Reader Debbie submitted the following to Ask Unclutterer:
We have a large storage cabinet and some shelves at my work office that have now become mine to organize. The cabinet is full of small cardboard boxes full of all types of supplies – tape, staples, computer pieces, pens, markers, hanging folders, envelopes, you name it. Lots of small items. I’m looking for some type of storage dividers/ container that will make this stuff more visible and reachable.
Is it weird that I am incredibly excited for you? I’m even a little envious. I love organizing supply closets. You’ve been given a really great project, in my opinion.
Are you familiar with the company ShelvingDirect.com? (Beware: There is a talking guy who appears when you follow that link. He only talks for 30 seconds, though, and you can easily pause him.) Despite the talking ad, this company has a lot of reasonably priced office storage products you might want to consider. There are numerous office supply companies out there that carry similar items, so you can check with your purchasing agent at work to see if the company you use most often has the same items.
Since you already have a cabinet and shelving, I recommend checking out the bin kits or their individual bins if none of the kits exactly meet your needs. The bins come in all different sizes and are formed in a way so you can easily see and access the product stored inside:
The plastic bins are nice because you can insert dividers and bin cups into them (neither the dividers or cups appear on their website, but they’re available through their catalog). The bins are also stackable, so you don’t waste any vertical space. You can easily label them, too.
Stores like The Container Store are really terrific, and carry similar bins, but they price even their smallest ones at a few dollars a piece. Ordering multiple bins from an office supplier is the less expensive way to go, where the smallest ones come out to being less than a dollar a piece. Which, at least in my opinion, makes the office supply companies the better option in this situation.
As you’re organizing the items in the closet, try to put the supplies accessed most often on the shelves that fall between you knees and your chin. Otherwise, you’ll constantly be bending over or reaching above your head to straighten and replenish these materials.
Thank you, Debbie, for submitting your question for our Ask Unclutterer column. I hope these bins and tips can work for you.
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