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How to Organize a Desk

Does your desk look like a robber rifled through it just before a hurricane hit the room? Organize it so that it gets under control and stays that way.


  • Step 1: Remove everything Take everything—except big items like computer equipment—off and out of your desk.
  • Step 2: Clean it Wipe the desk down with a wet cloth.
  • Step 3: Toss it Toss everything that is useless or outdated. Pitch pens that don’t work. You only need to keep credit card receipts until your statements arrive—and keep only the statements you’ll need for your taxes. Same for bills, invoices, and pay stubs. Shred or rip up anything that has personal data.
  • TIP: Reduce your paperwork by half by signing up for online banking and bill paying.
  • Step 4: Take all the business cards you’ve collected and put a rubber band around them—after noting the information you need in your address book.
  • Step 5: Decide on a system Start a filing system based on whatever works for you, even if it’s just dropping papers into an accordion file by the month.
  • Step 6: Group like items Put similar items, like paper clips and rubber bands, in small boxes or containers. Pens, pencils, and the like can go in a mug or pen holder.
  • Step 7: Take 10 minutes Take ten minutes at the end of every day to clean off the top of your desk.
  • FACT: The average desk has 400 times more bacteria than your average toilet.

You Will Need

  • A garbage can
  • A wet cloth
  • A rubber band
  • A filing system
  • Small boxes or containers
  • A mug or pen holder
  • A shredder

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