When I was in the third grade, my teacher always said the same thing right before a test: “clear desk, clear mind.” Now more than ever, these words resonate in my head. As a full-time student, I spend roughly eight hours hunched over my desk, and whether I’m pouring over my work or listening to a lecture, you can believe that I’m constantly cleaning up my workspace. With that being said, I’ve found some hacks, tips, and tricks to help make this task more manageable. Now I worry less about the old coffee sitting on the corner from yesterday, or my trashcan’s graveyard of recycled paper.
The first thing that I did to maximize the space on my desk was rule out any food and drinks, aside from water. I made this decision based on a few factors. My desk is roughly 2×2.5 feet, so there simply wasn’t room once I decided that I needed to have more space to work. I was also thankful for this decision as a naturally clumsy person. Now I don’t have to worry about spilling coffee on my computer, or constantly cleaning up crumbs from breakfast.
Next, I sorted through and either stored or threw away anything I didn’t use on a weekly basis. Let’s be honest, do I really need ten pens, just because they come in different colors? I put items like loose leaf paper, paperclips, and tape in the drawer of my organizer, and I threw away dried glue sticks and mismatched colored pencils. I also did myself a favor by storing my tv remotes under my textbooks. Out of sight, out of mind.
I try and minimize space wherever I can. For example, I buy five-subject notebooks instead of multiple books, since I don’t ever use them up completely. This hack helps me keep track of my notes by keeping them all in one place! I also have replaced binders with folders. If you’re all online, feel free to opt for a file organizer instead if that’s more your style.
Now that my space was as minimal as possible, it was time to make the most of it. I bought some items that allowed my desk space to go vertical, essentially using space that was open air. One of my favorite hacks is using a lap desk as a desk on top of my desk. I use a tray table-style lap desk like the one here. I typically use the cup holder portion to hold my pencils and sit my laptop, sticky notes and planner on top while I take notes on my lectures.
Another hack is using a bedside caddy to hold items such as folders, your glasses case, etc. You can find a cheap option here. Hanging this caddy on the side of your desk can be so helpful in keeping your eyeline clear of debris, while also giving you space to organize essential items for your workspace. Just make sure you weigh it down with something heavy so it doesn’t fall! You can also buy a velcro-equipped option here if that fits your space better.
If you have a ton of knick-knacks such as tape, a stapler, glue sticks or paperclips, I also recommend getting some desk drawer organizers like the ones here. I prefer the desk drawers over the more open options simply because I feel like the open options have a higher chance of getting messy quicker. I find these little drawers so helpful when I just want a clear space and to avoid clutter from small items.
These hacks are just a few things to help clear off your desk and truly make the most of your space. Many of us have our “office” in the corner of our room, so it’s essential to make this space a priority, especially if you spend most of your day there! My last tip is to figure out what you need so that you can have a clear desk and a clear mind.