Don't let a cluttered desk get in the way of your productivity. Here's some tips for keeping it organized.

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Your desk is the center of your work zone, and making sure it’s organized can help you stay on track. The way your desk is set up will set the stage for how well you can do your job.

When your work station is full of clutter, you’re wasting valuable time every day just hunting down the items you need. Dedicating some time to sorting through your desk to clear away old junk and implement organization is a crucial step.

Below, I’ll cover some essential tips to help you through this process.

Consider a Paperless Office

Depending on your job, paper may or may not be a big part of your daily work. Try to switch to using less paper at your desk. Not only will this cut down on paper and ink costs, but fewer papers means a clearer desk with less clutter.

While a completely paperless home office may not be in the cards for you, even a step in this direction can be positive.

Keep Important Items Accessible

As mentioned, you can waste lots of time during the day simply looking for the items you need. Instead of this willy-nilly system, try keeping all your essential objects close by. An Under Desk File Cabinet can be a good and helpful addition for getting your important papers in order and keeping them easily accessible.

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Keep It Relevant

When you’re deciding what to keep at your desk, try thinking in a minimalistic way. Only keep what’s relevant to your job near your desk, otherwise, it’s easy to get distracted. That means you should clear out any puzzle books, novels, and similar items from your desk drawers.

If you do want to keep a few non work-related items at your desk, try to keep it minimal. Limit yourself to only two framed family photos, instead of keeping a collection at your desk, for example.

Use a Calendar

You may be surprised at how much keeping a calendar can help you with your organization. Instead of a sea of post-it notes and other random scraps of paper with dates jotted down, a calendar keeps all your appointments in one place.

You can try out a Large Dry Erase Whiteboard Calendar and put it on the wall in front of your desk. That way, when you need to reference a date or check your schedule, all you have to do is take a quick look.

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Clean as You Go

It’s far easier to keep a desk clean than it is to clean it in the first place. Instead of letting the clutter on your desk pile up for weeks, consider implementing a new system. As you use and finish using items, put them away immediately.

When you no longer need your documents, shred them or throw them out. And remember to keep non work-related items away from your work desk. You might be amazed at how much of a difference this makes in your organization and clutter control.

Designate Drawers

If you have a work desk full of drawers, designate each drawer for a specific purpose to help you stay organized. You might have one desk where you store your pencils, pens, erasers, and related items. In another desk, you might keep your stapler, staples, and paper clips.

Deciding on an organizational system will prevent clutter from building up in your desk as items get mixed up. You might find it helpful to label these drawers, at first, so you can remember what goes where.

Add Some Shelves

Running out of desk space? Working with a small room? Then you’ll need to make use of the wall space in your office. Adding a Shelving Unit units to your wall can give you a lot of extra storage space.

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While your desk itself should be reserved for work-related items, you can put decorative items or plants on your shelves. Extra touches like this can really pull a room together and come with the bonus of helping you stay organized.

Re-Design Your Schedule

Is your current schedule conducive to a clutter-free work experience? For example, you might be eating your lunch at your desk every day and ending up with dishes in your work zone. Or perhaps you absentmindedly shred paper or doodle at your desk and the area is littered with spare paper scraps.

Take a look at your daily habits and schedule to make sure that they’re compatible with organization. Otherwise, it won’t be long before you return to your old, cluttered ways.

Choose a Great Desk

Great workspaces start with a great desk. If you’re working with an old, rickety desk without enough space to store your items, it’s time to upgrade. This could be a good chance to make a healthy change, too, by switching to a standing desk.

Being sedentary all day can be mind-numbing and have you yawning by late morning. Getting a standing desk can help keep your circulation flowing, which then impacts your focus and productivity throughout the day.

Keep Work and Home Separate

If you work at home, this can be a challenge. The line between home and work life gets blurred when your desk is just steps away from the kitchen or your nice, comfy bed. But try to stick with keeping work and home separate.

woman at desk with laptop computer

Being distracted by personal text messages or phone calls will make you more scatter-brained. And being scatter-brained is how clutter starts in the first place. Do yourself a favor and create a firm boundary between personal and professional life.

Do an End-of-the-Day Check

Each afternoon or evening, when you leave your desk and are done for the day, do a final check. Make sure everything is in place, extra papers are thrown away, and your desk isn’t covered in clutter. You may want to leave yourself a note reminding yourself to do this.

Once you get into the habit of doing an end-of-the-day check, it will become an automatic part of your schedule. It only takes a few extra minutes and can make all the difference for your productivity and organization.

Ready for Your New Clutter-free System?

You already know that working at a messy desk is a pain, to say the least. But now, you see how simple organization can be and you’re ready to work at your clutter-free desk.

Fortunately, none of these changes take a lot of time to make. If reading the above list is overwhelming for you, consider tackling each item separately. Taking small steps is better than taking no action at all and even small improvements add up over time.