How to Organize Your Desk

Organizational Skills – Clean Up Your Stuff!

Messy desks are no longer just an office eyesore. Unkempt workspaces are becoming a productivity issue as offices become more cramped and cubicles replace private offices. Employers are grappling with how to stop slovenly desk habits from denting morale or hurting professionalism. Studies show workers spend up to 30 minutes a day organizing their work areas. Why do you need these tips on how to organize your desk?

  • There is less room for stuff.
  • There is more stuff on office desks: computers, printers, faxes, and other new technologies.
  • “Others see a messy desk and assume you are disorganized. It can impact your career,” says Liz Davenport, a professional organizer.
  • It is hard to focus when stuff is piled up.

When we are not organized,

  • It takes longer to find the item we need
  • We slow others down from completing their work
  • We waste precious time looking for an important e-mail or document
  • We appear unprofessional
  • It creates undo extra stress
  • We get frustrated

As you can see, many negative things happen when you are not organized. You might think you don’t have time to organize your work area and supplies—that you have just enough time in a day to get your work done. Look to the future. Don’t think you don’t have the time today. By making time now to get organized, you will save yourself time in the future. If your days are too hectic, stay after work one night or go in on a Saturday. In the long run, you will save yourself hours (even days), frustration and stress. It’s time to start and here is how you can organize your desk!

How do you clean up your stuff?

  1. Cluster similar items/supplies and activities.


Items: Store all sticky notes together; notepads of various sizes together; different stationery and envelope sizes together, etc.

Activities: Cluster phone calls to make; cluster items to copy; cluster computer work; cluster large projects, etc.

  1. Love the “round file!” Throw things out. Do not be a packrat.
  1. Your desk is a place of action. Get the clutter off your desk and credenzas. Put any little trinkets and collectibles away. Your work area is a place of business. As office dress has become more informal, so have employees’ work areas. The problem is that an informal-looking workstation gives others (especially outsiders) an impression of unprofessionalism.
  1. Use personal photos sparingly.
  1. Use every inch of space in drawers and cabinets.

a. Empty all drawers and storage cabinets.

b. As you empty them, sort items into similar products or categories.

c. Get rid of things you really don’t need or want.

d. Before putting items back into the drawers and cabinets, ask yourself:

· What items do I use most frequently?

· What items do I rarely use?

· What items do I need nearby that my leader will request?

· What can be stored in file boxes?

· What can be stored electronically, on my computer or external drive?

· What should be stored in my leader’s office?

  1. Place the items you most frequently use closest to you.

If you implement just these few ideas, you will see and feel a big difference!

Joan Burge


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