23 Easy Ways to Organize Your Desk

Be the envy of the office (even if it’s at home) by stealing these tips and tricks for desk storage.

Organized desk office supplies

David Tsay

Whether you work from home full time, are back in the office, or participate in a hybrid schedule, keeping an organized desk is essential. Clutter piles distract, making you lose focus, time, and, possibly, very important information. Even if you’ve gone totally digital with files, your supplies need to be easily accessible, so you're prepared for that last-minute Zoom call your boss puts on the calendar.

According to the Harvard Business Review, clutter in the workspace generally increases stress, hinders concentration, and leads to procrastination tactics. Juggling work and household management is a task in and of itself, so why not make it as easy for yourself as possible? Implement following desk organization ideas to stay on top of clutter, leading to less time in the office and a healthy work-life balance.

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Tidy Your Desk Daily

office desk detail hot pink accents gray chair file holder hooks
Marty Baldwin

One of the top organizing tips to incorporate into your everyday life is to make your bed each morning. Not only does it help your entire bedroom look tidier, but it also sets a tone of productivity. Think of making your desk at the end of the day just as important. Clear all unnecessary clutter or trash and put supplies and notes away in their respective places before logging off, so you start tomorrow with a clean slate.

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Elevate Electronic Storage

office open white shelves oak floating desk
Adam Albright

With each year that passes, the more electronics it seems we need to get our jobs done. Rather than fighting it, embrace tech with clever ways to keep things better organized. Use a headphone or tablet stand to keep things upright and within reach. Corral your cords and cables to prevent a mess of wires in and around your desk.

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Prop Up Your Monitor

desk office with laptop riser

Adam Albright

A raised computer monitor, or even a laptop, is good for your posture as it levels the screen with your eyes. Many risers are also equipped with storage. Tuck your keyboard and mouse underneath it when not in use. Use small cubbies or drawers to stow away supplies or stack notepads.

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Put Up a Pegboard

desk with white pegboard on wall with shelves
Edmund Barr

If you’re a visual person, a pegboard might be your best bet for an organized desk. Keep your workspace tidy by hanging all of your supplies using customizable hooks. For larger items, such as notebooks and pads, attach a small shelf and store items between bookends. For writing supplies, hang a couple of buckets along the bottom within arm’s reach.

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Tailor Office Storage

modern living room with built in bookcase
Dylan Chandler

Consider adding built-in shelving above or moving a bookcase near your desk to maximize space. If multiple people need to share the space, make sure the surface area is large enough to accommodate at least two chairs and designate different zones or cubbies for each person. Use surrounding walls for file organizers that can be easily labeled, so everyone knows where to find their important paperwork.

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Maximize Your Space

Home office storage cabinets

Edmund Barr

Wrap a corner of a room with base cabinets equipped with file drawers. Opt for upper cabinets with a combination of closed cabinets and open shelves so you have easy-to-reach stashes for office supplies you use often. Tuck bins into underused corners; they'll be near but removed from your primary work surface.

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Corral Clutter

Organized desk baskets

John Bessler

Here’s a simple way to get things off your desk but still easily accessible. Contain like items into baskets, bins, or boxes and label them so there’s no question about where something is located. Binders can be stored in one and backstock office supplies in another. A desk with open shelves is the perfect place for containers.

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Roll Into Your Office

utility cart with printer and tablet
Jason Donnelly

Perhaps you don’t have space for an actual desk and instead opt for the kitchen or dining room table to work Set up a three-tier rolling cart with all the office supplies you need to do your job and bring it to the table while working. When you’re off the clock, simply slide it out of sight so you're organized for the next day.

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Keep Like with Like

Organized desk office supplies

David Tsay

Add a tray with individual compartments for paper clips, pencils, and rubber bands. This keeps small, loose items contained in one corner of your desktop or desk drawer. Meanwhile, the open containers let you grab what you need with ease and return supplies to their rightful spots.

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Make It Your Own

small office nook light blue desk shelving unit wooden stool
Brie Williams

There’s no reason to resign yourself to a traditional desk if it’s not your style. Repurpose old furniture such as a hutch or antique desk to serve as your workspace. Refinish it to give the piece new life and be sure to paint it in your favorite color. You just might find that you’ll naturally want to keep the desk more organized if you truly love it.

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Opt for Furniture with Storage

nook desk built in with geometric wallpaper
John Merkl

Choose desks or coordinating furniture pieces that offer generous storage. Consider a desk with shallow drawers for supplies, a bench with a built-in file cabinet, or a printer stand with a cabinet to store paper. The more options for storage that you give yourself, the more likely it is that your desktop will remain clear. So long as you make it a habit to put things away at the end of the day, of course.

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Keep Things Clear

Office desk containers

Jay Wilde

Clear organizers are a popular desk storage choice for a reason. Being able to see right through the containers takes the guesswork out of what’s in them. Use a couple of clear jars to corral pens, stamps, and whatever else you need at your fingertips.

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Keep It Simple

Home office creative organization

Michael Partenio

A single craft table might be all you need to get work done. Add a few clear containers for writing instruments and a memo board or two on the wall above to pin reminders. There’s no reason to complicate your desk area if you’re a minimalist by nature.

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Limit Your Files

white minimalist built-in office shelves midcentury chair ikea rolling units
Edmund Barr

Paperless filing systems are the norm and for good reason. However, most of us still have at least a few pieces of paper, even if it’s just the mail, floating around. If you have no need for a filing cabinet in or near your desk, opt for an organizer that sits on top. Choose a vertical style to make labels easy to read.

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Integrate Into Your Home

built-in sage green desk office striped rug baskets gold hardware
Adam Albright

If your desk is in a high-traffic area of the house, such as the living room or kitchen, you’ll want to keep it as neat as possible. Coordinate organizers, supplies, and even your office chair to blend in with your home’s aesthetic. Get into the habit of clearing it at the end of every workday, so you can relax in your off hours without any visual clutter lingering in plain sight.

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Store Stuff High and Away

Home office cabinet

Jay Wilde

Keep your desk clear of clutter, big or small, by using or installing overhead closed cabinets. This is especially helpful for the things that you don’t use very often but still want within reach when you need them. This can include a printer that you only take out and use a few times per year, saving a chunk of space on or underneath your desk.

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Scale the Wall

small corner office minimal desk unit bright color accents stool
John Granen

Create a desk with storage in a small office by using a track or shelving system. The beauty of this method is that you can arrange the shelves however you want and even add on as needed. By using the wall, you’ll maximize vertical space and clear the desk of items while leaving them within reach.

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Keep Drawers Organized

organized and labeled desk drawer
Adam Albright

Without any organizers to separate supplies, desk drawers can become messy in the blink of an eye. Use spring-loaded dividers if the drawers are deep enough or shallow organizing inserts to separate staples from scissors. Use labels inside the drawers if needed so you’ll never forget where to find or replace any of your office supplies.

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Don't Sweat the Small Stuff

office desk detail galvanized storage caddy glasses tags rubber bands
John Granen

Shop for a desktop organizer specifically configured to hold the objects you require on a regular basis. Stow paper clips and postal stamps in tiny drawers, and put sticky notes front and center. Give reading glasses a temporary home while keeping day planners and journals in sight.

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Plan Intentionally

Desk storage cubbies

Marty Baldwin

Inventory what you need to store for work or household management before settling on a desk. This will ensure you have the proper amount of space for stowing your stuff (preferably with some room to grow). This drop-front secretary hutch stealthily organizes supplies while also giving plenty of desk space to work on.

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Add Function to Your Aesthetic

Vintage office decor

Werner Straube

Just because it’s all about work doesn’t mean your desk organization has to be boring. Add style and purpose by hanging a rustic board above it with attached baskets. Use the baskets to store supplies and stationery and keep your desk space tidier.

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Compartmentalize Drawers

wooden desk shelf with games and controllers
Jason Donnelly

Take careful measurements of your desk drawer, then find an organizing tray that fits the depth, width, and height. Consider an expandable one if you have an exceptionally wide drawer. Then, use the separate compartments to sort supplies by type. Having a home to stash your stuff inside the desk will deter pile-ups on top of it.

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Save Some Space

Organized home office

Jay Wilde

If you’re using a corner of the dining room, guest bedroom, or a similar space to serve as your home office, a large desk might not be feasible. Instead, look for a wall mounted fold down desk that serves two purposes. One, it gives you a desktop surface only when you need it. And, two, it can conceal clutter by storing your supplies 24/7.

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