Creating a functional home workspace is a small project that will yield big rewards. Whether you’re setting up a work-from-home space, classroom or studying area, these smart space savers and organizing tips will help you create a desk that works for your needs.
Rachel Hoffman, an organizing expert and the author of “Unf*ck Your Habitat” and “Cleaning Sucks,” has some general advice for setting up a small desk area at home. “People tend to look at the desk itself as the only available storage space, without considering the areas above, below and next to it, which all create extra space for storage,” she says.
For people who can’t install anything on their walls, leaning a pegboard with storage accessories can help to get a lot of items up off the desk while keeping them close at hand.
Bello Pegboard ($24.99; containerstore.com)
Bello Pegboard Shelf ($9.99; containerstore.com)
Bello Pegboard Long Bin ($13.99; containerstore.com)
Wall Control White Metal Pegboard Pack ($44.99, originally $59.99; amazon.com)
Pegboard Hooks Assortment, 80 Pieces ($16.99, originally $19.99; amazon.com)
Desk shelf organizer
Creating more space on a desk can be as simple as investing in a narrow tabletop shelf that can sit atop a desk. Look for styles that offer open shelving for storing paper planners, notebooks and mailing supplies as well as some drawers for holding smaller items like phone chargers.
Tribesigns Desktop Bookshelf With Drawers ($41.99; amazon.com)
Ollieroo Desk Organizer With Extendable Storage ($29.99; amazon.com)
Monitor stands, too, can create extra vertical space on the desk itself — models that have built-in cubbyholes or drawers offer more storage than simple shelf-style designs.
Sundale Monitor Stand With Storage Drawers ($45.99, originally $51.99; amazon.com)
Valen Monitor Stand With Organizer Drawer ($33.99; amazon.com)
Clip-on desk storage
Another way to free up valuable desktop space is to invest in storage that clips to or hangs from the desk or other nearby furniture. These products can also help to solve very specific problems you may have, like where to store a pair of headphones when not in use.
Elevation Under-Desk Storage Shelf ($24.95; amazon.com)
Eurpmask Headset/Headphone Holder Mount ($12.99, originally $14.99; amazon.com)
Stand Steady 3-in-1 Clamp-On Desk Organizer ($29.99; amazon.com)
Jgstkcity Desk Clamp Power Strip With USB Ports ($33.99; amazon.com)
Desk drawer organizer
If your desk has a drawer, you can easily tidy it up with a drawer organizer. That way, you can keep things separate and find things quickly.
Cantara Multipurpose Drawer Organizer ($19.99; wayfair.com)
Seville Classic 5-Piece Bamboo Storage Box Set ($25.99; bedbathandbeyond.com)
Three by Three Seattle Drawer Organizer Pack ($16.52, originally $20; amazon.com)
Dylan Bamboo 5-Piece Drawer Organizer Set ($33.99, originally $37.99; wayfair.com)
Expandable Drawer Organizer ($8; target.com)
DIY desk organizer
Hoffman offers another smart storage solution — one that you may already have in your home. “I’m a big fan of utilizing space that isn’t necessarily the desk itself like a small bookshelf, rolling cart, chest of drawers, side table with storage or even a nightstand on the floor under or next to your desk, which will immediately expand your storage options,” she says.
Holly Homer, a blogger at One Crazy House, says she uses a rolling cart to store her printer, scanner and paper supplies as well as phone charging cords and earbuds.
Walsport 4-Tier Metal Rolling Utility Cart ($59.90, originally $65.99; wayfair.com)
Leaning Bookshelf ($249; urbanoutfitters.com)
5-Shelf Loring Leaning Bookshelf ($100; target.com)
Romoon 4-Drawer Fabric Dresser ($59.99; amazon.com)
Desk organizer tray
Desk organizer trays that hold pens, scissors, sticky notes and other office supplies are typically designed for use on the desktop, but wall-mounted systems are available and are a good solution for freeing up space.
Perch Magnetic Modular System Components (starting at $7.99; containerstore.com)
5-Piece Vertical Storage System ($41.57; homedepot.com)
If using vertical space to put up shelves isn’t an option, look for a desk organizer tray with a small footprint that won’t take up a lot of surface area.
Office Oasis Office Accessories Caddy ($29.95; amazon.com)
Coolbros Elephant Pencil Holder With Phone Holder Desk Organizer ($5.99, originally $7.99; amazon.com)
Homer has one last tip for people who are serious about streamlining their home workspace. “Something that changed my life forever was to get an easy-to-use scanner and get organized with my digital files,” she says. “When you can eliminate that pile of papers on your desk, you will be amazed at how few things you really need.”
Brother Compact Mobile Document Scanner ($89.98, originally $149.99; amazon.com)