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How to Organize a Desk

Updated on November 15, 2012
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Why Keep An Organized Desk

A clean desk does matter. Messy rooms create stress and the same goes for a messy work space. Clutter-stress creates the following fall-out:

  • You are less productive because the stress from mess increases your resistance to getting work done.
  • An unkempt desk leads to poor work habits as it is hard to find your tools at hand.
  • A cluttered desk increases drag which is draining on your time management, energy and focus.

A cluttered, unorganized work space leads to time wasted looking for needed items. So, how do you keep your desk area neat and tidy to get the job done efficiently? Read on and discover tips to keep an organized work space.

Fifteen Tips To Keep An Organized Desk

  1. Start with a clean slate. Clean everything off of your desk and give it a thorough cleaning.
  2. Prioritize by deciding what you use the most and keep only those items on the desk or in a nearby desk drawer.
  3. Try a minimalist approach and only keep on your desktop your computer, lamp and writing utensils in a holder. If you are running a business you will also want your phone and possibly an inbox at close hand.
  4. Get rid of writing utensils that don't work or that you don't use.
  5. Whatever utensils you are keeping, store in a container near your computer. Reduce stress further by making the container suit your personality. Beauty is calming and if we like our surroundings we are more productive.
  6. Use a left to right workflow approach when organizing your desktop. Your desktop computer screen, inbox, phone, lamp and utensils should be placed on the left hand side of the desk. Leave the right hand side open for your actual working space.
  7. Base proximity of items on frequency of use. Frequently used items should be placed closer by while seldom used ones should be filed or stored.
  8. Have a charging station nearby for cell phones, Bluetooth earpiece etc.
  9. Make sure your filing system allows for easy access while at your desk.. The easier it is to reach your filing system, the more likely you are to keep up with the filing and reduce paper clutter. My desk contains two filing drawers on either side. Filing gets done regularly as I do not have to leave my chair to file away important documents.
  10. Ditch the post-its and use on-line sticky notes or applications such as Evernote.
  11. Sign up for paperless billing to reduce paperwork you need to deal with and file.
  12. Scan documents where it is not necessary to keep the original. PDF's stored on your computer take up much less space and reduce the need for filing.
  13. Keep drawers organized using various baskets and other organizational tools.
  14. Have a good lamp on your table. Adequate lighting makes work and cleanup easier.
  15. Get into a routine and organize as you go. File papers immediately when done with them and put away materials immediately after finishing a project.

From Disorganized, Uninspired Clutter To An Organized Desk

Click thumbnail to view full-size
I let my work space organization get so out of hand.  The clutter left no room to be productive let alone enhance my creativity.My new, revitalized work space.  It is neat, uncluttered and inspiring for both productivity and creativity.File cabinets built into the bottom drawers on both sides of my desk make filing a snap.
I let my work space organization get so out of hand.  The clutter left no room to be productive let alone enhance my creativity.
I let my work space organization get so out of hand. The clutter left no room to be productive let alone enhance my creativity. | Source
My new, revitalized work space.  It is neat, uncluttered and inspiring for both productivity and creativity.
My new, revitalized work space. It is neat, uncluttered and inspiring for both productivity and creativity. | Source
File cabinets built into the bottom drawers on both sides of my desk make filing a snap.
File cabinets built into the bottom drawers on both sides of my desk make filing a snap. | Source

Special Tips For Desk Organization

Create an office wire organizer.

  • Eliminate tangled wires by feeding them through a hole in your desk if possible.
  • Plug the cords into a surge protector strip which is mounted to the underside of your desk.
  • Keep the chords, with the extra length wrapped and secured with twist ties, in a coated wire basket also suspended under the desk with wire hooks.
  • Use tags to identify to which machine each cord belongs.

Create a cubby-hole organization system to store unpaid bills and school notes from each child in your home.

  • Recycle cleaned out coffee cans or large well cleaned food tins (opened with a can opener that leaves smooth, non-cutting edges).
  • Wrap each can with decorative paper or decorative duct tape.
  • Line up on a shelf and anchor them with velcro.

Eliminating Creativity-Draining Clutter

Free yourself from creativity-sucking clutter by following some or all of the tips listed above. As time goes on, decide which organization techniques work best for you. Stick with the ones that work and modify or eliminate the ones that are not for you. Over time you will hopefully refine your organizational process so that you and your work space function together like a well-oiled machine. Creating your own personal space that is attractive and pleasing to your eye will bring out the best of your creativity and productivity.

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    • Teresa Coppens profile imageAUTHOR

      Teresa Coppens 

      5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thanks Deb. I am moving forward with my own advice and organizing other areas of my home. Good luck in your move!

    • profile image

      Deb Welch 

      5 years ago

      Nice Hub - yes - sometimes desks can get really into a big mess when extremely busy. Good information. When I get a new desk after moving - I will keep this in mind. Thanks.

    • Teresa Coppens profile imageAUTHOR

      Teresa Coppens 

      5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thanks Waheed, your positive input means a great deal!

    • Teresa Coppens profile imageAUTHOR

      Teresa Coppens 

      5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thanks Ladies. I am so glad you found the hub useful.

    • LetitiaFT profile image

      LetitiaFT 

      5 years ago from Paris via California

      Oh Boy! Can I use this! I'm printing it out to start tomorrow! Tonight actually. Following your advice, I just threw out a pen that doesn't work.

    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 

      5 years ago from Upstate, New York

      I am an organizational person at heart. As your helpful hub to clearly points out, great organizational skills make for higher production rates.

      Voting up

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