The following is a guest post from regular contributor, Kristin at The Gold Project.
I am a middle school keyboarding teacher by day and as my fellow teachers out there know, the top of your desk can become a bottomless pit if you aren’t careful. The same goes for desk drawers. If I am not paying attention, I will cram papers and supplies in them and use the “out of sight out of mind” mentality.
In my quest to become more aware of my desk and to keep it organized on a daily basis, I have several tips that I use.
1. Make sure the top of my desk is cleared daily.
I have made it a habit to put away everything on my desk before I leave work for the evening. That way when I come in the next morning, I feel like I have a fresh start. If I walk into my classroom and my desk looks like a tornado hit first thing in the morning, it sets a bad tone for the rest of the day.
2. Have a system for students’ work.
When I first started teaching back in 2007, I would just pile students’ work on the corner of my desk. Or, I would pile it on a filing cabinet or shelf beside my desk. Then, I realized that method made my desk area look cluttered. Plus, if I needed anything from the stack it would take me forever to find it.
Now, I have stacking trays that I use to organize my students’ work. Right now, I have it organized by assignment since every class does the same assignments. In the past, I have taught up to five different courses, so each class period would get a separate tray.
Both ways have helped my desk stay clutter free.
3. Use divided trays in drawers.
In my desk drawers, I have purchased some divided trays to keep all of my small office supplies organized. I have a section for pencils, pens, tape, thumb tacks, erasers, etc. This helps eliminate a lot of time and frustration when I am trying to find something small to use, like an eraser.
And, plus, it makes me feel good to open my desk drawer and see all of my supplies organized.
4. Look for organization in the kitchen department.
In addition to divided trays, the kitchen department has helped me organize some of the items in my desk drawers. I have several plastic food storage containers that I use for sticky notes. I purchased some of the small white slotted baskets that come in a set of 2 or 3 at Wal-Mart to use for tape and various other supplies. And, lastly, I have re-purposed some red plastic coffee containers that I use for paper clips, binder clips, and staples.
When it comes to school organization, I always like to use what I have and make it work before running out to purchase new items.
I also have a utensil organizer on my desk that I use for my pencils, pens, and scissors. You might be wondering why I have pencils and pens in two different locations. The ones in my desk drawer are for my use only and the ones in the utensil organizer are for my students as well. I learned if I put all of them out in the open, they somehow develop little feet and walk off permanently.
5. Clean out folders regularly.
I have several filing crates in my room full of hanging files and file folders. I try to go through them periodically to make sure all of the information contained in them are still needed and relevant. You would be surprised how many items get removed each time I go through them. I think I have them all cleaned out from a couple of months ago, but every time I go through them I find something new that I do not need anymore.
How do you keep your desk organized at work?
My name is Kristin and I am a middle school career education teacher by day and a mommy/wife/blogger by night. I am married to my high school sweetheart and we have two loving children. We recently made a life-changing move to Arkansas, so our new house is always under construction. I get excitement out of finding new creative, functional, and cute ways to organize things! I also enjoy writing and documenting life as it happens. So, I put these loves together and created The Gold Project. With the help of my husband, I am attempting to turn our house into a home. So, check out this special place of mine and take this journey with me!