Office supply stores are eager to solve all your office needs . . . for a price. With a little creativity, you can find your own solutions, reduce company waste and save the company credit card for another day. Use these eight cheats to help save time, money and space around the office!
Corral your cords and cables
Computers come with copious cords and cables — power cords, monitor cables, printer cables, Ethernet, and more. Keeping all those cords organized and out of the way doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive:
- Wrap it up. If your computer monitor sits right next to your desktop computer, or if you’re plugging a laptop into a second monitor, you probably have more monitor cable than you need. Here’s a simple trick: Wrap the extra cable around the monitor stand so that you get only as much cable as you need.
- Tag it. Why pay for cable labels when there are so many cheap alternatives? Reusing bread tags as cord labels is a popular choice, but you can also use string price tags, twist-ties, zip ties or unused security bands to create or hold labels on your cables. With the right permanent marker, you could even label the cable itself.
- Legally binding. Binder clips can be used for all sorts of things around the office. Larger clips can hold bundles of cables together instead of letting them hang individually. If you can screw an inexpensive mug hook under your desk at the back, you can hook that binder clip to it and really get those cords out from underfoot.
Reuse before you recycle
When you finish using some office supply, make sure it’s really finished before you toss it into the recycle bin. Here are some great ways to reuse what would otherwise go directly into the trash:
- Scratch out waste paper. If you normally print on only one side of a piece of paper before you toss it in the recycling bin, you’re using only half your paper supply. Collect used, single-sided sheets of paper while you work. When you get enough of them (40 or 50), cut them in half, line them up, and bind them together with a binder clip. Fifty pages of used paper turn into a 100-page scratch pad!
- Reuse older folders. This simple money-saving trick takes a little forethought. If you use paper file folders, instead of writing directly on the label tab, put clear tape it and then a label sticker on top of the clear tape. When you’re finished with that project or client, you can peel the label off the clear tape without tearing up the folder tab and then slap a new label onto it.
A new purpose in life
Some office cheats use items you don’t commonly find in an office environment. Here are a few things that can be repurposed for the workplace:
- Dry erase case. Dry erase markers work well on many smooth surfaces. A fine-tipped dry erase marker and a CD jewel case can become a handy mini-dry-erase board. (The markers work well on windows, too.)
- Hacked rear view. If you normally have your back to your office or cubicle door, a rearview mirror can come in handy. Clip-on mirrors already exist, but if you want one, skip the office supply store and head to your baby supply superstore. Among the travel supplies, you’ll find clip-on mirrors designed to hang on a car’s inside rearview mirror so a driver can keep an eye on the little ones in the back seat. Clip one to your monitor.
- Tension relief. Tension rods can come in handy in a lot of situations. You can use one or two of them to divide a drawer into sections (front-to-back or side-to-side) or to keep a few file folders vertical. You can put them in storage cabinets for hanging spray bottles, coiled cords (on a small hanger) or three-ring binders (on inexpensive S-hooks). Combine a tension rod with some large binder clips, and you could hang almost anything!
Starting with these smaller hacks can save some time, space and money, but they can also get your creative juices flowing and lead to other great ideas and more involved hacks. And when you find one that works, don’t keep it to yourself!
Felicia Baratz is a freelance writer, graphic designer and social media addict living in Indianapolis, IN. As a contributor to ProfessionalIntern.com, Felicia discusses new, innovative technology and it’s relation to the business world and social media marketing.