Organization Tips for In-house Success: Vertical vs. Horizontal

A few years ago, I hired professional organizer and owner of Organize for Success Emily Parks to advise my team and I on how to get our in-house offices in order. In part two of this six part series, Emily shared ideas on ways to harness the power of one. In part three of this six part series, Emily will share ideas on how to best organize and store your favorite things in-house.

EdIt’s February, and I’m already receiving a lot of interesting swag in the mail like magazines, brochures, print samples, DVDs and promotional tchotchkes from existing partners and potential vendors. Some of these items are really fun and like most designers, I want to hang onto the cooler stuff. Who knows? Maybe they’ll spark an idea.

Do you have any thoughts on how I might store all my newly acquired must haves and be able to find them quickly when I need them most?


emily parksAnother quality question, Ed! To quickly find what you need when you need it, the basic principle is to assign everything a home, whether it’s a paper document, an electronic file, an item within your workspace or an email, however, there’s so much more to it than just assigning homes.

It’s important to keep the end in mind throughout the entire process of assigning homes to those items in any individual’s office. If you struggle with where to store something initially, how will you ever be able to find it when you need it? As you’re labeling things, think about what terms you’ll use to later seek out those same items. If the goal is to quickly find what you need when you need it, think about how you’ll look for the items, use that thought-process to assign homes, categorize and create names and add labels to those homes.

Photo from Shutterstock

In most offices, space comes at a premium, so it’s imperative to use all that’s available. Don’t forget to utilize the back of your door and the space on your walls.  Simply Stashed offers colorful organizers with various combinations of clear pockets so you can easily see what is hanging in each section of this over-door option.

Alternatively, if you’re seeking a more rugged option, Gear Pockets offers organizers with different layouts for mesh pockets that can hang over your door or on your walls. The Container Store’s 24-Pocket PEVA Overdoor Shoe Bag is a clean and simple option for storing all sorts of office supplies on the back of your door.

Also, The Container Store’s Magnetic Wall Pockets and Fabric Wall-Mount Magazine Organizer offer alternatives for your inbox, outbox and frequently accessed action files so you handle what others bring to you when it’s most convenient for your workflow, those items to go elsewhere are combined in one place as you’re headed out and your action items are easily accessible. Plus, it’s important to remember “horizontal is hidden while vertical is visible.”

As you are assigning homes to what’s in your workspace, group like items into zones. If you will utilize files or items together, store them in a “zone” for that shared functionality. Develop “zones” for what items are related to various tasks within different areas of your job. When like items are kept together within the area they’ll be used, you always have what you need nearby when you need it.


Great tips, Emily. I’ve really enjoyed the Elfa systems you installed in my office. Vertical is definitely better than horizontal.

In-house teams: Are there ways you can tweak the placement of items in your workspace to better utilize doors and walls? Are you keeping in mind that horizontal is hidden while vertical is visible? Which of these ideas can you implement today to more quickly find what you need when you need it? Let us know what works for you.



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