10 Quick & Easy Ways to Declutter Your Desk

Are you tired of trying to be productive at a messy and cluttered desk? Check out these ideas to kick desk clutter to the curb and DIY your way to a more organized office. Don’t miss these 10 quick and easy ways to declutter your desk!

10 Quick and Easy Ways to Declutter Your Desk

It’s incredibly difficult to be productive at a messy and cluttered desk. And when you’re working your business in the margins of your life, around your family, a day job, and other responsibilities, you don’t have time to waste on inefficiencies.

Check out the ideas in this post to kick desk clutter to the curb, so you can focus on working your business and being the most effective business owner you can be! Learn how to organize office supplies, create effective storage, and hack your way to a more organized work space.

Let’s jump into the 10 quick and easy ways to declutter your desk!

10. Assign Every Item a Home

The first of the easy ways to declutter your desk is to assign every item a home.

When every item has a home, picking up after yourself at the end of the day is a breeze! It’s easy to put items away and clear your desk in preparation for a new day of productive work (see #1 below).

Assigning a home may be as simple as tossing a writing utensil in a caddy or slightly more complex like filing paper. Either way, you know exactly where items belong and where to find them when you need them again.

You can learn more about assigning homes to items and pick up a few more office organizing tips in this post: How to Organize Your office in 8 Simple Steps.

9. Only Keep Out What You Use Frequently

We all land at different spots on the “everything hidden away/everything in view” spectrum. It’s important to learn where you fall on the continuum and consider those preferences in your organizing.

I prefer to have only the necessities out on my desk: writing utensils that I use many times a day, project supplies that are currently in use, and my office inbox. I tuck every other thing in a drawer, out of sight.

You may prefer to have many or all of your office supplies out on your desk along with your files, writing utensils, and tools.

Tune in to your preferences and keep them in mind as you organize your spaces (home and work).

But be sure to primarily include on your desk top those items that you use frequently!

10 Quick & Easy Ways to Declutter Your Desk | Calyx Organizing

8. Corral Desktop Items

Imagine having a pile of writing utensils rolling around your desk or paper clips strung across the surface.

That would make it difficult to be productive at your desk. So, be sure to implement a few tools to corral any office supplies that you choose to keep out on your desk top.

No matter what end of the “everything hidden away/everything in view” spectrum you’re on, it’s important to keep any items that are out on your desk contained.

Trays, baskets, spinning holders, magazine files, or file boxes are all great options for keeping desk top items corralled.

7. Use Your Most Accessible Drawers to Store Frequently Used Item

Now that you know which items you want to keep out on your desk top, you’ll want to store the remaining items in your desk drawers. Prioritize your drawers and items stored in each based on frequency of use.

The items you use most frequently will go into the top drawers, because those drawers are likely the most easily accessed.

Grabbing paper clips out of my top drawer is almost as easy as grabbing them from a bin on my desk top.

Continue to add items to drawers based on frequency of use, down through your drawer unit.

6. Keep Space Open for Special Materials

Throughout my work day, I’m constantly pulling items out of files or checking books or binders, or referring to notes. But I often ended up piling those items on top of the already teetering piles on my desk.

I’ve since found it incredibly helpful to designate a spot on my desk for special materials. I work hard to keep that space open and clutter-free, ready to temporarily store those special materials when I need them.

Be sure to designate a special projects corner of your desk and keep it clutter-free to make your work day more effective and your work space more productive!

5. Use an Inbox to Catch and Corral Paper Clutter

With home workspaces doing double or triple duty, it’s important to have a catch-all filter for incoming items.

An office inbox allows you to control the flow of information and papers into your office, avoid piles taking over your desk, and review all of the information coming into your home office.

Learn more about adding an inbox to your desk in this post: 3 Essential Routines for Home Office Organization.

4. Have a File System Within Arm’s Reach

Paper clutter is one of the biggest trouble spots in offices (at home and at work).

Implementing an office inbox will be hugely helpful in combating paper clutter, but add to that a functional file system within arm’s reach and you’ll all but wipe out desk paper piles!

By filing papers instead of adding them to piles, you’ll quickly nix much of your desk paper clutter. And you’ll be able to retrieve items in no time!

If you struggle with paper clutter taking over your home office, be sure to stop by each Friday for the next few weeks as I share actionable steps to combat this office organization beast: The First Step to Conquer Home Office Paper Clutter.

3. Save Space for Task Lighting

This might seem a strange item to be included in a post about desk clutter, but task lighting can make a huge difference in your productivity!

Not only can task lighting make it easier to see the items you’re working on, it can also increase your productivity by brightening up your workspace and making you feel more alert and focused.

And it can also put a spotlight on that desk clutter you’ve been trying to ignore and work around. 😉

2. Use Vertical Space Effectively

If your desk is against a wall or near one, consider utilizing the vertical wall space to rid yourself of desk clutter.

There are hundreds of different types of wall organizers, so you’re sure to find one that works for your needs.

Again follow the frequency of use guideline to determine what to store in your vertical space. If it’s not within arm’s reach, store less frequently used items there.

10 Quick & Easy Ways to Declutter Your Desk | Calyx Organizing

1. Clear Your Desk at the End of Every Day

I saved the best for last! This one habit makes all the difference in keeping your desk clutter-free.

At the end of every work day, start a 10-minute timer and:

  • Put items away – which is easy because they all have assigned homes.
  • File papers – super quick because your filing system is handily located within arm’s reach.
  • Clear your inbox – which has acted as a catch-all filter to help keep clutter off your desk.
  • Put anything else on your desk away

By taking 5-10 minutes at the end of every work day to clear your desk, you’ll never sit down to a messy and cluttered desk again!

Learn more about this incredibly important office organization habit: The #1 Habit You Need to Make Office Organization Successful.

10 Quick and Easy Ways to Declutter Your Desk

Just say “NO!” to working at a messy and cluttered desk with these 10 quick and easy ways to declutter your desk!

In today’s post, you learned tips for organizing office supplies, ideas for effective storage, and hacks for creating a more organized work space, whether your office is small or spacious.

The ideas in this post will help you kick desk clutter to the curb, so that when it’s time to sit down and work, you’ll be able to get right to it!

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I’m always on the lookout for great desk organization tips! What tips have you picked up along the way?

Thanks for joining me today and good luck with kicking that desk clutter to curb!

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