10 Tips to Keep Your Desk Clean, Organized & Productive

Organized Desk

Is your desk a mess?

Do you return to more clutter than you remember leaving in the first place?

Don’t let your messy workplace impede your ability to get your work done.

Here are 10 tips to keep your desk clear of clutter and ready for work.

Cleanliness = Productivity

Keeping your desk clean is key to being able to get your work done.

Despite the excuses that some will give, piles are not organization. And a messy workspace isn’t conducive to being productive.

“If your desk is a mess, you don’t have space to work, nor any room for creativity.”

When inspiration or motivation hits, you don’t want to be searching for space to set down your important work or fighting back the flood of stuff on your desk.

Here are 10 Tips to Help You Keep Your Desk Clean and Organized:

  1. Designate a Physical Inbox – We all have too many email inboxes, yet many people no longer have a physical one on their desk. You need one place for incoming papers to reside. Otherwise, they will scatter all over the existing documents on your desk.
  2. Have a Trash Can Within Reach – If you have to get up from your desk to reach the trash, then it is too far away. (Nor do you want to be playing trashcan paper toss…) Make sure that you can easily and quickly reach the trash from your chair.
  3. Minimize Incoming Paper – Stop that incoming paper flood, or at least minimize it to the extent possible. Eliminate unnecessary subscriptions, reduce the number of paper reports and memos. If you don’t need something in hard copy, then stop it from coming to your desk.
  4. Get Rid of Unnecessary Clutter – Do you need all those knickknacks and office accessories laying all over your desk? Unless they serve a purpose, get them off your work surface. You don’t have to go to the extreme of creating a sterile workspace, but if you are not using it, move it off your desk.
  5. Schedule Regular Cleaning Time – If you have not cleaned your desk in a month, it could take you a few hours to tidy it up. However, if you do it daily, it should only take a few moments. Avoid compounding your organizing time by scheduling a designated time each day.
  6. Never Put Trash Down – Whether it is a piece of paper or a food wrapper, never set trash down. Get in the habit of holding it in your hand until you can reach your trash can. (See #2) You don’t want to put trash on your desk and forget about it. As well, that half-empty soda is an accident waiting to happen.
  7. Take a Picture – Do you have items on your desk that are simply for reference? A battery or ink cartridge that you need to replace? Or a clipping or article? Instead of leaving these items on your desk, take a picture with your smartphone. You will be more likely to have your phone with you when you need to reference the item.
  8. When in Doubt, Throw It Out – You will never need 99% of the papers that you are saving. When in doubt, throw it out. If you truly need a hard copy, make sure you have a filing system to put it where you will know where to locate it.
  9. Scan It– Is the price of a scanner worth the peace and organization it will bring? Yes! Clear that paper clutter, by scanning it into soft copy or PDF. Here is my favorite scanner via Amazon.
  10. Clean It Before You Leave It – If your boss were to come to your desk after you departed for the day, would you be proud of what he or she would see? One of the best times to clean your desk is the end of the day. It brings closure to your work day and sets you up for a clean start tomorrow.

Keep it Clean

An organized work area helps you get more done.

It starts by giving you space to actually work, instead of stacking new work on top of old papers.

Keep your desk clean and improve your productivity.

Question: Do you keep your desk clean or are you constantly working among clutter? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

114 thoughts on “10 Tips to Keep Your Desk Clean, Organized & Productive

  1. As I work from home, I have built up a little supply area around my desk that includes all of the supplies and tools I will need during the day including a trashcan! I have always hated clutter on my desk, it just makes it look messy and makes finding things difficult. I will try to get nice, colourful, healthy plant right away ????

  2. I have employees that insist on keeping a lot of food at their desks and on their desks. Each time someone gives them a knickknack that keep it forever. I have asked them to clean up their workspaces multiple times and offer to get a food locker but they want it at their desk.

    What should I do?


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  4. As productivity is necessary in every business this could only happen in business if you have good atmosphere, surroundings and cooperative skilled staff in the office can help a lot to increase the productivity always hire a commercial cleaning service which provide better service at affordable cost and that are reliable to you.

  5. I’ve made it a habit to start cleaning my desk at the end of every work day. Usually I forget I’ve even done this and I picture a messy desk on my way to work, only to be pleasantly surprised when I get to work and sit down at a nice tidy desk. I’ve always had trouble organising my work space but a physical inbox is an excellent idea. I love any excuse to decorate my work space anyway, so I’ll get myself a nice pretty one!

  6. Thank you so much for this! I’ve been meaning to get myself and home more organized and this is just what I needed to put myself in gear toward that goal. I’m a stay at home mom with 4 kids, do you have any other tips or advice for getting better organized with chores and cleaning? Or other printables that might go hand in hand with this one. TIA

  7. I’m considering getting a new desk to help me organize my stuff better while I’m working at home, and I really appreciate your tips for how to arrange things. Having a designated physical inbox is a great idea, especially as I have a tendency to mix up items that I need to leave at home from work and stuff that I need to take back. Having a specific cleaning time set aside every day is a great idea, as well, and I agree that doing that will really help me keep on top of the mess.

  8. Even the cleanest office will still have germs, because so many people use them throughout the day. When you think of your office and the germs it contains, think of the items that everyone touches or uses. Thanks for sharing this content loaded with great information.

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  11. I appreciate your tip about never putting your trash down to prevent clutter on your desk. My boss wants to make sure that our office is well organized and clean. I’ll share this information with him so that he can be sure to never put his trash down.

  12. My father is looking to hire an organization service to help him declutter his office at his company. It was great that your article mentions how it is important to schedule regular cleaning times in order to both work in a schedule as well as ensure that your space remains decluttered. I’ll be sure to assist my father in the matter by finding a reliable small business organizing service!

  13. I am really grateful to the owner of the blog “timemanagementninja.com” who has shared these helpful tips about deck cleaning and organizing. I hope this guide will help us to keep the clean our desk.

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