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Declutter and Reorganize Your Desk Drawer

Written by Danielle Travali.

A clean desk drawer is easier to navigate. Trust us; this makes for a less stressful day. Here are some of our best tips for organizing your office drawer at home or at work. It's time to beat the clutterbug blues!

What You Need:

  • About 15 minutes of time
  • Empty organizing containers (empty egg carton, empty ice cube tray or thin, shallow baskets to fit inside your drawer will do)
  • Shredder
  • Trash bin

What You Do:

Step 1: Remove everything from the drawer and place it on a table or in a box on the floor.

Step 2: Clean out the drawer with a rag and remove any little bits of paper or crumbs that might have gotten stuck in the corners of the drawer.
Step 3: Assess what you REALLY NEED in your desk drawer. What items do you use on a daily basis? Think: stapler, staple remover, tape dispenser, scissors, hole punch, paper clips, rubber bands, sticky notes, thumbtacks, pens, pencils, pencil eraser, highlighters, markers, keys to the meeting room, paper stamps, stamp pad, etc. If you rarely use it, get rid of it. If you haven’t used it before, chances are you never will. Give unnecessary items away or throw them in the trash. You decide. Is it worth giving to someone else? Or is it totally useless?

Step 4: Get rid of any other trash in your desk drawer--such as scraps of paper with irrelevant notes on them, junk mail (those unwanted pizza flyers can go in the trash!) packages of crackers, that half-eaten chocolate bar, etc. If it has your name or personal information on it, put it through the shredder.

Step 5:  Organize any necessary paperwork into manila file folders. You may organize in four folders, A-Z: A through L, M through P, Q through T and U through Z. So if you’ve got, let’s say, insurance paperwork in your drawer that doesn’t belong there, you’d file it under the A-L folder. Once you’re done organizing papers, you can keep them in a neat binder, organized file cabinet or paper organizer with slots.

Step 6: Put any loose change into another container and start saving up for something, such as a new desk, perhaps!

Step 7: Place pens, pencils and other writing utensils into a cup on top of your desk. Be sure they all work properly.

Step 8: If you’ve got White-Out or other liquid items in the drawer, be sure they’re capped tightly to avoid messy spills.

Step 9: Sort out additional items and place paper clips, rubber bands, and other little loose items such as thumb tacks in an empty ice cube tray or clean, empty egg carton (if you have some time you can decorate it to make it pretty). Some people even use cookie sheets or little cups to store their items! If it fits in your drawer, it’ll work. The little slots are perfect for storing those items in your desk that might otherwise fall to the back of the drawer. Being creative will also save you money. There really is no need to buy expensive organizing gear when you can use containers you already have in your home or office. NOTE: You don’t need 5,000 paper clips, thumb tacks or rubber bands. Keep only a handful of each item in each slot at a time.

Step 10: If you’ve got other drawers on the sides of your desk, you can categorize them and organize them with baskets. One drawer, for example, can be dedicated to storing first aid and hygiene products--such as bandages, first aid cream, one bottle of hand lotion, one bottle of hand sanitizer, hair spray, toothpaste, toothbrush and other small items that might come in handy while you’re at work. Don’t buy duplicates; you don’t need 10 tubes of hand cream or 15 different lip balms. Only stock your drawer with the essentials in case you have to work an extra long shift.

To avoid clutter build-up, maintain the neatness of your desk drawer as often as possible. Make sure loose items such as keys are labeled, so you don’t get confused and waste time. Avoiding confusion and clutter build-up means consciously choosing not to stuff it with things that aren’t conducive to your office work.

Danielle Travali, MS
Danielle Travali, MS

Danielle Travali, also known to many as the Web and television personality "Holly Pinafore," is a journalist, entrepreneur, and food & wine enthusiast. She is a certified food coach, stress management coach and fitness trainer who studied mindful eating and food psychology. Danielle also holds a master's degree in Journalism from Quinnipiac Un.. Read more

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