Day 19 – Work Desk | 31 Days of Decluttering

Hello friends! 

Today's task is to unclutter your work desk, to clean it, and to only put back the things that really belong there. (And no, that doesn't include two used mugs and a half eaten chocolate bar 😉) I'm a writer, and it's always a struggle to keep my desk uncluttered because it quickly gets covered in piles and piles of notes and books... not to mention a gazillion of open tabs...

Our desks are often the places we spend most of our time (sad but true), so it's even more important to look after that space. And since the state of our surroundings have a significant impact on our mental and emotional state, it's super important to keep your surroundings neat and comfortable. Tidy desk, tidy mind!

The Goal

  • organized workspace
  • feeling more in control
  • less distraction
  • more focused mind
  • more creativity and productivity
  • less stress
  • working more efficiently
  • a comfortable space you like to spend time in
  • quick access to things 

Guiding Questions

Is my work desk cluttered?
If so, what is cluttering it?
Which items do I need regularly?
Do I enjoy sitting at my desk?
How can I make my desk more appealing?
Are my most frequently used items in reach?
Do I keep anything not work-related on my desk? 
Does this item have a purpose? 
Is it redundant our outdated?

Working Steps

1. Declutter

Take everything off your desk and out of your drawers. Everything. Okay, maybe not your computer if you don't feel comfortable doing that.

Clean the empty surface of your desk.

2. Go through your guiding questions

Which items need to stay on the desk, and which can be stored in a drawer? Which do I not need / like anyway? Are you keeping a certain item because you need it, or because you might need it? Did you even remember it was there? Find your trouble spots!

3. Assess and organize

Divide everything into your keep and don't keep piles. 

Put any items you don't need, use or like into your don't keep box.

4. Return

Now that you've figured out what to keep, you need to find a place for everything. Where you put things is just as important, since you want quick access to the things you use most often.

For example, store extra pens, paper clips, tape, and Post-its inside a small box or desk drawer trays (or even cutlery trays or ice cube trays) inside your drawer. You could also organize your desk drawers by importance – the stuff you use most often goes in the closest drawer, everything else goes in drawers further away. 

Use a stepped desktop organizer with slots for incoming mail, important papers, unfinished assignments etc.

Keep your most frequently used items readily accessible on your desk, for example in a mug, or mason jar.

The key to a clutter free desk is to keep the surface clean! Besides your pen container, you shouldn't have much more on your desk than a cup, maybe a picture of your loved ones or a little plant, your planner, and relevant documents for your current project.

PRO TIP: Clear off your office desk every night before you leave. Just like you'll be thankful in the morning when you've done the dishes the night before, you will be glad to start your work day with a clutter free desk!

5. Donate / Discard

Donate any intact office supplies to a school or charity. Or just give them to a colleague, or put them into the stationery store at your office.

Reuse misprinted pages as (one-sided) notpads or your daily to do list. Recycle any paper you can't repurpose that way.

Toss / shred anything that can't be repurposed or donated, but you no longer need or want.

6. Celebrate

Whoop-whoop! Time to call it a day. Get some rest and enjoy your evening. Tomorrow is going to be quite a bit of work. But don't freak – after all, it's just 30 minutes, right? 😉

My home office desk :)