Double up your productivity with these desk organization ideas!
Is your home office desk in a constant mess?
Do you always have to search through endless piles of paper?
Are you always losing your favorite pen? Are your walls and monitor frames filled with sticky notes?
Having a messy desk affects your productivity. The appearance of clutter sends signals to your brain that you need to do something about it. This can overwhelm the brain and trigger stress, even unknowingly.
No wonder it is a popular advice to make the surface of your desk as bare as possible. Without the presence of visible clutter, you will be able to focus more on the task you have at hand. And that’s what we want!
So today, I encourage you to learn how to organize your desk and be more in control of it. Here is a list of desk organization ideas that I’m sure will help you tame the clutter!
Remove the unnecessary – the very first thing you have to do.
When you have removed what’s not needed, then you can organize what remains!
So first, go through your desk. Remove any trash you see.
Then, evaluate every item on it. Does it belong on your desk? If not, get it out of there now, and put it to its place.
Decide what should be really on your desk, and stick to that!
Sometimes the clutter on your desk is just the result of your home office being entirely cluttered.
If that’s the case, then I suggest you declutter your entire home office first.
I know you’re busy so don’t worry. You don’t need the whole day to declutter. Just give it at least 15 minutes. For today, you can focus on decluttering only your desk!
Then tomorrow, you can focus on another part of your home office – shelves maybe, or focus on a particular stuff – like pens.
Everyday, declutter your home office, for just 15 minutes until you finish. This way, it won’t take much of your time and it doesn’t have to interrupt what you’re doing.
2. Keep what is essential within easy reach.
The main goal of desk organization ideas is always – easily get what you need when you need it.
Think of which office supplies you use the most. It could be a pen, notepad, pencil, a bullet journal, etc. These are the items that should be on your desk.
Either get a desktop organizer for these essentials, or just make your own!
When the items you always use are within reach, this minimizes your movement and thus increases your productivity. Put them on the side of your dominant hand.
3. Hide your wires.
Detangling jumbled wires is frustrating! You do not know which cord is attached to which gadget. Wires from your computer, monitors, mouse, keyboard, chargers, hard drives, and phones can be a lot to handle at the same time.
Some desks have slots to hide these wires. You can get a desk like it! Or… just do a simple DIY hack to hide your wires with binder clips.
Here’s one from Instructables.
You can also go the extra mile and do DIY cord labels so you can easily see which ones you need to plug or unplug.
Try to go wireless too, like using a wireless mouse and keyboards that can connect to your computer or laptop through Bluetooth. When you have less wires, then you have less to organize and hide!
4. Use drawer dividers.
How do you feel when you open your drawers and inside is a jumble of office supplies, and then it takes you a couple more minutes just to get your hands on a pen or a paper clip?
It’s annoying, I know.
Stop wasting precious time by using drawer dividers!
Drawer dividers help sort out the supplies in the drawers by having a designated area each. When you open your drawer, you clearly see every item you have and get to pick what you need in seconds!
There are many ready-made divider trays that you can purchase. They have different layouts too so you will be able to choose a format that will fit your needs.
Or, go the repurpose route! Use toolbox organizers, medicine organizers, jewelry box tray, cookie trays, and many other items that will fit as dividers in your drawers.
If you love DIY projects, well then, DIY!
Here’s a really popular DIY drawer dividers using cereal boxes!
Cut the boxes, then cover them with felt paper, wrapping paper, or those cute washi tapes. Doing this DIY project will allow you to make your own compartments and decide how wide or small each one should be.
5. Make use of the space under your desk.
You may worry about the surface not having enough space, but fail to recognize how much space is available underneath.
If you do not mind losing some legroom, use the space under your desk to add more storage.
You can place a small rolling cart underneath, a small filing cabinet, and even fit in a nightstand of drawers!
6. Get a small bookshelf.
Don’t keep your books just lying around your desk. These books can eat up a lot of your desk space as it is.
So do invest in a small bookshelf. Even if you do not have that many books, you can still use the shelves to store other office supplies like file books, folders, envelopes, copy paper, colored paper, and the likes.
Having a small bookshelf can take off a lot of items on your desk. These are not even that expensive these days unless you want something fancy or custom made.
Again if you love DIY, here’s a cute shelf you can make!
7. Use a rolling cart.
This is one of my favorite desk organization ideas. I guess I just have a soft spot for rolling carts.
A rolling cart helps expand your workspace. You can place files in it, office supplies, books, and whatever you need. Plus, it’s very easy to move from one place to another easily.
For maximum effectiveness, if you plan to store the cart on the side of your desk, get one that has the same height as your desk. This will minimize the movement that you have to make since you can easily roll it near you or away.
If you want to stow it beneath your desk, get something smaller and shorter.
8. Mount a pegboard on the wall.
Using a pegboard is one of the most common trends in desk organization ideas. And for good reasons.
It gives you endless opportunities to hang small baskets for supplies, photos, planners, and other things. What you might put on your desk, you can place on the pegboard instead. It frees a lot of desk space!
Also, if you arrange things right, a pegboard – with everything on it, can act as a home office décor at the same time. So, no need for fancy decors!
9. Install a floating shelf.
Another way to expand your workspace is just in a few taps of a hammer. Install a shelf over your desk!
Transfer some of your desk items on these shelves. Place your desktop calendar here, your notebooks, and your favorite decor!
10. Go digital.
When you have a desk that is usually filled with a lot of paper scraps, sticky notes, note pads, planners, and other papers, consider going paperless.
There are lots of apps that can help you go digital by scanning your documents and saving either a PDF file or image of it in your phone. These apps can also sync your notes and documents to all your devices so you can access them from any gadget you are using.
Examples of these apps are Evernote, Dropbox, Google Keep, and Adobe Scan – very popular for offices that go paperless.
11. Use a box as your monitor stand.
Do you always slouch when you are working? Do you end up with a strained neck at the end of the day?
Your computer screen is probably not at your eye level. This is mostly the case if you are using a small monitor or laptop.
The solution is to elevate your screens. You can do this easily by using a stable box as a monitor stand.
Wrap the box with gift wrapping paper to make it look presentable! You can even turn it into a makeshift shelf to keep some of your office supplies inside to give your desk more space.
This one’s made of wood, but, you get the idea.
12. Stop abusing sticky notes.
The presence of too many sticky notes on display giving you reminders can seriously stress out your brain. It can get overwhelmed by the number of reminders and leave you confused as to which task to prioritize.
It helps to do a sticky note detox!
There are now digital sticky notes for computers that stick to your home screen. If you are at risk to abuse that too, use a calendar to put all your reminders.
Get one of those blank calendar pages and have it plastered on the wall above your monitor or the wall beside you. Then, write your deadlines, appointments, and reminders there. All you have to do is check that page and get on to working.
13. Put up a cork board.
If you find it hard to get rid of your sticky note habit, this could be your new favorite among these desk organization ideas.
Put up a cork board on the wall – that’s now the place for your sticky notes! These do not have to be scattered around your work station anymore.
A corkboard will also allow you to post anything on the wall. Perhaps this time you can go crazy with push pins! (haha)
14. Use transparent bins.
Some people refuse to keep their things away from their desk because they are afraid they might forget about them or will not remember where they put them.
I can relate a lot to this. I’m more like a “I have to see it or I will forget about it”. So this is another of my favorite desk organization ideas!
If this is you too, use transparent bins for keeping office supplies so you can easily see its contents. Or, when you’re using non-transparent bins, add labels to them. Make sure the labels can be seen clearly.
15. Active vs. Inactive Files
When you have to deal with a lot of files and paperwork, simply categorize them into “active” or “inactive.”
The active files should be accessible to you. You can place them in a file tray on your desk, and schedule when you will work on them.
If your desk is too small for a file tray, place your active files somewhere else. You can make a magnetic file holder like this to hold your files. Just hang it up on the wall!
Meanwhile, the inactive ones should be stored away. Keep them in a filing cabinet, drawer or a rolling file cart.
When it’s clear to you which files are active, you spend less time rummaging through every paper you have.
As with the inactive files, don’t just throw them inside your filing cabinet. Categorize these too, so when you need a file, it’s easy to get it!
16. Hang a shoe organizer by the door.
When there is no space for a shelf or a rolling cart, utilize the space behind your office door.
Hang a shoe organizer on it – the transparent ones are more helpful so you can easily see what you need.
You can store most office supplies in the shoe slots. Just put labels. Fill the slots with pens, pencils, paperclips, envelopes, stamps, highlighters, index cards, sticky notes, and many more.
This allows you to have extra storage space and a clutter-free desk!
By the way, being a part of desk organization ideas is just one use for a hanging shoe organizer. Here’s how you can use it in organizing other stuff in the home.
17. Place your printer somewhere else.
We often place our printers next to our computers so our desks end up mostly occupied by these two. So… evict the printer from your desk!
Here are three ways to do it!
One is to have a desk custom-built to have a cabinet underneath for your printer.
Two, install a shelf underneath your table and use that to keep your printer.
And three, put it entirely away from your desk space – like keep it in a shelf…
Or have a separate stand for it!
So you see – you can keep that printer away from your desk! You now have more space for whatever you’re working on!
18. Have a trash can.
To avoid clutter from accumulating on your desk, have a trash can beside or under your desk. As soon as something needs to be discarded, toss it right away!
This way, you do not get to see the crumpled paper, notes with erasures, and other things that can add to the clutter on your desk.
An ordinary trash can will do. But if you like modern-looking that’s not obvious it’s a trash can, go for something like Brabantia Bo Touch trash can.
19. Keep decorative plants away from your desk.
Decorative plants are lovely to look at but it is not best to have them on your desk. Dirt and leaves may fall off and leave a mess on the surface. If you are not careful, this could ruin some documents you have.
If you want a decorative plant in your home office, keep them by the window.
Or place them somewhere else like on top of your shelves!
20. Get rid of personal knick-knacks.
Framed pictures and other trinkets can be inspiring but too many of them on your desk can be distracting and these also take up a lot of space.
Why not just hang the pictures on the wall and display the trinkets on the shelves?
This way, these mementos won’t distract you nor will these take precious space while you work!
Make your own desk organization system.
It really doesn’t take that much effort to keep your desk organized when you have a system in place.
Remember, it’s not just about being neat and making your home office visually appealing. This is about helping yourself become more productive and in the flow when you work.
When you have an organized desk, you just might be surprised at how much you can accomplish!