Organizing the "Desk of Disaster"

Hubby and I own 3 businesses between us, and we share this desk...which is a total disaster! With the help of Maeve Richmond and Good Housekeeping, we tackled the disaster and organized everything for less than $10.

We each have tons of paperwork, calendars, schedules, notes, reminders, bills, and the papers just keep piling up. Since it's a corner desk, there's lots of unused space behind the monitor. Pens and papers are stored in shoeboxes/coffee cups/etc with no organization. What a mess!
My side of the desk has tons of papers from my blog and direct sales business. I have multiple "to do" lists working at any given time, plus I contact people daily for product training, volunteer work, etc. There is way too much paper and no logic to the piles.
Hubby's side of the desk has the printer, some office supplies, and a bunch of labels. There's no room for him to work or spread out.
The first step was to clear everything off the desk. We found pictures from 1974, CDs from 1992, and receipts from 2012!
Following Maeve's suggestion, we moved the printer off the desk and onto the neighboring bookshelf. This gave Hubby lots of space to organize his bill box and spread out papers if needed.
We also got a thrift store basket for $1.00 to store his envelopes and stamps, so they wouldn't get lost on the desk (like they have in the past).
I color-coded my project folders and eliminated LOTS of piles from my side of the desk. Whenever I had an idea, I'd grab a new notepad--which resulted in multiple to-do lists. Now ideas and projects with deadlines go in the appropriate folder for weekly review.
I also got a thrift store basket for $2.99 to store the business cards I receive from the Meetup groups that I run and the networking events I attend.

Can you believe this is the same desk?!? It's amazing what a few hours of cleaning and organizing can do. We're ready to tackle the busy time of year for our businesses!
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
3 of 4 questions
  • Kimberley Hosmer Kimberley Hosmer on Apr 02, 2016
    Can Maeve Richmond and Good Housekeeping please, please, pretty please come to my office and help us get organized?

  • Karen Karen on Apr 02, 2016
    You did an excellent job. I like your desk, could you tell me where you got it???

  • Judy Stetler Judy Stetler on Jan 12, 2017
    Could you suggest how to best utilize the cabinet that's on the lower left side of the desk? My husband and I have similar desks and it's like one big black hole - mines stacked and his needs some sort of shelving that's useful. Thanks

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2 of 16 comments
  • Sharon Huneycutt Harris Sharon Huneycutt Harris on Apr 03, 2016
    Excellent cleanup and organizing job

  • Don Yealy Don Yealy on May 16, 2016
    One suggestion from a real computer tech, get the desktop PC off the floor to reduce the dust build up over time inside the box. It has fans to keep it running cool which suck in the dust off the floor and coat the sensitive connections inside with dust that eventually can corrode these contacts and overheat some circuit areas. I have had way too many clients with computer problems related to this simple solution. A simple sturdy riser of at least 4 in. height will solve the problem. Using a wireless mouse and keyboard eliminates wire clutter on the desk surface.