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How To Keep an Organized Desk: 7 Smart Strategies

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How To Keep an Organized Desk: 7 Smart Strategies

How To Keep an Organized Desk: 7 Smart Strategies
Posted: 8/8/14 | Category:  How-To's, Workplace | By: 

overview shot of an office desk with a brunette working on her laptop

Anyone who works behind a desk every day knows that the entire surface can become cluttered before lunch. No matter how hard you try to organize the surface, the inbound paper overwhelms the storage capacity of every drawer, standing folder, and crevice. Learning how to keep an organized desk starts with assessing the root of the problem.

Take three steps back and look at the desk and the surrounding areas. These 7 tips could save your sanity.

1. Assess Storage Space

Open each file drawer and determine the value of the contents. A file drawer full of paper that could be shredded is no longer useful storage space. Desk drawers must be reserved for working storage space where office supplies, file folders, and important project papers are organized. Shelves packed with unused books, files, and organizers are no longer useful. Systematic purging of the existing storage space reveals countless possibilities.

2. Clear Desk Space

Cubbyholes, flat paper holders, penholders, and standing files must be free of unused clutter. Old pens and pencils should be tossed. Notepads and scratch paper should be on the same side of the desk as the dominant hand. Phone placement is important since inbound calls can occur at any point of the workday. The desk surface is for working and not storing papers that should be addressed “someday.”

3. Designate an Inbox

Every person who delivers papers to your office should be aware of the “Inbox” where items are to be placed. This should be reserved for items that require attention within two business days. The inbox should never be allowed to gather more than a few items at a time. A few minutes of your attention should be all that is necessary to address these tasks.

4. Address Debris

Recycling bins and trash collectors should be within reach from your desk chair. Most of the paper on the desk should be involved in current projects. A constant battle must be waged against the flood of paper that seems to arrive magically on your desk. Printers generate remarkable quantities of unnecessary documents. Avoid printing anything that does not add value to the work at hand.

5. Prioritize Close Space

From a seated position, open all drawers and look at the shelves within an arm’s length. Useful storage space should be available without rearranging the contents or leaving the desk chair. Unused items should be thrown away, recycled, or stored in a box.

6. Daily Cleanup Routine

During the last 15 minutes of each workday, put away the items that were used throughout the day. Address every item in the inbox, make a to-do list, and select your first task for the next business day.

7. Monthly Purge

Designate a specific day of the month to remove unused items from the storage space closest to your desk. Your effort to remove smaller quantities of clutter throughout the year will ensure that your desk surface remains organized.

Your personal touch will develop as you implement these tips for how to keep an organized desk. Don’t be hesitant to modify these steps for a better routine more suited to your needs. No one has devised an approach to organization that works without some added personal touches.


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