by Sharon Florentine

8 tips for organizing your workspace

Jan 25, 2017
CareersIT Skills

Feeling overwhelmed and disorganized? Here's how to start the year off with a clean and organized workspace.

Did you know that January 12, 2017 was national Clean Off Your Desk day? No? You’re not the only one who missed the official day of observance, but you can still start the year off with a clean workspace. Organizing your workspace can help to organize your mind, too.

Dan Lee, Director of standing desk company NextDesk, knows a little something about the design and functionality of desks; here are his eight tips for cleaning and organizing your workspace (and your mind) for the year ahead.

1. Disinfect everything

A clean desk is an enjoyable desk to work at. Use “Clean Off Your Desk” day as an excuse to take everything off your desk and then wipe it clean, Lee says. “Obviously, this is easier when your desk isn’t cluttered — you should really wipe your desk clean with a non-abrasive cleaner, like an antibacterial wipe, at least once a week, but if you haven’t been keeping up with it, well, that’s why this day was invented,” he says.

2. Invest in folders

Invest in however many folders you need to organize any and all of the loose papers cluttering up the surface of your desk, Lee says. “If it isn’t important enough to put in a folder, throw it away.

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3. Cap office supplies

How many of the office supplies on your desktop are actually in daily use? Cap the number of office supplies on your desk to about three or four, at most, Lee says. Anything that you don’t use on a daily basis can be stored in a drawer or supply cabinet. “A good experiment for this is putting all office supplies to one side of your desk, and, throughout the day, move the supplies you do use to the other side of the desk. Anything left in the original pile that you haven’t used can be stored elsewhere,” he says.

4. Limit personal items

Though personal items like framed pictures and vacation souvenirs are nice to look at, they often take up a lot of space and can sometimes be distracting. Lee says you should limit yourself to one personal item on your desk to create more space.

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5. Out of sight, out of mind

Though necessary, cords and cables are a major impediment to the functionality of your desk, Lee says. “This is especially true of standing desks, which have their own cables, and they are a distraction to your work,” Lee says. Do your best to hide the cables so they are out of sight.

6. Tailor your workspace to you

If you never use those paper notebooks or printouts, why are they taking up valuable desk real estate? Instead, think about the office supplies that work to make you more productive, not less. “Using the Pomodoro system? Invest in a beautiful timer to help you stay inspired. More of a visual type? Make space for a desktop calendar to keep you on track,” Lee says.

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7. Find a home for your gadgets

These days, we all have many screens competing for our attention. To stay productive and on-task, create a “home” for your smartphone, smartwatch, and other potentially distracting gadgets; a dedicated drawer or shelf can help keep you focused at your computer so you won’t be sidelined by a constant stream of notifications, Lee says.

8. Increase desk storage

Finally, make the most of your desk space storing more on or under your desk with tools like a monitor riser, Lee says. Store your favorite electronics, tools, and supplies within arm’s reach and other supplies, gadgets and less-often-used items where they are easily accessible but not cluttering up valuable workspace.