How Do You Organize A Small Office Desk? – 7 Essential Tips

It’s a problem everyone finds themself up against at some point in their professional lives. You blink and suddenly your workplace is overflowing with papers, folders, knick knacks, coffee cups, plants, pens, staplers, and the list keeps going on and on.

You could shove as much of this mess as you can into the top drawer of your desk like you usually do (don’t worry, we’re all guilty of it) or you can get organized. But how do you organize a small office desk?

Though it may seem like a lot of work at the beginning, finding a system to keep your desk tidy and organized will save you a lot of time in the future. How often do you find yourself looking down at your messy desktop wondering how it had gotten this bad when you swear you just cleaned it the other day?

Organizing your desk saves all of that thinking time for things that matter, leaving you to do your best work while at your office desk. We know this isn’t an easy task, so here are seven of our favorite ways to get a small office desk organized and keep it that way.


7 Essential Tips On How To Organize A Small Office Desk


1. Do a Clean Sweep Every Day

The best way to keep your desk clean is to prevent the junk from piling up. Schedule a bit of time either at the beginning of your workday, at the very end before you leave, or somewhere in between to give your desk a couple of moments of your attention and clean up what you can.

Are there any left over snack wrappers or pieces of your lunch that didn’t make it into the trash bin after you were finished eating? Are there any coffee cups that you can return to the kitchen? Do you see anything you set down earlier with the intention to put it in its proper place later?

These are all things you can take care of pretty quickly and easily. Doing this every single day keeps junk like food wrappers and drink cups from piling up over a long period of time, therefore keeping your small desk just a little more organized.

2. Invest in a Monitor Stand

Lifting your computer monitor (or in some cases, monitors) is an easy way to free up space on your office desk. You can often store things under this stand, like a laptop, frequently used office supplies, or a small pile of files, which means those things won’t be hogging deskspace somewhere else.

All sorts of different monitor stand styles are available online, so finding one that perfectly fits your small desk should be a breeze. Struggling to find the perfect stand to suit your office?

Monitor stands are a piece of equipment that can be easily DIY-ed if needed. This single addition to your set up can do a lot to organize your desk when you’re stuck in a small office.

3. Make a Spot for Your Keyboard

Now that your monitor(s) have a new home, it’s time to find a special place for your keyboard. If you have a decent amount of space between your knees and the underside of your desk, consider putting in a keyboard tray for times when typing isn’t needed.

When it comes time to send an email or respond to an instant message, simply slide out the keyboard drawer and get working; it couldn’t be easier!

Another great thing about slide out keyboard trays is that they are often much bigger than your standard keyboard, meaning there is extra space to store other essential items. Try stashing your mouse, sticky notes, small notebooks, and other tools that you usually keep on the surface of your desk to clear up some space for other things.

Having such an easy to access place for things also makes it easy to clean up when you’re done!

4. Sort Your Drawers with Organizers

Everyone has a junk drawer. No one ever means to have a junk drawer, at least not at first, but then you toss a couple of pens in there for now, then add some sticky notes a week later, and suddenly it’s been two months and you can’t stick your hand into that drawer without pricking your finger on a thumbtack or pair of scissors.

Keep this mess from accumulating by outfitting your drawers with organizers. Giving your desk drawers smaller compartments to hold things makes it more difficult for you to throw things into a single large pile. You also will be able to find things more easily and will save a lot of time throughout your work day.

The days of digging through the junk drawer for a paperclip are behind you now! This method isn’t reserved just for organizing a small office desk either; feel free to upgrade the junk drawers in the kitchen, garage, playroom, and more.

5. Trust Your Walls with the Job

Sometimes the best way to clean up your desk is to simply take things off of it. Keep these things in arm’s reach by installing shelves in front of and to the sides of your desk to hold things you don’t use on a daily basis.

This is a great way to store decorations and framed pictures of friends, family, and, most importantly, your pets. If you aren’t excited about taking a hammer to your walls just yet, look for light weight shelves that use adhesives like Command Strips to attach them to the wall.

These are also great if you aren’t sure where you want your shelves to be quite yet. You can stick them on, try out the new look for a week or two, then switch them around if it isn’t the look you want and try again. If you do install shelves, though, make sure you dust them every couple of weeks.

Letting dust build up on your shelves might aggravate your allergies, and no one wants to deal with that when working. It’s all about creating a space where you can feel comfortable and stay focused; don’t let your organization methods get in the way of that.

6. Use Unconventional Organizers On the Surface

Take your standard pencil cup or sticky note caddy to the next level by swapping them out for unconventional containers that also double as decorations. Some simple examples of this include using a mason jar, flower pot, coffee cup, short vase, or a decorative container from another product to hold pens, paperclips, and other small items that frequently get scattered across your desk.

If you want to add a little flair to these containers, as a plain old mason jar can be a bit boring, throw on a coat of your favorite color paint or start a sticker collection on the outside. You see water bottles covered with stickers all the time, how often do you see pencil holders getting the same treatment?

This is also a great way to store stickers given to you by clients or that you’ve received as promotional products without feeling bad about throwing them away as soon as you get home from a business convention. This is also a great way to personalize your office space, show off your interests, and make your work space feel more homey.

7. Store Things on the Sides of Your Desk

The sides of your desk are also great spots for storage that you might not think of at first. Add a wire or string along the edge and you have a place to clip the ends of headphones, cables, and other illusive cords. Do you often find yourself digging around under your desk for the phone end of your charging cable?

You can use paper clips or clothing pins to clip the ends to the side of your desk and suddenly you know where your charger is at all times. You can also use a tension rod between the legs of your desk to hang items or containers you can store smaller things in if needed.

Over ear headphone users might like a set up like this especially if you find yourself constantly getting on and off of video conferences or like to listen to music or a podcast while you work.

If you are a frequent white-board and magnet user, try attaching an adhesive magnetic strip to the side of your desk to store your collection of magnets when they aren’t busy holding all of your great ideas up on the dry erase board.



Having a small desk can have a bigger impact on your work week than you might think. Any free space you can find is worth its weight in gold, and is often a rare sight to behold.

Luckily, there are all sorts of ways you can maximize the space you have and be as productive as you can. You don’t need to be an expert interior decorator or have a massive budget to turn what can feel like a cramped space into an area you enjoy spending time in – even outside of your usual working hours!

Don’t push your messy desk to the back burner any longer, you can organize your small desk like a professional today.