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Overhaul your desk or office for a fresh start!

Updated: Feb 22, 2020

It's been almost 2yrs since my office overhaul. It's been AMAZING. I've always liked an organized space although I can get quickly out of hand. I also don't know I don't perform as well when surrounded by stuff or clutter, even when I know what's in each pile! I feel infinitely more peaceful and organized in my rearranged space.

Here's what I posted on Facebook right after I did my makeover:

So many people have asked for the HOW.

Here's it is! I have since discovered that I partially 'kondo'd' my office before I knew it was a thing. Well, it rocks!

An organized space has the items you use frequently at your fingertips, without clutter ✔️ When you look up from your screen/desk what do you see? Whatever you see is continuously feeding messages into your subconscious brain whether you realize it or not! Make sure it’s empowering or brings happiness etc. Get rid of the clutter and if you're a sticky-note person but you feel stressed by them, that's clutter. I'll share some ideas below. ✔️Ideally, an L shaped desk setup I find is best, even one created by a short bookshelf or cubbyhole shelf works beautifully. ✔️A file drawer (or box) within arms reach with only a short chair slide. ️I can reach only one file drawer from my desk and that’s all I need! It doesn't need to be costly!

  • My current desk has an ikea drawer unit tucked under one end of my desk.

  • Before, I use this painted bankers box. This was painted 8+yrs ago, with a paint roller, lol! Seriously, it still looks AWESOME! I used the same paint I had on my painted shelves in my former office. I had 2 boxes. The bottom one held my files since those were accessed less frequently. The box on top held my other office supplies.

  • Roll in drawers! If you work surface has other uses, consider a roll in units that you can pull towards your work surface when you sit down to work

✔️Store everything you touch only weekly or less to an alternate location that is NOT your desk and of course have the things you touch the most, at your desk.

✔️You likely do not need a paper cutter or hole puncher near you, and while your file folders will be stored elsewhere, keep two or three extra empty in your drawer! When you don’t have to get up to get one you’re WAY likely to throw papers in it and start a new folder as needed.


  • Give yourself half a day plus for desk makeover.

  • A day or two for a full office makeover with a full furniture change.

  • If you have a large office with a storage room like I do, I suggest you do the room as a separate project.

  • Take before photos.

  • Make a list of things that frustrate you about your current setup, if any.

So your desk. Do you LOVE where it is? If not, and you have the room, totally move it!! Where's the best light? Where's the best view or flow? Walk around to the different areas of the room, do you feel different energy in any of them? I had my desk in the same spot for my 3 years in this office because I thought it was the only configuration that would work. It’s Soooo much better now. If you have a few options and can't decide, empty the whole room and some back in with your chair. Sometimes that will give you the answer.

Furniture too?!

Start by taking as much as possible out the room. My office is it's own building and it was Dec, so outside wasn't an option. I stacked it on one side of the room.

So... your STUFF!! ...

  • If you’re only overhauling your ‘stuff’ and your furniture will stay in the same place: move your things off your desk/shelves etc and using empty boxes or totes, move it to the floor out of traffic flow. I think I know where you can get some awesome ones with handles and a lovely 'e' on the side, which also happens to be my file folder boxes in my office! Perfect size!

  • Empty your non-file drawers - all that pile of STUFF. I dumped the entire contents into one box and set aside. Half of it never went back in...

  • Make a box for 'touch at least weekly'

  • Make a box for 'not office'. Also known as 'ugh, what the hell is that doing here?' or 'I wondered where that was!'. I had TWO boxes of things to go up to my house that had migrated to my office and another to be donated.

  • Make a box for 'stuff I won't need a LONG time'. ie) stuff I might not sort through for a while. Things like old files you have out that you won't need in the foreseeable future, old customer invoices (you can follow up in myepicure's system and even make notes on their file), etc. I had quite a pile of things I'd taken out that I'd set aside at the back of the desk when I was done, like the hole punch I used every couple of months. 🤷‍♀️ Found a laminator on the treadmill. Ahem...

  • Empty one area at a time. This is important for your sanity as much as anything. EVERYTHING. Empty your Bookshelf, floor piles, desk piles, stuff piled on the cabinets. REMEMBER, it's going to look WAY worse before it looks better, although this method keeps that to a minimum.

  • Examine each item as you remove it from wherever you had it: If it doesn't go in one of the 3 boxes you made, move it out into relatively 'organized' boxes or bins. ie) Stuff from top of desk box. Drawer contents bin. Stuff from floor/treadmill box Basically, empty your surfaces into boxes or piles elsewhere.

Sit down and congratulate yourself on what you've done so far! You got here without panicking that there's crap everywhere and it looks 300% worse 😉 Take a photo of the in-progress so you an really appreciate how far you've come when you're done! Plus, what a fun before to after photo montage that will be! While everything is out and empty, grab your cleaning supplies and get to work. A fresh clean space feels amazing!! Drip your favorite essential oil on your salt lamp if you have one. Mmmm! (note, my oils have never affected my lamp although they could, depending on what you're using!)

Embrace the chaos.


  • Get your desk into position with your chair and file drawer/boxes. Leave everything else exactly where it is.

  • Sit down at your empty desk and imagine working in your fresh space. Think through your day. Look at your space. Can you use it differently?

  • I am using my 2 file baskets to bring my laptop to eye height AND keep my things I'm working on in reach although tucked away.

  • Assess which items you really need in your file drawer or boxes that will be at your side, all the rest can be in boxes or a filing cabinet across the room.

  • Bring over your 'touch at least weekly' box. Note: if your printer is across the room the inks shouldn't be in your desk drawer for example, and no-one changes printer ink weekly. Sit in your chair. Find these items a new home that you can reach. NOTE: if you have very limited space near your chair you may need to limit the items within arms reach to 'touch almost daily'

  • Grab a few empty boxes or small baskets for your drawers and organize like things into each compartment. My drawers are still quite organized almost 2 years later. Being able to find something when I need it is a MASSIVE time saver!

  • Very few things went back in the same place & despite throwing out only a little... my desk is now empty & clean when I'm not working, with only a few strategic feng shui items on it!

  • When I'm working I have only what I'm working on out, the other items are tucked into a basket or drawer (my top drawer is 'paperwork I need to do'. It's at my fingertips and not screaming at me to notice it.

  • If you haven’t left things in other areas of your home that will inconvenience your family or stress you out, feel free to stop here and leave the rest of your 'in office' sorting for another day!

  • Take your donation box and put it your trunk so it doesn't just clog space in some other area of your home!

  • Put away the 'UGH, what is that doing here?' stuff that belongs elsewhere. If it doesn't have a 'home' set it out of sight in a closet for later. It's on the bottom of the needs chain!

Bring your other furniture back in, considering how you use it in relation to your desk. Do you really need it? Does it spark joy? Seriously. If it doesn't, get rid of it!

You will likely be left with a few boxes/bins/piles to sort out although no worries. If you can, leave the rest of your things in the boxes or piles out of the traffic flow while you explore your new space and decide where things will work best for you.

  • Get back to work in your great new space! None of those boxes contain the 'touch at least weekly', and if you need something, it's in your 'drawer' box or 'desktop box' and you can find it!

  • Of course, if you're a slam at it person, get it done asap, you'll feel better!!

  • I needed some time & no pressure. I committed to '10 items a day' (sometimes 1 minute, sometimes 5). Some days I picked out only 10 things and found them a home, other days I purged 2 boxes in half an hour.

  • Really take a long hard look at each item you take out. I had 3 blue orbs as office decor for years. I have no idea how come or where they came from. I didn't love them, they were 'meh'. GONE! I don't need MEH in my life.

  • As I sorted my boxes I filled up with a box with 'not sure where I want it' items. I took stuff out of as I needed it, and found then found it a home after use.

  • My 'won't need for a long time' filing got put away months later. I had not touched a single item in it and I did it when I had time!

  • Last Step - If you're in a wildfire area like I am, mark any boxes you want to take with you during an evacuation (if you have time to grab them, of course!)


Consider an app like Google Keep. It functions very much like multiple sticky notes and you can still have your sticky notes with you on your phone. Here’s a shot of mine.

What ideas have worked for you? Please share in the comments! 💜

What I see as I walk to my desk! 💜

I hope this inspires you to do an office makeover and that you're fantastically more joyful and productive in your new space! 💜 Dana

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