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It's the Little Things: Challenge 22- De-clutter Your Desk

Updated: Jan 11, 2021

We conceptualized the organising challenges in recognition that we all have clutter hot-spots we struggle to deal with. So if your desk is a disaster, we’re not here to judge. If you want to improve your desk organisation over the long-term, read on.

Cluttered or de-cluttered, there actually seem to be benefits in both camps.

Fast Company featured six productivity/organising experts and their desks, which were all quite sparse! Lack of productivity may be driven by looking for or being distracted by things which on average can consume up to 1 1/2 hours per day.

In a study published in Psychological Science, Dr. Kathleen Vohs found that working in a tidy room encourages people to do socially responsible things like eat healthy and give to charity. In contrast, working in a messy room seems to help people to try new things and come up with creative ideas.

One of the strong arguments for a tidier desk though is Peter Walsh, who said in a Forbes article, that your desk is a work station not a storage facility.

Think Big

Photo Source: I Heart Organising

SORTING: “Go through the piles and determine what needs to be acted on, what should be delegated to another person, what should be filed or what can be tossed, shred or recycled. It doesn’t have to be complicated… just choose one of the four choices!” (RIS Media)

SHOPPING: Once you have a good idea of how you want to classify paper, introduce trays or organisers that allow you to maintain that classification.

Photo Source: Trend Land

SORTING: “Inventory what you want to store and where you want to store it before buying furniture or organizers. This will ensure you have the proper amount (and sizes) of hidey-holes and open cubbies for stowing your gear.” (BHG)

SHOPPING: Before you buy, look within and around your desk (i.e. drawers and walls) for potential storage areas that can free up desk space. Whether it’s stationery, office suppliers or décor, consider the size and volume of items you will be storing, both on the desk and otherwise.

Think Small

SORTING /SHOPPING: “Purposefully Group- Setting a tray atop your desk creates a designated spot for containing mini vessels holding small supplies, as well as pencil holders, tape dispensers, and staplers. The tray prevents things from being scattered across the desktop. The open containers ensure you can swiftly grab what you need and also return supplies to their rightful spots”. (BHG)

SORTING: “Get rid of pens as soon as they run out instead of putting them back into the pen pile”. (The Blissful Mind)

Finally, if you’re using the desk top on a daily basis, things will get a little crazy as you review files, make notes, put together presentations- that’s ok. Give yourself five minutes at the end of every work day to clear the decks. On a weekly basis, go through those forgotten spots on the desk where information you haven’t looked at recently has piled up and re-order the items in the way that best serves you.

What do you store on your desk?

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