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How to Organize & Tidy Up Your Desk

It’s hard to get any work done when your desk is a cluttered mess! Discover how to keep your desk space neat, tidy & organized with this helpful guide!

If you’ve got a desk job, or if you spend your evenings at the computer, you’ll probably know that trying to work amidst piles of papers, loose stationery, and tangled cables can be a nightmare. Not only can it seem almost impossible to find anything, but it also increases the risk that important documents could become misplaced, or even thrown out by accident.

It may seem trivial, but a cluttered desk really can add to anxiety and stress levels, and the only way to resolve this is to take some time and declutter your desk – and declutter your mind at the same time. Easier said than done, right? Making your desk cleaner doesn’t have to be difficult. Here are some easy, yet effective desk tidy ideas to get you started:

How to Organize Your Desk – The First Stages

When it comes to tidying up your desk, the first step is to actually make it look worse! To really give your desk a good tidy up, you need to have a fresh start – and that means emptying your desk as much as you can. Yes, things will seem more chaotic initially, but the results will be worth the effort. Here’s how to start off:

  • Start removing items from your desk, beginning with the large items, and moving onto smaller items. You may find it best to leave any computer or telephone equipment to avoid damage.
  • Put items into piles determined by what they are or what function they serve. For example, place papers with papers and stationery with stationery.
  • Look through all items and discard anything that is out of date or no longer relevant, recycling any paper, cardboard, plastic, or glass. You may want to double-check this pile before getting rid of anything, just to be sure.
  • Use a damp cloth to wipe down the surface of the desk, removing dust and dirt. If possible, raise computer and telephone equipment to get underneath. Allow to dry naturally or, if you’re pressed for time, dry with a clean cloth or towel.
  • Start replacing the larger items such as files and folders, and along with anything that has a definite space where it belongs, such as a notepad that should be kept beside the phone. Be sure to keep regularly used items handy and easily accessible.

Tidy Small Items – Desk Organisers & Drawers

Once all the large and important items have been replaced onto the desk in a neat order, it’s time to start thinking about the smaller items. This is usually more difficult as smaller items often don’t have definite places where they belong, meaning they frequently become strewn across the desk, making it look messy and cluttered. Here are some handy hints:

  • Use a desk organiser, or two, or three, to keep small items together in one place. Desk organisers often include a dedicated space for pens and pencils, pins and paper clips, scissors, and rulers, although more advanced versions also include spaces for notepads, sticky notes, books, and even tablet PCs.
  • If your desk has drawers attached, use them, and if not, considering purchasing a small set to fit underneath the desk, or to one side, to act as additional desk storage. Drawers are excellent for safely storing small, fiddly items that could become lost on the desk, and drawers with locks are a good idea for securely housing confidential materials.

Keep Your Desk Tidy – Install a Cable Box

If your desk contains a lot of electrical equipment such as computers, telephones, monitors, and lamps, you may have a bit of difficulty keeping the cables from tangling, and keeping the cables organised. If this is the case, a desk tidy for cables could be the answer. A cable organiser can take many forms, whether than be a box, a cage, or a piece of rope or piping, and its job is to not only hide cables from view, decluttering the desk area, but also to keep the cables untangled, straight, and protected from the likes of feet and chair wheels, which can cause damage.

Once you’ve tidied your desk, you should be left with a refreshed mind, and workspace to help you work as productively as possible!

Top Tip


A cable box will not only keep the wires on your desk tidy and organised, but will also prevent people tripping over any loose or tangled wires.

Key Steps:

  1. Declutter! Throw away anything that is out of date, or you no longer need.
  2. Group things together and designate them specific sections, such as stationary in the top desk drawer.
  3. Organise wires with a cable tidy box.