Tips for Working Happier with an Organized Desk

Dust and clutter don’t exactly scream “Productivity!”

If you spend a lot of time at your desk, that space should be an extension of your personality — but, like, refined. Imagine the best version of yourself. That should be your desk. Maximum charm, a pleasing color palette, accessories to help declutter and streamline your work, odds and ends that bring you joy and tools to help maximize efficiency.

Seriously though, desk accessories have come a long way. From computer risers and charging port organizers to drawer organizers and adorable, stackable shelves, the internet is bursting with creative desk solutions. And they’re generally much more attractive than old school metal filing racks and those metal mesh pen holders.

We’re going to take a moment here to focus on the positive benefits of working in a neat and tidy space.

Surprising benefits of an organized workspace

Working in a clean and organized space will make sitting down to tackle your daily tasks and hit weekly deadlines more enjoyable. Little things like regularly dusting, cleaning your computer screen (and keyboard!) and keeping a couple of cheerful plants on your desk will make working feel better mentally and emotionally, too.

If your desk is covered in stacks of unopened mail, smatterings of snack crumbs and crusty smoothie cups from breakfast, that’s not going to feel so cute. Or very professional.

We know working from home can be dull and burnout is real. Finding inspiration, even in little ways, is crucial for keeping you motivated and positive. Even if that inspiration comes from an overpriced, hand-crafted ceramic oval tray to hold your glasses. Because if it makes you happy, you deserve it.

You know how they say that, even if you’re working from home, it helps to get dressed like you’re going into an office? Let’s play that make-believe game with our desk, too. Yes, keeping an organized desk might just be for your own sake, but it helps to pretend someone else will see it for accountability. If you need to go that route, we’re here to give you permission.

And maintaining a clean desk can help improve your concentration, lower stress and anxiety levels and improve your mood. So even when you’re at your wits end with Zoom calls and meetings that could’ve been emails, the very state of your desk can center you, maximize the chill and bring your mind back to ease.

Tips for desk organization

The best way to organize your desk is by starting with a clean slate. Begin by clearing everything off. And let’s dust off that slate and give ‘er a wipe down with a clean, damp rag. Maybe even spritz some Microban 24 on there to sanitize and disinfect your work station, depending on the material of your desk (skip this step if your desk is made of unfinished, oiled, or waxed wood).

Now that your desktop is fresh and clean, let’s reassess and take inventory of all the items you keep on your desk.

  • Are they necessary?
  • How are you utilizing your space?
  • Does your current layout work for you?
  • Are you comfortable at your desk?
  • Is everything you need within reach?

Evaluate your workspace and ask yourself: What am I missing? How could this be better?

Now consider your desk organization options:

  • Could you use a few small storage baskets or bins?
  • Would loose items be better suited on a tray?
  • What sort of headphones do you use? Could they rest on a headphone stand?
  • Do your cords and cables need to be less obtrusive and tangled?
  • How do you keep your electronics charged? Would it benefit you to invest in a wireless charging station to streamline this?
  • Do you have books and notebooks stacked haphazardly about? Would a small set of desktop shelves be helpful, so you can better store your notebooks and documents?
  • What’s in your drawers? Can you effectively see and find all of your drawer dwelling items, or should you buy a drawer organizer?
  • Are you on a lot of FaceTime or Zoom calls? Do you work with multiple screens? Is your computer monitor at the right height? Maybe you need a computer riser and/or a better desktop light.
  • If clutter is driving you crazy, there are lots of options available for desk organization systems that put accessories and implements out of sight while still keeping them accessible and nearby. Check out desktop drawer sets and tiny lockers.
  • Do you often work analog? Old-school paper and pen? If so, you should probably have a desk side waste basket nearby to collect your garbage — and even your trashcan can be cute.

And a few more things to consider:

  • If you work with papers, binders, and folders, try storing them in cubby holes.
  • If you’ve got lots of time sensitive work and frequent deadlines, try keeping a proper calendar on or near your desk.
  • If you’re an artist or illustrator, try stackable desk organizers with multiple compartments for all of your tools.

Bonus (splurge!) desk accessories:

  • A set of cute bookends
  • A vase or quirky plant holder
  • A glasses mount shaped like a nose or cute animal
  • One of those bobble heads that dances in the sunlight

Make your desk uniquely you, and feel good while you’re sitting there. If tiny trinkets make you happy and don’t seem like clutter, add them into the mix. Your desk space shouldn’t be boring. That could only lead to doing boring work.

Desk cleaning tips and tricks

Not only is it important to keep your desk tidy and organized, but actually cleaning your desk and work tools is crucial, too.

  • Keep a Swiffer Duster nearby and give your entire desk a once-over with it weekly. Swiffer Dusters actually remove and capture dust instead of just sending it airborne.
    • If you’ve got pets (for example, a cat that loves to sit on your keyboard), try dusting more regularly… let’s say every other day, at least.
    • We also love to keep a compressed air duster on hand for maximum keyboard cleanliness.
  • Try to remember to use a coffee mug with a lid at your desk to avoid spills.
  • If you need to eat at your desk, make a point to clean up after yourself. Crumbs and sticky spots make your desk feel more like a cafeteria table than a place where productivity thrives.
  • Establish a routine. Either at the beginning or end of each week, clear your desk off and wipe it down with a damp rag or use a mild cleaning agent to freshen it up. Add this chore to your regular cleaning checklist. You’ll learn to really appreciate having this fresh, clean space in which to get stuff done.
  • At the end of each day, assess your workspace. What tools are you done with? Can you close those tabs? What will you need for tomorrow? Try to set your future self up for success before mentally and physically clocking out at the end of the day.

Commit to your desk organization. Establish a solid budget and an aesthetic for your desk and then do a bit of shopping for desk organization accessories. Get to work designating specific places for each of your desk items, being sure to leave a fair amount of negative space for miscellaneous things to organically reaccumulate, as they will.

Regularly organizing your desk at the end of each work day — or at least at the end of each work week — will help to keep your space fresh and feeling good. We’re confident that you’ll notice the difference pretty quickly. It’ll work! Pardon the pun.

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