Here Are Tips to Help Keep Your Desk Tidy

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Researchers have actually proven that a messy desk leads to a messy mind. The Journal of Neuroscience reported on a study that shows our ability to focus and process information decreases as the clutter around us increases. They also found that an untidy desk causes anxiety, guilt and raises stress levels. It’s officially time to declutter!

When it comes to giant messes it can be hard to know where to start. When a job seems impossible, or pointless (because“the mess will just return”) it’s hard to find motivation. So there are really two goals for this article. The first is to provide tips to make organizing easier. The second is to motivate you to get started; we’re hoping to do that with tips that come with a long term impact.

  • Your desk is prime real estate. Whatever stays on your desk should be deserving of the space it’s taking up.

  • Do a purge. It’s astounding how quickly notes or reminders you’ve left yourself, messages you’ve taken and more pile up. Start on a Monday, move everything on  your desk to a different location, as you use them, keep the items on your desk. At the end of the week, anything that’s left should not be kept on your desk.

  • Build up. Placing your computer monitor on a monitor arm isn’t just good for your back, it also gives you more surface space on your desk. Installing shelves (with doors!) on your desk provides extra space for storage, so binders or supplies are handy and tidy.

  • Create a system. Using color coded folders, legal sized envelopes and other project jackets are great for storing documents upright. It also allows you to see all of your current projects at once.

  • Store supplies within reach. From staplers to files, anything you use daily should be close by, otherwise they pile up as clutter.

  • In/Out trays. These are great, not just for organizing your desk, but your mind too. Mail, and papers you need to deal with are easily separated from files you need to hand off.

  • Go Under. People often forget about the space under the desk. This can be an excellent spot to stack cubbies or other organizers for items you need, only once in a while.

  • Control your cables. Poor cable management is a headache waiting to happen. The variety of cable trays and holders on the market will make it easy to find something that matches your setup, in a nice, tidy way.

  • Digitize. It could be a big project, but converting your paper documents to digital files will help organize your deskand your mind.


The effort you put into building a tidy workspace will pay off in a big way. The key is to nip clutter in the bud. Evaluating your desk once or twice a week to see what can go, will mean you don’t need to take on any big organizational tasks again, anytime soon.

Remember, it’s not just about how your workspace appears to colleagues or clients, it’s about how it makes you feel. You’re able to spend more time working and less time shuffling through papers. Plus, your increased productivity and mental clarity will confirm your efforts weren’t wasted.