Designer Insights

Is anyone else slightly obsessed with Maria Kondo’s Netflix series, Tidying Up? The series is based on her bestselling book, that takes you down a journey of determining which items you own that ‘bring you joy” and which items ‘do not bring you joy’. Since the first of the year, I have spent quite a bit of time getting organized, based on Maria Kondo’s suggestions, which has me deciding what items of mine I should toss or keep in my home.

I have found success with the decluttering and organizing process in my home life, and decided it would be beneficial to carry over these ideas into my professional workspace.

There is actually scientific evidence that supports the idea, that an organized and clean workspace, helps us to better focus. “The capacity of the visual system to process information about multiple objects at any given moment in time is limited,” according to a study published in the Journal of Neuroscience. This suggests that the more focused we can be in a shorter amount of time, is beneficial to achieving a successful work day. However, there are some contrarians that like to argue that a “messy space is a sign of genius.” My children like to use this philosophy as well.

So, where do you start? After all, getting organized is a big project to take on. However, treat decluttering your space the same as enjoying a lovely seven course meal; the meal is never served all at once. Instead, you are encouraged to take your time and enjoy every course as it comes. Do this when organizing your home or office. Take it one ‘course at a time,’ enjoy each stage as they come, and then move on to the next, until you are done and satisfied.

I am going to try and help you Maria Kondo your space, using three questions to get you started on the decluttering process.

Touch every object in your space and decide its fate. Surrounding me right now are four pen holders, six piles of papers, file folders bursting at the seams, several empty binders, printer ink and paper, notebooks, eight different types of cords, and the list goes on. Did I paint a vivid picture? It’s cluttered! I began to touch each item surrounding me, and asking myself Kondo’s question, “does this bring me joy?” However, that statement really did not help me in my office space, so instead, I physically touched each item and asked myself, “do I use this item daily, do I use this item weekly, or do I use this item occasionally”? The items that I did not use daily, I moved to my side desk. Finally, my desk was starting to look a lot more organized.

After you have decluttered your primary work space, and rid yourself of what is not needed, you can then continue the organizing process, by deciding on which objects make your work day easier, and how regularly you use each item. From there you can decide on the perfect location to store the items you use daily or occasionally. Maybe you keep the items you use daily on your desk, or close by, and maybe you store items you need, but only use occasionally, in a storage cabinet in your office. That way, you are organized and unnecessary space isn’t being taken up, when it does not need to be. For example, my external drive does make my life easier, but I don’t use it regularly enough for it to justify taking up space on my desk all the time. When the time comes when I do need that drive, I will be able to easily locate it and pull it from its stored location. Once you properly store and organize items, you no longer have to worry about not being able to find what you need, when you need it.

While it’s tempting to buy office supplies in bulk, sometimes we really don’t need 1,000 red pens at any given time. We really don’t need a thousand envelopes, notebooks, or post-it notes either. Well, maybe I do need that many notebooks. I’ll admit, that I am a notebook hoarder and use them almost daily for my ever-growing lists of ‘things to do.’

In any case, find a new home for all those unnecessary office supplies, taking up your precious desk space. You can even share them with your coworkers. I decided to place all my unneeded red pens in our office supply cabinet, to share with all the employees. Maybe they will grow to love red pens as much as I do! Not having all those unnecessary items around, frees up your physical and mental space, which are both things that will make you more productive in the long run. I know it has helped me.

Now that you have determined you really don’t need those 1,000 red pens you ordered to get such a great deal, what do you do with them? Bookcases, Storage Cabinets and File Cabinets are a great way to keep everything organized but still within reach for when you need it.

Make better use of your hutch shelf space with OS Laminate Center Hutch Divider.

Do you have binders that you would like to line up for easy access, or do you just want to add a few smaller sections in to keep important documents together. With the ability to change the Support-Vertical Hutch Organizers to go horizontal or vertical you will have the ability to customize your hutch to perfectly fit your needs.

While there is some clutter that you can find a better location to store, there is also the visual clutter of power cords computer cords and chargers that you need to stay for you to be able to work at your computer. Wire Management, Cell Phone Charging Grommets and Grommet Power Centers are a great way to keep everything organized while still being easily accessible.

Do you find yourself writing to do lists or reminders to yourself often? Or maybe, you just like to keep important documents within’s arms reach while still being out of the way and off your desk Magnetic Whiteboards and Tackboard Panels are a great addition to any desk, they keep things organized and out of the way but still withing view.

So, what is the lesson you can take from all of this? The more clutter you see, the more distracted you will be. It’s as simple as that.

Over the last couple of days, my desk has been much cleaner. However, before decluttering, I spent a lot of time moving things around, looking for items and getting overwhelmed by all the stuff around me that I did not need. Once my desk was cleared off and organized, all my mind had left to do was to focus on the task at hand. I think I easily gained back two hours per week of actual productivity.

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Each year, I make out my list of resolutions, purchase that fresh calendar agenda and ring in the new year with the mindset that it is going to be the best! While I never quite meet every resolution 100%, I have learned to not beat myself up and focus more on the small accomplishments that each new day brings.

Along with many of you, I spend the majority of my week in the office. Many hours behind a desk can take a toll on our bodies; back, neck and shoulder pain are only some examples.  I recently read an article with some pretty disturbing facts: If you sit for more than six hours a day, you increase your risk for heart disease by 64%, basically shaving off seven years of quality life! Not only that, but when you sit down, the electrical activity in your muscles slows down and your calorie-burning rate drops to one calorie per minute; this is about a third of what it does when you are moving.

I am obviously not a medical doctor or a nutritionist, so any type of that advice, I will leave to the experts. However, after over 30 years in the office furniture industry, I do feel like I can give some good guidance on office furniture and accessories, which can definitely help you lead a healthier lifestyle in the office.

Standup Desk:

First suggestion, would be to get a stand-up desk.  Standing at work is one of the best things you can do for your body, along with movement. Try to take a break at least once an hour. Walk to the printer, walk to get a glass of water, walk on your breaks or at lunch. While standing, it is also important to take care of your knees. A great anti-fatigue mat will help cushion your knees and hips and take the strain off these joints.

   Standing Desk  Anti-Fatigue Mat


Try Active Sitting – Perching:

When it comes to the sitting to standing ratio, only one-fourth of your time should be spent sitting, which is basically 15 minutes every hour, while 45 minutes should be spent standing. And while you’re sitting, why not also work on staying healthy. Try backless movement sitting, also known as perching. During a recent design consultation for a client, I mentioned perching, and got a very confused look; I was then asked to explain. According to Webster… perching is support consisting of something that serves as a resting place (i.e. a bird perched on a branch).  For years, the exercise ball was the trend in workspaces, and there are many scientific facts that prove this to be beneficial. Your body is constantly making small adjustments with postural muscles, abdominals, gluteal and leg muscles. A great product with the same functions as the exercise ball, but also more, is the Spool. The Spool offers the same slight movements as well as being height adjustable. When perching, you can exercise back and core muscles, while still relaxing the feet and legs. The Spool is offered in four great colors that can brighten up your office area.

Spool Chair by OfficeSource

Keyboard Trays and Monitor Arms

Long hours at your desk, whether you’re sitting or standing, can cause pain in your back and arms. A great keyboard tray can help prevent some of that strain. When choosing a keyboard, also think about what type of mouse you plan to use. Some questions you may ask yourself when making this decision include: What is the shape of your desk? How much space exists where you plan to install?

Monitor arms also play a factor in a healthy workspace. A monitor that is placed incorrectly can cause eye and neck strain. Also, having a monitor arm frees up valuable desk top real estate and eliminates clutter. Speaking of clutter, you can eliminate those annoying and unsightly cords with wire management.


  I hope that a little of my insight can help you in your start to a healthier and proactive 2019 in your workspace!   Written by Melanie Ewing, Marketing Director Check out our Facebook for more Updates!

Are print catalogs still Relevant? OH YES!

There are some surprising reasons that print catalogs are making a HUGE comeback… and why multi-channel marketing is the way to go!

Catalogs are a “Thought Starter”

According to results from a recent survey of a top management consulting firm, 44% of consumers say they’d like to receive fewer catalogs. But get this… in that SAME survey, 58% responded that they get ideas from paging through catalogs and almost 30% said they have a retailer’s catalog in their hand while making purchases online. So, why the contradiction? A printed catalog has an appeal that goes way beyond product images. We all get annoyed when our mailbox is stuffed with catalogs, BUT two out of three cannot resist turning the pages. A printed catalog displays products in context, groups items that can be used together and even shows new ways to use familiar items. It is a great way to up-sell, cross-sell and compare products.

Is It Worth the Cost?

A printed catalog still remains to be the most visually-alluring vehicle to capture an audience, showcase product and create ideas. Catalogs have proven to be the most successful driver of web traffic. There is no better way to target and acquire customers than getting a catalog in their hands. While they may seem old fashioned to some, the human nature never goes out of style. Catalogs provide a visual experience that is not equaled by digital media. Catalogs jump start the idea process which leads to a purchasing decision. To answer the question, of course they are worth it… Printed Catalogs are always available, even when the internet is down. It is storytelling at its finest! Written by Melanie Ewing, Marketing Director

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Check out our Digital Catalog! Get an idea of what our Print Catalog looks like!