Why Is My Desk Messy? The Top 6 Reasons & Helpful Solutions

Have you ever been in the middle of work wondering, why is my desk messy? Well, you’re not the only one! Below I describe 6 key reasons why your desk is so messy, and it may not be why you think! Read on to see what’s causing your desk to be untidy and what you can do to fix it!

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Why is my desk messy?

A messy desk can be attributed to the following reasons:

  1. Poor cleaning regime
  2. Lack of storage
  3. Small desk
  4. Lack of time
  5. Excess hardcopy items
  6. Lack of decluttering

You’re more than likely guilty of one of the above points. But fear not, as in this no-judgement zone you can learn more about these factors. Not only that, but you’ll also uncover the most effective techniques to resolve this frustrating problem with ease! Your desk will be perfect example setter! Read on to get these expert strategies and tips right now!

A clean and tidy workspace is conducive to being more productive and efficient at your task, plus it also helps to reduce anxiety. Source

Why Is My Desk Messy? - Close up of desk clutter with documents

Why is my desk messy?

Poor cleaning regime

Having a poor methodology towards cleaning will be a leading reason why your desk is always messy. If you’re not putting things away or giving your desk a clean at least a few times a week, you can only expect it to get messy and dusty!

Some people are more regimented towards maintaining a clean and tidy environment.

Other people don’t seem to mind the mess and will work away blissfully despite being surrounded by what looks like the aftermath of a tornado!

Of course, if you share a desk with others, then it may not be all your fault! You will need to get them to play their part in keeping the desk clean too!

Lack of storage

Depending on the nature of your job or studies, you may require a sizeable proportion of books or hardcopy files. If you have nowhere to store these, then you can expect them to pile up on your desk.

Having a dedicated storage cabinet such as the Lateral File by Bestar (link on OfficeFurniture2Go) that’s big enough for your items will help minimize them being scattered all over your desk.

Of course, you could also consider scanning them to softcopy and shredding the file if that was in line with your document retention policies.

If you need to hold onto the original file, then archiving the items to a vault or with an archiving company is another alternative solution!

Small desk

When your work or study involves reviewing documents or using books or other hardcopy items, it can make your desk feel messy. This feeling will be compounded if you are working from a small home office desk.

Whenever I’m working or studying, I’d have a minimum of a book or laptop in front of me and an A4 pad taking notes. While my desk wasn’t very small, these few basic items consumed a good proportion of my desk area!

An average sized desk for working at home ranges in or around 20 x 30 x 30 inches.

If you have a small desk or a lot of items, it may be the case that you need a larger desk!

Working will be made more enjoyable if you have a neat desk setup, a nice comfy chair and proper storage. If you’re looking for top quality items, my recommendation is check out Office Furniture 2 Go affordable furniture with a lifetime guarantee

Lack of time

With busy lives and an ever-growing list of items to do, tidying up your desk often won’t be a priority. Being too busy is one of the leading excuses that people have a cluttered desk.

Although, it’s easy to claim that you’re too busy when in fact it’s a cover up for being too lazy or allergic to tidying, but I digress…

You’ll be surprized at just how little time it takes to keep your storage and desk neat and tidy if you adopt a regular cleaning regime.

Sure, the first time you attack the avalanche of mess, it will take longer. But once that’s cleared up, spending even 5 – 10 minutes a week tidying will keep your desk in order.

Tip: If you want to go pro-level on keeping your desk tidy, you should consider introducing a 6S programme!

Excess hardcopy items

The era of working off all hardcopy documents and books is slowly but surely dwindling away. However, there are still a large volume of companies and people who either prefer paper copies or don’t have the system for processing documents online.

Consequently, you may need to hold onto a large volume of hardcopy items.

Fortunately, this trend is starting edge towards eliminating paper waste and moving online. This should definitely help cut the paper clutter on your desk.

Plus, with the increase in people working remotely, you often have no choice but to send it to them as a soft copy.

To add to that, if you’re working from home without a printer or scanner, you’ll have no choice but to review it online.

Recommended product: HP DeskJet 2755e Wireless Color All-in-One Printer with Bonus 6 Months Instant Ink with HP+ (link on Amazon)

Lack of decluttering

Cleaning up is one element of maintaining a clean office desk. But so is decluttering. In fact, decluttering goes a step further than cleaning insofar that it helps you to dispose of items that you don’t need instead of just storing them away neatly.

By properly decluttering an area, you can get rid of paperwork, stationery and other items that you no longer need and free up precious space on your desk.

Again, decluttering can be done on a weekly basis for 5 – 10 minutes and can even be incorporated into your cleaning time.

Occasionally, you will probably need to do a deep dive into your storage cabinets and throw away those objects that are no longer needed.

I’m talking about old bills, study or work notes, files you were reviewing etc.

You’ll be simply amazed at just how much clutter you’re holding onto when you do this!

Recommended Reading: How to Learn Faster and Be More Productive: Improve your Memory, Focus your Mind and Achieve Powerful Goals (Accelerated Learning: Think Fast & Remember More) (link on Amazon)


A messy desk does nothing to aid your productivity or focus! But with the above list, you’ll know precisely what’s causing your desk to be untidy. And more importantly, what to do to fix it!

If you would like to further enhance your knowledge on the world of work and study, I have written some articles that are without a doubt worth a look.

Here are some other useful articles I wrote that you should go check out:

  1. Work And Study Pros And Cons – What To Expect & Helpful Tips
  2. How to clean an office chair – must know tips
  3. How to declutter a home office – 8 proven steps
  4. How to choose a desk that’s perfect for you
  5. Top 10 benefits of using L-shaped desks

Recommended products:

  1. HP DeskJet 2755e Wireless Color All-in-One Printer with Bonus 6 Months Instant Ink with HP+ (link on Amazon)  
  2. Bush Electric Height Adjustable Standing Desk
  3. Lateral File by Bestar (link on OfficeFurniture2Go)
  4. Top quality L-shaped desks with lifetime warranty and free shipping
  5. CoolMesh Pro Multi-Function Chair


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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