How to Organize Your Desk — 15 Quality Tips You Must Follow

how to organize your desk
Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Desks are important furniture that helps us do our jobs. Given the demands of the office, it is not strange for many to take their work home.

However, it has been discovered that the desks of many are a total mess. The organization of your desk affects your efficiency.

Therefore, in this article, we will discuss how to organize your desk. This will serve you well both at home and in your office.

Remember, a well-organized desk has a lot to say about your kind of person.

Tips on Organizing Your Desk

There are several ways to organize your desk but these tips below will help you a great deal.

Have the Right Layout

Just like the blueprint of your home, your desk also needs a layout. When setting-up what will be on your desks, you should do the following:

Place your computer monitor at eye-level. It is recommended that it is about 17 inches away from your body.

i. Frequently-used devices and items should be placed on your dominant hand-side of the desk. This will prevent you from having to stretch across to get them.

ii. Supplies and office phones (not personal smartphones) are good examples of such devices.

Any office phone can look good on your desk but not many can boast of the features the AT&T CL84107 DECT 6.0 Expandable Corded/Cordless Phone with 1 Handset has.

Keep Track of Office Supplies

Before you begin work for the day, make sure you pay attention to your supplies; especially the frequently used ones.

See also  What is a Cocobolo Desk -- The Full 411

Stock up the supplies you need for the day before you begin the day’s work. This will keep you focused and prevent you from losing track of your work’s progress.

Frequently used supplies should be on your desk where you can easily reach. Those used once in a while should be kept in your desk drawer or at the side of the desk.

It is advisable to group similar items. This will help you know exactly where what type of item is.

Avoid Too Many Reminders

Although it is good to keep track of deadlines and what-not, having too many reminders can cause inefficiency. Instead of serving as reminders, they can keep you on edge at meeting the target/deadline.

If possible, have little or no reminder on your desk. The reminders could come in the form of sticky notes or marked calendars. 

Image by Ross Ferguson on Flickr

Reduce Personal Items

Man, you look at some people’s desks and wonder if it’s a personal exhibit or something. This is because they have occupied the entire desk area with personal items.

Although personal items such as family pictures, collectibles can serve as motivation, too many can be quite distractive. The brain is capable of processing whatever the eyes see and if you have so many thoughts upstairs, how can you be efficient?

How many personal items should be on your desk? We say a maximum of three. And don’t keep them where your eyes will always pick them.

Organize Your Desktop Too

In this case, we are referring to the computer’s desktop you make use of. For many in our world today, computers are an important tool for work.

It is, therefore, necessary that these tools are used to enhance our productivity and efficiency rather than hinder it.

The desktops of many computer users are a complete mess: In some cases messier than the desk they work on. Many do not realize that digital messes are also regarded as clutter that can be time-consuming and distracting.

So while you’re organizing, do not leave your computer desktop out of it. Arrange your documents into folders and reduce the number of icons on the desktop.

Image by ZAilCoinS on Reddit

Control Email and Social Media Alerts and Notifications

The advent of email and social media has helped us communicate faster and easier. However, it has proven to be a major source of distraction.

Instead of readily replying to pop-up messages on your screen, it is advisable you disable such pop-ups, alerts, and notifications.

You can instead designate a certain period in the day to check and reply to important messages.

Go Digital

We live in a digital world and we’ve been the better for it. Well, some may tend to argue about that.

Anyway, going digital saves you from having so many papers on your desk. Scan any document you don’t actually need in physical form or that you won’t be using immediately. After scanning, save them as PDFs.

This way you still have your documents but in a neater and even convenient way to access.

We have so many printers that can help you go digital (scanning your documents). If you ask for our opinion, we’d recommend the Canon PIXMA TR8520.

Organize Your Cables

Going digital means you’re bound to encounter a lot of cables. Disorganized cables can be quite distracting as well.

See also  What Is a Credenza Desk -- Meaning, Origin And Basic Uses

It is important you organize your cables to avoid distractions as well as hazards. Cables lying carelessly on the floor can cause one to trip and fall.

Tie your cables together and keep them out sight as well. For those on your desk, get cable holders to avoid them dangling anyhow.

Remove Electronics from Your Desk

It is common to see so many folks have their router, modem and other devices on their desks. This may make one feel like the person is ready for business, but it is more of a distraction.

Take these devices away and tuck them in a drawer or keep them on the floor in a well-arranged manner.

Employ White Space

White space in this regard refers to the free space that you keep on your desk that is will comfortably contain a paper.

This is usually on your dominant hand-side and it allows you to attend to documents that need signing or reviewing faster and easier.

Prioritize and Group Your Projects

Only important documents and active projects should be found on your desk at any given time.

The reason the desks of many folks are always messy is that they place all documents and projects on the desk at once. This will cause you to be overwhelmed in the long run.

You can also make use of vertical file holders. This will help you to be well organized as well as prevent the large stack of folders common on many desks.

Avoid Multitasking Projects

We know many try to pride themselves in being able to multi-task projects and assignments. However, the truth is that multitasking hinders efficiency.

Multi-tasking takes a major toll on the brain thereby leading to poor output. So instead of doing so many things at once, just pick one and complete it before moving to the next one.

Also, doing this will help you manage the clutter on your desk. Multi-tasking is a major reason many get their desks cluttered as they try to shuffle between projects and tasks.

Complete Tasks Quickly

Avoid procrastination. Complete tasks as quickly as possible. This will help you stay focused and it will help clear such tasks off your desk.

The longer it takes for tasks to get completed, the higher the tendency for clutter to accumulate on your desk.

Get a Trash Can

One reason many have cluttered desks is that they lack a trash can to throw away used paper and other items.

So, get a trash can like the AmazonBasics Mesh Trash Can Waste Basket now and toss away those papers that are beginning to pile up.

Wipe Your Desk after Work

As boring as this may sound, this helps you to remove any clutter you might have created during the day’s work.

See also  What Is a Credenza Desk -- Meaning, Origin And Basic Uses

Doing this regularly will ensure you do not accumulate the same pile of clutter that made your desk a mess in the first place. Plus, it gives you a fresh desk every morning or night (for the night owls) as the case may be to work with.  

Check out the video below for 12 office desk hacks that can improve your productivity.

Steps on Re-Organizing Your Desk  

Now you know some tips you need to keep in mind when organizing your desk. But for a thorough organization, we’ve decided to show you how to organize or re-organize your desk as the case may be.

Step 1: Clear the desk

Yes, you heard right. If you want your desk well-organized then you need a fresh start.

Remove everything on your desk as well as those in the drawers. Keep them either on the floor or another table.

This action will give you a fresh outlook on what you really need on your desk and how you want it to look.

Step 2: Clean the desk

You don’t want to start re-organizing a desk that is full of dust and stains now, would you? Therefore, clean the desk thoroughly.

Cleaning furniture gives it an appealing look that caused us to buy them in the first place. You can also learn how to clean sofas in this article.

Step 3: Throw away unnecessary items

From the items you took away from your desk, decide which items are unnecessary and throw them away.

This can be tough as humans are sentimental beings. However, your desk won’t be organized if you are holding on to a ticket from a concert ticket you missed and the likes.

Step 4: Update your desk

Simply put: Get rid of anything that isn’t current. Some folks have old calendars from 3 years back still on their desk. This shouldn’t be you and if it is, please replace it with a new one.

You can even update personal items like pictures. Perhaps the previous picture was from some years back; replace it with a recent one. This will add the freshness of perspective to your desk.

Step 5: Decide on the desk’s layout

Before you start putting items on your desk, you must decide where each item will be.

You could also tweak the original layout you had before to give it a new look. Create a layout that won’t be so boring but one that will keep you interested in working.

Step 6: Get new supplies

This would be a good time to get new supplies such as pens, pencils, papers, etc. Make sure you get only essential supplies.

Having a pencil holder like this Cute Elephant Pencil Holder will also help you keep your pencils and pens organized.

Step 7: Arrange your items

Based on the layout you have in mind, begin to arrange your desk. The tips we gave above should serve as a guide as you do this.

Also, if you always intuitively look for an item at a particular location, then you should place such an item there. Else it will take a long time for your mind to process the change and this is not good especially while working.

Make sure only essentials and frequently used items should find their way onto your desk.

Step 8: Use the desk’s drawer

The desk drawer is to help you keep files, paperwork and everything else that you won’t be using for a while.

Don’t just dump everything on the desk, use the drawers.

Step 9: Add some personal touch

This is where your personal items come in. Your pictures, trinkets or even a personalized mug can be placed on your desk at this point.

Be reminded that your personal items on your desk should not be more than 3.


With the tips and steps above, we hope you now know how to organize your cluttered desk.

Which of these tips are you readily going to put in place? Let us know in the comments section.

And if you have further questions, drop them in the comments section. We will answer as best as we can.

Leave a Comment