A desk can say a lot of things about you, your personality, and your productivity. There’s a debate on cluttered desk versus a clean or empty one, famously (mis)attributed to Albert Einstein.

Messy desks are found to stimulate creativity, and some of the world’s great minds operate that way. Nevertheless, a semblance of order amid the chaos helps you work your way around deadlines and urgent matters.

You are in charge of defining the workspace that supports what you do and gets things done. Whether you have a home office or your designated spot in an office, organizing your desk is well within your reach.

1. Start with a Clean Slate

Clear your table of all things that have settled in there, including but not limited to the laptop, desktop monitor, keyboard, mouse, pen holder, papers, notebooks, and plant. Take out the contents of the drawers, as well as those objects underneath the desk.

With the area clear and empty, start visualizing, and look to popular picture-sharing sites for inspiration. When you have a mental image of your desk, it’s easier to imagine what you need and where to place it.

2. Spark Joy, or Say “Thank You”

Take a cue from Marie Kondo, and run through your stuff for keeping or discarding. Let go of items that you won’t have much use for in the improved workstation. The move won’t necessarily make you a minimalist because, after all, some jobs can require many tools. Still, it doesn’t hurt to surround yourself only with the things you need.

3. Dust, Dust, Dust

Dust and disinfect your table. Wipe your computer screen and mouse, remove the debris from your keyboard, and if possible, deep-clean your CPU. Just a quick reminder to turn off and unplug any electronics before attempting to clean them. Store computer cables and wires, and label them accordingly.

4. Put Them All together

Your desk is clean and ready for some serious organization.

Put your laptop or monitor at the center and eye level. You can use thick coffee-table books to add height to the monitor. While sticky notes are useful, try not to cram them around your monitor such that they become an eyesore and painful to look at.

Place notepads, pens, the telephone, or any tool you use every day within your reach, usually where your dominant hand.

Maintain a white space or an area where you sign or read documents or write freely. This space is, ideally, empty at all times.


Use folders or paper trays for documents. If you deal with lots of paperwork, use vertical file organizers instead of putting them in a heap.

Organize your drawers by frequency of use. For example, the first drawer will hold supplies that you will need daily but look cluttered if displayed on the desk. The next drawer can store markers, staplers, or reams of paper.

Tack a postcard, put a framed picture of your friend or pet, or grow a houseplant. Some workplaces discourage personalization, so a token of personal note should do it.

5. Manage Your Cables

Behind a clean desk often lurks a mass of computer cables dangling and kept hidden to the eye. Thus, some tables have custom compartments to store these wires neatly and away from a wandering foot. If you have the standard desk, you can tie the PC cables together with an accessory for that purpose.

Laptops, luckily, come with fewer cables, but things can get messy when you plug in your phone, camera, and mouse or connect to an external display. You can utilize a USB multiport hub so that all wires are jutting on one side. Indeed, an adapter such as those made for USB-C devices, which abound these days, can keep things organized without limiting your ability to access and read files from external sources.

Keeping It Clean

Your desk is the first thing you see in the morning, and its look can affect your mindset for the day. You don’t have to espouse feng shui, KonMari, or minimalism to believe in an open and less-cluttered space to set any workday in motion.

It surely won’t be the first and last time to organize your desk as personal hygiene and preference will make the next revamp clear in the coming days.

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