If your desk feels disorganized and cluttered, get it back into organized shape with these five steps.

Does your desk feel disorganized and cluttered? A desk, whether it is in a home or place of business, can be a real clutter magnet. If you don’t get a workspace organized and under control, you’ll experience a loss of productivity and likely lose money or business opportunities. With papers, recycling, post it notes, calendars, cameras, receipts, books and office supplies all in a mess in a small area, there is bound to be frustration. But, with a little bit of effort and organization, you can reclaim your workspace!

Five Steps to a Decluttered Desk

Clear off Your Desk: Don’t get caught up in getting it perfectly organized just yet. First, start by clearing the desk completely of all paper and clutter. This will inspire you to see how it would feel to have a completely clutter-free desk! 

Identify Specific Clutter-Causing Items:  Do you have papers, pens, calendars, bills, mail or office supplies all over the desk? Go step by step, problem by problem, and create a home for each item you’ve identified. Purchase a paper organizer that uses up only a small amount of space on the desk, or designate a specific drawer with a drawer divider for your office supplies. Group together your pens in a cup on the side, with a separate cup for highlighters and other writing utensils. Group similar items together so that they make logical sense for you to quickly find them when you need them.

Melissa April Pic 2

Take Time to Observe How You Work:  When you need to throw something away, is the trash can in easy reach? Or is it so far away that you set your trash aside on the desk to deal with later? Do you have a recycling bin handy? Do you find yourself needing to charge your phone, but have no charger close-by? Do you always have to scramble for a notepad and pen when you need to jot down a quick note during a phone call? What about bills, do you you know where to put them when you bring the mail in? Make a list of what you find inconvenient or what contributes to your desk clutter as you work or go about your day, and find a solution for each.

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Post a Calendar & Bulletin Board to the Wall:  You will feel much more organized and productive with your schedule and to-do lists visible at a glance either on the wall or in a notebook.

Never Leave Your Desk Messy at the End of the Day:  Take care of clutter and put away the day’s paperwork before you go to bed. Set up a “to file” box on or near your desk so even if you aren’t able to get papers completely organized at the end of the day you have a designated place for them to wait. You will be much more inspired the next day to start your work when you know you have a clear desk.

What are some of your desk or office organization challenges?

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  • Wanda hayes

    This article is very helpful! Thanks so much!

  • Shelby Watts

    A great article with useful tips. I like the idea of emptying the desk and starting out fresh. One suggestion, however. It’s best to store markers on their sides, which can be problematic. You can use a narrow tray or pencil box.

    A challenge for me us that I also use the desk for sewing projects. I now move my laptop to other surfaces.

    This is my favorite blog!

  • judianni

    All wonderful ideas! I’m going to implement most of them right away…but, sad to say, I’m an “out of sight, out of mind” kind of girl so, sadly, I need to see what I need to work on. Any suggestions for a messy one like me?

    • Bjp1977

      Me too! I now have a colored-see through file that I leave out and as my bills and need action mail arrives I add them to my file? Much neater and no forgotten payments or deadlines for me now.

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  • Kathy

    Getting it organized isn’t my problem. Keeping it organized is. Ditto for all over my house!

    My biggest challenge with my desk is I need space to spread out when doing bills. A 36″ desk was OK for that before a laptop was added to the mix. Now the laptop takes up so much darn room on the desk, I end up pulling up chairs just to give myself space. Or I haul everything down to my kitchen table and do my bills from there.

    My dream is when my kids move out and I can turn one of the bedrooms into a true office. And for a desk I want an old 36×60 farmhouse table with one tiny drawer. I can move my legs under the table to my heart’s content. I am drooling just thinking about it.

  • lisa bivona

    still though, can I even tackle this? first thought, I can make sure at the end of day to clean out and off the desk. It’s a beginning.
    Bookmarked this page.
    thanks so much,

  • Sheryl

    You hit the nail on the head with finding almost all of my cluttering fault! I also can not seem to keep it decluttered- so found many of your suggestions helpful. I will try again!! Thanks for a great article.

  • Peggy

    Great ideas…so true..when my desk starts to become filled with co – mingled piles..frustration soars. I have a small tv on the corner of my desk and play fav movies while I pay bills…makes it more pleasant.

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  • Karen

    Some wonderful tips and definitely identifiable posts. I used to be extremely organized and husband could go pick any file and the answer was there. Over the last years, houses change and space is different, kids gone, guests seem to come and want to stay, and more mail than ever over the years, which means stuff I don’t feel like tackling…so piles begin. I’d rather play with my grandsons than do the obvious. 😀
    But something that helps me a great deal, similar to the post of the tv on the desk is my ITunes full of music on my desktop…get some oldies, jazz, folk, Christian contemporary, anything that sings to your heart at the time, or makes you MOVE quicker, really helps with organization of those bills (of which most seem to be on computer). For all the other clutter that comes daily/week or in a bag for the month…cause ya just don’t like the looks of it :-), put the music on and dance your way thru it. Have a great day decluttering.

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