Piles upon piles of papers, sticky notes, and who knows what else can make your desk space stressful and cluttered (aka impossible to use). Your new year’s resolution was to “get organized” but you just can’t seem to figure out where to start and it's discouraging. Lucky for you, I have just the cure! Here are 6 ways to declutter your desk space. This article includes Amazon Affiliate links
Keep Writing Utensils Accessible
The first step to organizing your desk requires attention to your pens, pencils, and other related supplies. There are a million ways to organize your pencils and pens (and rulers, and tape, and scissors, and paper clips, and… well you get the idea). It can feel nearly impossible to figure out what works best for your space.
When it comes to figuring this out, there is one rule: Keep writing utensils accessible. One of the worst things that could happen is to sit down and find that you don’t seem to have a pen or pencil in sight! Not even a crayon! This happens when writing utensils are stored in clutter drawers, or don't have a place to belong.
Keeping your pens and pencils in a handily accessible location is essential.
Now that you have a spot located for the utensils, you need to figure out how to keep it from getting cluttered again. I use jars to keep my pens and pencils organized. For my scissors, rulers, paper clips, etc., I use a drawer shelf below my desk. You can use whatever method you find works best for you.
(Don’t be intimidated by all my jars and pens, I am an overachiever. You only really need one or two jars to store your writing utensils.)
Your method of organization is up to you. Just remember, no matter what you chose to keep the different items separated. One way to keep the utensils separated is to use drawer trays (small food storage containers like in the photo below work too).
Have A Place for Everything
When I say that everything needs a place, I literally mean EVERYTHING. If it doesn’t have a place to belong and you can’t find a place for it to belong, you probably don’t need it.
Creating a specific place for everything at your desk helps to purge your desk of all the unnecessary documents and knickknacks you have been collecting. If you are finding that your clutter is primarily important documents, try investing in a filing cabinet or filing bin. Your filing does not need to be located at your desk, I chose to store mine underneath my desk.
Check out my post on creating the perfect filing system here!
Once you have sifted through those nasty piles of paper and you have filed the necessary documents (purged others), it is time to avoid future paperwork-clutter. The best way I have found to do this is to invest or create a tray to put urgent documents in. Urgent documents are those that need your attention before they can be stored in your filing storage. This tray can be placed on your desktop or fastened to the wall, just make sure it is within reach and view so that it can be dealt with in a timely manner.
Another way to avoid future clutter is to have a cork board to pin important documents too. A cork board can only hold so many papers which force you to periodically tackle those papers before they pile too high. Here is my cork board. It may look cluttered, but mine is used primarily for reminders and decoration.
Leave Some Desk-Top Space Open
Now that you have found a way to declutter your desk, keep it that way. This isn’t going to come naturally and will probably take some discipline. But you wouldn’t be here if you weren’t down for the challenge, would you?
One rule of thumb is to always have enough empty space to fit items that you use on a daily basis. For me, these items include my laptop, mouse, a coaster, a notebook, and my cell phone. These are items that I find to get moved around often but are also very important to have when sitting down to work. You can choose whatever items work best for you.
Reduce Cord Clutter
Your desk is now clutter-free, yay! Except we forgot to look underneath it…oops.
Cord clutter is easily the most annoying and frustrating clutter that exists. Luckily there are quite a few ways to tidy them up.
The first you need to untangle and unplug everything. Once you’ve figured out where on earth all of these cords go, grab yourself a power strip. Plug the power strip into the bottom outlet and your desk lighting into the top one. These two items go straight into the wall because, generally, they don’t ever get moved around.
The cords for your lamp and power strip are probably way too long. This is an easy fix, grab a twist tie, alligator clip, hair tie, rubber band, or even a ribbon and tie up the unnecessary length of the cords.
Now just repeat this process for all your other cords! Simple!
Be Sure to Have Good Lighting on Your Desk
Now that we’ve mentioned the light source, let's tackle it. A good lighting source at your desk is incredibly helpful if you plan on doing any working during the evening or night hours. Just having the room light on will probably not be enough to properly see your work. If your lighting is too dim, you could strain your eyes.
To fix this probably, a simple desk lamp will do just fine. I enjoy simple lamps but have been using one with an additional outlet and small storage space at the base as long as I can remember, and I love it.
Enhance Your Desk with Inspiring Decoration
The final step to a successful and decluttered desk is to enhance the space. This can be done in whatever way works best for you. I personally love photographs. I have an entire wall next to my desk dedicated to my family and keep other more inspirational pieces on the wall next to my cork board.
Another decoration piece that I think every workspace should have is a plant. I keep a hanging plant above my desk. I also try to keep one on my desk (though I keep killing it, I guess it just wasn’t meant to be). Succulents make perfect desk plants because they are easy to take care of and don’t require a ton of attention.
Any other decorating you do is completely up to you. I have a tank on my desk dedicated to my beautiful baby gecko, Kaida. Despite the fact that she is nocturnal, she is a huge contribution to my productivity.
Decluttered Desk Shopping List
- jars, drawer shelf, or drawer trays
- a filing cabinet or filing bin
- document tray or cork board
- desk lamp