Desk Organization Ideas

That disorganized desk is killing your productivity. Research shows that the average person wastes 4.3 hours per week just searching for paper! This and other common time-wasters increase stress, decrease creativity, and limit productivity. And that’s just your physical desk—a messy digital desktop can be even more of a productivity killer.

According to the Harvard Business Review, the average person checks their email 74 times and spends six hours on email accounts each day—and we check our smartphones an amazing 2,617 times a day. Throw in news sites, social media, and other digital distractions, and it’s a wonder we get anything done.

Only you can change your unproductive habits like checking Facebook or your emails too often, but keep reading to find out how to organize a desk to get your work done faster and easier.

How to Organize Your Office Desk


If you want to be more productive, here is your new mantra—a cluttered desk means a cluttered mind. You can’t focus on the task at hand if you’re digging through stuff every time you need something. Decluttering is one of the most effective desk organization ideas because it decreases what you have to organize.

Go through each area of your desk and look for things that you rarely use. If something’s broken, toss it—and think objectively about whether you need to replace it. This clutter can include desktop messes, outdated files, furniture, equipment, supplies, and plain old junk.

Set Up Work Zones

Decide what type of activity happens, or should happen, in each area of your office. You’ll likely have a main workspace like your desk, a reference area with files and binders, and a supply area in a closet or drawer. Put the things you need for particular work tasks in specific places, so you can work quickly and efficiently.

  • Your desk zone should be a space that is well-lit, uncluttered, and close to a window if possible. This zone should include things you use daily: files, folders, books, calendars, and other office staples. Include a place to store your favorite snacks and other personal items.
  • The reference zone should be out of the way, but easily accessible. This is where you will keep books, files, folders, and other reference items you only need occasionally.
  • Your supply zone can be drawers, closet, shelves, or other out-of-the-way areas. This is where you’ll store your office supplies, bottled water, snacks, and other items you have to replenish regularly.

Use Labels

Labels will help you find the things you need without wasting valuable time. Go through each of your work zones and start labeling shelves, drawers, cabinets, bins, baskets, and anything else you can think of. Don’t worry about overdoing it—your goal is to organize for increased productivity.

Streamline Your Filing System

Do you have file cabinets and binders stuffed with documents? Start digging those papers out and get rid of any outdated or irrelevant items. Sort your file cabinet into client categories, by project, or whatever works best for your type of work.

Clear Your Desk Each Day

Making the bed each morning is the perfect start to a productive day. Clearing away everything but the essentials from your work desk each night is the perfect end to a productive day. This gives you a sense of accomplishment and a clean slate to work with the next day.

Office Desk Organization Ideas to Expand Your Work Space

Even if you declutter and organize your office desk, you may still find you need a larger area to be at your most productive. Small spaces don’t give you much room to set up work zones, but with some planning, a little ingenuity, and these helpful tips, you can expand your workspace and your storage.

  • Nearby cubbies, hooks, shelves, and baskets can keep the clutter off your desk and your supplies and tools close by.
  • Use a rolling cart for storing pens, paper, toner, and other office supplies. The goal is to make your workspace bigger, so you’ll want a cart that is approximately the same height as your desk.
  • Hang a shelf over your desk to store extra binders, tech items, or books. It’s also a clever way to display artwork or other decór.
  • Store your printer on the bottom shelf of your desk or on a shelf nearby.
  • Use magnetic knife strips on the sides of your desk, inside drawers, or anywhere else you need quick access to metal rulers, staplers, scissors, binder clips, and other metal office supplies.
  • Maximize the space under your desk by adding a small bookshelf or storage cabinet to the side or toward the back of your desk.
  • Add wall pockets to the sides of your desk and nearby walls for papers and notebooks you use frequently.
  • Use a laptop or desktop monitor riser for extra storage and desktop surface area. Getting your computer monitor at eye level will also help your neck and back.

Want more office desk organization ideas to increase your productivity? Check out this list of what the most productive people keep on their desks and their other positive habits. From healthy snacks to sticky notes, go-getters have little on their desks—but what they have increases productivity.

Ready to create a home office that will boost your productivity? Start by letting The Maids get your workspace healthy and clean. Then use the tips above to organize your desk and office and enjoy a great place to work!

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