The best way to organize your desk space is to think not only about its function, but also about your work and design style. “Your desk should be organized by what you use most every day,” says Carly Cicero, principal at Cicero Design Group in Youngstown, Ohio. “If you use an item daily, it should be within reach from your desk chair. If you don’t use it daily, it should be hidden in whatever storage you may have.” If you’re the type of person who is a minimalist, the process should be fairly straightforward and you probably already have a designated space for your notepad, pens, and documents. On the other hand, if you love knickknacks and tend to be more of a free spirit, then reining in all your office supplies can feel like a challenge. Embrace who you are and lean into office organization with your quirks in mind. If your desk is always a mess, make sure you have plenty of storage boxes to give you guidance and assist in keeping the desk space clutter-free. 

1. Elevate the monitor with a riser

Quartet Desktop Glass Monitor Riser

Though desktop computers are sleeker than ever, their accessories can clutter up a workspace. Dykema suggests buying a monitor riser, which can help not only bring your webcam up to eye level, but also creates vertical space for storage underneath. An acrylic riser is sturdy enough to withstand the weight of even the largest monitors and offers added storage with drawers, so you can easily access daily supplies like a planner and favorite pens. For a laptop, use a Quartet riser with a glass dry-erase board to keep those pesky sticky notes at bay. You can also mount hardware like external hard drives to the underside of your table to keep an organized desk. 

2. Wrangle cables

Bluelounge Mini CableDrop, Set of 9

Manage multiple cords with cable sleeves, which corral numerous wires into one bundle that you attach to the underside of a desk. Or, if you’re plagued by just one or two cords, keep them in place via small peel-and-stick clips that adhere to nearly any hard surface without damaging its finish. You can also pack cords out of sight when not in use in a handsome, compact kit that can sit on your desk without distracting from your decor. 

3. Minimize random pens

When it comes to office organization, think like this: One in, one out. Use this mantra to maintain order. If you buy a new fancy pen, get rid of the old ones you got for free that have been rolling around in your desk drawer. As Marie Kondo says, only keep things that truly spark joy. 

4. Find a place for everything

Stackable White Paper Trays

The easiest way for a mess to get out of hand is if you don’t have a designated spot for your desk accessories. If you’re having trouble honing down the ever growing collection of paper clutter, notebooks, and folders, take advantage of the vertical space on your desk with paper tray organizers from Amazon that stack on top of each other. 

5. Compartmentalize the chaos

The Everything Organizer Drawer Organizer

If CleanTok and restock-Tok have taught you anything, it’s that no drawer is fully organized unless each of your belongings is perfectly in place—that’s where drawer dividers come in. These drawer organizers can be mixed and matched to perfectly fit the dimensions of your drawer and are perfect for storing paper clips, push pins, sticky notes, and more.  

6. Invest in multitaskers 

It’s always better if you can find organizational pieces that serve multiple functions. These adorable flower pot-shaped bookends are perfect for propping up books in your home office, but can also be used as pencil cups or succulent planters. 

How can I organize my desk without storage?

A sleek desk design can be just what your office needs, but if the silhouette is without drawers or a cabinet, keeping the surface area clutter-free can be problematic. To deal with a minimalist home office, consider the essentials. If a desktop is all you need, invest in a riser with built-in storage boxes. Keep the rest of the tabletop clear, perhaps only with a notepad and a pen for your to-do list. Decorate the rest of the office with floating shelves, a filing cabinet, and perhaps a pegboard to keep the rest of the office supplies from spilling over onto your organized desk.

7. Disguise desk storage

Bigso Stockholm Paper Drawers

“Use decorative desktop storage that conceals contents but is labeled to ensure you know where everything is,” Dykema advises. The Container Store’s Bigso Collection, which has everything from magazine holders to paper trays, comes in a variety of colors to suit your decor and is made of recycled materials. 

8. Utilize external storage

Dykema also recommends investing in a separate storage unit to help keep your desk clutter-free. An external filing cabinet, like this mango wood cane piece from Urban Outfitters, can significantly increase your storage space and contribute to your office organization aesthetic. If you want to keep things out of the way and have ample closet space, maybe opt for something like a tiered cart that can easily move in and out of your office. And if you really have some space to spare, use a full bookshelf or other shelving unit as office storage. 

9. Hang it up 

Though a bathroom accessory may seem like an unlikely candidate for a DIY desk organization project, a towel bar that matches your decor can actually be incredibly helpful in a room where desk storage is nonexistent. Find a minimalist design, pair with a few S-hooks to hang up things like scissors, glasses, or pencil cups. The best part is that this design is completely tailored and can be adjusted to your needs.  

How do I maximize my desk space?

An organized desk at home is one that utilizes the space without going overboard with desk accessories. Yes, these can seem like a storage solution for wrangling pens, paper clips, and sticky notes, but think about whether you actually use all those office supplies on a daily basis. The goal should be to only keep what you need; the rest can be relegated to nearby bookshelves and on the wall space. Consider a wall desk if your office space is on the small side. If that’s not an option, Cicero recommends stackable organizers. “Create vertical organized space versus horizontal organized space. This will leave more work space on your desk,” she says.

10. Shred it

JIKIOU Mini Hand Shredder

You can shred the occasional paper bill or personal file safely with a hand-operated shredder that’s about the size of a pair of sunglasses. If you need to shred a significant number of documents only once or twice a year, take them to an office supply center that offers bulk shredding. There’s just no reason to buy and store your own industrial paper shredder.

11. Hide a wireless printer

Why would anyone keep a mammoth printer on the desk surface area? Think of the untapped real estate. Even cleverly designed compact models are an eyesore and intrude on the aesthetics of a carefully decorated, multifunctional home office. Instead, store a small wireless printer out of sight—a large desk drawer or closet shelf does the trick—and connect to all your devices; that way you can print that memo if you decide to WFH on the couch.

12. Scan everything

Brother DS-640 Compact Mobile Document Scanner

Banish boxes of receipts, financial records, medical documents, business cards, photos, and more with a compact scanner—some models are no larger than a thick ruler. Once you convert the documents into a digital format, shred the originals if you don’t need them, and then organize files electronically. Be sure to back them up on an external hard drive and cloud storage.

13. Move lighting to the floor

Those crunched for space to even fit a desk lamp can look to a floor lamp instead. You’ll still have a well-lit work station—your table top just won’t be as cluttered. Make sure the lamp arcs at the top or has a boom joint, so it can shine directly over your desk. 

14. Look up for your schedule

Whether it’s a monthly planner to keep track of important dates or a cork board to pin up the to-do list, the wall space above your desk is pretty useful too. Anything from floating shelves to DIY modular pegboard storage boxes can help move clutter off your desk and onto the wall. 

15. Conceal chargers

Function 101 Cable Blocks

Tangled cables can really occupy valuable real estate on your desk, so do your best to put the chargers away. Some desks have built-in USBs and outlets that you just plug into the wall, or you can attempt to reverse-engineer your existing desk.

How do I organize my small office at work?

Implement the home office organizing tips into your work office space. While you may not have the ideal setup or request extra storage space, you can use what you already have to your advantage. Even if you work in a cubicle. Focus on desk accessories that work double duty, like a riser with storage, or a multicompartment organizing station. You’ll also want to tap into your interior design vibes and tailor the design to reflect your individual style by bringing in elements like photo frames or even a unique desk lamp. 

16. Save space with modular design

Add personality to a cramped work area with small, functional items like a modular desk organizer. Not only is it super sleek and stylish, but the customizable design is perfect for an ever changing workflow. 

17. Create a catchall for chargers

Few wireless chargers are as sleek and compact as this station from Courant, and even better, it frees up any space even in a small cubicle that could be occupied by cables. This multitasking charger accommodates both your iPhone and AirPods. Plus, it props up your phone, so you never miss out on notifications. 

18. Make it homey

UO Instax Double Picture Frame

Your small office desk might not have space for a full picture frame, but this small dual frame holds two Instax prints, so you have just enough space for a portrait of your SO and fur baby. 

19. Sort through papers

Marie Kondo Shoji Bamboo Collator

Give yourself five minutes at the end of the week to tidy up your space. Messes can build up quickly in a small area, and an organized office desk can only be achieved if you put in a little time to clear out the week’s mess. Annoying as it is to sort through notepads and sticky notes, you’ll be glad you did when it’s time to actually find something you need. Use a caddy or a divider, like the one from Marie Kondo’s bamboo collaboration collection, to keep your documents in order.

How do I make my desk area cozy?

If you’re going to spend eight hours at your desk, make sure you’re not uncomfortable. In addition to thinking about storage solutions, find cozy hacks to help you actually stay at your desk, instead of wanting to get up and leave the office space. One of the easiest things you can do is invest in a super soft blanket that you can use year-around. Everyone knows that frigid AC blasts and drafty windows slash productivity. Adding other touches, like a scented candle or a potted plant, can make the desk feel more welcoming than utilitarian. “You should always personalize your desk area,” Cicero says. “If you like bright colors, use them in your decor and organizational pieces. If you like neutrals, use them in your stationery, and so on.”

20. Breathe easy

Wireless Facial Humidifier

You spend countless hours at your desk, so it’s important to feel comfortable as you work. This Hey Dewy portable humidifier is a true gift for long days stuck on Zoom. It can mist for up to eight hours on a single charge, which eliminates the need for charging cables on the desk.  

21. Find an inspiring desk lamp

A desk lamp can not only bring some much-needed light, especially on those gloomy winter afternoons, but can also help contribute to the aesthetic of your workspace. Consider a warm dual-tone wood base lamp from Anthropologie or something with personality, like the antique bronze-finish table lamp from CB2 that looks like a coiled snake.

22. Stay comfortable

Rio Tinto Lightweight Throw

“Folding a blanket on the back of your desk chair instantly brings cozy elements to your workspace,” Dykema says. If you have the tendency to get cold, a throw is a must to keep your desk as comfortable as possible. Look for ultrasoft materials, like microfiber, and make it the perfect companion for long days sitting in the same spot. 

23. Bring out the glam

Lume Cube Video Conference Lighting Kit

Video conferencing is inevitable, but gone are the days of poorly lit, unflattering calls. Lume Cube’s video conference lighting kit comes with a light smaller than your phone, but it packs a serious punch. The settings are adjustable, so the light can be brighter, dimmer, warmer, or cooler, based on your needs, and the light easily clips onto the top of your computer monitor for optimal lighting angles. 

24. Make scents of your workspace

What’s cozier than a candle? Splurge on a luxurious candle, like this delicate, matcha-scented one from Maison Margiela Fragrances to infuse your work area with a pleasant aroma. To elevate your candle setup, invest in a candle care kit and tray.

25. Make it pretty

Every surface in your home is basically a stage, so consider carefully the objects you display prominently. If an office tool gets a designated spot on your desk, make sure it is as beautiful as can be—perhaps it’s made of natural materials or has a unique design. Handmade items with fun details and colors can distract from their utilitarian role. This abstract counter shelf is perfect for displaying everything from a wireless humidifier to a tube of hand cream.


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