We all have a workspace that we like to make our own. It helps to add a personal touch and make you feel more at home when you’re doing your work. However, there are times that the figurines, memorabilia, and photos on our desks can get overwhelming and make us feel like we’re losing control of our space. This is when it’s time to declutter. Clean up the mess a little bit to take back control of where you work.

Why organize your desk?

Before we get started on ways to declutter, let’s talk about why it’s important. A clean and organized workspace means that you can be more productive. By having a place for everything, you cut down on the time that you spend looking for items. You also eliminate distractions and allow yourself to keep your mind on the task at hand.

Now that we’ve established why you should declutter, here are a few ways that you can get started.

Utilize your drawers

Most desks come equipped with drawers. This is a great place to start by getting clutter out of sight and out of mind. Despite having a place to shove clutter, knowing that you have a mess in a drawer next to you can still weigh on your mind. Use containers or bins inside of your drawers to help organize them. Again, this will help to cut down on the time it takes to look for a pen or notepad.

Rearrange

Sometimes the first arrangement in which you choose to put your computer isn’t the best. Try to find different ways to move your computer around your desk to maximize storage, surface area, or simply what feels most comfortable for you. You might feel initially that putting your computer monitor in a corner of your desk is a great idea. This allows you plenty of space to work and do other activities on the desk, but you find that the screen is too far away and it strains your eyes or your neck is turned at an awkward angle. Try various arrangements on your desk to find what works best. You might find your favorite is surprising.

Remove old equipment

Old headphones and computer equipment can take up plenty of space on your computer desk when they’re not being used. You’re likely to use headphones for a Zoom meeting or a phone call from time to time, but they’re not something that needs to be out in the open all day. Whether they’re wired or cordless, they can take up just enough space to get in the way. If your headphones are wired, wind them up and set them in a drawer. If you worry about them getting tangled among the items you already have in your drawer, get a small bag to place them so they’re kept separate from everything else.

Wireless headphones are typically less of an issue when it comes to making a mess. Although, they still take up space in your work area. Designate a single area to keep your headphones so they have a home.

Ultimately, you can decide what you do and don’t need to keep around. Maybe you don’t need those old headphones and you can get rid of them. If this is the case, throw them in the trash. Don’t hold onto old things that you don’t need. Are you holding onto an old laptop that hasn’t worked since 2012 so you can try to fix it? Consider recycling it. When you recycle your computer, you’re reducing the amount of potentially toxic waste that is put into landfills and helping manufacturers build more computers at a lower cost. According to Elemental, Inc., a company that offers computer recycling services in Philadelphia, recycling your computer is an “alternative to landfill disposal and ensures that all materials received are processed and recycled, destroyed or displaced in an environmentally correct manner.”

Get rid of extra items

Personal items on your desk are a lot of fun, but it’s important to know when enough is enough. Photos and other items add a great personal touch, but they can also create a large amount of clutter that gets in the way of what you need to do and distract from your work. If you need to have something on your desk, limit them to three small items that don’t take up space in your normal line of sight.

Get shelves

If you feel that the reason your desk feels cramped is that it’s too small for what you need, you can get small shelves to help organize. You don’t have to buy a bigger desk to accommodate everything that you need. Instead, get a small shelving unit with two or three cubbies that also you to place papers or other items. If your computer monitor takes up an excessive amount of your desk area, buy a platform or some kind to put it on. This allows you to lift it off the surface so you can tuck your mouse and keyboard away at night or keep extra equipment somewhere out of sight.