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  • Writer's pictureMJ

How to deal with desk debris

January 8 is Clean Off Your Desk Day so let's talk about desk debris for a minute. If your desk is not currently an inviting place where you can organize your thoughts, generate million-dollar ideas, or plan your next adventure, then this article is for you.


  1. Survey the area. Now look again. Take a deep breath, accept the situation, and dive in.

  2. Rough sort into the Big 3 – Keep, Toss and Elsewhere. Keep is obviously for the important papers and items you need. Toss can be subdivided into Recycle, Shred and Trash. Elsewhere is for items that should not be on your desk at all – items that belong to others or stored in another location.

  3. Clean the desk surface, your phone and computer monitor/keyboard with sanitary wipes and compressed air.

  4. Place items you need regularly (pens, paper clips, notepad etc.) within reach on the desk or in a shallow drawer. Use drawer organizers and containers as needed.

  5. File reference papers and pass along papers that should live permanently with others. Paperwork that remains should be what you are currently working on or items needing action. Consider using a desktop file box to manage items going forward.


Now that you've conquered the desk surface, move on to drawers, cabinets, memo boards and any piles hiding under the desk. Enjoy your fresh, new desk and maintain it with a 5-minute review once a week.


Clean Off Your Desk Day is an opportunity to begin your new year with a clean and organized workspace. Whether your desk is in a private or shared office, cubicle, home, or on the counter, having your workspace uncluttered and organized will help you work more efficiently.


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