Hacking the Office: Build a Landing Strip

Take a look at your office space. What surrounds you? Is it comfortable to you? What could you do to improve it?

Lately I’ve noticed that I have a lot of items that I use frequently but need a home of their own – especially electronics. I use my cell phone, graphing calculator, tablet laptop, USB tablet, key card, audio speakers: the list goes on and on. Many of these items need to be grabbed up quickly when heading to class or a meeting. When I get to my office each day, I grab a few key items from my bag and they live on my desk until I put them back in my bag at the end of the day. But often all these items get cluttered up under papers and books. More than a few times I’ve gasped when I thought I lost my all-important key card, only to find it buried in a stack of tests.

One of my favorite websites, Apartment Therapy, sings the praises of devising a landing strip in your home, and I think this idea is applicable to office space. The premise is that you have a dedicated space for items going in and out of your home, such as mail, your mobile phone, and your keys. When you come into your home, you place these items here. When you go out, you know where they are.

Recently I hacked together a landing strip of sorts for my office with good results. The total cost came to less than 20 dollars, and the biggest use of my time was traveling to the store to get the components. Here’s what I did.

  • I looked around my office for some unused area that would work for my project. My office features a u-shaped configuration of desk space, and I noticed that the corner to my right when I’m working at the computer was not getting much use. I targeted that area for the landing strip.
  • I looked for inexpensive components that could be used flexibly in my space. I wasn’t committed to any one configuration and wanted to leave my options open for ideas that came up when I got the materials to my office. My resource was IKEA, where I picked up a wall shelf for $4.99 and legs, designed for cabinets, for $12.00 for a set of four. (I also picked up two small plant pots that could work as legs if I couldn’t figure out how to attach the metal ones. Or, they could also be used to plant herbs at home if I didn’t use them for this project, which is what happened.)
  • I used duct tape to put what had now become a landing strip shelf together. I attached the legs by making a loop with the duct tape and used that to connect each leg to a corner of the shelf.

The result? Check out the photo:

This previously unused space is now an area that I can use as my staging ground for items I bring to and from home and/or to and from class. They are out of the way but easily accessible. Incidentally, the configuration also decreases my chances of spilling tea or coffee on an electronic device, an accident to which I am prone, because all these things don’t end up precariously positioned around each other.

This easy fix has been a big improvement in my office space and I’m very happy with it. A few inexpensive components came together very well. How have you hacked your office space? Let us know in the comments.

[Image Creative Commons licensed / Flickr user ecristescu]

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