24 drawings per second x 60 seconds per minute = one huge mess!
January 26, 2012 5:55 AM   Subscribe

What's a good system for keeping lots of papers visible, without spreading them all over the desk, and without pushpins?

In many situations at work I find myself drowning in paper. Particularly when I'm doing animation, I need sketches, model sheets, references photos and dozens of key drawings all at hand at the same time. Everything inevitably becomes a huge mess covering my desk, and the more space I have, the more the mess expands.

I don't want to pierce things with pushpins, so I don't think a bulletin board is a good idea.

What I would prefer is something that looks more like a "multi-monitor" setup, but with vertically-oriented spaces for posting up lots and lots of papers, and being able to take them down or move them around instantly. Maybe something with magnets?

Does anyone have a system they like for keeping lots of papers visible and in reach?
posted by overeducated_alligator to Work & Money (23 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
It sounds like you need an enormous whiteboard and tiny little magnets.
posted by bleep at 5:56 AM on January 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

I do something like this, but with binder clips instead of pins. Something like this. Or like this.
posted by Brent Parker at 6:05 AM on January 26, 2012

I like using clear sleeves in a binder. It's easy to flip through and keeps papers clean and unwrinkled when I take them out. Keep things in a binder and use a large white board with magnets to post sleeves as needed, because some things you need on hand and some things you need out at all times.
posted by myselfasme at 6:06 AM on January 26, 2012 [2 favorites]

It'd be pretty inexpensive to do wire/string either vertically or horizontally, with small bulldog clips to hang the papers.

Here's a horizontal installation showing the idea I'm getting after. To go vertical, personally, I'd think about something like heavy test fishing line strung vertically between small eyehooks, spaced maybe 12" apart, with bulldog clips tied on every 6-12".
posted by SomeTrickPony at 6:06 AM on January 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

Wall of clipboards.
posted by cocoagirl at 6:11 AM on January 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

A hanging shoe organizer costs about $12. Might not look great, though.
posted by jander03 at 6:11 AM on January 26, 2012

Clipboards + some way to hang clipboards.

Like this

on preview - what cocoagirl said.

Can have multiple pages per clipboard, can easily take them down and write on them, and looks pretty neat I reckon.
posted by lrobertjones at 6:13 AM on January 26, 2012

nthing magnets. these are pretty great; all the benefit and convenience of pushpins, without damaging the paper or the wall. The "large" kind are really gigantic and will hold a couple pounds probably.
posted by contrarian at 6:16 AM on January 26, 2012

Something like this paper sorting rack would probably be a decent solution.
posted by JJ86 at 6:18 AM on January 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

Ikea sells these cheap "curtain rods" that I've always thought would make great artwork/whatever hangers.
posted by resurrexit at 6:25 AM on January 26, 2012 [2 favorites]

Or what about something like the thing they display rugs on, except the rods are spaced out horizontally a farther apart (i.e., instead of all hanging at the same level, they'd be like a foot or so higher/lower than the rods before/after them)? You could mount it to the wall and then have clips/clothespins/something mounted to the rods for hanging your papers.

That way you'd have like a hanging "file cabinet" of art hanging and you could turn to the "page"/"file" you want when you need to see a particular character or scene or something for reference.

Or, similarly, maybe one of those poster displays like they have/had? in record stores. You could slide tons of stuff into one and then have a little catalog of sorts?
posted by resurrexit at 6:30 AM on January 26, 2012

The rug display idea made me think of re-purposing a trouser rack like this one where the little rods rotate around the wall-mount. You could have it right next to your desk and it wouldn't take up much room.
posted by resurrexit at 6:34 AM on January 26, 2012 [2 favorites]

You might check out some sort of paper kiosk/stand like the kind a hotel might keep pamphlets on.
posted by jander03 at 6:40 AM on January 26, 2012

Display rail.
posted by jon1270 at 6:42 AM on January 26, 2012

I have a string on my kitchen wall that is strung between two thumb tacks. It's where my kids display their many art creations. They just use clothes pins to hold up their art. It works great and it's been up for years without falling down once.

I've also seen people use this thing from IKEA for the same thing.
posted by TooFewShoes at 7:00 AM on January 26, 2012

Clothesline and binder clips. Tie instead of piercing
posted by MangyCarface at 7:26 AM on January 26, 2012

You could also look at desk reference systems - I see them a lot in offices where folks need easy access to tons of information, often on swing arms for easy positioning.

Probably not as good for re-positioning, though.
posted by clerestory at 7:52 AM on January 26, 2012

What about a restaurant-type hanging check holder? They can be found pretty cheap: here's a typical one.
posted by rachaelfaith at 8:21 AM on January 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

I am currently figuring this out for a show of many small daily drawings. Hang a bulldog clip from a nail at ceiling height, cut a thick piece string to the height of the wall and tie it to the clip. Starting at the top, paperclip your paper in the center top and center bottom to the string, then continue on down, creating a column of papers. Repeat with another row beside it, as many as you have vertical wall space for, no holes in the wall, except the one at the top, and no holes in your paper. It is like a clothes line, but vertical instead of horizontal, and the weight of the paper actually works in your favor.
posted by coevals at 1:27 PM on January 26, 2012

More IKEA: their octopus hanger.
posted by lakeroon at 2:46 PM on January 26, 2012

Example of my simple vertical hanging system. Please excuse the quilt hung on the wall behind the drawings.
posted by coevals at 2:53 PM on January 26, 2012

Sticky Tack is the brand name of a putty like substance that will not harm the paper or wall. It is easy to remove and reposition papers on a wall. Check in office supply stores or craft stores.
posted by JujuB at 11:05 PM on January 26, 2012

I've used these things and love them.
Hold Ups
posted by dantodd at 11:55 PM on January 27, 2012

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