Although our office is by far the smallest room in our house, it is one of the rooms that I spend most of my time in.
In the last year or so the amount of work I do in here has increased along with a load more paperwork that we have to keep on top of. Staying organised in such a small space is essential, but with chaos slowly starting to take over we had to come up with a better system to be able to keep on top of things.
In an attempt to stay organised and manage the day to day planning of our home improvement projects and blog, we had to come up with a solution that made it easier for us to keep an overview of the tasks ahead. As we can’t magically make our office bigger, we’ve gone vertical and have installed a cork board – but not just any cork board.
Because of our small space, we knew that a standard cork board wouldn’t cut it for us, so we went big and have covered the whole wall in cork!
Not exactly a high tech solution, but our corkboard wall works really really well. It’s easy to attach things that need doing, group items, collect samples and most importantly it helps us keep our desk free of clutter and tidy.
Installing the corkboard wall was really easy – most of the work as usual lay in the preparation which in this case involved emptying most of the room. With so much stuff crammed into one space, it inevitably took a while. We also removed our rope pinboard, filled the holes and repainted it.
I’ve seen larger cork boards made up of individual mats, but I really didn’t want to see any seams and was worried that the finish would look like we’d just stuck a load of mats to the wall. To keep any joins to a minimum, we used a large roll of cork with an adhesive backing instead of individual pieces.
We didn’t bother to prime or prepare the wall in any other way than making sure it was clean and free of dust and dirt. Using big sheets of cork is fiddly and definitely a two-man job.
Before starting to attach the cork, we drew a vertical line down the centre of our room. Whilst we want as little joints as possible, we didn’t want to end up with a slither of cork at one end of the room. Working our way out from the middle of the wall ensures that the pieces on either end will be an equal size (which is what you should also do when you lay tiles, too).
The vertical line down the centre of the room (our line is from the wall to the door frame) is also ideal for aligning the cork. None of our walls are straight, so having a line that we know is vertical makes it easy to get everything straight and level.
Then it was time to measure – never assume that anything is straight (we’ve learned the hard way). We used the central line as a guide to measure and then just used some scissors to cut the cork to size.
Next, we lined up the top of the piece of cork with our picture rail (which we know is level) and with the vertical line. When we were sure that the piece of cork would fit, we peeled back the top of the backing and pushed the top of the cork to the wall.
When everything lined up, we started to pull back more of the backing while at the same time pressing the cork to the wall and making sure that it’s smooth and lump free.
The first piece was the most difficult to attach – after that it was just a matter of working our way around the room and lining up all other pieces cork pieces with the first.
The only thing that was slightly more fiddly was cutting out the hole around the light socket, but even that wasn’t difficult to do. We removed the switch first (obviously turned off the electricity first, too) and glued the cork to the wall and over the socket hole. It was easy to feel the position of the hole through the cork as it gave way slightly when you pressed it. With a craft knife, we then cut a small hole in the middle of the socket area. Then it was just a matter of cutting more and more of the cork away until the socket was free and then reattaching the light switch.
We used 5mm cork. We figured it would be strong enough to hold more pins and heavier items like our calendar and thicker brochures. Ideally, you may want an even thicker corkboard wall than that, but we didn’t want ours to be thicker than the picture rail above it. We didn’t bother to back the cork as we’re not worried about the pins causing damage to the wall beneath. We figured that the wall will need repainting anyway if we decide that we don’t want the cork wall anymore, so filling a few small holes really doesn’t seem like a big problem.
We’ve been using the corkboard wall for a couple of weeks now and it’s already helping us to stay organized and keep a clear desk. Having such a large space to temporarily store things and have an instant overview of the tasks ahead is already making a big difference to my workflow.
How do you stay organised? Do you like to keep a clear desk? What does your ideal workspace look like? Do you have any tips for staying on top of day to day tasks?