How to Organize Your Desk

Organized home office with two desks

Cathie Hong Interiors

Between the sporadic collection of sticky notes and the piles of half-opened mail, your desk may make you feel more overwhelmed than organized. Whether you use your desk for house chores or working from home, it should help you keep your responsibilities in order. Fortunately, simple adjustments to the way you store office supplies and sort paperwork can help you stay on top of your work.

When all is said and done, your at-home office should be a space that motivates you, and the tips listed below can help you get there.

  • 01 of 15

    Divide Drawers with Trays

    Desk organization

    Breathing Room Organization + Styling

    If you typically refer to your desk drawer as a "junk drawer," this tip is for you. Something as simple as drawer dividers can help you organize everything from pens to paper clips. No more accidental stabs from a buried thumbtack! This tip will keep your office supplies sorted.

  • 02 of 15

    Stow Devices When Not in Use

    Below desk storage of laptops

    @joanna_organize / Istagram

    For many of us, monitors are a thing of the past. If the bulk of your work is done on a laptop or tablet, consider stowing your device when you're off the clock. Create a hidden "home" for your electronics rather than leaving them out on the desktop.

  • 03 of 15

    Pick Pretty Office Supplies

    Office drawer organization

    @joanna_organize / Instagram

    Aesthetics matter. If your desk is an assortment of notepads with local business labels or pens from your dentist's office, it will feel cluttered no matter how you organize them. Choosing office supplies you like can elevate your WFH experience and motivate you to keep your desk tidy.

  • 04 of 15

    Keep Your Desktop Clear

    Home office desk organization

    @laura.cattano / Instagram

    It's easy to leave paraphernalia piled on a desk, assuming you'll get back to it later. Instead, the intimidating pile will likely keep you away. To create a more practical and inviting workspace, keep your desktop clear. When it's time to work, pull out what you need and nothing more.

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  • 05 of 15

    Pick a Color Palette

    Home office desk organization

    @laura.cattano / Instagram

    Resist the urge to buy another pack of neon sticky notes. Instead, be intentional about selecting a simple color palette for your home office. When everything from the notepads to the décor feels clean and cohesive, you can work with a clear mind.

  • 06 of 15

    Give Every Item a Home

    Office drawer desk organization

    @nycneat_louisa / Instagram

    Your home office may house a variety of supplies, but every item should belong. Junk drawers become junk drawers when we haphazardly toss in phone chargers that'll wrap around everything they can reach and coupons we'll find again long after they've expired. But when every item has a proper home, the clutter stays away.

  • 07 of 15

    Keep It Minimal

    Office desk organization drawer

    @nycneat_louisa / Instagram

    Anyone who's wandered aimlessly through Target knows how challenging if can be to avoid splurging on random accessories like brass scissors or succulent push pins for a home office. When it comes to your desk, do your best to keep it minimal. Excessive supplies and decor will not only make your workspace cluttered, it'll likely help you stay more focused.

  • 08 of 15

    Ditch Your Mismatched Pens and Pencils

    Pens, pencils, markers organized

    @nycneat_louisa / Instagram

    Is your pencil cup stuffed with dried-up markers and mechanical pencils missing their lead? One quick tip to tidy up your desk is to finally sort through all your writing utensils and toss the ones that expired long ago. If you want to take this organizational tip a step further, replace your collection with new, matching supplies.

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  • 09 of 15

    Make Kids' Desks Easy to Clean

    Kids desk organization

    @nycneat_louisa / Instagram

    Kids aren't always neat. To help your children keep their desks clean, create a simple, organized system they can keep up with. Use clear cubbies and labels, so they know exactly where their markers and erasers belong. Dress it up with some color so they'll want to work. Set them up for success!

  • 10 of 15

    Sort Your Techy Supplies

    Organized tech supplies in office desk drawer

    @nycneat_louisa / Instagram

    To avoid tangled chargers and misplaced batteries, keep your electronics and techy supplies stowed and sorted. If you have the space, try and store all of these items in the same drawer for easy access.

  • 11 of 15

    Avoid Overcrowding

    Organized office desk drawer

    @nycneat_louisa / Instagram

    Jammed desk drawers can send even the most laid-back individual into a spiral. Even if your desk has room to house more sharpies and extra notepads, try to build in some negative space. Leaving 20 to 30% of the drawer space open will make it simpler to spot what you need when you need it.

  • 12 of 15

    Address the Paper Clutter

    Organized paperwork for desk

    @nycneat_louisa / Instagram

    Paper is necessary for most home offices, but it doesn't have to consume your desktop. Adopt a system for keeping paperwork organized. Instead of piling papers on your desk, purchase a filing cabinet, stackable bins, or file folders. Find a solution that works for you.

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  • 13 of 15

    Label Everything

    Labeled kids craft storage

    @nycneat_louisa / Instagram

    Labels are a favorite product of most professional organizers. If you want to keep your home office tidy, it's essential that you know where your supplies live, and labels can help you accomplish the goal. Use this tip for desk drawers, filing cabinets, shelves, and more.

  • 14 of 15

    At the End of the Day, Put It All Away

    Craft desk organization

    @afreshspace / Instagram

    Before you clock out at the end of a workday, take a few minutes to organize your desk. This habit of putting all your office supplies away will not only help your home office look neat and tidy, it'll help you feel more prepared to tackle your to-dos the next time you sit down to work.

  • 15 of 15

    Make It Unique, Make It Yours

    Organized home office with two desks

    Cathie Hong Interiors

    While there are certainly key tips and tricks to keep your home office clutter-free, not every style will appeal to every individual. Once you've tidied up and created a system to keep your paperwork and supplies sorted, add the design touches that appeal to you. Create a desk space that will draw you in.