How To: Organize A Bulletin Board

updated Jun 19, 2019
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.

010609board-01.jpgRight now, we’re looking at our blank bulletin board. It has one final step (a coat of white spray paint) before its ready to go back in our office. It used to be covered in fabric from IKEA (a busy pattern) but we wanted to go with simpler look for 2009. The previous bits of information on the bulletin board happened to be quite cluttered as well. Everything from inspirational tear-out pages from design magazines to a spare set of car keys were scattered about on our bulletin board. While we run a pretty organized ship, you might say our bulletin board was our unorganized guilty pleasure…

But for these past few weeks we’ve been staring at our empty bulletin board (during the spray painting process) and we really like the streamlined look. So we decided to seek out a way to organize our new bulletin board. What we found were Erin Doland’s tips (from Unclutterer fame) on Real Simple’s website. In no time, these 7 tips will have your bulletin board in tip top organized shape for 2009.

  • Decide why you have a bulletin board. Do you have a bulletin board so that you can quickly reference materials you need to see on a regular basis? Do you have a bulletin board to provide you inspiration? Do you have a bulletin board to be a collection of information for one specific project so that you can track your progress? Do different areas of your bulletin board serve different purposes? Do you actually have a need for a bulletin board?
  • Clear the clutter.
    Once you decide the purpose of your bulletin board (or purposes, if you plan to have different sections of your bulletin board serve different purposes), remove all papers and items that don’t advance that purpose. Additionally, remove any outdated papers or items that may meet your purpose(s) but are no longer relevant. Also, be sure to remove any materials that contain private information that you wouldn’t want a stranger to see. Recycle, shred, or properly store all materials you remove from the bulletin board.
  • Completely clear your bulletin board.
    Now you need to pull everything else off the bulletin board so that you can see the board’s full surface. Does the board need to be repaired or replaced? Would covering the surface with a solid color fabric improve the look of your bulletin board? Do you have enough (too many?) thumbtacks or magnets for your needs? Inspect your bulletin board and make sure that it is in its best possible condition for your continued use.
  • Hang your items on your bulletin board.
    This is the part of the process when knowing your purpose(s) is most important. If you have a phone extension list that you like to have easy access to when making calls, then hang that paper where you can immediately see it when dialing. If you use your bulletin board for inspiration, then hang your materials where you can quickly see them, but out of your direct work sight (you don’t want to distract yourself when you’re already inspired). At work, it is best to not hang anything in your immediate line of vision of your usual work focus. If you need to keep track of your son’s soccer practices at home, then hang the schedule so that it’s not obstructed and at an eye level that your son also can see it. Whether at home or at work, keep only materials on the bulletin board that fulfill the purpose(s) of the board.
  • Label areas of your bulletin board for better identification.
    If your children will use the bulletin board to hang papers that you need to sign, then print a label for that section titled “To Sign” or “For Mom.” Also at home, if multiple people use the board, then be sure to create zones with labels (“Bobby” “Suzy”) for each user. If you put an item on your work bulletin board because you don’t want to forget about it, then create a sign to hang above it that signals you to not forget about it (“Don’t Forget”). Avoid putting sticky notes on your bulletin board because they can fall down.
  • Hang most items parallel to the floor.
    When looking at your bulletin board, you should be able to immediately obtain information from the items on your board. Having to turn your head at an awkward angle or lift multiple sheets of paper to see what you need or remove an item to read it is a waste of your time. If you’re sticking a paper to the board simply so you won’t lose it, then you can hang it at an angle. All the other items, however, should have an unobstructed, straight-on view.

Related Bulletin Board Posts

[Image from Satoru Kikuchi]