Organize Your Desk: Optimize Your Setup

Optimize Your Desk Setup!

A good arrangement for your desk not only makes work easier and more enjoyable, it makes it better for your body! Don’t let pain and discomfort distract you from your work. 

The New York Times article 7 Things You Need for an Ergonomically Correct Workstation has this to say about an ergonomic setup. When you’re using your keyboard, “your arms and wrists would be in a neutral position: parallel to the floor or angled down toward your lap to reduce strain.” Test it out at your desk! If your arms aren’t parallel for angled downward, you can raise your sitting position, or lower your keyboard using a pull-out shelf. 

For your monitor, make sure “your eye level is about 2 to 3 inches below the top of the screen and about an arm’s length away.” That will help keep your neck straight and avoid a lot of backaches!

Look into ergonomic keyboards, too! They’re available in a wide range of prices. This one from Microsoft is a well-reviewed, inexpensive option. Split keyboards like this one from Kinesis Gaming offer more customization options.

There is also always, of course, the super extra option. Ergodox makes seriously cool, seriously fun-to-use keyboards that can be configured in tons of ways, including raising the keyboard up and down depending on where you’re using it. 

Have a Clear Space in Front of You

Keep a space in front of you clear from distractions or extra clutter. That gives you space to create, and a place to put materials relating to the task at hand. If you’re working digitally on several projects, consider using different desktop views for different projects. 

For instructions on working with Mac spaces, click here!

For instructions on working with Windows virtual desktops, click here!

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Organize Your Desk: A Non-Boring Guide to Paperwork

Paperwork can be a dry subject (literally and figuratively!), so while I relay my expert tips for keeping paperwork under control, please also enjoy these very cute images of cats in business attire. Let’s go! 

Go Digital

The best way to manage paperwork is to make sure there’s never paperwork in the first place. Your bank statements, utility bills, and other recurring payments often have the option of digital delivery instead of paper. It’s eco-friendly, and it takes no physical space on your desk! 

Make sure that you download statements and other documents that you might need to refer to later. Your utility provider may clear old documents on their schedule instead of yours. 

Use RAFTS to Sort

The first step toward fully organized paperwork is to sort. When we are clearing someone’s desk, we use the RAFTS system: Recycle, Action, File, Trash/Treasure, and Shred.

Recycle any paperwork you no longer need that doesn’t contain sensitive information can be recycled. This includes things like advertisements, takeout menus, old Post-it notes, or junk mail.

Action items are anything that needs your attention, like a bill to pay or a letter to reply to, or phone calls to return.

File paperwork that contains things you will need later. Statements, school records, and policy documents fit into this category.

Trash/Treasure: Go through your paperwork and decide what’s worth keeping, and what’s worth letting go. Any paperwork with grease or other food on it can go. As for treasure, you can store holiday cards from family in a keepsake box. If you’re holding on to something you can’t remember receiving, consider recycling or trashing it to minimize clutter.

Shred anything with account numbers, social security numbers, or other non-public information that you no longer need. You don’t have to shred items with your name and address because that’s public information.

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Organize Your Desk: 3 Common Paperwork Traps

Let’s organize your desk!

Whether your desk is at the office or at the home office, it’s a place where productivity is key. But if your desk (like many desks) holds too much paperwork, how the heck do you get anything done? 

Over the next four weeks, I’ll show you my expert tips for turning your desk from cluttered to calm. That way you can focus and do your best work! Let’s start with paperwork. 

There are three major traps that people fall into when it comes to their desk. Do any of these sound like you? 

Trap 1: Wanting everything at hand.

While a Homer-Simpson-esque desk setup where all the buttons and knobs are within arm’s reach sounds nice, it’s actually very good for you to have to get up to get things. According to the University of Michigan Human Resources, you should get up and move around “approximately three minutes every 30 – 60 minutes.” If your printer is a few steps away, turn printing into a mini-break and get your body moving. 


It’s also good to have some room around you! You can stretch out and actually do things with your desk. If you have everything you could possibly need on your desk at once, where do you put your coffee?

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What’s it like to have your closet professionally organized?

At Organize to Excel, we’ve seen just about every kind of closet there is! Big closets; little closets; closets that used to be organized; closets that have been a mess from the start. Every person’s is unique, and the goal is to make the space work for YOU. But what’s it like? Many people have never worked with a professional organizer before, and don’t quite know what it involves. Today I’ve compiled some of the common questions I get about what it’s like to get your closet professionally organized. If you’re curious about something I don’t cover, ask me in the comments! 

When is it time to hire a pro?

That’s a great question, and there’s no single answer to it. There are lots of different reasons to hire a professional organizer to help you with your closet! Some of them include: 

  • It takes longer than you want to get out the door in the morning, because you spend time searching for clothes.
  • Every time you try to organize your closet, you end up frustrated or distracted. 
  • Life got in the way: you moved, or had a baby – anything that disrupted your normal organizing routine so that clutter piled up.
  • You’re moving, and don’t want to pack up clothes you don’t wear. 
  • You just plain don’t like organizing!

All of these are perfectly valid reasons to hire a professional organizer. We’re here to help you live an easier life, whatever that might mean. 

Do I need to do anything before the appointment? 

Prior to your appointment, your organizer will give you a call to go over the game plan for the day. This is a great time to discuss what your goals for your closet are, and what you’d like to focus on. If you don’t know, that’s fine! Your organizer will help you define what “organized” means to you, so you both know what you’re working towards. If you like, you can share pictures of your closet with your organizer, so they can get a better idea of where to start. 

Other than that, there’s nothing you have to do. You don’t need to “tidy up” for your organizer, or prep the space in any way. Some clients are already comfortable with decluttering, and prefer to purge before we get there so the session can be focused on organizing. That’s fine, too! 

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An Organized Closet in Just 4 Weeks: Storage Tools

Storing your clothing and accessories in a way that makes them easy to access and put away is pretty much the goal of this entire series of posts! No matter your closet style, no matter what you store in your closet, I want to make your life EASIER. Here are my tips for choosing the right closet storage tools for you.

Remember: whenever possible, use or repurpose any closet storage tools you already have on hand. Decluttering your closet only to clutter it back up with organizers is not the goal here, and using or repurposing what you have makes economical and ecological sense.

Shoe Organizers

Shoes do not belong in piles! It makes them hard to find and easy to damage. The cheapest option is to keep them in their original shoe box. They’re stackable, fairly sturdy, and you can use a written label or picture on the front to identify which shoes are where. Shoe organizers are usually better space-savers. Check out this one made of recycled plastic bottles

Stackable Containers

I love labeling containers clearly and precisely, but the easiest way to know what’s in a box is for the box to be see-through. Transparent, stackable containers are fabulous for shoes and accessories–but they’re not the most environmentally friendly. If you’re in the market for clear plastic, I highly recommend that you check out your local thrift store before buying new.

More environmentally-friendly options include these stylish boxes, complete with a little label.

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