Clever Desk Organizing Ideas

Tips and ideas showing how to declutter and organize your desk – both the desktop and drawers. Updated: 1/7/2021


Every year around this time, the first thing I like to do once I get back to my daily routine is organize my desk.

craft room with white desk and peonies

Actually two desks. One is in my studioffice where I take care of all things for the blog.

Kitchen drawer used as a desk drawer.

The other is in my kitchen and I call it my kitchen desk. It is not an actual desk, but a section of my kitchen counter where I keep a desk organizer on the counter and a drawer under it for storing pens, rubber bands, paper clips, stamps, stapler, etc.

If my desks are unorganized, then so am I. Not a good way to start the new year.

This year I want to really purge what I no longer need. For the past few weeks I have been gathering cleaning and organizing ideas to inspire me get my desks back in order with a fresh appeal.

I love all things related to “desk” and office supplies. New pens, notepads and file folders excite me and am sharing my go-to desk cleaning and organizing ideas I have done in the past that have worked for me.

How to Start to Organize Your Desk

A messy desk is an invitation to chaos! A clean desk, on the other hand, helps you focus and become more productive.

  1. Say goodbye to the junk. Throw. Shred. Recycle. Cleaning begins with getting rid of what you don’t need.
  2. Organize, declutter, and de-stress. A cluttered desk creates anxiety. And that doesn’t help when you’re in the midst of a busy workday.
  3. Clean and polish the desktop, every drawer and all the items you put back.
  4. Make it an event. Involve your family or colleagues. Have a “cleanest desk” competition. Post pictures of your desk on social media.
  5. Once the contents are edited and the desk is clean, move on to organizing the contents.

Desk Organizing Ideas

The way I organize my desk is pretty much how I do everything… affordably and in my own style. Here are a few ideas to get your mind thinking of ways you can organize and add your own style to your desktop and drawers.

Line Your Desk Drawer

Update old drawers by lining them with pages from books

How to Line a Drawer – Adding a pop of your favorite color or interesting pattern here and there in unexpected places is sure to inspire and can brighten your mood on a bad day at the office.

  • Use book pages, scrapbook paper, maps or any decorative paper you have. Use decoupage medium to adhere and seal. If using gift wrap, use thicker paper, very thin paper gift wrap paper may wrinkle.

How to Organize Your Desk Drawers

Buying or making desk drawer dividers is the best way to ensure that the contents of your desk drawers stay organized.

You know the saying… a place for everything and everything in its place.

Instant Desk Drawer Dividers Using Baskets

Organizing the contents of a desk drawer using baskets is easy to do, no tools or DIY skills needed.

Desk-drawer-organizing-tips

Square and rectangular baskets found at yard sales and thrift stores can be placed together like a jigsaw puzzle in a drawer.  Even though they are all different sizes and styles – they are all square or rectangular and fit together nicely – no space is lost.

  • Look for small, low-sided baskets that are no higher than the depth of your drawer.

Small Cardboard Box Desk Drawer Dividers

In-My-Own-Style-blog-Desk

Now is a good time, after receiving holiday gifts to easily come across small low sided cardboard boxes. These fit together just like square and rectangular baskets in a drawer.

DIY Wood Dividers

Custom wood drawer divider tutorial.

If you have a few basic DIY skills and tools, you can make and custom fit wood dividers for your desk drawers. How to Make Wood Drawer Dividers

Organize Your Computer Desk – Top

Free download to help you organize files on your computer right on your desktop. | In My Own Style

And if the only desk you have is an online desktop on your computer, then it counts too.

  • Drag those files into a nice, neat folder or into the trash can! Over the weekend, I did this and even gave myself enough time to finally purge my overflowing. mostly junk filled inbox.
  • Add This to Your Computer: Free Desktop Background Screen Organizer that you can customize.

Update Worn Items With Paint

This outdated fruit motif desk organizer was found at a thrift shop. With a few coats of paint and a coat of dark wax, it is chic again.

Customize Ready-Made Desk Organizers

Nee to organize your office desk? Do you like to DIY and paint chip crafts? Then you may want to make this unique and colorful Rolodex to help you organize your office desk. It is an easy DIY organizer that will become your most valued assistant. | In My Own Style

If you still prefer the old-school way when it comes to keeping contact names and numbers handy on your desk, you may enjoy customizing a Rolodex. They are getting hard to find, but you can still buy them online. How to Customize a Plain Desktop Rolodex

Stylish Desktop Notepads

While searching for fresh ideas to make my desk not only more organized, but prettier, I found a super simple idea to give my note taking a bit more style.

Custom made Desk accessories

Turn basic legal pads into stylish notepads that will add fun color to your desk top.

  • Measure and cut a strip of patterned scrapbook paper, then attach it to the top binding of the notepad with a glue stick.

New Desk Accessories and Organizers

Below are a few new desk items that will help you organize and freshen your desk for the new year. My favorite is #8. It is a drawer that sticks on under a desktop. Great for desks or work surfaces with no drawers. :-)

| 1. | 2. | 3. | 4. | 5. | 6. | 7. | 8. | 9. | 10. | 11.

A clean and well-organized desk can give you the energy to tackle more work and get you rolling on taking on decluttering larger areas in your home, like a closet, kitchen cabinet and then an entire room.

How to make your own desk accessories and organizers that will help keep you stay focused, creative and organized.

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11 Comments

  1. I gave TONS of things that need to be cleaned out and organized. I love the idea of focusing on my desk!

    1. Hi Ellen – I have told my husband he can easily tell when I have too much on my plate at any given time. If my desk is messy, I am super busy and on the verge of stress. Seeing a neat and organized desk is bliss. :-)

  2. I have a couple of drawers that need attention!! Thanks for the inspiration ?. You look great in magenta ?

  3. Thanks as always for much needed inspiration. Like one of the other comments, I am retired and recently downsized . I have always loved my home office and selecting various office supplies, but my desk/office is in dire need of decluttering/organization, etc. At work I was very organized and on top of things, but I seem to be the opposite at home with my various projects and interests. Your post is motivating with many clever ideas. And, yes, paperwork associated with retirement is annoyingly time-consuming and confusing and frustrating.

  4. You are a creative whiz, Diane and a generous woman, as well. Thank you for these great practical suggestions and ideas to make the desk area fun. I too am a paper-desk-pen person. I do not tolerate visual clutter well because it absolutely jangles me.

    I am somewhat lacking drawers here in my office in Ecuador. Little chests with drawers are scarce to locate in the city, Macas, where I live. Your desktop holder is a good idea. Somebody can make me one.

    I am glad I discovered your site. I will check the archives soon. I wish you continued success.

    Elaine Ness

  5. Thanks for sharing the book, Diane. You’re the best. I always come here to get my fill of color when the world seems drab. We gals who love color have to stick together.

  6. Happy New Year, Diane — What great ideas!
    I have a lot (read “huge stash”) of pens, pencils and markers that still write but that I’m no longer using. Any ideas where to donate them, or does everybody have a stash like that. Ideally, I’d like them to go to kids or people who need them.
    Thanks!

  7. I thought I was the only crazy person obsessed with pads and pens and paper. When I worked I always had one of the nicest desks around. I enjoyed having a nice desk space and office when I had one. It really is one of the only things I miss about working. Now that I’m retired and downsized into a small house, my desk was one of the first things to go. Our guest rooms are too tiny for a desk and though we have a finished walkout basement, I don’t care to spend my time downstairs. I’m anxious to read the free book to maybe get creative with space that I can’t see. It seems that now we’ve retired, we’re inundated with paper from Medicare and a million other things.