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  • Writer's pictureSamantha Dawn

How-To: Organize Your Desk

Ever get to your desk and just feel so discouraged when you look at it? It is so hard to keep a clean desk and it's even more frustrating when you work better in a clean space. I know how it goes, the desk is the first spot to become a dumping ground. If you have a home office or if you have an office in an office building, it is so easy to just shove things away and never look at it again. Personally, I can't work in a messy space and I may take my cleaning to another level, but it's what my body needs to function.

So how do we take a messy desk with papers lying everywhere to a clean desk that is organized and a minimalists dream?

Here's what you need to do: 1) Find a desk that works for you

There's just something about finding the right desk for your needs that really allows for proper organization. I like a very simple desk set up. I mostly work from my computer and I don't need a whole bunch of places to keep folders. Now, some people need a lot of storage space, for what? I'm not sure, since even in an office environment, I had one drawer to put important things in. So, figure out what kind of set up you need. If you mostly work from the computer and you don't have a lot of folders, chances are, you don't need a full filing cabinet, you need a drawer in a filing cabinet instead. However, if you do have a lot of folders well, you'll probably need a filing cabinet. Decide what you need out of a desk and find it. If you work in an office, that may require swapping pieces with other people, or finding a place in the budget for a piece of furniture that works for you.

2) Digitize everything you can.

Not sure of anyone noticed, but we live in a digital age, so there's a bunch of products out there that are incredible for organizing on the computer. Oh, and no, I'm not talking about the S drive or a USB key. I'm talking about programs like Dropbox or SharePoint (depends on your office) they are bae, they are amazing programs that everyone can use and are the best. I personally stopped using USB Keys because Dropbox was just so much better. Dropbox is more of a personal use software, but I'm sure it can be applied for multiple people. SharePoint, is the best. If you're fortunate to work in an office that has SharePoint, never let go. If you don't, implement it, take the initiative and get it for your office. If everything is online, then you can just go find it on the right page, in the right folder, etc. If you print everything and put it in binders, that increases the need for storage, it's also incredibly overwhelming to look at a bunch of binders to find that one instruction or one piece of paper you needed. If you don't need a printout, don't print it. Once it is printed, it automatically becomes outdated. If it's online, you can re-upload that document every time there's an update. It's easier to keep track of and if you're already using a computer, then you don't need to waste any time finding what you need.

3) Remove all the stationary and pens you don't need.

I love stationery supplies. I love post-it notes, I love pens, I love washi-tape, I love anything you can get at Staples, and card shops are my jam. However, I don't need six half used stacks of post-it notes, I don't need 20 pens that are half used, and I really don't need to keep all my pay stubs from my first job. This is clutter, this is what causes my stress. I tested this, and it takes me like a year to use one pen. Unless I'm a student in which case, it can take like two months. The trick is to not overwhelm your desk with a lot of office supplies. If you can designate a drawer for office supplies like your calculator, stapler, tape, and extra stationery products, do so. Obviously, you can't remove everything from your desk, so a holder to hold things like pens and paper clips would be most effective, even better, if it spins. At home, I have two cups that I use for colourful pens that I do use, but you will notice I have one drawer underneath for supplies like calculators and washi-tape.

4) Get a catch-all at the front of your desk.

or what most people call a paper holder.

I don't get a lot of mail at home, but for some reason, the mail and pieces of paper were collecting on my desk and it's not things I could put away because I still needed them. So I needed a catch-all. Something simple that I could put paper on or cards on, but small enough that it wouldn't become a place for clutter. I recommend that you keep your paper tray at one level or two. Anything more and you will start collecting clutter. The point of a catch-all is that it catches everything that you still need to work on. In a work office, I would keep one for people to place things in. It's just a little something that allows the desk to stay clean.

5) Get a large coaster.

Nobody like a water ring, or a coffee ring, or a tea ring. It's filthy. It doesn't add to the desk, also, if your desk is made out of wood, you don't want to ruin it with something hot. I tried using a small four inch by four inch coaster and like what a waste. You need something substantial to protect your desk. I have multiple drinks on the go, and I can't have a flimsy coaster to hold one drink. You can get large coasters, but what I really recommend is a cheese plate with felt tabs on the bottom. You can even make a large coaster at a clay painting studio. Cheese plates are often beautiful and are large enough. Check your local Home Sense in the cooking isles for something, also, don't buy something you hate, you have to love it.

6) Get baskets

I have three baskets on my desk at home. I have a lot more in a drawer, but you can't see those. Notice how everything has a home and how the baskets aren't over whelmed. I have a lot of technology things, so I keep the small cameras and box chargers in a basket in a cubby hole and the wire chargers in the desk. Why? Because, wires do not look aesthetically pleasing and pop out of the cubby basket. I have a basket for note pads, people knew I liked them and for a while, I had a bunch. I have a basket for post-it notes, which I am trying to cut down on and use the basket for something else. In my desk, I've lined the drawer with baskets, I don't want clutter like loose pieces of paper and scraps hanging around, so I've placed baskets to remove the option. This is what I consider a junk drawer, but everything is categorized so I can find what I need. Like the white-out is with the pens and the scissors are with the fancy tape for moments when I want to craft something. I also don't keep a lot of extras around, meaning I got rid of the stuff that just sits there and I never use. No, you don't need six opened erasers, when do you use a pencil that much?

7) Find a nice way to organize your paper. Also, get a recycling bin.

Martha Stewart was a key person when organizing my paperwork. She had a collection at Staples that I loved and instead of using a traditional filing cabinet, she used decorative boxes that were the exact size of a letter sized envelope. She also had accordion folders which was super useful when I had a billion class notes. So the boxes hold old class notes that will never be useful, but I am holding on to and old work things. The accordion folders have old class notes below, and above, they have the things that I look for rather often, like bank things, warranties, and any recipes for big ticket items that I would need to return if the item stopped working. I also have magazine holders for magazines I love.

8) Find a spot for a calendar

I have a set blog schedule, I also have to keep track of things happening and as much as I tried to organize myself on an online calendar, it just didn't work. So I found these whiteboard calendars and set them above my desk so I could look up and see what was happening. These were crucial for me in university when I had midterms and papers every week. Plus, they add to the design concept that this is an office within a bedroom.

9) Personalize

I love flowers, so naturally, they became a huge part of my decor. I found everything at Home Sense. Which, shouldn't be a surprise anymore. I got the flowers in a sales bin, I got that paper tray holder on a sales rack, and I made the manager give me a discount because that S has a chunk missing. I got the triangle thing for regular price, but that's okay, since it was cheap. It really doesn't cost all that much to have what you want. I can't burn candles anymore, so I keep a coffee warmer on my desk with candles I melt. I have very minimalist details on my desk because too much would overwhelm me. I used to have picture frames, but they became very cluttered and it just wasn't working for me anymore. Make your desk space your own, but don't overwhelm it.

10) Get a chair your feel comfortable in

I am at my desk 75% of the time when I am at home. I needed a chair that would work well. I also hate arm rests, they are ugly, so I took them off my chair. Chairs are super expensive, so I recommend you look for them when they are on sale, or ask for one for your birthday or holiday. It's all about finding one that works for your body and is ergonomic for you.

Those are my tips for an organized desk. I hope it works for you and thanks for reading,



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