I’ve been trying and failing over the last few months to make the desk setup I have at the moment work for me. The time has come to admit that with things as they are, there’s no way this desk is ever going to look tidy (even after I’ve tidied it up, it still looks awful), so I’m looking for some uncluttering advice!
Here’s a photo of my desk as it was when I sat down at the computer this morning:
I have another desk upstairs in my room, which I use if I’m working on paper. I also have a netbook so I sometimes use that desk if I need to write an essay and need lots of space to spread out notes or something. The office is a communal room and there’s generally one or two other members of my family in here so it’s not always the best environment if I want to work. However, a desktop computer is a lot more comfortable than a netbook, so this desk is where I do the majority of my timewasting on the internet and also what I use when I need any application other than a browser or a word processor.
Let’s run through the things that are on the desk in this photo:
- Postcard and letter (the white piece of paper on top of the computer): I was using these yesterday and they never left. The area to the left of the computer where the postcard is is the general in/out area where stuff mounts up.
- Coffee and coasters: there are three coasters on the desk. I’m guilty of leaving drinks on the desk after I’ve finished them, but I also may have several drinks at the same time (yes, really) and I also like to reuse glasses and mugs, so if it’s on the coasters, I know it was mine.
- Pen tray: to be honest, mostly I just use a regular pen, but there’s a couple of other things in here as well: tippex (for writing on plugs and also as tippex), whiteboard pen (not sure), highlighter (for highlighting and also for crossing things off on lists so I can still see what the items were), batteries (probably left over from when I was looking for a working pair for my camera; they don’t live here but there’s normally some around), two pens (one black, one blue, both working), nail clippers (they do get used occasionally), emery board (essential!!), scissors, a couple of kirby grips and hairpins (these get used a lot) and some staples (I don’t even have a stapler at this desk so I have no idea where these are from).
- Orange sim cards: these were in the wire basket but I got them out because I needed them. More on the basket later.
- Pad of paper: this lives either in the basket or on the desk surface. It’s scrap paper held together with a bulldog clip and I use it for making notes when I’m at the computer.
- Records: I’m in the middle of a record-ripping operation and these are next on the hit list. Records have to be stored standing up, and as we’ve currently made the office into a temporary guest room, all the records got moved to different parts of the house so if these were to stay in the office, they had to go on the desk. That’s not to say that there hasn’t been a pile of records on my desk for some time now though.
- Pink shoebox: this is my bookmooch shoebox. It contains bookmooch cards and bookmarks, bookmooch-specific books (bookmooch journals, for example), sellotape, parcel tape, that sort of thing. Unfortunately, because the lid is so deep, it’s a pain to put back on so often this stuff doesn’t make it back into the box for a while.
- Mouse holder, lamp and speakers
- Wire tray
The wire tray is the catch-all basket of stuff. At the moment, it has:
- USB cable that fits both my camera and MP3 player
- A list of textbooks to order, which I’ve already ordered but I haven’t done anything with the list
- A book of orchestral extracts for flute: I was looking something up and haven’t taken the book back to the music stand
- A 30cm ruler
- A holepunch
- A pad of post-its with only one post-it left
- Another emery board
- The piece of plastic that covered the ports on the front of the computer before it fell off
- A postcard that gets used as a bookmark sometimes
- Scientific calculator: not really sure why this ended up here
- A broken MP3 player that I’ll never be able to fix as it involves soldering and crowbars and all sorts, but I’m loathe to throw it out and never got round to it
- The unused screws for the cable basket behind the desk
- Some small ziplock bags: no idea
- A piece of string
- A rubber band
It seems pretty clear to me making that list that I need a better system for in/out and I also need to clear out some of the rubbish, but beyond that, I’m a bit stumped.
I can’t change any of the furniture, but I can change the stuff on top of the desk (storage boxes and so on).
Come on, internet – help me out here!!