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Our 5 top desk organization tips for students


desk organization tips

When it comes to desk organization for students, your focus is to create a space that promotes productivity. You also want to create a distraction-free zone where they can feel comfortable. And with school season back in full swing, there’s no time like the present to ensure the student in your home has the best space to study.


But every student is different which means every workspace should be different. Some require certain materials while others need the bare minimum. However, there are a few tried and true tips on making sure their workspace is not a cluttered mess.


Here are our 5 best tips for desk organization for students


1 — Only use appropriate studying material


It’s so easy to get caught up in wanting things. You think you need something when you really don’t. Students are no different. They think they need 30 highlighters to study a single text and a stack of index cards or sticky notes by their side. When in reality they need far less than what they think they do.


Desk organization for students starts with using only the appropriate studying materials. And most study materials include the following:

  • Book or text of subject being studied

  • A highlighter or two

  • The notebook of the subject they’re studying

That’s it. Three things. If your child is a visual learner, they may have a color-coded system for highlighters. But encourage them to use no more than two highlighters when studying. Any more than that and they may get overwhelmed by the stream of colors.


By using only the study materials they need, there will be less clutter around to reduce distractions. Before they sit down to study, ask them what subject they’re working on. Encourage them to bring only the materials they need for that class and leave the rest in their backpack.


2 — Keep only the essentials on your desk


This tip kind of goes hand-in-hand with the first rule. What we leave on our desks all the time will differ depending on the student. Still, you don’t want your child to crowd their desk with unnecessary items.


A decorative piece or two is fine. Wall art is the best route to go. Try to maintain surface decorations to a minimum. Desk organization for students means keeping things simple. Some essentials they can keep on their desks include:

  • A few writing instruments (pens, pencils, highlighters, markers)

  • Their planner or a desk calendar

  • A good lamp if the space doesn’t get a lot of natural light

  • A spare notebook in case they forget one at school

One of the best things you can use to keep all essentials together is a desk organizer and trays. Not only do these create a cohesive look, but your child will be able to have everything they need in reach.


As we mentioned before, every student is different. Your best bet is to ask them what they use most often. If they use a lot of sticky notes, keep a stack in the organizer. If they use a specific pen and highlighter, keep those within reach and store the rest away. Some students are super picky about their supplies while others will take what they are given.


3 — Hide wires


There’s nothing worse than trying to study and having to work around four different wires. Between laptops, phones, tablets, and more, the number of wires we deal with on a regular basis is insane. Thankfully, there are some clever ways to contain and hide the mess.


Most desks come with a pre-made hole for an easy way to slip the wire out of visibility. Other ways you can keep wires under control include cable ties or cable clips. Their adhesive backing makes it easy to stick to the side or back of a desk.


Your goal is to keep as many wires as possible off the surface of the desk. Do the best you can. Sometimes these wires are pesky and just can’t be hidden. Another tip to share with your student is to always charge electronics after their work is done. Plug in the laptop and charge the tablet. This will surely save a ton of hassle for the next time they sit down at their desk.


4 — Use the drawer space


Depending on the space of your home, you may not have a ton of room for a large desk. That’s fine. Most of us don’t need a huge space for working. That’s why it’s important to use the available drawer space and use it properly.


Desk drawers shouldn’t be a mess of random things. Don’t throw something in there just to get it out of the way. Your desk drawers should be as organized as the surface. And as luck would have it there are a ton of options.


Desk drawer organizers come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. You can mix and match so they fit your drawer perfectly. Use these organizers to keep items together. Pens with pens. Highlighters with highlighters. Sticky notes with sticky notes.


This is especially helpful for the students in your home because they won’t spend wasteful time searching for something. All they have to do is open the drawer to find what they need. Teach them to put it back when they’re done, so it doesn’t clutter the desk. Remember tip #2 — keep only the essentials on your desk.


If the desk doesn’t have a lot of drawer space, invest in a 3-tier rolling cart. This versatile item can be stored in just about any corner and holds a ton — if organized properly. Use it for spare paper, tools (like a ruler or stapler), and more.


5 — Use document folders


The school year usually means a ton of paper. And it’s all coming into your home. There are book reports, essays, tests, permission slips, school announcements, and more. No one sees more paper accumulation than during the school year.


Get your student a couple of accordion document folders. Store them on the rolling cart or in a larger drawer space. Keep all the paperwork they don't need to access all the time inside this folder. It's a perfect spot for returned tests, essays, notes, and more.


Buy one for each child in your home and help them organize with labels. Have one for each subject. Other sections you may want to include are:

  • Permission slips

  • School year calendar

  • Teacher notes

  • Projects

Storing their paperwork in these folders will provide instant access whenever needed. And when the school year is over, you can sort through everything and recycle what you don’t need. Make sure to double-check with your child before you toss any projects or reports. Often the value is sentimental for whatever reason, your child, the student will have trouble letting go. At this point, don't be forceful, allow them to make the decision.


When you teach your child the importance of a focused, productive, workspace, you’re setting them up for present and future success. That’s why desk organization for students is so important to learn now. If you’re looking for items to help spruce up their desk, make sure to check out our Shop. We list many of the items we talked about in this post and in others as well.


If your child is heading off to college, make sure to read our blog post about staying organized in a college dorm room.


Do you have any tips for a successful workspace? What’s your favorite organizing tool for the school year? Is your child pretty organized during this time of year or do they need some help? Comment below.