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)
The Container Store
Bello Pegboard Shelf ($9.99; containerstore.com)
The Container Store
Bello Pegboard Shelf
Bello Pegboard Long Bin ($13.99; containerstore.com)
The Container Store
Bello Pegboard Long Bin
Wall Control White Metal Pegboard Pack ($44.99, originally $59.99; amazon.com)
Wall Control White Metal Pegboard Pack
Pegboard Hooks Assortment, 80 Pieces ($16.99, originally $19.99; amazon.com)
Pegboard Hooks Assortment, 80 Pieces
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)
Tribesigns Desktop Bookshelf With Drawers
Ollieroo Desk Organizer With Extendable Storage ($29.99; amazon.com)
Ollieroo Desk Organizer With Extendable Storage
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)
Sundale Monitor Stand With Storage Drawers
Valen Monitor Stand With Organizer Drawer ($33.99; amazon.com)
Valen Monitor Stand With Organizer Drawer
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)
Elevation Under-Desk Storage Shelf
Eurpmask Headset/Headphone Holder Mount ($12.99, originally $14.99; amazon.com)
Eurpmask Headset/Headphone Holder Mount
Stand Steady 3-in-1 Clamp-On Desk Organizer ($29.99; amazon.com)
Stand Steady 3-in-1 Clamp-On Desk Organizer
Jgstkcity Desk Clamp Power Strip With USB Ports ($33.99; amazon.com)
Jgstkcity Desk Clamp Power Strip With USB Ports
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)
Cantara Multipurpose Drawer Organizer
Seville Classic 5-Piece Bamboo Storage Box Set ($25.99; bedbathandbeyond.com)
Bed Bath & Beyond
Seville Classic 5-Piece Bamboo Storage Box Set
Three by Three Seattle Drawer Organizer Pack ($16.52, originally $20; amazon.com)
Three by Three Seattle Drawer Organizer Pack
Dylan Bamboo 5-Piece Drawer Organizer Set ($33.99, originally $37.99; wayfair.com)
Dylan Bamboo 5-Piece Drawer Organizer Set
Expandable Drawer Organizer ($8; target.com)
Expandable Drawer 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)
Walsport 4-Tier Metal Rolling Utility Cart
Leaning Bookshelf ($249; urbanoutfitters.com)
5-Shelf Loring Leaning Bookshelf ($100; target.com)
5-Shelf Loring Leaning Bookshelf
Romoon 4-Drawer Fabric Dresser ($59.99; amazon.com)
Romoon 4-Drawer Fabric Dresser
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)
The Container Store
Perch Magnetic Modular System Components
5-Piece Vertical Storage System ($41.57; homedepot.com)
The Home Depot
5-Piece Vertical Storage System
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)
Office Oasis Office Accessories Caddy
Coolbros Elephant Pencil Holder With Phone Holder Desk Organizer ($5.99, originally $7.99; amazon.com)
Coolbros Elephant Pencil Holder With Phone Holder Desk Organizer
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)
Brother Compact Mobile Document Scanner