Working from home for the foreseeable future? I have four simple suggestions for keeping your desk organized to make working from home a little easier.
I’ve been working from home for more than ten years now (well some of that time I worked from a studio space, but still), so I feel like I have at least a little bit of experience on this subject. Here’s what I’ve learned over the years…
If you’re struggling to get motivated in a work from home environment, my first thought would be not to buckle down and just do the work. Although sometimes I guess that is the answer too. It would be to get your workspace organized and clean and see how it makes you feel when you’re done.
For me, there’s nothing more distracting than a cluttered and disorganized office space. Even when the snacks are calling from the next room trying to convince me I need yet another break from work.
And while I’m always looking for new ways to stay motivated working from home, the thing that helps me most nine times out of ten is a clean, clutter-free workspace. That’s it! I don’t know how, but like magic, if I’m feeling stuck or overwhelmed with work, and step back to organize some things or at the very least clear my desk of non-essentials, it really helps!
So, with that in mind, I put together a handful of desk organization ideas that can quickly help you tame the clutter once and for all.
4 Quick Steps to Desk Organization
Step 1: Clean up your desktop.
First things first! If you need help with desk organization, you gotta start by cleaning up your desktop. Which sounds so obviously. And it is!
Keeping things nice and organized on the top of your desk will give you the space you need to be productive. Especially if you’re a crafter / DIYer like me. When I’m feeling stuck, a clean workspace frees up my mind to focus and create new things. What about you?
So, I like to start with a completely cleared off desk space. I take everything off my desk. EVERYTHING. Then spray the surface down really quick with a cleaner to catch any spills or dust. I usually use my homemade natural cleaner.
And that’s it for step one.
Now you need a place to put all the stuff you cleared off your desk…
Step 2: Get your drawers in order.
Once your desktop is all cleared off, it’s time to tackle any desk drawers or filing cabinet drawers you have. If you have drawers, use ’em! Desk organization is all about using what you’ve got.
To get your desk drawers organized quickly, try my 5 minute method. Here’s the tutorial for how to organize your junk drawer in 5 minutes. It’s really easy and very satisfying when it’s done. Everyone has five minutes, right?
All those little office items can clutter up a small drawer quickly, so taking a few minutes to tidy everything up can be super helpful.
Step 3: Contain the Clutter
There are tons of options for storing desk accessories and other office items. Whether you choose to store them directly on your desk or in a closet or shelf nearby. Personally, I like to take as many things off my desk as possible. That’s why I recommended it in step one.
BUT a completely empty desk doesn’t work for everyone, especially people who are short on storage space. Luckily, there are a whole lot of really good-looking desk organizer / storage solutions out there. And many of them can be DIYed. So here are some ideas to get you started…
Desktop organizers can be such game changers. And if your desk doesn’t have any drawer storage, this is especially crucial.
If you need something cute to tame the clutter, try this desktop organizer (photo above). It’s made of just a few pieces of wood and keeps things handy on your desk without taking up too much space (or making your eyes want to cry with ugliness). You could even paint it white or add a pop of color if you’re not feeling the natural wood.
You can even add a plant to one of the interior sections. Studies have proven that indoor plants can help elevate your mood and boost your creativity. So maybe a plant on your desk would help with motivation for work too? Worth a try!
Another desktop storage idea: This modern Ikea hack has all the drawers you could ask for and plenty of storage space for small things. Plus, it looks super cute on top of your desk. I literally have THREE of these! So I guess you could say I like them. One is on my desk and the other two are in my closet.
Each one is used for different kinds of supplies – I have one organizer just for sewing. And there’s a drawer for thread, a drawer for zippers and buttons, a drawer for scissors and seam rippers, etc. Another set of drawers is just for drawing and painting supplies – oil pastels, paint brushes, paint pens, etc. And the last one is for stamps, block printing, and leather accessories.
Want some more options for containers and organizers? Here are a handful of my favorite DIY ideas…
- DIY yarn bowl – These are a crowd fave.
- These back to school DIYs aren’t just for kids. I use the DIY fabric covered shoeboxes to organize SO many things in our house. And I always already have the materials to make them.
- A couple cork office organizers could be fun.
- Need a way to organize tons of pens and pencils? Try this DIY pencil organizer. It’s super easy to make and stores everything all rolled up.
- DIY basket storage that has cute yarn loops. Currently using both of mine as bathroom storage.
- dip dyed baskets – A personal favorite from a long, long time ago. I think they still hold up today.
- A simple jewelry dish idea that you could also use for office supplies, like paperclips.
Step 4: Utilize Vertical Space
And the last of the desk organization ideas goes back to using what you’ve got AND containing the clutter. But this time, take it vertical!
For a small office and desk space that lacks storage solutions, use the walls for extra storage space. This can look different in every space, and can be something very simple – like a peg rail organizer or DIY wall hooks. Or it can be something a bit more involved like this canvas DIY hanging wall organizer to hold all the small tools and craft supplies you need to be able to find and grab quickly.
If you’re looking for a more substantial project, doing a shelving build-out would also be a great motivator for organization, imo.
Back when I had my loft studio space, I designed custom built-ins and worked with a carpenter to complete it. And then shared his process for the whole thing here: how to make custom built-ins.
This was one of my favorite projects from my studio – completely transformed the space and made it 100 times more functional (and cute). My only complaint is the color I chose for the background. White would have been more timeless, but it’s also fun to experiment. So I guess I can’t hate on it. Haha.
Bonus Idea: Get a desk with storage. Or make your own!
Okay, making your own desk, or buying a new one, is not a quick task. BUT I wanted to share it anyway as a bonus idea. Because sometimes finding (or making) something new is a better solution than trying to make something work that just isn’t right for you.
There are loads of buyable desks out there, but I’m obviously partial to making a desk on your own, if you can. Why?
With a do-it-yourself desk, you can customize it to exactly what you need and can save money making it yourself to. For example, this DIY desk I made is simple, but still a modern option with unique storage. AND it cost less than one hundred dollars to make for all the supplies and everything.
Or if you prefer closed storage, and lots of it, my DIY standing desk has a similar vibe to the other one, but has WAY more storage and you can stand OR sit at it.
It’s the desk I’m using in my workspace at home and I couldn’t love it more. But I think what I love most about this Ikea hack is the fact that the storage is closed, so you can be as messy as you want inside and no one will know. Haha.
That’s it for now. Did I leave any good tips out? How do you keep your office and desk organized?