Coffee Talk: Desktop Organization

The desktop. Is is just us, or does this rather small space regularly become a dumping ground for notebooks, unopened mail, knick knacks, electronics, coffee mugs, scraps from lunch, and then some? The area that should be tidy, uncluttered, and promote productivity ends up drowning under the remnants from day to day life. The lists we make and products we accumulate to help us get through our work often pile up, eventually thwarting our eagerness to do said work. It’s a vicious cycle.

Tell us–how do you keep your work or study space organized? Do you have favorite desktop accessories you rely on (pen cups, inboxes, notepads, etc.)? Or do you tend to hide everything in drawers and cabinets and keep the workspace empty? Do you prefer neutral colors in the work area or a bright palette like the rainbow-hued accessories above? What are your favorite desktop accessories?

This post is sponsored by Poppin.

  • Target’s $1 section usually has a lot of great pen holders, notepads, etc. And usually in fun patterns and colors. I love my desktop to be bright and beautiful…full of inspiration to work.

    • mka0411

      Thanks for the tip! As a soon to be graphic design student, I will be cluttered (and poor) mess! I’m always on the lookout for cute and budget friendly desktop items.

      • @mka0411:disqus – I studied graphic design too! I love Target, you can’t go wrong for budget items.

    • Seriously, if there’s one thing I’ve learned at university, it’s that Target is *the stuff.*

  • Valerie

    I really struggle to keep my work space organised. I always end up with a mini collection of mugs and random bits of paper everywhere. But I do make a point of cleaning and tidying up every friday.

    I personally like to play with neutral colours because it makes me feel more relaxed and zen. However this doesn’t apply to post its and highlighters of course! I like those in every colour of the rainbow 😉


  • I can’t wait to see the responses here. I am redoing my home office and feel like I’m at a crossroads with these very questions! Do I buy a desk with plenty of drawer space to hide things away or keep it simple with a minimalist desk and have some killer desktop organization items? And then when with pops of bright color or neutral and natural with a wood desk? So many decisions.

    • Laura

      Same here. I took the plunge, and ordered a glass top desk with no drawers, and will be purchasing a credenza to go behind with storage space. I have a small parsons desk now with one tiny drawer, and I’m SHOCKED with how much junk I managed to put in there. I hope I made the right choice!

  • Vivian

    Less is more to me. I try and keep my workspace clear at all times so I can spread my work out. I hide my supplies within my desk!

    • Francesca

      I agree that less is more. I like to keep the top of my desk clean because I tend to spread out my stuff when i work and it’s more inspiring to work on a desk that’s not cluttered. I keep my essentials visible though– a couple of pens/pencils, calendar, notepad, stapler. Other supplies i keep in a tiered basket.

  • Curvy CEO

    One of my favorite places for cute, yet functional office accessories is…love them!

  • Joanie at Florida On My Mind

    I like to use baskets for easy storage and organization. I also have a fabric covered cork board above my desk for inspiration.


  • Half Asleep Studio

    I had a lot of fun creating painted mason jars to keep all of my pens, pencils, paint brushes, etc. in. See them here: I get a lot of compliments on them!

  • Bethany

    I am a professional designer (interiors/buildings) and my desk is my “cockpit”. I made notes over 6 months so that I knew how to set up in the most efficient way possible. Unfortunately, it has very little to do with how it looks. if you want to be a successful professional, function comes before form when it comes to the desk. To solve the issue of making it “look nice” I am fairly picky when it comes to organizational tools, container etc. Hey The Every Girl! If you want me to do a guest post on this I’d be more than happy to! It’s info that is worth sharing because it helps us (woman! yay!) be successful! Great introductory discussion here, but if you’re working from home there is soooo much more to discuss 🙂

  • I have a mix of vintage candy dishes, vintage fruit bowls and spray painted jars that I use as storage. It’s cute and functional! I also set up a small shelf next to my desk where I can keep things, like papers and books, organized and clean.

  • I am probably one of the most disorganized people EVER, but I love organization – weird, huh? I look up creative ways to organize my desk. Even though I love the cutesy things, I believe in clean surfaces. So I like a lot of things in drawers or in filing cabinets. Not everything needs to be seen or out.

  • amanda – Lace and Lavender

    I find is my space is clear and organized I can be too. I don’t have a lot of stuff even in my office. It’s just my desk, a dresser some plants and a “reading” chair. I love it that way. I also don’t let anything non work related on my desk.

  • Lindsay Van Cleave

    Love the Target $1 section for office supplies! I tend to spice up an office space with bright accents.

    • Agreed! Target has soo many goodies for so cheap. That place is seriously an abyss of impulsive purchases.


  • So beautiful! I keep seeing Poppin everywhere lately, and am dying to get some of their supplies! So beautiful.

  • Karen A

    I’m a hider! But I try to be as neat about it as possible lol… I just hate leaving little things littered on the desk 🙂

  • Adriana

    Never ending piles of papers are the story of my life. With so many clients and so much to do I can’t always keep up. I try to clean my piles and organize every Friday, because Mondays are always better with a clean desk!

  • Kacy Paide

    I organize offices for a living! The irony is that my own desk doubles as my dining table. I have one cigar box that sits out on the table that houses my external HD, earbuds, bright post-its, and colored Sharpie collection. These are the daily essentials. All other office supplies are in a closet. For my clients with a lot of paper who are also “out of sight out of mind” I have them keep lidless file boxes on their desktop. I love the Stockholm collection at the Container Store.

  • I have pretty strict rules at work to what I can have on my desk… but I push them. (Without upsetting anyone) Our company colors are red & white so I find cute accessories (notepads, stapler, washi tape) that are all either white or red so it’s less obvious! My co-workers love it!

  • I have yet to hammer my system down. I’m hoping moving in my bigger new apartment in a few days will help me find a place for everything : )

  • I have the toughest time organizing my desk. No matter how hard I try it always ends up being a mess at the end of they day. I’ve stopped fighting the mess and have found ways to organize using organizers from Ikea and Target and will usually reserve some time at the end of the night to clean up and re-organize.

  • thebostonista

    I try to keep my desk uncluttered and it lasts for like a day and goes back to being a mess.

  • Jean Ralphio

    I keep my work desk really clean, because I know that if I kept it cluttered I would go crazy, worrying that I lost something or forgot this/that under something, etc. It keeps my mind at peace.

  • Jasmine Brink-Li

    I am loving the Poppin’ line at Chapters/Indigo!! So pretty. I need to get my desk organized stat!

  • I love this. I REALLY need a desk I am all over the place ugh.

  • Shar

    I keep my desktop clean by 1# post any notes or lists on my cork-board right away, otherwise I won’t find or remember them later. 2# I use mini stackable draws/containers to clean the for easy access. And I try hard to keep anything that’s not work-related off the desk or away from the desk area all together. As for colors, I like bright colors because they keep me focused give me inspiration.