Organizing Your Desk Space

Ariane Jensen

College is messy, and so is the desk you work at – specifically after you’ve done your homework at it every day for the past four years. Sometimes it seems like the last thing you want to do (after all, you’re cleaning up a space that you know will just get messy again). Whether it’s pencil shavings, erasers, balled-up sticky notes or otherwise, it can be hard to want to be anywhere near that. But since at college we live by the words of the masters, here is a quote from the great organization guru Barbara Hemphill: “Clutter is nothing more than postponed decisions.”

So why don’t you grab life by the balls and clean up all the shit that’s been laying out in front of you – so you can get rid of that terrible, overwhelming feeling of clutter. A clear space is a clear mind, after all.

When starting to clean off your desk and make it into the paradise you want it to become, start by clearing off everything and separating the clutter into three piles. The first pile will be trash, the next will be important stuff to file, the last is stuff that you want on your desk (decor, paper clips, binder clips pens and whatever else).

After organizing, give your desk a good clean with either Lysol wipes or some sort of material cleaner that will clean your desk correctly.

Begin placing things around your desk in the rule of three. The Carlisle Commercial Group explains it as “a design principle which affects every room of your home. It dictates layout, size and shape of objects, the work triangle of a kitchen, even the color, pattern and fabric designs of your room… it is best described by the theory of Feng Shui.  This theory presents the idea that odd numbers expand and create more energy, while even numbers contract and condense. If you want to infuse your space with energy, create a well-designed space that is inviting and relaxing, and make your room feel as large as possible you can do this with the Rule of Three.”

The rule of three doesn’t only have to do with rooms, it can also work with smaller spaces like your desk. When placing items, think about how they look in relation to each other. Stick to a color palette, as so your mind doesn’t become overwhelmed by bright colors or the rainbow you have going on.

Mr. Kate, an interior design and jewelry guru on YouTube, says that when she was organizing a desk it was best to “stick to a color palette and add metallics.” So that’s exactly what we did. For the desk in the picture, the color palette we stuck to was black and white with a hint of purple. I then brought in some copper and silver as well as some wood tones in the cork tiles and the mouse pad. This created unity in the space as well as some interest.

The next thing one should do is to place things in a way that the desk feels airy. Give space to the desk by placing things farther apart and playing with different planes. Some items should have more height than others, and some should have different textures to keep it appealing.

After you’re done decorating your desk it’s time to organize everything. Start filing away the papers that you labeled as important, and don’t have them just laying on your desk – find a place to store them, like a magazine holder or a floating file holder that will keep the clutter off your desk. Also add some floating boards whether cork boards or dry erase boards so you can stick flyers up. To keep track of all the information that you need, buy a giant calendar for your desk that won’t get messed up if you put your laptop on it or anything.

When creating your creative space or office space, make sure that you reflect your personality, and make sure that everything has a place. Otherwise, your desk will just get messy again.