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Desk Drawer Organization

As Published At Organize My Drawer
Desk Drawer Organization

Anyone who owns a desk is familiar with the phenomenon of “drawer overload” — that moment when you realize that your most-accessible storage spaces are so filled with random crap, your workstation doesn’t function properly anymore. Let’s fix that, with a little organization.

Keeping Your Desk Clear

If you find yourself unable to get your work done, you can legitimately blame the heaps of junk on your desk. Disorder causes distraction — every time your eye lands on a pile of clutter, it draws your attention away (even if just for a few seconds) from the task at hand. The key to increasing productivity is keeping your desk as clear as possible — only the equipment/supplies you use regularly (corralled in a divided organizer), the current projects you’re working on, and a minimal number of decorative items.

Pay Attention To Your Dominant Hand

When you need something while sitting at your desk (a pen, your phone, a notepad, a file) — the first instinct is always to reach for it with your dominant hand. Easy. Natural. Efficient. So it just makes sense that you’d want your organizational system to mirror this. If you’re right-handed, you’ll want to put your most important “stuff” (equipment, office supplies, and information) in the organizers and drawers on the right side of your desk — if you’re left-handed, locate these things on the left.

Top Drawers Are Key

No matter the number of drawers your desk has, those on top will always be the most convenient and accessible. I know it’s super easy to toss any old piece of junk or paper in one of these when you don’t have time to put it away properly – but don’t clutter these spaces up with a lot of garbage that doesn’t matter to you. Save them for the supplies and equipment you access daily/weekly, and shift everything else a tad farther away. How you use these drawers can make or break your office organization efforts!

Stop Hoarding Supplies

Just because you bought 250 pens at Office Depot, that doesn’t mean you have to store 250 pens at your desk! The better option is to keep only what you might use in a month’s time at your workstation (nicely organized in a drawer divider) – then stash the rest in a “bulk supply storage” area farther away. On another note, segmented trays also do a great job of organizing those bulk supplies into meaningful categories – “writing implements,” “clips/staples/tape,” “notepads,” “envelopes,” etc.

Separating Small Items

The smaller an office supply is, the bigger the organizational nightmare it causes. Paper clips, push pins, rubber bands, pencil leads, pen refill cartridges, binder clips, extra staples, sticky tabs — these bad boys have a tendency to gang up on you and hijack your desk drawers when you’re not paying attention. But divided drawer trays do a great job of taming even the most unruly collection of workplace miscreants – just set up one section for each, and put those suckers to work for you!

A Home For Paper

One of the worst ways to store notebooks, envelopes, mailing labels, and sticky pads is to just shove them in a drawer – the sheets get all bent and mangled, and it can be impossible to dig out the exact one you want with such an unmanageable pile. A better solution is to set up a divided drawer organizer – letter and legal sized can be laid flat, while smaller items may do better lined up standing on their edge within a single section (the tray dividers acting like bookends), for easy access.

Hiding Valuables And Personal Items

When working at an office with a bunch of other people, you may not want to leave your expensive electronics and personal valuables lying around where just anyone could walk off with them. And oftentimes, tucking them just out of sight isn’t good enough – thieves have been known to casually open desk drawers in search of quick-grab items. I suggest setting up a pair of divided trays layered one on top of the other – the bottom for hiding things away, the top filled with office supplies as camouflage.

Avoiding Gadget Overload

In our modern electronic age, it’s not unusual to find folks carrying around a half-dozen gadgets and gizmos with them every day – cell phone, laptop, tablet, mp3 player, portable charger, possibly a separate digital camera. Don’t just leave all this lying around to clutter up your workstation. Set up an organizing tray (either in a drawer or on top of your desk) with a section for each piece of equipment – your electronics will be out of the way but still easily accessible, should you need them during the day.

Charging While You Store

if you’re feeling saucy, you can even pair that with electricity to create a combo charging/organizing station. Just set up your drawer tray to allow for a long section that will accommodate a power strip – locate the whole thing up near an outlet and run your gadget cords to the power source. Then you just need to get in the habit of plugging in your toys each morning when you arrive at work. Never again pick up your phone to make a call and find that it’s been sitting there dead because you forgot to charge it!

When You Don’t Have Enough Supply Drawers

Some desks come with an extremely limited number of office supply drawers – which can be seriously annoying if you’ve got more than one drawer full of equipment you need to store. But deeper spaces (like a file drawer or even a dresser drawer, if you’re recycling household furniture in your office) can be outfitted with layered trays (one set on top of another) to take advantage of the vertical space available – the same is true of credenza cabinets, bookcases, or even a random hanging shelf.

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Copyright 2001 RamonaCreel.com

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Ramona Creel is an award-winning 15-year veteran organizer and member of the National Association Of Professional Organizers. As well as having birthed “The A-To-Z Of Getting Organized,” Ramona is also the author of “The Professional Organizer’s Bible: A Slightly Irreverent And Completely Unorthodox Guide For Turning Clutter Into A Career”—and the creator of more than 200 “quick-start” business tools and templates for use by productivity professionals. She writes seven different blogs, has worked with hundreds of clients, and has delivered scores of presentations on getting organized. Ramona resides on the roads of America as a full-time RVer—living and working in a 29-foot Airstream. Learn more at and RamonaCreel.com.

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