Keeping your desk organized, neat, and tidy can make taking care of work tasks much easier and more fun. Creating an inspiring home office space often starts with tackling the clutter and items that we need to keep nearby. “Keep essential items at arms’ length on your desk or organized in drawers and cabinets,” recommends Jessica Terenyi, professional organizer and coach at JK Organizing. “Nonessential items can be organized in spaces such as file cabinets, bookcases, and cube organizers.”
Keeping Terenyi’s tips in mind, we researched some of the top desk organizers on the market, considering their quality, price point, and design. For office storage that works for a desk as well as other storage needs, one of our favorite picks is the Brightroom Mesh Crate File Box, which is made of durable metal and holds your files while still maintaining a sleek look.
Best Filing System
Brightroom Mesh Crate File Box
Rail to keep hanging files organized
Part of desk accessory line
These mesh file boxes are some of the best to keep papers organized as well as accessible. The mesh is fine enough for you to look through and easily spot the documents that you need, while a rail on the inside of the box allows you to hang folders without them from getting caught or jumbled—a common complaint with hanging file boxes.
If you need to move the box around, there are also integrated handles on the side. You can stack it, however, consider what you have stored inside first. This file box does not have a lid so any shifting may cause the documents inside to get wrinkled or torn. It is made of metal and will protect the documents inside best when nothing is stored on top.
Another perk of this option is that there are plenty of other accessories in the same line, including an upright pencil holder, stackable paper bins, and a smaller hanging file box. If you want a variety of desk organization tools that are durable, stylish, and come at a great price point, Brightroom’s line is a great option.
Price at time of publish: $17
Dimensions: 10 x 14 x 13.25 inches | Material: Metal | Stackable: No
Marie Kondo Harmony Linen Desktop Organizer
Multiple storage sections
Luxury finish and materials
Part of a buildable set
This ultra-luxe desktop organizer comes from the mind of organizing guru Marie Kondo. Not only does it look great, but it also keeps things like letters, papers, pens, and other desktop essentials organized. There are larger storage sections, small boxes for things like paper clips and rubber bands, and a drawer to keep unsightly items out of view. It is part of an entire line of office accessories, including file boxes, document trays, and storage boxes. They all have a linen finish and dark hardware accents.
These are expensive, especially when purchased as a set. You can get each individually and build your ultimate organization system over time to spread out the cost as well as see which elements you get the most use out of. You can also add boxes and file storage as your needs increase.
Price at time of publish: $60/each
Dimensions: 13.125 x 8.5 x 7.625 | Material: Linen, MDF, birch | Stackable: Yes
MaxGear Mesh Desk Organizer
Perfectly sized compartments
Tall and short compartments
Not for long-term file storage
If you want to keep small items nearby as well as maintain a place for larger notebooks and letters, this desk organizer from MaxGear has it all. There are six compartments as well as a drawer. The shelf for post-it notes is particularly helpful, since it's sized perfectly for these helpful square stacks. There are two taller compartments ideal for pens and pencils while smaller compartments in front can hold paper clips and small items.
This organizer is made of black mesh that lets you see through to the contents of each compartment. The bottom has rubberized feet to keep it from sliding around while also protecting your desktop from scratches. This desk organizer is meant to sit out on your desk to hold the essentials and isn’t stackable. While it has a smaller place for papers, isn’t designed to hold files, which might be a con for some.
Price at time of publish: $14.50
Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.5 x 5 inch | Material: Metal | Stackable: No
My Space Organizers Acrylic Office Desk Organizer with Drawer
Multiple compartments for today’s needs
Sleek lines and shape
Looks best with coordinating office products
This acrylic organizer will look sleek and clean on your desk, a welcome departure from bulkier options. It has multiple sections designed for today’s needs, including a slot for your phone, and it can hold multiple notebooks and separate papers and documents into two different sections. The sides are sloped back, giving it a modern look that blends into your overall desk setup.
Because this organizer is transparent, keep in mind that the things that you store will be in plain view. While not the best for privacy, it may inspire you to add some coordinating paper clips, post-its, or stickers. Along with plain clear, the organizer also comes in black, gray, and white-gray marble.
Price at time of publish: $27
Dimensions: 10 x 7.3 x 5 inches | Material: Acrylic | Stackable: No
Pottery Barn Aubrey Writing Desk with Lateral File Cabinet and Bookcase
Extra design details
If you want a single solution for all of your office and desk organization needs, this combination writing desk and bookshelf can hold files, keep papers organized, and provide a place to work. It comes with drawers specifically designed for office use, such as a shallow drawer for your keyboard, phone, or planner and file drawers with built-in rails. Design details, such as chunky base molding and a beadboard back on the bookshelf, add style to your space.
This piece is expensive, especially when you compare it to desktop organizers and file folders. But if you are looking to add functional furniture to your office, or maybe create an office space in the corner of a larger room, this is a great way to do it with one purchase. It can also work with other furniture from the line, including additional bookshelves and storage.
Price at time of publish: $1,897
Dimensions: 78 x 36 x 84 inches | Material: MDF | Stackable: No
Officemate Recycled Desk Tray
Easy to stack
Can fit larger pieces of paper
May be hard to carry a large stack
These simple paper trays are stackable so you can keep things organized and add to your system over time. They are a great recommendation for teachers and classrooms to keep assignments separated. You can create a custom system for turning in work. They have 12-inch wide slots and can fit larger pieces of paper and folders in addition to standard printer paper.
The trays come in a set of six that interlock for easy stacking. You can move them, although if you use more than six, you run the risk of them toppling as you carry the stack very far. They don’t have much added for design and are more functional than stylish. But if you want something that you can build on based on your needs, these are ideal.
Price at time of publish: $27
Dimensions: 15 x 15 x 8.75 inches | Material: Plastic | Stackable: Yes
Best for Pens
Boon White Stash Multi Room Organizer Boon White Stash Multi Room Organizer
Multiple compartments to store pens and pencils
Ideal for organizing art materials
Multiple sizes of compartments
No place to store papers
This fun desk organizer from Boon stores pens, pencils, markers, and even scissors. It includes nine circular storage compartments of various sizes. You can organize your writing utensils by color or type, or just keep a couple of compartments free for small accessories like paper clips or rubber bands. Just keep in mind that these do not have lids. This makes them easy to access but does require that you develop and stick to an organizational system for the best results.
If you need to store papers, you’ll need to add something else to your desk. If you store more papers and receipts than pens, the nine small compartments may be more utensil storage than you need. It does work great for kids’ craft and workspaces, since you can add markers, crayons, and other materials.
Price at time of publish: $29
Dimensions: 9.5 x 14 x 4.75 inches | Material: Plastic | Stackable: No
Best for Letters
Rowan Acacia Desktop Letter Organizer
Tiers for letters
Part of a desk organization line
No spots for other items
To keep letters separated, the Rowan Acacia letter organizer looks great and has plenty of slots. The supports are graduated, which allows you to see letters in the back as well as those in the front. It is made of acacia wood. This wood is sustainably harvested and has a rich color and interesting wood grain that adds interest to your desk.
You’ll need to find another desk organizer for larger papers as well as one for items like pens, pencils, and paper clips. There are matching acacia accessories from The Container Store in this line. These include a pencil cup, paper trays, and hanging file folders. You will need to purchase them separately, however, which adds to the overall cost.
Price at time of publish: $15
Dimensions: 6 x 6 x 4.675 inches | Material: Acacia | Stackable: No
Best Monitor Stand
WALI Monitor Stand Riser
Raises monitor for better posture
No built-in storage
Elevating your computer monitor is a great way to free up desk space as well as keep your back and neck in alignment as you work. Rather than hunching over, even the addition of a few inches leads to more productivity and healthier work habits. The WALI monitor stand riser is adjustable and lifts your monitor between 3.9 and 5.5 inches. It has a wide base that can support even large monitors. It isn’t ideal for a two monitor setup, unless you want to purchase two risers. Fortunately, it’s affordable enough to make that an option as well.
The riser doesn’t include any built-in storage. Instead, it frees up space below the monitor for you to add bins or trays. Some larger storage units or pencil cups can fit, but you won’t be able to get to the items inside. Instead, we recommend trays and shallow boxes that you can slide out from under the riser when needed. It is also a great play to store papers, files, and even a wireless keyboard when you aren’t using it.
Price at time of publish: $20
Dimensions: 14.6 x 9.3 x 3.9-5.5 | Material: Metal | Stackable: No
Our top pick for storing files is the Brightroom Mesh Crate File Box. It has all of the features to keep papers organized while also working with Brightroom’s line of coordinating desk accessories. If you want a set that stores everything from paper to pens, consider the Marie Kondo Harmony Linen Desktop Organizer.
What to Look for in a Desk Organizer
Look for a desk organizer that is right for your space as well as your storage needs. You don’t want it to take up all of the space on your desk but it should be large enough to keep papers, pens, and other office essentials organized. If you find yourself needing to store larger files, consider a file box that is kept off your desk in a nearby location.
What will you be storing in your desk organizer? It is important to look for an organizer that is suited for the right purpose. These are often divided by what type of things they can store. Pencil cups are ideal for pens, pencils, markers, and other upright items. Paper trays hold documents that you need to access quickly. File storage boxes are good for longer-term storage and organization. You can find some organizers that have multiple compartments and styles.
Metal is a durable material for your desk organizer but may not add as much style or flair to your work space. Acrylic is popular and modern. It also allows you to quickly see what is stored inside. Wood and linen are luxury options that often cost more but look amazing and chic.
Look for a desk organizer that suits the overall style and look of your space, especially if it will help inspire you to stay organized and be productive at your desk. Style features like hardware and finishes can mean a more expensive organizer, however.
What is a desk organizer used for?
A desk organizer can keep the things that you use around the office tidy and accessible, while also freeing up workspace on your desk. Many desk organizers hold commonly-used items like pens and pencils, as well as paper clips, rubber bands, and post-its. They can also have places to store documents, papers, and files.
How do I optimize space on my small desk?
Try to use as much of the space as possible for your work. You can free up desk space by elevating when possible, which is what Terenyi recommends. “Some organizers have drawers on bottom and dividing organizers on top,” she says, and you can also opt for stacking trays and drawers. Lastly, move bulkier things like files to another storage location, such as a file cabinet or bookshelf, and using a riser for your monitor, if you have one.
What should I add to my desk setup?
If you are just starting to organize your desk, start by corralling the things that you use most into an organizer that keeps them accessible but tidy. For most people, these are pens, post-its, and paper clips. Adding a file storage system can help keep you and your documents organized, a key thing when it comes to sticking with your new organization goals.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was researched and written by Katie Melynn, a freelance writer specializing in home and family products. Katie has been writing for The Spruce since 2019. As a work-from-home writer, she personally tests out many home office organization solutions, including some of these desk organizers. She also spoke with Jessica Terenyi, professional organizer and coach at JK Organizing, and drew inspiration from the frequent home office solutions that she shares on her active Instagram account, @jkorganizingllc.