Papers everywhere. Dust everywhere. Paperclips and loose staples sliding into the cracks of your desk. Precarious stacks of important documents teetering, ready to bury you in legalese and work memos at any moment. Does any of this sound familiar? Office desk organization is a hugely important part of being relaxed at work and getting the job done in an orderly, efficient fashion.
Of course, not everyone keeps their desks organized (or even halfway organized). We’d like to change that! So if you’re about to be attacked by a leaning tower of paper or if you’re tired of sitting on staples, read on to discover seven ways for how to organize an office desk elegantly. These tips will help you stay organized – and sane!
1. Take everything off your desk
If your desk is disorganized, you may believe that you can fix everything simply by relocating some loose documents to file folders and stacking your office supplies. That’s a good start. But in order to feel the full effect and power of a good organizational session, you’ll need to remove everything from your desk (or as many things as possible – some electronics are difficult to disconnect and untangle).
Before you learn how to organize an office desk, the first step is to take everything off your main workspace, leaving all surfaces fresh and clean. Only then can you jump into the nitty-gritty of organizing.
2. Plot out how you should put everything back on
Now that your desk is empty, give it a good dusting. Then step back and put the puzzle pieces of your desk back together – but only in your mind’s eye right now! Are you right handed? Then make sure that essential tools – like your phone or your stapler) are on your right side so that you don’t have to waste time and energy reaching across your desk for what you need. (The same goes for left-handed people, obviously.)
Figure out the best place for everything to go and then start placing items back on your desk, one at a time.
3. Install extra space if needed
As you fill your desk back up with your work-related items, you may find that not everything can fit on your desk in a neat, organized way. There are several solutions to this problem. First of all, you can ascertain whether you need everything on your desk or not. If you can throw out some things, then great! However, if that isn’t an option, see if you can send anything to your desk drawers. And if that isn’t a good solution, then why not install a small shelf on the wall above your desk. You’ll have some extra, useful space that can take the toll off your desk – and your mind.
4. Set aside a space for your documents
Anyone who works in an office building can attest to the huge amounts of paperwork that are processed throughout each work day. A lot of that probably falls to you and there are few other things that can make your desk look disorganized more quickly than stacks of paperwork.
In order to break free from this alarming build-up, it’s time to take charge with some handy organizers. Keep one, two, or three baskets on hand at all times to catch incoming, outcoming, and junk paper. In addition, you should also purchase a variety of folders to stay organized. These folders can vary in colour, size, and function, such as buying presentation folders to store important documents for future use.
5. Keep an eye on the smaller clutter
While we have entered the digital world in the office world, there are still plenty of uses for pens, pencils, sticky notes, staplers, paper clips, and so much more. And that can create a lot of clutter on your desk – clutter that is unsightly and can distract you from your important work. So throw away those pens that dry out
Remove all the sticky notes from your monitor (except the ones that are important at this moment). And try to keep staples and paper clips in their assigned boxes if at all possible (we know it’s hard!).
6. Have a garbage can handy
Sure, there’s a garbage can a few feet away in the main office area. But nobody wants to get up from their work to throw some junk mail away – and that’s the kind of thing that can make your desk look messy and disorganized in two seconds. So keep a small waste basket beside your desk. It’s great for staying on top of the junk and trash that can accumulate in no time at all.
7. Stay on top of your desk’s organization
Organizing your desk isn’t something you do once and never have to do again (we wish!). Instead, it is truly a life-long process. In order to keep this process progressing smoothly, you’ll need to organize your desk at least once a month (once a week is preferable and a quick tidy at the end – or beginning – of every work day is optimal).
Your desk won’t organize itself! You have to keep a handle on it. And if you do a little organization often, it will save you from having to deal with a messy nightmare later on.