Desk Organizing – Start with a Plan

Series: Taming Your Desk

Desks are one of the hardest items to organize in a house. Why are desks difficult? They’re chameleons. A single desk can be used for so many activities. One day, it’s the place you pay your bills. Another day, it’s your sturdy craft table. Later that same day, it may be the place you help your child do homework or the computer station that lets you surf the web.

In other areas of your house, the purpose is more focused. For example, in a kitchen you do the same activities over and over – store groceries, prepare meals, eat, and repeat. Desks are generally not that simple, so you need to develop a plan.

How do you tame your desk? Start with these steps.

1. Determine what your desk currently does.

    • List all the activities you do at your desk – pay bills, do homework, read books, create crafts, run your business, etc.
    • If you are struggling to think of all these items, tack your list to the wall. For a week, write every activity you do at your desk.

2. Determine what you need your desk to do.

    • Forget for a moment all the activities you have been doing at your desk. Think about how you want to use your desk. What are the main activities that need to happen at that desk? Hint: These may be activities you are currently doing the least.
    • Write what you need your desk to do on a fresh sheet of paper.
    • Then, write all the things that are hindering you from using your desk this way.

3. Create your plan.

    • You now have two lists – how you currently use your desk and how you want/need to use your desk. Label these two lists as “Current” and “Goal.” Tack them to your wall in a visible place.
    • Focus on the section of your Goal sheet that lists hindrances. What can you eliminate? Can certain unwanted desk activities be moved to another area of the house? Use the Pebble Method (last week’s post) to start removing these hindrances from your workspace.

Next week we’ll continue this Taming Our Desk series by looking at specific tips for dealing with paper piles and receipts.

Simplicity Tip of the Day: Until you know how you are going to use a space, you will never be able to organize it to function well for you. Think what you want to do there; then make a plan to see that happen.

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4 Responses to Desk Organizing – Start with a Plan

  1. Cathy Baker says:

    Love the three-step plan! Now if I could only determine what it is my desk currently does. sigh. Thanks for making it doable for the organizationally challenged, such as myself. 🙂 I already look forward to next week’s tips.

  2. Breaking it down into steps like this, starting with how I think of my desk and what I currently do, is something I never thought of before. Now I need to just start. Part of the problem is I tend to put off stuff like this. I’ll put it on my to-do list for the day. That should increase my motivation, I hope.

  3. Thanks for the step-by-step guide to mastering my messy desk.
    I’ll be applying the steps this week in preparation for nexts weeks lessons.
    Organize on!

  4. Tina Parker says:

    You, my friend, are a godsend. I have been thinking this post over since Friday. I decided yesterday what I wanted to do with my desk. The surface is now cleared off (the floor, however, is a mess but you already knew that). Thank you, thank you, thank you for helping me understand what (and why) I needed to do.

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