Cleaning out your desk

The best way to keep your desk organized is to not let it get piled up in the first place. Because that is often easier said than done, here are some tips on how to get it back to how it was the day you "moved in.'' Remember that day? Papers in the right stacks, pencils in their holder, stapler and other paraphernalia neatly in a row? Now cleaning out your desk looks like an overwhelming, time consuming, all day job-but it doesn't have to be.

Cleaning out your desk can be the start of an entire new way of becoming organized. So start by buying some organizing helpers. At your local office supply store you will find paper holders that sit vertical or horizontal, so buy a couple based on what you like, and what you will use. If you are a "stacker" get the horizontal ones. If you tend to "file" everything away, buy the vertical ones. You will be more likely to use something if it works for you.

A cork board near your desk will help you keep organized with those little notes you write to yourself. If these keep getting lost in the pile on your desk then you know what I mean. Also, go ahead and splurge and buy one of those desktop paperclip, etc. organizers. They keep all the little necessities at your fingertips and are a lot les likely to spill into the drawers of your desk.

Now that you have all of your new desk supplies, you will need some cleaning out your desk supplies. A large garbage can will keep you from getting frustrated and deciding not to continue when you've gotten up to empty a smaller one.

Start with the top of your desk. Cleaning out your desk really can get overwhelming, but mostly because we get caught up with going through paperwork. At first glance, if it looks like something you might need, set it in its own stack; you will go over this stack at the end, but for now, you want to feel as though you've accomplished something, so set it aside.

Get an empty box and put all of your desk supplies in it as you go through your drawers. Again, you will go through this box toward the end. The point of cleaning out your desk right now is to eliminate clutter and not so much as to reorganize (that comes later.)

When it's over, you should have a box of supplies and a stack of papers to go through. Now you can empty that wastebasket that has been piling up. Start with the now empty bottom drawer and fill it with supplies that you use, but not quite as often. Extra, copy paper, extra sticky notes, anything you bought in bulk over the last few months.

The nest drawer is for larger supplies that you use sometimes--or in some desks this is where the filing drawer is. Top drawer is for the stuff you want to keep at your fingertips but not on the top of your desk. You don't want the end result of cleaning out your desk to be a cluttered desktop, so put as much of what you used to keep on the desktop in this drawer as possible.

Last, set up the top of your desk like a professional. Successful people are organized people, and cleaning out your desk is a sign that you are on top of the situation, now you need to keep it that way!