Like most people, we find that keeping our desk free of clutter is a daily struggle. Sure, we clean it often enough, but it doesn't take long for mysterious stacks of paper to appear out of nowhere. The funny thing is that if you're diligent about it, you can quickly clean your desk without too much of a fuss if you're ready to tackle all of those papers. The most important thing we can say is that you need to have some kind of shelving system in place to make everything work smoothly.
While some people revel in organized chaos, we tend to keep things clean, tidy, and organized. In our experience, it makes it easier to get stuff done on a clean workstation, that's basically uncluttered. In order to do so you need to take some steps to facilitate this operation.
First of all, as you notice from above, our desk, an IKEA Jonas, is located right in front of a shelving unit (IKEA Enetri). This means on top of having access to the drawers integrated into the Jonas, we have massive space to store books, papers, and other things right next to our workstation. We found that keeping the shelf organized as well helps keeping our desk free of clutter.
1. Keep Your Books Off Your Desk: If you have a lot of books like we do, it's best to have a shelving system in place to keep them organized. While we do put some of our books on our desk when we are using them, we smartly stash them away once we're done, keeping our workstation free of them.
2. Shelving System: You can use any type of shelving. We got two IKEA Enetri shelves, which are currently discontinued but easy to find second hand. They are placed right in front of the workstation. Both of them are organized, but the one in front of the desk has some clearly defined spaces for storage. They are mainly used for books. The top shelf is used for library books and research books that are currently in use. The middle shelf has a mix of research textbooks and novels while the shelf that's level with the desk has a mix of notebooks and novels.The bottom shelf can be used to stash stuff. The leftmost corners of the shelves are used to store books that we are going to read and some papers that we still have to go through. The other Enetri is mainly for books that are classified by author.
3. Keep Things You'll Use Every Day on Your Desk: We keep our class notebooks, research notebooks, and other notebooks that we are currently using on our desk, since they frequently go into our backpacks to go to school and back. It makes them easy to find and it's facilitates the morning routine.
4. Throw Away Clutter, Paper, & Things You Don't Need: One of the hardest parts that some people face when cleaning their desks is to simply be able to chuck stuff in the bin when you don't need it. Whenever we find anything useless, we throw it away.
5. Go Through Your Papers: We all have a few stacks of papers (actually in our case, we only have a small stack that hasn't been processed) but it's important to go through them once every few weeks in order to throw out stuff you don't need and organize them. Otherwise, you'll end up with stacks covering all of your desk real estate.
If clutter is a real problem for you, then you should consider downsizing desks, if you're currently using a large workstation desk. With smaller desks, it's easier to keep them clean. We had an IKEA Galant before (with extensions), and it was hard to keep it clean because it was just so big. We also like to use the Enetri shelf for post-it notes and lists. Since this shelf is eye-level, it makes it easy to see them. Also, the books on that shelf are smaller, ensuring that the post-its don't cover any part of them. Once you're organized, cleaning your desk is a cinch. We cleaned up our messy desk in a few minutes, thanks to the system we had in place. Most of the cleaning involved dusting and scrubbing the desk clean.
(main photos by Range)