How to Makeover Your Desk

I’ve been spending a lot more time working from home lately, so I decided it was time for a mini desk makeover to make my space more enjoyable. There were piles of papers and a cup full of dull pencils and other random objects (like loom bands and a jingle bell from Christmas – true story) that were collecting in my “happy place.” It was time to do something.

You might think that description calls for a complete overhaul vs. a mini makeover, but I didn’t want to spend tons of time or money.

You’d be surprised at how creative you get when you give yourself restrictions!

i can do this

Here’s what went down, I spent an hour doing some upfront planning, then I allotted another hour for the sorting, tossing and decorating.

More specifically, and in the form of five steps you can do:

{ONE} Set a goal for the space – 5 min.

Before you lift a finger, think about how you want to use the space. Is this a place for you to write and be inspired? Does it need to serve multiple purposes: pay bills one day and hold a sewing machine another? It’s much easier to organize when you have an end goal in mind.

{TWO} Take inventory – 20 min.

As hard as it maybe, take a good hard look at what’s in front of you. Is everything serving the purpose of the space you want? If not, make a plan to move, toss or donate it. For example, I had too many books on the desk, and I don’t use this space to read. I plan to move some of the business books to a higher spot and send the rest to the living room.

Once you’re left with the things you really, truly need, take another look. What stacks up the most? Do you need a better place to file bills? Do you have enough light? Do you need a cork board to post ideas? Start your wish list!

{THREE} Makeover your supplies – 5 min.

Before you launch into buying a bunch of pretty office supplies, though, sort through what you already have. Are there pencils that just need sharpening? Are there paper clips that could be wrangled into a container? Once you’ve done that, you can finalize your list of what’s really needed.

{FOUR} Get inspired – 30 min.

Now that you have a plan, you can peruse Pinterest or Houzz. It’s more productive searching when you’re focused on what you need. Otherwise you’ll end up in a black hole of ideas. They’ll be beautiful ideas, and you may gain a few new recipes along the way, but it’s not helping. And we have a desk to organize!

I made a collection of my favorite items in this post.

That was the first hour! The time delay between step four and five is totally up to you. I took a weekend to shop and make a few things on my wish list. When you’re ready…

{FIVE) Do the work – 60 min.

It’s time to roll up your sleeves for the second part of the makeover.

Pull everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) out of your desk. Put it on the floor so you see all of your business. It will be both overwhelming and totally awesome – like how I imagine it would feel to knock down a wall on demo day!

Create “keep, toss and donate” piles . I use the one-touch method, where you touch it once and make a quick decision on which pile it goes into. It makes things go so much faster.

When you’ve finished clearing off your desk, you can clean (like with Lysol wipes) and start to decorate your blank slate.

This should be about the 40 min. mark. For the rest of your 20 minutes…

Thoughtfully put the items from your “keep” pile into place. Keep reminding yourself there should be a home for every. little. thing. If you find yourself stashing small items. Go get a pretty bowl to hold them. Stay reluctant!

Time’s up!!

Step back and admire your hard work. Be sure to take a picture to remind yourself of how pretty it looks – and also where things were supposed to go if you get off track down the road. No one is judging.

Speaking of that, I’m about to show you my personal before and after picture. This desk is inside of our guest room closet, so I had to get super creative in how I utilized the space.

Blah Before


How boring is this? The top pic is the wide shot of the desk, which so elegantly highlights all of my piles of crap. Bottom left is the left view, and bottom right is the right side where you can see I have stashed all kinds of papers and supplies. Even Leo is like, “Mom, really?”

Awesome After

center view

Ta-da! This is the wide view where you can see I cleaned up the situation. I moved my books to the top shelf and added pictures of the kids and other decorative items to help personalize the space. Aren’t those little flags cute?!

This is the left view. I went with a black and gold color theme!

Now for the left view. I went with a black and gold color theme, if you couldn’t tell. I found gold polka dot file folders and other cute accents at Hob Lob and Walmart. (#BudgetFriendlyProject) And of course I added fresh flowers from the garden and a mini candle pot to the mix. Oh, and I organized my supplies like copy paper, envelopes, and other odds and ends in baskets on the shelf.

This is the view to the right. Its not as pretty, because I need an extra monitor for the type of work that I do. You can see how I totally cleaned it up, though!!

This is the view to the right. I call this “tech corner” where I have my extra monitor and printer. Look how I totally cleaned up the mess!! The black basket on the shelf has my cords, external hard drive and other techy stuff.

looking left_far

This is a wider view of my favorite side of the desk 🙂 You can see my new bulletin board, which I hung with an over-the-door wreath holder and gold polka-dot canvas ribbon. Before I had a huge honkin’ board that was kind of like a white board, but it was black. None of my dry erase markers showed up on it, so it was a total waste of money. Sad face. This new board is perfect for pinning my notes and pics.

That’s pretty much it! Let me know if you decide to tackle your desk and what helped you the most. Here’s to staying organized – together!!



2 comments on “How to Makeover Your Desk

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *