies, some good lighting, a sorting tray for temporarily storing documents, and an area for your electronic devices or writing.  So keep this space light.  Most of that work surface on your desk is for writing or using your electronics.  How about using a marble game board and repurposing it into a tablet, keyboard, or book prop for your desk?  This is a great option if you don’t have a tablet cover that enables you to angle your device to reduce screen glare, or if you have a desktop keyboard that has a broken prop-up leg, or if you’re reading and would like to prop your book up slightly from the flat position on your desk.  Just open the marble board, placing the actual playing side face-down on the table or surface.  Using batting and fabric material, wrap it around the board and secure it with a hot glue gun.  Allow it to dry and in that little time you have a new prop board for your desk.  When you’re done with it, you can close the board and store it away, increasing your work surface.

TheElephantInMyRoom.net   TheElephantInMyRoom.net   TheElephantInMyRoom.net   TheElephantInMyRoom.net

BAAAMM!.. you’ve been MACGYVER’ED!!!  Enjoy these quick repurposing tricks to help you get your workstation organized this summer.  Remember to subscribe to this blog for many more tips on how you can evict the elephant in your room.  C’mon back!  We’d love to hear from you.

Until the next post…

– Sy

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Home-based Moving/Relocation series (Pt.5): To Shred or not to Shred…THAT is the question! (Paper Clutter)

To finally cap off this series of tips on moving/relocation, I’ve decided to touch on a common problem we all have… paper clutter.  I know what you’re saying… “Yeah, I know I need to do something about all of this paper but how do I know if I get rid of it that one day I may need it for something… how do I know what I’m supposed to get rid of?”  Well let’s put an end to that right nowSmile.  Here’s a list of the most common things that not only you should part from (worry-free) but they should be shredded in order to prevent clutter and incidences of identity theft – a major issue that we face today when it comes to our private information.

Papers to Shred

  • Any documents containing you, your family, or business information such as social security numbers, names, birth dates, etc.
  • Pins/password information
  • Purchase receipts/invoices, especially those with credit/banking information on them (unless required for tax purposes then consult your accountant/attorney first)
  • Credit cards or bank cards that are expired or no longer in use (yes, even if the account is closed, shred it!)
  • Credit/bank account statements or any financial records no longer needed (such as loan/credit applications)
  • Tax documents that are seven years or older (consult your accountant/attorney… you may be able to dispose of them a little sooner.)
  • Old business documents no longer needed
  • Old customer/client forms that are no longer needed (you want to go the extra mile to protect them as well)
  • ATM receipts no longer needed (unless required for tax purposes then consult your accountant/attorney first)
  • Checks that are voided or no longer in use (again, even if the account is closed, shred it!)
  • Personal/business bills that are already paid or no longer needed (including medical bills)
  • Insurance documents no longer needed
  • Personal/business legal documentation no longer needed
  • Expired identification (such as an old state i.d., driver’s license, employee i.d., passport, etc.)

Once you’ve freed yourself of these things then you’ll find that there’s a lot less to fuss over on a daily basis.  Then take a little time out of your schedule to swap out any new documents like bills or business-related forms that come in so that you don’t have to be overwhelmed with a pile or more all over again.  Keep those desk trays as light as possible.  Once you see a pile begin to form, that is your cue to jump in and determine if you need to keep those papers and if you do put them where they belong.  Those trays are TEMPORARY storage, guys.

Well I hope this series was helpful to you all.  Remember, feel free to comment below and share these tips so that we can empower other entrepreneurs to get organized and stay organized.

– Sy

Home-based Business Moving/Relocation series (Pt.4): Cord Organization…don’t get it twisted. They can be a pain.

How many times have we run across the ever-so frustrating act of trying to pack for a move, or just to travel, and encounter the daunting task of unplugging, detangling, and wrapping cords from a dozen different devices/machines?  Oh, no… that’s just the beginning!  Then when it’s time to unpack them we have to remember what they belonged to?.. Is the location of the cord (once it’s hooked up) within reach of an outlet?.. Are there too many cords over here?… Where’s that cord?!  Uuuuggghhh!

Yeees!  We know it all too well.  It’s enough to drive you crazy!  This is how chaotic and crafty that elephant can be when you let it take control.  But there is good news… there are ways of eliminating, even avoiding, that intertwining mess no matter what your particular situation.

May be it’s not an issue of the number of cords but organizing or storing them in a way that they don’t become a major eye-sore.  Although I just moved, I’ve found that I have to get a little creative with the cords around my work area.

I finally got the room organized the way I wanted, everything in its perfect place but now I have this unsightly view near my desk and it’s driving me CRAZY!  So instead of just hiding it behind my shredder (because even though it’s all somewhat hidden, it still bothers me with a passion), I’ve decided to embrace the challenge of finding the perfect solution to clear it up.

“SO… I’LL SEE YOUR CORD CLUTTER, “ELEPHANT”, AND RAISE YOU A COUPLE MORE CORDS ON THE OTHER SIDE OF MY DESK!.. On to one of my favorite things… shopping!

More on what I’ve done to my cord clutter on another post… in the meantime, here’s some tips on how you can escape the web of cords in your home workspace during a move:

  • First thing’s first, when removing your cords from your devices/machines, be sure to label each one according to what they belong to.  You can use a label maker or special tag to do this.  There are a number of different products out there that you can use to label cords.  Find the one that works best for you.
  • If you have a drawer full of extra cords, wrap them individually with something such as a rubber band and label them as well.  So the next time you need a spare cord, you’ll know what they belong to without having to shuffle through a bunch of cords to find what you need.  TAKE IT UP A NOTCH: if you have a number of cords that need to be stored away, create an organized drawer system specifically for them where you can label the front of the drawers according to the type of devices/machines.  You’d still be labeling the cords as well but by labeling the drawers, in addition, you can get to what you specifically need even quicker.  This is also a big help to business owners who have a shared space with a business partner or team members/employees.  You have to think of everyone who works in that same space.
  • When packing your cords, try to store your cords in the same box/bin as their devices/machines.  If you have a number of extra cords, pack all like cords together.  So if you have more than a couple of the same type of laptop cords, label them and put them all in the same box/bin.  By taking this approach, when you unpack, it will just be a matter of storing them away.
  • Once you’ve moved into or arrived at your final destination, store your cords in the room where they will be used.  Trust me, it’s no fun trying to remember where you put a cord when you’re short on time or battery power.
  • Inspect all your cords to be sure that they are in good condition.  If you notice signs of wear-and-tear, such as exposed wires, consider the cord dangerous then discard and replace it.  SIDE NOTE: Cords such as USB cables can be a headache after a while of continued use.  If you’ve noticed that your devices are not charging as they should from the connection of your laptop or computer, check the drive that your USB cable is connected to.  The cable could in fact be the problem.  You can either try another drive on your laptop or computer or you may have to just replace the USB cable.
  • Once you get situated, Invest into some handy cord organizers to help you keep those cords easily accessible and neat behind or beside your work area.

I hope these tips have been helpful to you.  Feel free to share any ideas you’d like to add below in the comments and, hey, help some other home-based business owners, too, by sharing these posts with them also.

– Sy

Product Review! (Home-based Business Organizing)

This week I chose a home-based business space that inspired me to find solutions for storage in a shared space.

BHGoffice_sharedspace2

There was one particular item in this space that stuck out for me especially since I bought something similar to it a couple of months ago for my home business space.  That item was the rolling file drawers (found under the desk).

BHG.com

I loved them so much that they put me in the mind of a similar product I purchased in December – a rolling cart by Recollections.

Recollections 9-drawer rolling cart

Prior to purchasing this cart, I was in serious need of storage for my business documents and office supplies so when I received a text from my local Michael’s craft store regarding a MAJOR sale on rolling carts, I jumped right on it.  I practically begged my husband to get me one and apparently it worked.  This cart retailed for around $80 and I got it for $29.  Um, yeees, a steal!  With a little assembly and an hour of my time, I got this baby up with very little fuss.  It contained simple instructions, a “tolerable” number of parts, and perfect storage for items such as 8.5 x 11-inch paper, files, tools, office supplies, etc.

   

Below are the pros and cons of this product based on my personal experience:

 

It is lightweight but solid (meaning, that it can hold up well and doesn’t come off as being cheap and unreliable).  I saved a lot of money on it from the sale but the quality seems good.  What I didn’t like was how sharp the metal tracks were while I was assembling them.  I cut myself pretty good but, nevertheless, I just knew to be a little more careful from that point out.

I love the wheels on this cart but they also come with breaks.  They snap securely in place to anchor the cart right where you need it.

With this unit, I got nine drawers – 6 smaller, flat drawers and 3 deeper drawers.  They are very durable, spacious, and slightly transparent.  Now, what I did not like was how tough it was to separate the drawers once I got them out of the box.  They seemed to be packed pretty airtight, which I’m sure was for the sake of trying to fit all of the parts into the packaging but, boy, was it a fight.

Here’s a few tips to keep in mind during the assembly process:

  1. Be sure the metal drawer tracks are aligned correctly on both sides, especially prior to tightening the screws.
  2. Pay special attention to the instructions on the front of the box as well as in the manual.
  3. Tape the extra screws provided (yes, there is actually extra screws in the pouch) to the inside corner of one of the drawers so that you can identify what they belong to and should you need them down the line.

Well that’s my spill on Recollections’ 9-drawer rolling cart.  Overall, I think this product is great and can fill a range of storage needs in any home-based business and beyond.  I must also mention that I have not been contacted by any of the companies mentioned in this post to do this review.  It was solely constructed by the decision I made to provide it based on my personal experience.  If you have any questions or comments regarding this product, feel free to leave it below.  Don’t forget to repost and/or share.

Until next week, guys, enjoy the weekend!.. and get cracking on those overdue organizing projects.  Get organized, stay organized!

– Sy

Home-based Business Product Fave!.. Really Useful Boxes.

Ever needed something to contain those little home office supplies that tend to accumulate on your desk?  Well, for the longest, I know I’ve needed a solution.  You know, something compact and would help me to keep my supplies organized and accessible.  One of the things that I stress with home-based business organization (… and the answer to my personal pet-peeve, might I add) is to store as little on the desk as possible.  So, this past weekend, I was doing some shopping for one of my projects and I found something that really caught my interest so much that I had to share it as the first of my product faves* posts.

Really Useful Box review

I found these very useful and durable little boxes whose name reflects just that.  From Really Useful Boxes Ltd. in the U.K., comes these 0.14 liter-stackable boxes perfect for storing small items.  They’re great for things like paper clips, pushpins, staples, and even a collection of thumb drives.  It’s also great for small household items, especially small toolbox items.  What I enjoy most is that they come in transparent colors so that you can see the contents in them without necessarily having to label them.  They have removable lids and tabs that snap firmly into place to keep everything inside secured.

I felt like a kid in a candy store for about a split second because I kept thinking about all those small, pesky items on my desk that needed to be properly contained and I mean come on… I know we’re professionals here but you can’t deny how cute they are.  You can store them away or on the desk with very little interference to your workspace.  They come in various sizes, colors, and styles.  I grabbed these transparent boxes for $1/each at my local A.C. Moore craft store.  You can also find them in one of your local Office Depot or Office Max stores.

Oh yeah, mama is a happy woman now:)

*I have NOT been contacted by any companies mentioned in this post to provide this review.  The decision to provide this information and the commentary was my decision and was based on my actual experience.