Give Your Desk a Makeover

By Lisa Zaslow, Founder of Gotham Organizers 

Overwhelmed by today’s to-do list? One of the easiest ways to accomplish your tasks is to set up your desk so that supports your work. It can be physically difficult to work at a cluttered desk, because a desk filled with stuff can distract you from the tasks at hand.

Here are some ideas for creating a workspace that works for you.

The Desk

  • Size matters. Your desk should be large enough to accommodate your computer, phone, desktop files, and other critical supplies and equipment, along with space to actually work. If most of your work is done on the computer, you can get away with a small desk. If you need space to spread out papers and materials, you’ll want more surface area.
  • A desk with drawers to store supplies and files is ideal. If your design aesthetic is more streamlined – or if you have the misfortune of having to work at a minimalist desk – create convenient storage nearby, with a file cabinet, credenza or other furniture.
  • A keyboard tray does wonders to free up desk space and reduce muscle strain. Also, a wireless keyboard and mouse will help eliminate cord clutter.

Supplies and Tools

  • Keep the office supplies you use regularly within easy reach in or on your desk. Things you use less frequently can be stored elsewhere, freeing up “prime real estate” for your key items. You might want to keep the following at arm’s reach: Pens, highlighters, stapler, tape, paper clips, Post-its, note pad, scissors, calculator, paper, envelopes, mailing labels and stamps.
  • Examine your workspace and move or toss anything that you don’t actually use. Hate pencils? No need to keep ‘em. Stock your desk with the supplies you need to do your work, and maintain your stash. There’s nothing like running out of toner right before you need to print materials for a big meeting.
  • Invest in high quality for the tools you use often. For a few extra bucks, the difference could be huge.
  • Keep a trash (or recycling) bin and shredder within reach to encourage you to purge unnecessary items frequently.
  • Use a vertical desktop file holder to corral the papers that tend to litter most desks – projects you’re working on, action items, things you haven’t decided on and aren’t not ready to file.

What changes can you make to improve your work station?

*Lisa Zaslow, an eBay Classifieds Ambassador, has helped hundreds of people be more productive and less stressed by organizing their lives at work and at home. For more expert tips, please visit