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How to Organize Your Desk for the Most Productive Workday

desk organization

Dwell Aware

Desk a little untidy? We've all been there. You've had a long week of working, your desk is messy, and you just can't seem to focus. Who can blame you? When you barely have room to set down your computer or keyboard on your desk, it complicates things.

As we ease into the new year, creating (and hopefully sticking to) resolutions, tidying your desk can help you create a productive work environment and keep your mind from feeling cluttered. Plus, it's nice to have at least one fresh start at the beginning of a new year.

If you're overwhelmed by a cluttered desk, don't worry. We've gathered up some inspiration that can help start your organization journey.

01 of 17

Keep Things Bright and Light

clean desk

Breathing Room Organization + Styling

If you hate working under fluorescent lights, we feel you. Adding a warm overhead light and desk lamp can help you feel less blah while working, and a light and airy space make work feel a little less heavy.

02 of 17

Add Storage for Kids

desk organization

Joanna Organize

If you have a little one who does their homework at a desk, make sure there's plenty of room for other things, too. Toy storage is a must, but it can double as craft and school supply space as well.

03 of 17

Add Storage Behind Your Desk

organized desk

Laura Cattano Organizational Design

If you have a lot of books or work with a ton of materials, only having storage in your desk isn't necessarily realistic. If you have to expand your storage space, try adding some drawers or shelves behind your actual workspace. That way, all you have to do is spin around in your chair to grab a file or book instead of heading to another room.

04 of 17

Keep Cords Organized

cord organization

Mika Perry

It feels inevitable, but cords don't always have to be a tangled mess. If you have the room, dedicate a drawer to corralling extra cords, adapters, and chargers. If you don't have that much space, consider using cord wraps, which keep wires bundled up when not in use.

cord wrap
CAILLU Cord Organizer 10 Pack $12.00
05 of 17

Use a Desk Calendar

organized desk

Neat by Meg

A large desk calendar can do two jobs: it not only keeps track of deadlines and events, but it's a great desk pad if you use a mouse or laptop. Even though it's paper, it should help keep your laptop from sliding around the way it would on a smooth desktop.

06 of 17

Section Out Drawers

desk organization

Neat Method NYC

Drawers are great for hiding away clutter, but unfortunately, they're also great at getting cluttered. Using small bins is a great way to keep items separated while still utilizing all of your space.

07 of 17

Use Shelves for Bulk Items

desk organize

Neat Method NYC

In larger office spaces, drawer space is a precious commodity. When it comes to bulk items like pens, paper, and staples, use open shelving to keep things tidy and easy to access.

08 of 17

Any Surface Can Be a Desk

desk organization

A Fresh Space

You don't have to have a desk in order to be productive. Places like kitchen and dining room tables and bars are great places to work that have a ton of surface space. To keep things from getting cluttered, be sure to put your work away at the end of the day so you can actually use your table or bar for its intended use.

It's also a good idea to wipe the surface down after using a computer on it.

09 of 17

Elevate Screens If You Can

desk organization

Domm Dot Com

Not only is it better for your posture, but elevating your screen can actually clear up more desk surface space for you. If you can, use a laptop stand to add a bit of space to your desk, and use an arm to hold up larger monitors. You can use all that newfound space for books or keyboards if need be—or you can add some non-distracting décor.

10 of 17

Liven Things Up

desk organization

Dwell Aware

They may not be super functional in terms of productivity, but adding plants to your space helps it feel more cozy and alive. Adding a small plant to the corner of your desk or even hanging it above can help the space feel more intentional.

11 of 17

Sharing is Caring

desk organization

Black and Blooms

If you share a workspace with a partner or loved one, make sure to give them room to work, too. Creating visual barriers, like a paper sorter or a small set of drawers, helps you both keep from taking over each other's space, and those items can be used for organization and hiding away bits and bobs.

12 of 17

Place Your Desk in the Middle of the Room

desk organization

The House on Hillside Lane

If you're lucky enough to have a dedicated office space, try putting your desk in the middle of the room for a change. It'll give you more room to move around (especially if you have a chair with wheels), and you won't be forced into staring at a wall all day.

13 of 17

Use a Floating Desk

desk organization

KJ Design and Mortar Styling

Tiny apartments and homes don't always have space for a freestanding desk, so a floating desk is a great space-saving solution. You can even use a floating shelf as a desk—just hang it lower than you normally would and make sure you use drywall anchors when hanging it so it can support more weight.

14 of 17

Utilize Loft Space

desk organization

Milk and Honey Life

If you have a kid who has a lofted bed, use the space underneath for a desk. Not only will they get their own cozy study space, but it'll save them floor space in the room for playtime.

15 of 17

Have Rooms Do Double Duty

desk organization

Home by Polly

Have a guest room or attic with a bit of spare space? Pop a desk up there and call it an office. Because these kinds of room are often empty when you don't have extra people sleeping over, it's a great place to keep your workspace. It's also an excuse to keep your desktop minimal.

Some pens, a plant, and a candle are things your guests can use and enjoy when you're not in there.

16 of 17

Move to a Window

desk organization

The Travelling Apartment

Staring at a wall all day isn't exactly inspiring. Move your desk close to a window (if you have one) so you can take a deep breath and look outside when you need a quick break. Not to mention you'll get great natural light for Zoom calls.

Can't be near a window? Add a mirror above your desk to bounce light around the room and make things feel more open.

17 of 17

Don't Be Afraid to Decorate

desk organization

Home and Spirit

Just because you need to be productive doesn't mean your workspace has to be boring. Create a space you love to be in with plants, wall hangings, photos, and fun décor, that way you actually want to stay at your desk instead of heading for the couch. The key is to limit the number of items you actually keep on your desk. A few items are fine, but you need to have sufficient space to work, too.