The 10 Best Desk Organizers

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This wiki has been updated 31 times since it was first published in September of 2015. With all your office supplies stashed neatly away in one of these useful and efficient desk organizers, you can boost productivity at work or school and remove a ton of clutter from your life. Available in a variety of styles and at a range of prices, there’s a model for everyone – from a college student just scraping by to a high-flying executive — so you have no more excuses for that mess. When users buy our independently chosen editorial selections, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.

1. MyGift Distressed Rack

2. SimpleHouseware 6 Tier Tray

3. MMF Steelmaster

Editor's Notes

March 19, 2019:

Since paperwork represents so much clutter — and also represents much of the clutter that's dangerous to throw away — we felt the addition of a document organizer was essential, which is why the SimpleHouseware 6 Tier Tray made its debut on the list. The Victor Collection moved down a few spots on this edition, mainly due to complaints of a chemical odor when first taken out of the package; while this smell should go away after a few days, it might make you less popular in a crowded office during that time. In its place, the MyGift Rack garnered the top spot, as we felt many users would want an organizer that is as attractive as it is useful, rather than opting for yet another minimalist steel addition.

4. Safco Products 3255BL

5. MyGift Caddy

6. DecoBros Caddy

7. Victor 4720-5

8. Rubbermaid Black

9. Victor Midnight

10. Kingfom Struction

The Desk Organizer For You

Fortunately, you can tidy up these supplies quite easily with a desk organizer.

Although we are tilting headlong into the fully digital realm, the world, in many ways, still runs on good ol' fashioned office supplies. From the memos that your coworkers insist on printing to the receipts that always seem to pile up, paper is everywhere, as are those items that go along with it: pens, staplers, binder clips, and so on. Fortunately, you can tidy up these supplies quite easily with a desk organizer. But which do you need?

You might first ask yourself whether or not you'll be organizing full sheets of paper. While some organizers will house only your writing implements and perhaps your electronic gadgets, others are larger, keeping your papers together with these items. The latter can be quite handy for those who have many files, invoices, or notebooks to corral, but they're also larger and may take up a lot of desk space.

Then, too, you'll want to consider privacy. Your desk organizer will probably sit in view of anyone who comes into your office; while you probably won't have, say, jewels or your birth certificate sitting in it, you may still have sensitive information, so you might want to look for an organizer with drawers or even a lock. A smaller drawer or two will also keep your "good" office supplies out of sight and away from wandering hands.

After you've decided on size and compartments, you'll want to consider aesthetics. Wire mesh caddies are a popular choice, but they're also utilitarian, so you may want something more stylish. For a professional vibe, you might look for an organizer crafted from (faux) leather or high-quality wood. If you're in a more rough-and-tumble environment, a plastic model with straightforward styling could be your go-to.

What About A Messy Desk?

If you believe the headlines, having a messy desk not only helps you unlock your creativity, but also means that you're intelligent, possibly a genius. To paraphrase Einstein: If a cluttered desk means a cluttered mind, then what does an empty desk mean? He wasn't alone, either; Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, and Mark Twain are only a few of those known for working around heaps of paper. While it's true that extreme cleanliness and minimalism could depress your creative instincts, you may not want to throw out your organizers just yet — there are just as many drawbacks to a messy desk.

He wasn't alone, either; Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, and Mark Twain are only a few of those known for working around heaps of paper.

Support for the messy desk/creativity/intelligence link doesn't just come from the personal habits of a few geniuses but also from a study published in 2012 by Kathleen Vohs of the University of Minnesota. This study involved several experiments, perhaps the most striking of which featured participants' ideas for ping pong balls. Although the experiment's two groups, one working in a clean room and the other in a messy one, came up with the same number of uses for the balls, an independent panel judged that the "messy" group's ideas were far more creative. Vohs, and others working in this area, have suggested that this may be because the brain can make more and better connections with greater input, which comes from the visual stimulus created by a mess.

On the other hand, studies have also shown that messiness can hamper productivity as workers are forced to search for items or information they need. Not only that, but research indicates that people with extremely messy work areas are judged unfavorably by their peers. Consider, too, that in another experiment in Vohs' study, two groups were asked to fill out a questionnaire in either a clean or messy room, then choose between an apple and some chocolate once they'd finished. Those who worked in the clean room were far more likely to choose the healthy option, suggesting that the cleanliness pushed their decision-making in a beneficial direction.

Perhaps the trick to balancing creativity and productivity, then, may rest in avoiding extremes. Use a desk organizer for your important files and most-used supplies, for example, but don't be afraid to leave out the books, color swatches, etc. that will keep your imagination stimulated.

Cutting Clutter

For many, choosing a desk organizer doesn't necessarily have anything to do with creativity or intelligence, but from the need to cut clutter, a problem that affects anywhere from a fourth to one half of American households. Clutter, although it seems harmless enough, is far from benign, as it can cause feelings of stress and lead to lost time and productivity. But just a few simple actions, in addition to using a high-quality desk organizer, can help you pare your clutter down to a manageable level.

But just a few simple actions, in addition to using a high-quality desk organizer, can help you pare your clutter down to a manageable level.

One super simple step is to create a landing pad for the items that flow into your home or office, then commit to putting these items away regularly. Select a basket or bin, and throughout the week, put all stray papers and other odds and ends into it. Once a week, clean out the bin and file, trash, or organize as needed. This stops the clutter before it can ever build into a larger mess.

For everything that you do need to keep, invest in storage solutions that you will actually use. Don't go out and buy every rack, basket, and organizer ever made; instead, take an afternoon to look at the items you use often, where you use them, and how you could arrange them for usability. If you change sweaters and coats often, for instance, invest in a coat rack to place by the door, so you don't have garments strewn over your chairs and everywhere else. You can do this with many of the items that tend to build up in your workspace, from coffee cups to magazines.

Finally, don't be afraid to do a thorough cleaning once a year to get rid of those items that are broken, unused, and no longer relevant. Shred old documents, replace damaged charging cables, clean out the mini fridge — you may have to be ruthless, but rolling back to a clean slate on a regular basis will go a long way toward preventing a truly unmanageable mess.

Quincy Miller
Last updated by Quincy Miller

After getting his bachelor’s from the University of Texas, Quincy Miller moved out to Los Angeles, where he soon found work as a copywriter and researcher, specializing in health and wellness topics for a major online media brand. Quincy is also knowledgeable about home improvement, as he’s had extensive experience with everything from insulation to power tools to emergency room trips, sometimes in that order. Sharing a home with three dogs and a couple of cats has forced Quincy to learn as much as he can about pet supplies, animal nutrition and, most importantly, the best ways to tackle the mountains of fur that accumulate in every corner of your home.

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