Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Portland chapter.

Just as what’s in your bag can say a lot about you, I think what you have at your desk can be just as revealing. It’s important to keep your desk well-maintained, and organizing your workspace can allow you to be more productive and feel more like a proper adult. Here are a couple items that I’m so glad to have had with me throughout my first year of college.

1. Desk Organizer

If you’re like me, there’s a good chance your desk is a mess most of the time. Getting all the clutter sorted and out of your way is a perfect place to start. I got this lamp and desk organizer combo from Target at the beginning of the school year and it’s perfect. It typically sits on a storage drawer next to my bed, but for purposes of pictures, I put it on my desk. It keeps all of the miscellaneous pens, markers, sticky notes, and gift cards together and out of the way until I need them.The lamp head’s maneuverable so after I’m done studying at night, I can turn it to face my bed so I can get some reading done before I go to sleep. It also comes with a super handy USB plug which I use to charge my phone so I can save an outlet for other electronics I may need to plug in.


2. Expanding File Folder

I saw this tip in one of the many back-to-school YouTube videos I binged before going to college and it has come in very handy. I tend to hoard all my papers until the end of the semester, always worrying about whether or not it’ll be important to have in the future when studying for finals or in case the professor inputs a grade incorrectly (a throwback to high school anxiety, am I right?). Because of dorm living, there’s no way to keep papers randomly scattered around like when I was back home. Like I actually kept papers in stacks on my floor. Now, after I get a test or worksheets back, I can slip them into a folder labeled with the class and they stay right there until I need them (or get rid of them).

I found this especially helpful with math, a class where I got lots of worksheets. By putting them away in chronological order right after they were returned to me, it helped me keep organized and review concepts for the final in the order that I learned them.


3. Kettle/Hot Pot

Keep this one by your desk as a reminder to stay hydrated! Especially if you’re living somewhere cold, hot water’s a great thing to be able to make from the comfort of your room. You can also make tea, hot chocolate, even coffee. Hot water can also come in handy when you’re craving instant noodles or mac n’ cheese. And when the air gets dry and cold, boiling some hot water can act as a humidifier. These can get a bit pricey depending on the size and material, but it’s definitely a worthwhile investment!


4. Picture Frames

Photos make such great decorations since they’re personal and versatile. Whether you buy picture frames or make them, these are great ways to display treasured photos and memories. They also serve as great reminders of personal growth – swap out older pictures for newer ones and let it remind you of how far you’ve come and the great things you’ve done! 


5. Digital Clock

I know, I know – your phone and your computer both come with clocks. Why invest in another timepiece? Personally, I like having a big display for the time. I find it easier to just glance off to the side of my screen than focus on the tiny number in the corner of my laptop screen, but that’s just me. When I wake up in the morning, I like that the light from my clock’s much easier on the eyes compared to the harsh screen light of my phone. Obviously, clocks are capable of setting alarms and playing radio music, features which are a nice plus! An actual clock is just one of those things that makes me feel more “adult”. 


Don’t forget that all of these things come in lots of shapes, sizes, colors, and styles. Choose items that match your personality and your aesthetic. As a bonus, of these things, can come with you after you finish college and head off into the adulting world, hopefully keeping you organized and on top of your day to day things and making that transition easier. 

Jennifer is studying Environmental Science and English at the University of Portland. She loves to read, write, take photos, and watch animated movies in her free time.