Is it time to really set up your desk? To have productive study and/or work sessions, it’s best to have an organised desk. A tidy desk opens up the way for clear thinking. Let’s go through my tips for decluttering your workspace and setting up your desk.
If you are lucky enough to be starting with a fresh slate – you are just setting up a workable space – you can skip these decluttering steps. If your desk is already covered in stuff, however, you’ll need to clear it off first.
To start, you might need to clear some floor area, or use your bed if it is nearby, to place items on as you sort through them. Move all the things off your desk to your clear surface. This gives you a clear desk to work with. As you’re doing this, try to group ‘like items’ together. Put all the books together, all paperwork together, stationery items together and so on. This will help at later stages.
Once your desk is empty, give it a good clean.
Only Put Back What Belongs
Now you have a clean slate, you can consider what truly belongs on your desk. Anything that doesn’t belong on your desk will either need a home elsewhere or it might need to go in the bin or be donated to charity.
Think about what items will support your study or work best. Common items found on desks are:
- A container of pens, pencils, highlighters
- Notebooks you use often
- Books you refer to often
- Tech items like your laptop or computer and monitor
- An action station, for papers you need often. If you’re studying, you could have folders set up in your action station for each subject you’re studying this semester. For work, it could be projects.
Be selective about what you put on your desk. You don’t want it to be cluttered with stuff. Set up your desk with just the things you need most.
Place Like Items Together
Group like items together on your desk and in any adjacent drawers. Other than some frequently used pens which might be in a container of their own, for example, store all stationery together. Create a space for all your textbooks, and so on as meets your individual needs.
You will need to consider how much of any one type of thing you have. Will it sit comfortably on your desk, leaving plenty of space for you to sit and work? If not, you might need to dedicate a bookshelf or other storage option for some of these items. Make sure any shelving is close by and in easy reach.
If you have a lot of one category, stationery for example, be selective about what you keep and where you keep it. As mentioned above, you might only keep the essentials, such as pens you use frequently, in a container on your desk and put the rest away elsewhere, with your other stationery.
Organise Your Space
Magazine holders or bookends are helpful to store notebooks, paper or textbooks upright when you set up your desk. Generally, though, only keep out on your desk the things that you need daily access to. Things you need only on occasion can go away elsewhere.
If you have a set of drawers, put the things you use in the top drawer and things you use less often in the lower drawers. If you have shelves near your desk, think about placing the things that are used or referenced a lot within easy reach. The things you refer to only once a month or less can go elsewhere, further away.
Clear Away The Rest
Hopefully, all the stuff you cleared off your desk in the beginning has now found a home on your desk or in nearby drawers or bookshelves. Or they have been put in the bin and bags for donation. If there are other things still to be dealt with, get them into their homes, possibly in another room.
There’s a chance you’ve been left with a giant pile of filing to do. If you’ve run out of stamina for doing that job now, pop it aside in a filing tray or box to be dealt with at another time. Jot it on your to-do list and dedicate some time to work through the filing backlog then. If you need some inspiration and tips for dealing with paperwork, check out some of my blog posts related to that here.
Make it Personal
Lastly, if you like, personalise your desk a little. It can be nice to select one or two items that you just love, like a nice picture, plant, photo or knick-knack to have near you. Pop these on your desk or nearby wall for inspiration and comfort.
The way you set up your desk to work for you is a very individual thing. I hope these tips have helped. I’d love to see your set-up. Why not share a couple of photos in the WellSorted Facebook Group?