So your workspace could use a little work. Maybe you're wondering how to keep track of your cords, or you want to spruce up your desk accessories or organize your odds and ends. Or perhaps you want to keep the books in your personal library from aging. There's a Good Thing for everything.
A Chicer Shelf
Plain floating bookshelves pop with a strip of wallpaper. Simply measure the shelf and cut the wallpaper slightly longer than it and wide enough to wrap around it with an overlap. Use wallpaper paste to affix the wallpaper to the shelf, pasting one side at a time. Cut slits into excess paper at ends, forming flaps; fold down and affix with paste. Let dry completely and hang shelves as usual.
Bye-bye, manila folders. Even basic accordion folders take on cheerfully brilliant colors, ones that should help you distinguish files from one another, and maybe even motivate you to do paperwork (imagine that!).
Using one roll of patterned washi tape (make sure there's a light color in the design) and some markers, everyone can identify (and personalize) their charger. Wrap the tape around each USB wall charger, USB plug, and phone plug, cutting to fit. Then give each family member a different colored marker to fill in the light areas of the design, identifying his or her charger. Seal with decoupage glue and let dry.
Washi tape, from $2 a roll, cutetape.com
Fine-point permanent markers, by Sharpie, in Neon, $13 for 5, michaels.com
To ensure a long shelf life for your books, a little routine maintenance goes a long way. Keep them clean by passing a feather duster along the tops and spines weekly. Once a year, take everything off the shelves and dust the books and shelves thoroughly. Fresh air slows deterioration, so occasional handling is actually good for them. And because dampness can lead to mildew and mold, keep books away from damp exterior walls and windows.
Use decorative paper like leftover scraps of wallpaper or samples to brighten basic clipboards. When artfully arranged above your desk, the collection becomes a bulletin board for paperwork. Start by making a template: Trace the shape of the board onto card stock, making a notch for the clamp (use a zip tie to hold clamp open while working). Place template on the back of paper; cut out with a craft knife. Brush a thin, even layer of Martha Stewart Crafts decoupage glue onto clipboard with a craft brush. Affix paper and smooth out air bubbles with a craft scraper. Brush with decoupage glue and let dry before hanging.
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Wood-Grain Office Accessories
If you can peel and stick, you can bring a natural note to your home office with coordinated wood-grain accessories. All it takes to make a matched set of mouse pads, file boxes, and straight-sided glass jars is self-adhesive shelf liner. Cut the paper just larger than the surface you want to cover, apply, and trim excess with a craft knife.
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Inexpensive unused cans can be purchased at paint stores; lined up on a shelf and anchored in place with Velcro, they become organizing cubbyholes with a modern flair. Assign cans as storage spaces for bills, catalogs, and personal mail, or one for each member of the family. Label the shelf beneath to make sorting easy.
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Lid-Rack Mail Sorter
You would never guess it, but a wooden pot-lid rack is the ideal catchall for mail; all it needs is a fresh coat of paint. For easier viewing, place smaller items, such as letters, bills, and postcards, near the front, and larger catalogs and magazines toward the back.