How to Keep a Tidy Desk at Work

To keep your desk tidy, consider making changes to your working habits. Maybe much of your clutter included printouts and physical copies of things you need for work.

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office desk
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With returning to the office becoming an inevitability for many industries, workers across the country will be gracing their ‘old’ offices for the first time in two years – and rediscovering just how messy they left their desk. If this describes you all too well, and you’re struggling for ideas or motivation to get tidied up, here are some key tips for you.

Purge your desk

The first step in any good organising session is to declutter – ruthlessly. Attack your desk with a sense of purpose, removing more or less everything that isn’t bolted down and sorting things into a rough order. Don’t be afraid to use the floor for this process, to get everything spread out and in easily manageable piles. From here, go through each pile and decide what you need to keep and, more importantly, what can afford to go. 

If you have a drawer full of dusty boxes of stationery, including three different sizes of staples, maybe these can afford to go in a stationery cupboard instead. Your main purpose here is to create more space on your desk, but creating drawer space could well lead you to that goal.

File your things correctly

In your decluttering process, you may find things that you do not need on your desk but that you cannot afford to throw – such as old contracts, financial information or even onboarding information. This is where creating an organised filing solution comes in. 

Files things together in an intuitive way. Sets of things you will not need to reference regularly can be filed in harder-to-reach places, such as bottom drawers. Regular reference material can go in lever-arch files near your in and out tray, and important and useful booklets can be stacked alongside. Now your desk should be utterly free of clutter, and everything you didn’t throw away should be neatly stored and easily rediscovered.

Reduce your paper usage

To keep your desk tidy, consider making changes to your working habits. Maybe much of your clutter included printouts and physical copies of things you need for work. By pivoting to a completely digital workflow, you can ensure you never get swamped at your desk again, keeping vital space free. This is useful not just for potential use, but also for peace of mind, as tidier desks improve mental health at work.

Cable management

Some clutter can seem evergreen. By now you’ve probably blocked out the tangled mess of cables that lives in view, at the back of your desk and underneath it. Managing cables is far easier than it may initially look, though wrangling them is no more fun; invest in cable tethers for the back of your desk to keep them uniform, whether bundled or separate. 

You can also use cable ties to secure the cables together and then to a leg of your desk, hiding them from view. Plastic spiral binders are also available to contain all cables into a single ‘snake’, turning a rat’s nest into a neat single coil.

Clean regularly

Stay on top of your newfound desk tidiness. Make a point to dust and spray your desk regularly – dust can accumulate surprisingly quickly and can make a desk look far messier than it truly is. Keeping your desk free of microbes will also help you avoid unnecessary illnesses and feel that bit cleaner while you work.

Also Read: Five Essential Communication Skills for HR Professionals

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