A lap desk may be the smallest type of desk, but it’s also the most versatile. Lap desks can function like compact portable work surfaces, allowing you to work away from your regular desk or table. Some are designed with a cushioned underside to keep the unit comfortably settled in your lap (like a pet!), while others have foldaway “legs” that also permit use on other surfaces.
The best lap desks include storage options so you can keep small yet essential supplies close at hand, such as electronic devices (cell phone, tablet or notebook), notepads and writing implements. Here are three examples of well-designed lap desks with storage:
- The Wooden Lap Desk with Storage has a beanbag-style underside (stuffed with styrofoam beads) covered with soft fabric. The desk itself is designed to look like an old-fashioned school desk, with a hinged lid that lifts up to reveal a plush-lined storage compartment divided into two sections. The main section is sized for storing up to a 17-inch notebook computer or binder; the slim section works well for smaller items like pens, calculators, bookmarks, Post-its and cell phones.
- Also made of wood, the Foldable Walnut Lap Desk features a side drawer and a book ledge on the adjustable flip top (the surface can be adjusted to four different angles). The legs fold away for storage and a magnetic latch keeps the top safely closed for transport.
- If you prefer something less desk-like (or at least not made of wood), the Kid’s Storage Lap Desk also works well for adults and is constructed of heavy-duty high-impact plastic. It has folding legs and a smooth top surface that flips open to access a spacious storage compartment divided into three sections (one large and two small).
Other types of lap desks (without storage) can be found here.
Running a household is like running a small business. There are all those endless office tasks: dealing with incoming and outgoing mail, budgeting, banking and other financial procedures; and, of course, filing.
Having an efficient yet comfortable home office in which to handle these chores can help keep your home organized. If you think you don’t have enough room to devote exclusively to an office, consider these home office options:
- All you really need in terms of space for a bare-bones, low-tech office setup is a work surface (it doesn’t have to be a desk) and something in which to store files (it needn’t be a file cabinet). For example, you can combine a mobile workstation (pictured) with a rolling file cart.
- If you have a spare room that’s known as the “guest room,” decide whether you have guests often enough to justify that designation. You may be better off setting up the space for your office headquarters. (For the occasional guest, consider a hideaway bed such as iBed In a Box.)
- You can create a portable home office setup with inexpensive products such as file boxes with hinged lids and handles for easy carrying. They can be used in conjunction with the kitchen or dining room table, which in many homes are the most popular places to do paperwork.
More home office organizing tips can be found here.
Here’s a trick to minimizing paper clutter. Certain office products can make life less cluttered when used in unlikely places such as the kitchen.
For example, setting up a “mini-file” (a small file holder that holds about a dozen hanging files) on a kitchen counter makes it easier to deal with papers that tend to pile up there, such as coupons, recipes, shopping lists, takeout menus, receipts and appliance instructions.
To save counter space, a mini-file can also be set up in a magnetic file holder on the side of your fridge.
Likewise, stocking a small basket or magnetic bin with frequently used office supplies (scissors, pen, pencil, highlighter, note pad, Post-its) and putting it near a mini-file makes it easier to clip coupons, mark catalogs and make quick reminder notes.
This can help in minimizing paper clutter by limiting those piles of newspapers, magazines and catalogs that get saved because they contain items to be harvested “later.”
Room dividers usually serve three main purposes: to divide a space, create privacy and/or hide an unsightly area (such as a cluttered desk or a water heater).
But some room dividers do even more–they also offer storage, via shelves or pockets, making them useful for creating a home office, a study space or even a mini crafts room. And of course they’re also ideal for organizing dorm rooms and other shared spaces.
Here are three different kinds of room dividers with storage:
- The Walnut Room Divider with Book Shelves features four wooden shelves in a four-panel folding wood frame. The shelves simply slide into the panels to create space for books or whatever else you want to store and keep handy. Depending on how you configure the panels, the shelves can be threaded through so that there is shelving on both sides or on just one side. You can also use this room divider without the shelves.
- The 4-Panel Folding Screen with 2 Display Shelves is a more classic style of room divider but with shelving on both sides.
- The 3-Panel Fabric Room Divider with Pocket Holders includes 24 fabric pockets (all on one side) attached to cotton canvas suspended on three wood rods at the top, middle and bottom of each panel. The rods are removable and the canvas is washable. The pockets are sized well for everything from office supplies to accessories (each is approximately 7 3/4″ tall x 5 3/4″ wide), and they can be labeled, decorated or left unadorned.
More varieties of room dividers can be found here
Cabinet door organizers make it extremely easy to access frequently used items. These “doorganizers” turn kitchen, bathroom and office cabinet doors into space-saving storage solutions.
Over-the-door cabinet organizers are probably the most popular type, but there are also magnetic and door-mounted styles worth considering. Here are three different kinds of cabinet door organizers that have multiple uses:
- Over-door towel racks with baskets perform double duty by utilizing both sides of a cabinet door. The outside section is a towel bar–handy for keeping a dish towel or hand towel at your fingertips; the other side is a basket where you can store everyday supplies. Items up to 10.25 inches high, such as bottles of mouthwash or cans of shaving cream, will fit in the Towel Rack With Basket (pictured); smaller supplies, such as sponges and scrubbers (up to 5 inches tall), can be stored in the Over Door Towel Rack with Basket. (If you just want a cabinet door towel holder without storage, there are many different types to choose from here. Or if you want only an over-door storage basket without a towel bar, those are readily available too.)
- Magnapods are 1-inch-deep clear plastic containers that magnetically adhere to the inside of steel-framed cabinet doors. Ideal for medicine cabinets, they’re also useful for small office supplies when attached inside or outside metal office cabinet doors, drawers or file cabinets.
- Wall-mounted spice racks can be mounted inside a cabinet or a cupboard door, and their storage uses aren’t limited to spice jars–they can also hold items such as nail polish bottles, vitamin and pill bottles, and small arts and crafts supplies.The steel wire Three Tier Spice Rack features three shelves, spaced 6 inches apart; as with most wall-mounted spice racks, the top shelf is open allowing for containers of different heights.