How to Organize a Desk Without Drawers – Tips & Ideas

by Team MD


Knowing how to organize a desk without drawers is not necessarily something that you should read a book about. However, there are some key points that you should consider in order to make a great job of it and, in this article, we will give you a lot of tips on how to do it more efficiently.

It is true that you can declutter a desk by storing things in drawers, but to be honest, most of the times, the drawers get cluttered and messy, so if you have a desk that has no drawers at the office or in your home office, it is not such a tragedy and we will teach you how to take your desk organization to another level.


What is the purpose of having an organized desk?

Many people think that having an organized desk is a thing that people with OCD are fond of and that it is not that important for any part of their lives. They think they can manage really well even if their desk is messy, but psychological studies contradict these beliefs and some scientists that have conducted research studies in this field have come to some interesting conclusions.


  • An organized desk reduces stress levels

There is one important thing that you have to consider when it comes to your body and mind and how your environment can influence them: your eyes are constantly aware of your environment. The spaces where we spend most of our time have a great influence on our well-being even if we don’t realize it. 

When your eyes help you make an assessment of everything that surrounds you, in the back of your mind you will always see the mess, even though you are not conscious of it. Therefore, people who have an unorganized and messy desk are a little bit more stressed out and the level of cortisol in their bodies is higher. 


  • An organized desk will help you make healthier food choices

A study conducted in 2013 has come to the conclusion that people who spend as little as 10 minutes in an organized working space are more likely to make healthy choices in terms of eating, which is really surprising if you think about it, but it makes a lot of sense. 


  • An organized desk will help you become more productive

Last but not least, you will be more productive because your focus will be improved. By not having a mess around you, your mind will not be distracted by your environment and all of your attention will be gathered around your work. 

Also, you will have everything you need in place and you will be able to find them quicker, which will reduce the time you spend on unimportant things that can shift your focus off the important things that really make a difference.


What steps do you need to take in order to have an organized desk?

In order to organize your desk more efficiently, there are some steps that you need to take which will help you save a lot of time and become an organizing master. If you decide to follow them, you will make your working life a lot easier. So, here we go:


  1. Keep only what you absolutely need

If you consider the fact that drawers usually hold a lot of unnecessary stuff and that they also hold the things you need and also considering the fact that you don’t have any drawers, it is obvious that you have to get rid of all the unnecessary junk that you keep around. So before finding a place for your paperwork, go through it and toss aside everything you don’t need.


  1. Take everything off the desk and do a thorough cleanup

After you have put everything you don’t need away, you should make sure that you clean your desk and make it a habit of regularly throwing away paper and things that don’t need to be on your desk.


  1. Make a list of what you do need

A good practice is to make a list of all the things you need on your desk. This is a matter of individual needs, it’s true, but there are some things that are common for many desk workers, and these include your computer, paperwork, telephone, mouse, and keyboard if you own a desktop, writing utensils, and a junk tray.


  1. The layout

Desks come in different sizes and when it comes to layout, the size of your desk is important. If you had a very narrow desk, you would limit the things you store on it. If this is not the case, you should consider a few things, like the fact that you will need a blank space where you can write something down or place a book or info supplies. 

Also, if you have a directorial desk and there will be someone on the other side of the desk that you are going to have to communicate with, it is important that you leave that space open. If you don’t have a lot of room on your desk, you should leave plants and personal things aside or try to place them somewhere else nearby, but not on the actual desk table.

You should also consider the extra devices that you need to have on your desk and try to find the perfect spot for them. For example, if you have to place a scanner on your desk, you should place it somewhere on the sides where you have easy access to it, but in such a way that it will not stand in the way when you do your job.


  1. The junk tray is a must

Yes, you have read correctly, a junk tray. Even if it seems like it is not that important, if you think about it, you always receive a lot of things that are not important and that you don’t need on your desk, but sometimes you are so busy that you don’t have the time to sort them out. 

This is the purpose of a junk tray, to put all the things you don’t have time to sort during the day and, at the end of your workday, take 5 minutes in order to put everything in its place and throw away everything that is unnecessary.


  1. Digitalize if you need to

Well-organized people have a calendar that helps them organize their time. Studies have shown that it is better to have a physical calendar that you can keep in sight all the time and view your daily plan, but this is not always possible. So if your space is limited, try to digitize it.

This goes for everything that you can store on your computer. Memos, reminders, and schedules that do not need to sit on your desk should be stored in apps on your phone or on your computer in order for your space to be decluttered. If you don’t like this idea very much, you can have a special board with reminders and a calendar. Of course, if your space allows you to.


  1. Get a desk organizer

If you have a lot of papers or things that you have to store somewhere, you should get a desk organizer. They come in different shapes, colors, and materials and you will be able to find a variety of organizers that will allow you to store almost anything you want.


  1. Label your paperwork

People who store their things in drawers have a special drawer for everything. As you don’t have this privilege, a good way is to label your paperwork and have a special place in every category in your desk organizer. If you don’t have a desk organizer, you would have a place for them that has to follow 2 rules: not stand in your way and to be easily accessible.


  1. ‘The end of the workday’ routine

In order to be able to keep an organized desk, you should make it a habit to clean your space every day. As we have said before, unnecessary stuff can always gather up on your desk every hour of every day. A cup that you don’t drink from anymore, a set of papers that you should have given to your coworker some time ago, or a bunch of junk mail that should go to the bin.

If you don’t make it a habit to do this on a daily basis, you will not be able to keep a clean desk and you will not be able to manage to organize in a useful manner because useless stuff will always gather around.


Final thoughts

You should view the fact that you don’t have drawers as a benefit and not as a disadvantage because this will help you develop a lot of habits that will be really useful in not keeping stuff you don’t need around. It will also eliminate the habit of cluttering your drawers with junk, allowing your mind to be more organized overall.



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