How to organize my office desk – 10 easy steps

In this step by step guide on how to organize my office desk, I teach you a bullet proof strategy which will guarantee that you put some order on your office desk so that you can work in a happier and more productive environment.

According to Psychology Today…

Hoarding and a disorganized work place creates extreme anxiety during decision-making.

Not only will the benefits of decluttering your desk make for an easier work life, you will also catapult yourself to a ridiculously higher rate of productivity. So, prepare to leave your colleagues for dust as you learn how to have an organized office desk and most importantly you will also learn how to maintain it in this way.

Sounds appealing, right? Well then, if you’re courageous enough to accept the challenge, let’s get started…

How to organize my office desk - Cluttered bedroom desk

Here are 10 proven tips to organize your office desk.

1. Declutter your office desk regularly

2. Establish your office workflow

3. Group similar items together

4. Minimise physical paperwork

5. Remove or relocate non-essential items from your desk

6. Invest in storage units

7. Reduce visual distractions

8. Minimise personal belongings

9. Check underneath your desk and desk drawers

10. Tidy up the cabling

Declutter your office desk regularly

Set a day and time every week when you take five minutes (or less if you do it often) to scan through the items on your desk on paperwork and either file or dispose of anything that is not needed for the rest of the day or the week.

Tip: The more frequently that you schedule this desk decluttering, the shorter the duration would be each time. Additionally, it will not feel as onerous a task if you complete it on a routine basis for a few minutes as opposed to letting items stockpile and gather dust, and then having to spend longer decluttering.

How to organize my office desk - Weekly planner on tablet

Establish your office workflow

How each person processes work through their desk will vary from person to person. Many people tend to operate on a left to right approach. Essentially, incoming items, such as paperwork, are stored on the left. Work is processed in the center of the desk. Finally, finished paperwork and items are stored towards the right site of the desk.

For instance, you may receive paperwork that you need to review and sign on a regular basis. For this approach, you may need to allocate desk space for new documents arriving that have yet to be reviewed. You probably then need a section of space that is large enough to comfortably read an A4 page or document, or even a folder.

We all know just how frustrating it is when you have to balance sheets on the edge of the desk or have some sitting awkwardly on your keyboard and buttons start getting pressed.

Once you have finished reviewing the documents, you may need to sign them or add comments (on your clutter-free, no parking area). The final step then is to file it in a section so that they can be moved on.

Other people may not need as much space to look at documents. In fact, many places are moving towards the digital approach to reduce paperwork and create a stronger audit trail. Consequently, the majority of processing and reviewing of documents is now being completed online, and the need to print off and manage hard copies is becoming and ancient art.

Tip: Evaluate yourself today as you work to determine what type of workflow would suit you best.

Bonus tip: Determining which hand you predominantly used to perform tasks will help you to identify the most suitable location for certain items. For instance, many people answer the phone with their right hand, so they position the phone on the right-hand side. Other people are left-handed and so position their pens and stationery on the left side so that they don’t have to be reaching over to the right.

How to organize my office desk - Curved monitor on office desk

Group similar items together

Items, such as stationery including Post It notes, pens, highlighters and markers should be neatly grouped together. Documents and books should have set locations as well so that your office desk is more organized and everything has a place.

Most importantly, you know where that is and you are not wasting time flicking through piles of paper or drawers to find something.

How to organize my office desk - Office file folder shelf

Minimise physical paperwork

The digital world is an ever-growing field and is an increasingly eco-aware environment where we are trying to reduce our office carbon footprint. A no-brainer approach to contributing to this is by minimizing the amount of printing and paper that we use.

Did you know? It takes nearly half a litre of water to produce just one sheet of office paper?

So, what better way than to achieve this than by going digital! You can achieve this in a number of ways:

1. Review documents online as opposed to printing off monstrous documents that consume vast amounts of ink and paper poster.

2. Utilize online signatures if possible. If your company hasn’t invested in a solution for this, there’s no better time than today. It also saves on having to print and scan documents or even wasting valuable time trying to find a person to sign it.

3. Minimize the amount of Post It notes that you use. Instead, opt for virtual sticky notes that you can pin to your desktop.

4. Start taking notes online instead of writing them in your diary. Applications such as Google Docs or even Microsoft Office programmes, such as OneNote or even Excel or Word are brilliant for taking notes. ideas you can organize your notes into different subjects, dates, projects or whatever you like.

The best part is that you can easily find them using the CTRL + F function and don’t have to skim through pages and pages of your notebook trying to find what you jotted down last year, thinking, ‘now, what date was that training on when I wrote those notes?’.

5. Instead of using a paper calendar, opt for reminders in your email calendar and tasks in your emails. These will not only keep you in the loop on your meetings and actions, it’ll also talk to you and tell you that you’ve 15 minutes till your next meeting – what a world eh?

How to organize my office desk - Tablet with calendar screen on office desk

Remove or relocate non-essential items from your desk

The amount of items that you realistically need on a given day could probably boil down to your laptop, monitor, keyboard, mouse, notebook and some pens. Bearing this in mind, non-essential items should really be moved off your desk to reduce the clutter, and also to minimize distractions.

If storage is at a premium, fear not as you can often optimize storage by delving into underutilized wall storage space:

  • Consider floating shelving to harbour those non-essential items, e.g. document folders, books.
  • Hooks on walls can hold stationery and miscellaneous items, e.g. scissors, cables, headsets and even keys and clothing.
  • Magnetic boards or pegboards can be used to hold frequently referenced documents and lightweight items.

How to organize my office desk - Floating shelving in office

Invest in storage units

Everything doesn’t need to be stored on your desk. If you have managed to dwindle the items you need down as much as possible, yet you still struggle for space, investing in some smart storage solutions is a winning formula. This helps to optimize space and organize your workflow so that items don’t go missing and items are neat and tidy.

Some really worthwhile investments include simple suggestions such as a:

  • Desk organiser: Store stationary, pens and miscellaneous items neatly together in one place.
  • File holder: Store all documents in one location as opposed to them scattered on your desk and in your drawers.

Tip: Storing files in a vertical orientation makes them easier to find and is also more efficient in terms of saving space.

How to organize my office desk - Organized office

Reduce visual distractions

Virtually every item that your work office or home office possesses create an opportunity to distract you. By adopting a minimalistic approach to furnishing your office, such distractions can be reduced, if not eliminated.

Personal items can be a particular source of distraction. This is particularly true if you have a tendency to daydream longingly at the photos of you on a holiday on a warm sunny day, with your feet up and a gentle breeze keeping you cool, while a waiter drops down a tall tasty drink to keep you refreshed… Wait, what were we talking about again?

How to organize my office desk - Woman daydreaming

Minimise personal belongings

Photos of loved ones, souvenirs and trinkets are not only a source of distraction, but they also take up valuable real estate in your home office and on your desk (and in your mind!). Personal belongings can also detract from the professional atmosphere of your work office, which could reduce your productivity.

Additionally, they also can make your area look unprofessional, which is a look you probably want to avoid. As you probably already know, your office desk shouldn’t look like a shrine dedicated to your family or favorite party resort.

A good rule of thumb would be to keep personal belongings to maximum 3 in your office.

Tip: If your walls are looking a bit bare and you wish to decorate them with something, an inspirational quote which you live by could be the perfect way to liven up your wall while also sparking motivation. Not only does it add a personal touch to your office, it also serves as a motivational reminder to amplify your productivity on a Friday afternoon when your enthusiasm is running low.

How to organize my office desk - Remember where you started sign

Check underneath your desk and desk drawers

While teaching you how to organize your office desk, it would be remiss not to include a section tackling components other than the top of the desk itself. If your office desk is equipped with drawers, this should be also organized so that items are easy to find and everything is not just thrown into a drawer.

An excellent solution to organizing your drawer would be to invest in a drawer divider. These are particularly valuable for small items such as office stationery, which can easily become thrown around the drawer as you move it in and out.

Assigning purpose to each office drawer or cabinet is also a structured way of ensuring that you know where items are stored. This could include having stationary on the top drawer and documents in the bottom cabinet.

You could also adopt the approach of having important or frequently used items in the top cabinet towards the front of the drawer.

Items that are less frequently used can then be positioned in the lower drawers.

Finally, let’s not neglect the underneath part of your desk. Because who knows what type of paraphernalia is being covertly stored under there. Whether it’s work shoes or cardboard boxes with miscellaneous items to cables trailing everywhere, I’m surprised how some people can even fit their feet underneath your desk.

Adopts the same approach to these items as have been discussed above.

Namely, this includes:

1. Sorting through the boxes and items and removing anything that is unnecessary.

2. Moving items to the area that they belong in.

3. Removing any items that you don’t use or need.

When I completed this exercise, I was half questioning whether I even owned many of the random items that I found in the box.

How to organize my office desk - Office clutter boxes

Tidy up the cabling

As for the cables, there’s probably so many of them that if you joined them together, they would reach from here to China!

Fear not, as the war on cables ends TODAY!

1. Detangle all the wires and identify the source of each one.

2. If there are any wires that are not needed anymore or are frayed, simply remove them and dispose of them.

3. Next, determine if the wires are organized in a way that ensures they reach the socket by the shortest route possible.

4. If your office desk is sophisticated enough to be equipped with a cable tray or a cable port (or even a hole in the desk – let’s not get too elaborate!), wires should be routed through these points, provided they can still reach their end source.

5. If the cable has excess wiring, consider loosely wrapping these in loops to reduce the amount of surplus dangling wires.

Cable tidies are an extremely simple, yet effective means of gathering the cables together so that they don’t cause someone to trip as easily over them. They also tidy up the appearance of the cables. If you don’t have a cable tidy, cable ties or even something to wrap the cables together in a safe manner could also be used.

Tip: If your need to run cables underneath the desk or they dangle around your foot space, they can be pinned to the underside of the desk using the cable clips (or even the likes of tape) to keep them out of your way.

How to organize my office desk - Orange USB phone charger cable


If you’re interesting in converting to a sit stand desk and working in a healthier manner, then check out this range of ergonomic products that I’d recommend to my closed family and friends by following this link:

Ergotron Workfit Standing Desk Converters

OK, now you’ve mastered the art of organizing your home office desk or work office. That wasn’t so hard after all, right?

But, how do you tell which items you should keep and which belong well and truly in the trash can? What is the best way to ensure that you keep your office from getting cluttered with mounting paperwork and junk that is piling up in there?

Believe it or not, you will be surprised and astonished by just how much more productive and less stressed you can become by simply following the ridiculously simple, but proven technique that is covered in this short article: How to declutter a home office – 8 proven steps. Not only do you owe it to yourself to invest a few minutes learning how to properly clear your office of clutter, but it would also make you happier. Not only that, it will also give you the upper edge on your colleagues or classmates and on your work performance in general.

Let’s be real for a minute, who doesn’t want that?

And more importantly… who can afford to be unorganized, inefficient and miserable in their role? NOBODY – that’s who… and your name isn’t Nobody.

I hope you enjoyed this article and found it valuable. How often do you spend time organizing your office desk? Do you have a workflow for processing your work? Are cables the bane of your life? Please share all in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you.

How to organize my office desk - Laptop on wooden bench

Sources manufacture of paper impacts,air pollution into the atmosphere.


With years of both professional and first-hand experience in office equipment and work settings, I now want to help you avoid making mistakes that countless others do. Whether you're studying or working from home, this site will help you create the ultimate haven for working safely, comfortably and productively in!

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