Having a clean desk is an essential part of killing it in the workplace. Sure, some creative geniuses thrive in chaos, amid piles of papers, stacks of books, and even last night’s congealed takeout. But let’s be honest—a messy cubicle isn’t going to impress the boss. Having an organized space can also help spark productivity (i.e. you won’t have to waste precious time digging for your iPhone under the clutter). So, we turned to expert organizer Jennifer Ford Berry, best-selling author of the Organize Now!, for her best workspace makeover secrets:
1. Follow the “essentials only” rule.
Keep the items you need to get your job done within arm’s reach—and only those items. Desks get cluttered when storage space isn’t utilized and the top is filled with too many photos of your pets. Make sure your daily use items—laptop, project folders, writing utensils, and so on—get prime real estate over figurines and photos of your dog.
2. Invest in desk accessories.
To keep your essentials handy yet organized, get a desk caddy that’s perfect for pens, Post-its and so on—like this one, in which you can also store and charge your cell phone. Also buy a shallow tray: You can stack folders for current projects and other to-dos you are working on.
3. Store the rest.
Items that you use once a month or less should not be stored on top of your desk. In fact, if you find that you’re keeping items you don’t use very often in your desk drawers, consider removing them completely to make the space as open as possible. (If you need supplies, that’s what the office copy room is for—no need to stockpile stuff at your desk.)
4. Make it a clean slate.
Always give your desk a sweep at the end of the day so you can sit down to a fresh start the following morning. (Invest in some sanitizing wipes and do a quick wipe as well to keep those office germs at bay.) This is the perfect thing to do when the day is winding down and you’re work is done, but you don’t want to be the first one to leave.
5. Deep clean four times a year.
If you follow the above tips, your desk will stay tidy. Still, you might want to schedule time in your calendar every quarter to do a quick purge through your desk—especially if crazy hours or big projects get in the way of your organization routine. Toss out unwanted files, get rid of nearly-empty pens, clean out the clutter from your drawers (yes, that includes your old candy stash), and consider refreshing the space with a potted plant. Voila! You’ll be re-energized and your desk will the envy of all of your coworkers.
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