The Desk of Success by Pexels

 From stained coffee mugs to document stacks, your office space can quickly become cluttered. When you return to the office bright and early January 14th, create momentum with an organized workspace. On the second Monday of January each year join fellow professionals across the U.S. for National Clean Off Your Desk Day. To help you get organized and keep a tidy space, here are ten tips for a desk that helps get the job done.

  1. Avoid the mess to reach success: Make it a habit to clear away any coffee mugs, candy wrappers, old post-its, and unneeded papers before you go home each day. Set out any materials needed in the morning, and give surfaces a final wipedown. This will leave your desk fresh and clean for the next day, ready for business first thing.
  2. Clean, and make it a routine: Keep disinfecting wipes or spray on hand, and wipe down surfaces weekly. During flu season, consider wiping down surfaces daily. Not only will this keep your workspace spick and span, but will prevent germs from spreading.
  3. Don’t Eat where you Work:  While we all have days when working through lunch is unavoidable, stick to the kitchen area when dining. Not only will this keep your desk free of crumbs and wrappers, but the change of environment will refresh your mind and help you get back to business rather than lingering over your meal.
  4. Toss, it won’t be a Loss: Once a week, organize drawers and toss wrappers, old pens, empty chapstick tubes, or errant debris cluttering your storage. By making a habit of cleaning unnecessary mess, you’ll save space and find that missing item in seconds.
  5. Just Check your Tech: : When tidying your workspace, don’t forget about your computer desktop. Sort every document you create as soon as you hit “save,” and avoid those frantic searches through hundreds of unorganized files. Consider using Dropbox or a backup cloud storage to guarantee important files aren’t permanently deleted.
  6. Compromise to organize: Alphabetically, by date, color, or in order of priority-consider the endless ways to organize files. Select the best method for your work style. However you sort, review monthly to ensure proper placement and avoid loss.
  7. The best advice is to categorize: Label folders and filing systems with the proper name and date. Take the extra few seconds to properly order each item. Use labels to organize office supplies to ensure paperclips, pens, and stamps stay in the proper place.
  8. Be versatile with how you file: Invest in a drawer organizer for office supplies. Avoid scrambling to ferret out a paperclip, or find a stapler-everything has a designated spot.
  9. Scanning and Saving is Lifesaving: Want to reduce paper clutter and minimize the paper? Scan documents in your computer and save them as PDFs. Not only does this save precious physical office space, it eliminates the risk of losing important documents in the black hole of your bottom drawer.
  10. Don’t Slack and Stay on Track: The saying “Out of sight, out of mind” is especially true for workspaces. If you find yourself reaching for your cellphone or playing games during office hours, designate drawer space for productivity distractions.

When getting back to work this January, stay focused and organized with work tools at your fingertips. Save yourself the headache of a disorganized workspace and declutter your mind with these ten practical tips.


Sharon Schweitzer and Sophie Echeverry co-wrote this post. Sharon Schweitzer, J.D., is a cross-cultural trainer, modern manners expert, and the founder of Access to Culture. In addition to her accreditation in intercultural management from the HOFSTEDE Centre and the Intercultural Communication Institute, she serves as a Chinese Ceremonial Dining Etiquette Specialist in the documentary series Confucius was a Foodie, on Nat Geo People. She is the resident etiquette expert on two popular lifestyle shows: ABC Tampa Bay’s Morning Blend and CBS Austin’s We Are Austin. She is regularly quoted by BBC Capital, Investor’s Business Daily, and Fortune. Her Amazon #1 Best Selling book in International Business, Access to Asia: Your Multicultural Business Guide, now in its third printing, was named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2015. She’s a winner of the British Airways International Trade Award at the 2016 Greater Austin Business Awards and the 2017 New York City Big Book Award for Multicultural Nonfiction.

Sophie Echeverry is the Corporate Marketing Manager and Event Coordinator at Access to Culture. Born and raised in Colombia, she’s a 2018 graduate with a B.B.A. in International Business and Marketing from Hult International Business School in San Francisco, CA. Sophie has co-written more than 30 blogs since graduation. She’s a passionate foodie, and an avid e-scooter rider. Follow her foodie Instagram account or Connect with her on LinkedIn.