Organise Your Desk & Love Your Workspace
If you own a desk and work at it regularly, chances are it’s fallen prey to clutter. Between trinkets, your bits and bobs for work and miscellaneous household junk, your desk can become a receptacle for those items in your home that don’t have a designated place or use. Cluttered workspaces happen to the best of us – there’s only so much cleaning capacity we have day to day – but this can be a huge hindrance to productivity.
Clutter in your workspace can lead to a cluttered, disorganised mind, which is the opposite of the productive and energised person we want to be while working. Whether we’re talking about your home office or a desk at your workplace, putting in some TLC and time for a deep clean and reorganisation session is bound to reinvigorate not only your space, but the way you work. So, get ready to bust some dust, put all those tchotchkes away and create a clean, clear desk that will fire up your productivity once more – here’s how to complete a total desk makeover.
Big Desk Decisions
Before we even get into the organising tips, it’s important to consider whether you’re happy with your existing desk, both functionally and aesthetically. Choosing a desk is no small task, and there are definitely different styles to suit certain uses. Be sure that whatever desk you choose, whether it’s an existing piece or a new purchase, suits your lifestyle and workflow in terms of space, functionality (e.g. number and position of drawers, material) and appearance.
Read our comprehensive desk buying guide here if you’re considering a new piece for your home office.
You’ve probably got a lot of the materials you’ll need for a desk reorganisation to hand, but to ensure a thorough, high-quality clean, there are a few extra items you may want to consider picking up. Here are some things you should add to your bag of tricks to keep your desk neat, tidy and free of future clutter:
- Basic cleaning products
- Wood polish if your desk is wooden
- Rubber gloves
- Cable ties
- Organisational containers and systems (the world is your oyster here!)
- A desk bin
- Functional decor items like a mousepad, in-tray, etc.
- General decor items
Once you’ve got everything you need, it’s time to get to work! The first step is clearing things out before you can clean and restyle.
Clear everything out
The first step in the desk reorganisation process is to destroy all the systems you’ve already got in place, start fresh and clear your desk out so it’s spic and span. Be sure to first remove all fragile items from the desk and put them aside, out of harm’s way. Then, unplug all tech and move it off the desk surface as well, before pulling the desk away from the wall if it rests against one. Remove your chair, and all that’s left should be your empty (and likely, a little dirty) desk.
Clean ‘n’ polish
With all your personal items out of the way, the next thing on your agenda should be deep cleaning the desk’s surface. Depending on the style of the desk and what material it’s made out of, this could be a quick task or a more long-winded one. A basic glass or laminate desk will likely just need a wipe down, whereas a wooden desk with a more intricate design might require careful dust-busting in some nooks and crannies. If you haven’t cleaned your desk in a while (or forever – this is a judgment-free zone) a product like canned air might help you dislodge years of dust, which you can then vacuum up.
Here are a few tips for cleaning your desk’s surface, depending on what it’s made out of:
Glass: Glass desks are a simple clean, which is great for you! First wipe the desk thoroughly with a dust cloth, before taking a glass cleaner and a microfibre cloth and giving it a good once over. Ensure there are no suds remaining, and then leave to dry.
Laminate or plastic: These are the easiest desks to clean – simply use a dust cloth to remove any dust that’s accumulated, then follow up with spray and wipe on a cloth to clean the surface.
Wood: Wooden desks are very common, so there’s an established cleaning routine you can follow. As per usual, use a cloth to get rid of dust before grabbing some wood polish and a rag to clean the wood and add shine.
Once you’ve cleaned the surface of the desk, be sure to wipe down the legs for dust and inspect any nooks and crannies that might be harbouring secret grime. With all of this polished and ready to go, you can safely tick ‘clean desk’ off the list.
Sprucing up your devices
Next up is your devices, because sadly, they can also get dirty, despite being used on the reg. With all your tech unplugged, give them a gentle wipe down using a dust cloth for regular hardware and a soft, smooth rag for screens (kinda like the one that comes with your glasses or sunglasses). Be sure not to use any liquids or abrasive materials to avoid damaging your precious devices.
The other thing that can create clutter with technology is their cables, which seem to have a life of their own once you’ve plugged each item in. To avoid them tangling or getting disorganised, grab some cable ties and bunch the cable of each device together. You can even go the extra mile and label or colour coordinate these, if that’s your jam. And voila – quick and easy organisation that’ll improve your desk use tenfold.
Don’t forget to vacuum any rugs or the floor after you’re finished with your cleaning efforts to scoop up any last dust bunnies!
Time to declutter!
With your desk’s surface and the key players – laptop, keyboard, mouse and so on – nicely cleaned and ready to go, it’s time to think about decluttering. Chances are you’ve seen someone do it, inspired by the magnificence of Marie Kondo’s minimalist approach, but have you ever put it into action yourself? If not, now’s the time.
Decluttering can be a huge process, and ultimately, it has to be self-directed to really be effective. Everyone has their own system when working out what to throw, keep or donate, but here are a few tips that might help you on your way:
- Be as ruthless as you can without crossing over into emotional destruction territory! There’s a difference between binning old pieces of paper and something that actually has significance to you.
- Assess how recently you’ve used an item every time you debate whether or not to toss it. Function is important!
- Think about digitising – for instance, you may not need old bills or receipts when you could instead take photos of them and store them on a computer, harddrive or in the cloud.
- If you’re a sentimental person who finds throwing things away to be difficult, create a maybe pile that you can reassess at a later date.
- Designate a home for everything. If you can’t picture where an item will go, reconsider its importance or need to live in that particular space.
- If possible, keep the bare minimum on your desk and make use of drawers and cabinets for items that aren’t used every day.
You’ll probably find that you’re dividing items into a few categories, some that are easier to purge than others. For instance, old sticky notes, pens that don’t work and miscellaneous scraps of paper might be a super easy ‘chuck’, whereas birthday cards, kids’ drawings, certificates and other sentimental items might feel a little harder to get rid of – and there’s nothing that says you have to! As long as you can come up with an organisational system to get these things off your desk day-to-day, there’s no problem with keeping them.
You’re almost there – the enlightenment that comes with a decluttered desk (well, maybe) is almost in reach. But before we embark on the time-consuming journey of putting stuff back, it’s important to reflect a little. Are there any pain points that your desk brings to the fore? Perhaps you find it difficult to see your screen at times, or wish that you had a spot for your favourite pens to live.
Think about the little things that could make your desk easier to use, more comfortable and more functional overall. Perhaps these are solvable problems, corrected by purchasing a new piece of desk storage or by shuffling the placement of your items around. Whatever you can do to make your desk experience a more enjoyable one, do it – it’s something you won’t regret in the long run, when you’re killing it with productivity and getting more work done than ever before.
Recreate and decorate
The final step of the desk organisation makeover is putting everything back and making it look chic, whatever your style might be. Start off by placing your essential items like your computer and any hardware, such as a mouse and keyboard. Plug this tech back in and be sure to adjust cables so they’re unnoticeable and not in your way.
Then, it’s time to decorate, first with your key functional items. Add in larger functional elements like an in-tray, magazine holders, a desk lamp first so that you can best evaluate the space and the placement of your items. Next, grab any decor items that are on the larger side and give them their homes – we’re talking pot plants, bigger trinkets, stacks of books and candles. Then, sprinkle your smaller items throughout, starting with the functional ones such as your mouse pad, any phone or tablet mounts, pencil holders and bookends. Finally, place those last little touches with any smaller decorative items.
Now that your desk is fully functional and free of clutter, keeping it clean should be easier than ever before. Remember, everything should have its place – and if it doesn’t, it’s time to reconsider its purpose on or around your desk. Don’t treat drawers as hold-alls for your loose papers and random items, but instead, as ways to store the essentials in a neat and organised way. If you follow these steps, keeping your desk tidy will feel like a simple and enjoyable task.
Want to give your desk a little personality, creating a gorgeous yet functional place to work? Discover BROSA’s range of desk furniture and decor, including desks, desk chairs, lamps and beautiful homewares to tie it all together. Grab your new fave pieces with Australia-wide shipping to Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth and beyond. Plus, access a range of virtual styling services to see your new items in situ without having to leave the comfort of your home.