How to Declutter Your Desk

Declutter your workspace and increase productivity with these easy tips for a clean and organized desk.

Shiva Prabhakaran

Shiva Prabhakaran

Marketing Expert at Routine
Published on


There is a common misconception that a genius's desk is usually messy. On the other hand, a well-kept, decluttered desk can boost productivity and focus.

This blog post will look at how you can declutter your office desk and make sure it stays that way. Let's get started.

Tips for decluttering your desk

  1. Set time aside to clean up: Like how bathing regularly is essential, so is taking time to clean up your desk regularly. The first step in decluttering your desk is setting up a time on your calendar to do it. You can also block time on a time blocking app like Routine and set it to recurring.

  2. Start with a clean slate: When you are decluttering your desk, the question you should ask yourself is not what is unimportant but rather what is critical for you to operate. Pick items that are essential and discard or move the others.

  3. Go digital: Take the papers/documents from your desk and digitize them using Adobe Scan app. Once they are scanned and saved, trash the ones that won't be of further use and put the others in a vault.

  4. Sort and assess each item: A stack of 50 papers is better than five stacks of unordered papers. So pick items, sort them and then batch them together. When you pick the items, also try and answer if this item is essential to your operations, and if not, discard or move them.

  5. Use dividers and sections: If your desk is one giant canvas, it will be hard to organize things. So consider using dividers and sections to allocate spaces on your desk for specific items. These sections will also make finding what you are looking for easier.

  6. Disinfect your desk: Your desk possibly harbors a lot of unpleasant things like dust, bacteria, etc. So it makes sense to regularly disinfect your desk and wipe it clean to make sure you don't catch something harmful.

  7. Put electronics in the drawer: You can't work effectively if you have your phone notifications constantly going off. Hence, it would help to take your electronics and put them in the drawer to ensure a deep focus on your work.

  8. Clean up your desktop: Your desk also involves your desktop screen, so clean it up and remove all unnecessary items from the screen. You can also close all tabs you won't be using for the day's work.

Decluttering checklist for knowledge workers

A simple checklist will help make sure you do the decluttering process effectively. You can customize the list as per your needs. However, these steps will help streamline your process.

  1. Remove all items from your desk

  2. Wipe and disinfect

  3. Place sections/dividers strategically

  4. Find documents that you can trash after digitising

  5. Find documents that need to go into the vault and move them

  6. Remove items that are no longer critical to your operations

  7. Remove anything distracting, like your phone or tablet

  8. Place remaining items in their respective spaces and order

  9. Clean up files from your desktop and close tabs that are not necessary

  10. Start doing deep work

Final thoughts on decluttering your desk

There is a lot to be gained from decluttering your desk and almost nothing to be lost. You can get started with this practice right away and see an improvement in your focus, productivity, and quality of work.

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