Tidy Desk, Tidy Mind

They saying goes, ‘tidy space, tidy mind’, and I couldn’t agree more.

If you also struggle to find calm when chaos surrounds you, you’ll be pleased to know that today is National Clean Off Your Desk Day. Not only does it encourage an organised and clean working environment, but it’s also the perfect time to sort through those draws that have slowly filled with miscellaneous paperwork over the last few months.

So if you’re ready, pop on your favourite podcast or radio show, have a cup of tea to hand and get the shredder ready. I know some of you may see this as a bit of a faff but I guarantee you’ll feel a metaphorical weight lifted that you didn’t even realise was there once you’ve finished.

Before we address paperwork, let’s take a look at the surface of your desk for maximum wellbeing and productivity.

Designated Spaces

Most of us are likely to need space for a monitor and/or laptop on our desks. Having a set space for these will inform where everything else should be placed. Depending on whether you’re left or right handed, it’s recommended to keep some space to the side of your keyboard for your mouse or hand-written notes.

Having a designated space in mind for everything on your desk ensures that when things get disorganised, you can quickly and efficiently put things back where they belong.


If you read last week’s blog post about the benefits of houseplants, you’ll know that introducing a potted plant or terrarium to your desk could boost your mood and work output. Succulents are my preferred option as they’re the easiest to care for. (No-one wants to work with a wilting plant in the corner of your eye reminding you that you neglected to care for it!)


While you don’t want to be distracted from work with too many sentimental items, if you spent a lot of time at your desk photographs can act as a great reminder of loved ones and bring things back into perspective when that unexpected email comes through that catches you off guard.

A Small Pot & Tray

A couple of handy vessels for holding your stationary and sticky notes is vital, but it doesn’t need to be an ugly wire pot gifted to you by the company. Choose a beautiful ceramic pot or repurpose other items such as toothbrush and teabag holders for your stationary and safety clips. Having something that visually appeals to you will bring out your calm and creativity. 

A Coaster

While not a necessity, I’ve found that having a coaster on my desk is a great reminder that I need to drink more water throughout the day; something from which we can surely all benefit. I may be showing my age but in the absence of customised mousemats, beautiful coasters can be an easy way to brighten up your desk.


Inspired by the new Netflix show Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, paperwork can be sorted into two main categories:

  1. Awaiting Action. Eg. unpaid bills or letters awaiting a response.
  2. Important documents to keep indefinitely. EG. Insurance documents and contracts.

For the first category, I recommend having these in a prominent position on your desk. If they’re kept out of sight, it’s easier for them to slip your mind. Hopefully, this pile won’t get out of hand, so you should only ever have a handful of documents together at any one time.

A paper tray should do the job and there are various beautiful designs to complement your decor, but if you feel as though a tiered or sectioned one would benefit you then go ahead and categorise your un-answered paperwork on your desk. If you work from home, you may find it useful to categorise into Business, Home and Miscellaneous.

For the important paperwork, I recommend having some sort of filing cabinet or box that can be stored away either on a shelf or under your desk for safe keeping. It’s good to know these documents are ordered for when you need them, and within arms reach for easy access and reference.

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