Boss Lady

Got Desk? Organizing and decluttering tips for your desk


Is your desk neat and organized or has it become the place you dump everything you don’t know where to put? Have you lost money because you have misplaced receipts? Are you wasting time always looking for things? Learn organizing tips and how to make your desk clutter free instead of a dumping ground. 

What does your desk say about you?

It doesn’t matter if you have a home office desk or one at the office. Most likely your personal habits at home make their way into your work life or work desk, so if you build good habits here, you can also apply them to work.

Here are some statistics from

  • 87% of office workers say when their workspace is disorganized they feel they’re less productive than when their workspace is organized.
  • 86% agree that having a disorganized workspace is unprofessional.
  • 30% have lost out on getting reimbursed business / travel expense because they misplaced / lost a receipt.
  • It is estimated that38 working hours (close to one work week) per person each year is lost looking for misplaced items.

Desk clutter

Get rid of clutter!  So many times our desks easily morph into a dumping ground.  You are in a hurry, so you throw it on the desk.

The first step is to block out time to go through everything on your desk. It may take a few hours or it may take an entire weekend.

Begin by sorting into piles based on categories you have created (bills to be paid, receipts, etc.)  File anything that needs to be filed.  Clutter represents delayed decisions so commit to making decisions now.

Be ruthless: recycle paper where you can (ask yourself if there is an online resource for it), throw away dried up pens, move knick knacks somewhere else.

Some areas where people tend to get stuck:

Magazines/catalogs: Do you read or view? If not, cancel the subscription.  If you do need it, can you find that information on line or is it something that no longer interests you? How old is the item? The information might be stale by now.

Ads/coupons: How many of you have a Bed, Bath and Beyond coupon sitting on your desk? Or several? Resist collecting materials that represent “good bargains” or “someday.” If you aren’t going to use immediately, recycle!

Paper: Look for online resources for any of the paper clutter on your desk.  Create a bookmark and tags to find easily and you can use when you need to.

Business cards: Go through, identify and create a storage system that you will use.  If you have no clue who the person is, immediately put the card into the recycle bin. Tip when networking: Make notes on back of the business card where you met, personal interests, likes or dislikes, etc. to jog your memory when you go to contact the person.

Paperwork: Ask yourself: Do? Delay? Delegate? Recycle?  Come up with a process that works for you in handing paperwork so it doesn’t become a pile in the no decision zone.

Remember; do not use your desktop for storage!


Make sure your desk fits your lifestyle. If you like to spread things out, invest in a big desk. A U shaped desk with storage is really functional.

On the surface of your desk keep daily projects where you have quick and easy access.

Store close by or on the inside of desks your weekly projects.

Keep close to your desk monthly projects or on nearby surfaces or in easy-to-reach file drawers.

Don’t keep it on or in your desk if you use periodically. I have reference books that I have to get up and walk to.  I don’t need them that much. It’s good to get up from the desk and take a break.

Plan a place for things that you use frequently, such as pens, scissors, papers, files, and highlighters. Pay your bills here? Create a storage area.

Think of your desk in terms of real estate. If you use it daily have it within easy reach.  If you use your calendar all the time, it needs to be here.  An item you occasionally reference? Put it on a wall where you can see.

I also suggest having a notebook or pad of paper. I am always coming up with ideas or things that need to get done.  I can write them down immediately because I always have a pen and paper to write.

You could also use a bulletin board to put a calendar or reminders to free up desk space, but this can easily become clutter. Keep appointment reminders here or anything that you may reference a lot, such as the number for the pizza place or babysitters.

Spend time tidying up at the end of the day or the week. File paper, return things to their home, and put anything that else that does not belong where it does.

Take actions:

  • Do not use your desk for storage. Many make that mistake and it soon becomes cluttered.
  • Look for online resources to reduce paper clutter on your desk. Bookmark and use tags to easily find when you need the information.

Keep items on your desk in close reach that you use daily or frequently.

About Julie Coraccio

Julie Coraccio considers herself a Chief Possibility Officer and often asks, “What else is possible?”An award-wining professional organizer, certified life coach and author, Julie is passionate about getting people organized, supporting them in clearing clutter in all areas of their life and becoming more mindful and aware in both home and work. She hosts the popular podcast Clearing the Clutter Inside & Out. Based in Raleigh, NC, she works with people around the globe. She is happily married to Tony and is at the beck and call of their two rescued black cats, Joey and Antonio.

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