Desktop Organization Tips & Clever Products

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all the stuff on your workspace, these desktop organization tips and products will help you breathe a sigh of relief!

The other week a business owner called me, sounding stressed: “I can’t fight it any more: I need your help to fix my filing problem. It just took me two hours to find some papers related to a client project I’m working on. Help!”

Having worked with her to sort other spaces in their office, I knew a little about her natural way of operating.  “Filing is not your problem,” I assured her. “The problem is not having a PILING system—and yes, that’s something we can tackle pretty fast.”

Are you a “pile-r”?

For most people, paper is the biggest issue in their desk and/or office area. And the first step in organizing your desktop and papers is to ask yourself if you’re a filer or a piler.

Most people just assume the only way to organize and store papers is to file them. Piles of papers, they’ve probably been told, are a sure path to disaster: lost papers, inability to focus, wasted time… all inevitable if you don’t file.

I’m here to bust that myth: it’s simply not true!  But to help avoid those dire predictions, you’ll need a strategy—a system—just like filers do.

Natural pilers that are impersonating filers will always fail at this attempt to get organized—and they’ll either beat themselves up about it, or throw up their hands and resign themselves to a future of frustration, lost docs and/or constant distractions around their workspace.

Desktop Organization Tips for Pile-Preferring People

There are lots of solutions to suit a piler that will keep piles separate and within reach, but in a much more organized manner.  There are so many clever products that make it possible to shift piles to spaces below our workspaces, on the walls and doors around our desks.

Having organizing tools like these ensures that your papers and other items are relatively visible while still keeping your main workspace free for the current project. If you know that others may need to find important pieces in your absence, taking an extra minute to add labels, or even just a simple 3×5 card where you can list what’s where, could be just enough.

Below you’ll find some of my favorite on- and off-desktop organizing items—providing options for those who want stacks of papers to remain somewhat visible, disguised, or even portable (see photos at the end of this article, too):

Desk Drawer Solutions to keep desktops neat

The next issue for many people is the desk drawer and how to keep that sea of assorted whatsits neat. The key to being able to find what you store there is to prevent things from shifting around. In other words, your drawers are in need of proper containment!

Life will run more smoothly if you lay organizers in the drawers—organizers that won’t shift around. You’ll also want to fit the containment spaces to what you’re storing there. Make a list of the main types of items you’d like to keep in your drawer:

  • Small items—paper clips and push pins for example—need small containers;
  • Pencils and pens need long spaces;
  • Post-it notes or rolls of tape need wide ones.

The pro-level trick from here is to fit the containers to the drawer, so that they hold each other in place.

So, measure the interior of your drawers before you start looking at products online or in the store.  Below are two that work for the majority of drawers I see.

Corral those cords, cords and more cords!

The third greatest, messiest, and occasionally most-dangerous of all the desktop organization issues is what to do with all those cords.

Never fear! I’ve found a few clever products for keeping them from tangling, and generally getting them out from underfoot and often from stretching across your work surfaces.

First, tie up any excess length so only the absolute necessary amount is hanging down.

Then, label them, and/or corral them with one of these cable management tools:

These desktop organization tips are easy to implement, require little to no planning, and will help streamline your work setting so you’re less likely to lose important papers—or your cool! If you’d like more product inspiration, check out my full list of office and desktop organization solutions product recommendations!

2-drawer letterbox
Bigso Birger 2-Drawer Letterbox


Cloth 4-Pocket Over-Door or Wall Mounting Organizer
Underdesk Hanging Tray
Safco Underdesk Hanging Trays
Ballucci File Organizer
Hanging files wall rack
Stackable Hanging Files Wall Rack
Canvas document box
Bigso Oskar Canvas Document Box
desktop organizing tips
Denke Portable Project Cases
Kootek drawer organizer
Kootek 16-pc Desk Drawer Organizer
label set
40-piece Cable Label Set
desktop organizing solution
22 Interlocking Desk Drawer Containers
Underdesk cable manager
Under Desk Cable Management Tray
Cable Clip Cord Organizer
SOS by Lisa | Professional Organizer, Home Organizer
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