Make your work space reflect your style, with help from Holly Bohn of See Jane Work


(See Jane Work/See Jane Work)
September 2, 2011

Holly Bohn is obsessed with people’s work spaces.

Bohn, the founder and creative director of the Web site See Jane Work, a source for stylish desk accessories, started the company eight years ago to bring individuality to the boring world of office supplies. The products are far from the standard-issue gray plastic stuff stocked in office supply rooms. You can find orange letter trays, streamlined staplers and tape dispensers, and Jonathan Adler neon print file folders. The USB hub looks like a vase of flowers, and the iPhone charging stations are covered in green Greek key patterns. See Jane Work also designs a line of colorful desktop and storage accessories for Office Depot.

Bohn says that most people are aware that their desks reflect who they are but that they never take the time to edit them.

“People do care about what is around them, and it affects how they work,” she said. “You rarely see a desk that is totally devoid of personal items.”

When you walk into an office during off-hours, Bohn said, you can grasp a bit of everyone’s personality as you scan their desks.


Holly Bohn's desk. (See Jane Work/See Jane Work)

Bohn’s own office in Jacksonville, Fla., has a desk made of recycled barn wood, bold turquoise and white accessories, a metal Ace Pilot stapler designed in the 1930s, and a live orchid she replaces as needed.

“The way your desk looks affects your creativity, productivity and mood,” Bohn said. “It’s fun to clear off your desk and start over. It could inspire you.”

Renovate your space

Need a cube makeover? Shake the crumbs out of your keyboard and take a good look around. Here are some of Bohn’s tips.

●Invest in the essential elements of a work space to keep the place organized and clutter controlled. Try to use some of your favorite colors.

●A paper management system can be a file box, a sorter, letter trays or a drawer.

●Dump the clunky black stapler; get one in orange or red.

●Instead of a plastic pencil cup, use something you might have at home, whether it’s a glass or a pottery vase, an old trophy or a Campbell’s soup can.


Galison pencil cup. (See Jane Work/See Jane Work)

●Keep clutter on your wall bulletin board. If you have a place to pin notes or invitations, they won’t pile up on your desk. Keep your work space for your work.

●Create a place for business cards you pick up. Use a nice dish or bowl you may have at home to keep them stacked.

●Beware of multiplying bobble heads and travel souvenirs. Cluttering up your desk may clutter your mind.

●Go easy on the photos. Do you really want your colleagues to have to endure endless shots of your family in bathing suits on your Hawaiian vacation?

●Use a Friday afternoon to reorder your desk. Take everything off and put it in a bin (or, gulp, bins). Wipe everything down and put back only what you really use or want to look at daily. Think about investing a few of your own dollars into some fun new organizing products. Over the weekend, scour your house for accessories that could be used to hold pens, paper clips or Post-it notes. Monday, watch your pod mates’ reactions at your re-energized work space.

The home and design coverage of Jura Koncius has taken her inside hundreds of homes, from tiny studios in Penn Quarter to country castles in Warrenton. Jura also hosts the Home Front live chat, Thursdays at 11 a.m. ET.
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