keep your desk clean

How To Keep Your Desk Clean And Organized All Year Long (17 tips)

There is nothing more refreshing and energizing than a clean and organized desk.

When you keep your desk clean, you are focused, productive and ready to let your creativity flow. On the other hand, when it’s in a chaotic state, you are distracted all the time and it’s hard to think clearly.

In this article, you’ll discover some practical ways to declutter your desk, not only that but I will also show you how to keep it clean all year long.

What Are The Benefits Of A Clean And Organized Desk?

Here are 4 reasons why it’s important to keep your work area clean and tidy:

  • It saves time

Knowing where each item is placed and having an easy quick access to everything you need; will make you lose less time when switching tasks or projects. 

So, if you’re thinking “I don’t even have time to organize my desk”, it’s time to change it.

  • It reduces stress

The Mess causes distraction; distraction makes you lose focus; losing focus will lead you achieve less. And then you start feeling a stress ball growing inside of you, all because of the chaos.

  • It increases productivity

Your productivity is influenced by the environment where you work. Keeping your desk clean will help you stay focused on the task at hand allowing your creativity to flow without any interruptions.

  • It’s healthy

Using disinfecting wipes, microfiber cloths or vacuums can help reduce the number of germs and bacteria laying on your desk, especially your keyboard and mouse. 

We spend a lot of time at our desks, so it’s essential to sanitize them on a regular basis.

keep your desk clean

5 Ways To Keep Your Desk Clean And Clutter-Free

1. Three Must-haves

I like to use analogies to understand ideas. So, let’s compare your desk to a house with an entry, an exit and finally, storage.

  • The entry is the in-tray where you keep all the daily incoming papers that need a temporary location until you can check them, like unopened mail for example. Make sure to not accumulate a lot of paperwork in it.
  • The exit is the trash. This is where you will put all the unnecessary paperwork. The rule is “If you have doubts about it, throw it out”. Make sure to keep the trash within reach, otherwise, you’ll end up with a lot of trash on your desk.
  • Storage is the drawers. Drawers are the space saver where you can keep tools, supplies, and folders at your fingertips. This way, you’ll have much more desktop space.

2. Create a File System

To maintain an organized desk, you need to know the state of all your projects. Here is how I do it; I sort my projects into three categories: in-progress; finished and kept; finished and thrown away.

  • In-progress projects have to be easy and quick to access, especially that their progress relies on how much you keep yourself informed. Therefore, you can keep them in a tray on your desk or in your first desk drawer.
  • Finished and kept projects should be labeled so you can easily find them, and stored in one of your desk drawers.
  • Finished and thrown away projects are projects you can get rid of because there is no need to keep excess clutter around.
keep your desk clean

3. Reduce Your Office Items

Take a look around your office and ask yourself; do you really need all those office accessories laying over your desk? Probably not. Think of your desk as prime real estate, only components you use on a daily basis should remain.

Try to set up a minimalist desk by keeping only the essential things on it. You don’t have to create a sterile office, but if it’s not essential, remove it. Regardless of the amount of desk surface space you have, with this technique, you’ll create the spacious task area you need to perform comfortably.

4. Three Minutes Before You Leave

I am very grateful for the person who gave me this golden piece of advice because it helped to maintain my desk clean and organized all year long. Every day before leaving my office, I take 3 minutes to tidy up my desk and put everything in order.

Not only does it give me an idea of my progress that day but it also sets me up for a clear and serene start for the next day.

So, schedule regular cleaning time, you won’t regret it.

5. Finish Your Tasks

You need your full focus when working, but when you have an unfinished project laying on your desk for days, you will certainly feel distracted and compelled to finish it. Therefore, if the task or the project requires less than 30 minutes, make sure to achieve it right away. If it takes longer, put it in a drawer until you are ready to work on it again.

This way, you won’t lose focus for what you’re actually working on.

12 Products To Keep Your Desk Clean And Organized

I’ve spent some time researching the tools that will help save space on your desk, and at the same time keep it dust-free. I came up with these 12 different desk cleaning products with promising Amazon reviews.

For saving Space:

1. Monitor stand riser

When you put your monitor on a stand, you enjoy two benefits. 

The first one is raising it to an ergonomic level so you won’t feel any neck or back strain, and the second one is giving yourself more space to work. Besides, this monitor stand allows you to keep your essentials within reach; like your phone, your cup of coffee, and maybe your small notebook.

2. Stackable Office Trays

These are for setting up an effective “incoming and outgoing” system. 

Depending on your needs, you can designate a tray for everything that isn’t yet organized, another tray can be holding your in-progress projects, and so on. Categorize them based on your daily habits and requirements.

3. Drawer Organizers

Drawer organizers create sectioned spaces to house several office supplies but also protect the furniture from marks and scratches.

Your drawers can be holding supplies like pen refills, staple remover, batteries, business cards, flashlight, sticky notes… So, to save time and quickly locate each item, use a drawer organizer.

The more you can fit into the drawers, the less crowded your workspace will be.

4. Adjustable Shelves

If your desktop holds a lot of books and decoration items, you definitely need shelves for saving space and keeping them in the reach zone.

Otherwise, books will end up taking over your entire workspace especially if you have a small desktop.

5. Cable Organizer

Desks are one of the places where cords and cables get cluttered, a lot!

The best way to stay plugged in without wires taking over is to use cable organizers.

6. Under-desk Headphone Mount

Headphones shouldn’t be put in a drawer, especially if they are expensive.

With a headphone mount, you’ll store them properly, showcase them, and remove clutter from your desktop.

7. Rolling storage cart

We talked earlier about how important it is to have drawers in your work space.

In case you have a minimalist desk without drawers, or your drawers aren’t enough for the amount of storage you have, you can use rolling storage carts. They can be placed under the desk or next to it.

For cleaning:

8. Disinfecting wipes

Did you know that the average office desk has more germs than a toilet seat?!

Therefore, cleaning and disinfecting your workspace is a daily necessity. So, make sure to use wipes to clean your desk, file cabinet, computer, phone, and whatever else covered in dust and finger grease.

9. Microfiber Duster

Microfiber cloths are a great choice for dusting because they grab and hold dust without releasing it into the air.

So, make sure to polish off photo frames and the spare monitor that you never use.

10. Cleaning Gel

Using a microfiber duster or disinfecting wipes sometimes can’t remove small tiny particles that get stuck on your keyboard or your calculator.

You need a substance that can get to these unreachable places, like a cleaning gel.

11. Desk Pad

Office desk pads are good for everyday use: They are flat and soft areas to work on, they protect your desktop from scratches, and finally, they make the cleaning process easy and quick.

12. Mini Desktop Vacuum 

Desktop vacuum cleaners can generate a consistent and robust airflow to pick up small dust particles or cookie crumbs leftover from your snack.


How Often Should I Clean My Desk?

We all sneeze at our desks, cough or rush to type something quickly after being out! No wonder that dirt gets lodged in between the keys all the time.

If you are the only user of the laptop or the keyboard, then most of the bacteria on it comes from your own hands and fingertips. Therefore, it probably won’t do you any harm. Just make sure to wash your hands regularly to keep your desk clean for a longer time.

If you aren’t the only user, a good precaution is to wash your hands before and after using a shared computer, telephone or other equipment, and to encourage others to do the same.

How to Clean My Keyboard?

It’s easy to clean and disinfect your keyboard. Let me show two ways to do it:

  1. Wipe the keys then apply the cleansing gel (link to Amazon) we talked about earlier.
  2. Or use a can of compressed air (link to Amazon) to get rid of any crumbs or grit stuck on the keyboard. And finally, give the keys a wipe.

Does A Messy Desk Mean A Creative Mind?

The short answer is no.

There are two types of people out there; the first kind cares a lot about organization and they have to know the location of each item of their workspace. They believe that a cluttered environment means a cluttered mind, this kind likes to feel he’s controlling his life.

Whereas the desk of the second kind looks a jumbled mess; paper and items everywhere. Yet, this doesn’t mean that they aren’t organized people because somehow, they always manage to know exactly where every and each item is located.

As a result, identify the source of your inspiration and go with it.

You need to know though that living in messiness can also be a sign of some personality issues.

Final Thoughts To Keep Your Desk Clean

To wrap up, aim to create a clutter-free environment that will invite you to work, allow you to better focus on your projects, and improve your productivity.

Now you have 5 practical methods and 12 handy tools to keep your desk clean and organized. 

Stick to this system and you’ll have a tidy workspace all year long.

Do you have other ways to organize your office? Let us know, leave us a comment below.