How to Organize Your Desk: 7 Tips

Spring is upon us, and that means spring cleaning may be on your mind. Knowing how to organize your desk can improve your productivity and enhance your professional image. In fact, according to an OfficeTeam survey, 83 percent of human resource managers said the appearance of a person’s workspace affects their perception of that individual’s professionalism.

So where do you begin? Try setting aside 15 minutes a day to reduce clutter, clean out drawers and toss items you no longer need. Let’s get started on how to organize your desk:

1. Customize your method. Talk to your coworkers for ideas on how they stay organized. Ultimately, though, you have a style all your own. That’s why you should experiment with different organizational systems to see what works best for you. Try out various containers, baskets or drawer organizers.

2. Nix the paper. Sticky notes can easily get out of control. If you have notes taped all over your computer monitor and desk, convert them to electronic documents or slip them in a binder. See if you can streamline the layers of paper on your bulletin board. Reduce a large collection of personal photos to just a few favorites.

3. Stash it. While you may think your clutter is charming, others may see it as less than professional. Put items you don’t use on a daily basis, like a tape dispenser or stapler, into a drawer or container.

4. Throw it away. It’s time to grab a trash bag and get to work. When possible, shred or purge unnecessary paperwork. Toss out old catalogs and publications.

5. Corral the cords. You know the look — an unwieldy maze of computer cords that can take on a life of their own. When possible, eliminate unnecessary cords. Use tie wraps or cord runners to hide or keep essential cords in place.

6. Keep it clean. A clean desk could also improve your health. To reduce germs at your desk, keep disinfectant wipes nearby. At the end of each day, wipe off all frequently touched surfaces, such as telephones and keyboards.

7. Don’t forget your computer. While you’re figuring out how to organize your desk, take a look at your desktop — or any other place you have computer files. There are a number of apps that can help you reduce computer clutter. Organize email and sort items into folders. Cleaning out or deleting unnecessary emails once a week will make it quicker to find emails you need later. Remove unused files — especially larger ones such as outdated photos — to free up space.   

What other spring cleaning tips do you have for keeping an organized desk? Share them with us in the comments.