What’s better? A clean desk or a cluttered desk? That’s a great question! The debate on which is better has been going on for years, and to be honest, scientists are still stumped. However, having a clean, well-organized workspace does reap some pretty awesome benefits.

Clear a space on your desk to take notes and let’s learn about the many psychological benefits of having a clean and organized desk.

Messy Vs. Clean

Everyone has different working styles, including how clean (or messy) they keep their desk. While some companies enforce “clean desk” policies, this certainly isn’t the norm. Workspace cleanliness boils down to a couple factors: the type of job you have and your personality.

Your workspace can be either neat and clean or a complete hot mess.
Take for instance these famous desks!

Over the years, creative geniuses like Albert Einstein have also been notoriously known for their messy offices. There are many innovative people who have been successful, regardless of their desk being clean or messy.

Of course, that doesn’t mean having a messy desk is the way to go. There are some disadvantages of being disorganized. When it comes to your workspace, having a clean desk is key. Take a look at the statistics! 

Overall, a disorganized desk will lead to misplaced documents, lost information, and clutter. Keeping your desk clean will allow you to find what you need, when you need it, without adding stress to the mix!

What Are the Benefits of a Clean Desk?

There are a number of benefits that come from keeping a clean desk. You’ll look more professional and you’ll save time not looking for a misplaced invoice or meeting notes. Aside from workplace benefits, studies show a well-organized desk also has some psychological perks.

These include:

  • More likely to make healthier food choices
  • Improve mental stability
  • Increase productivity
  • More likely to sleep better
  • Improve focus
  • Reduce stress

On the other hand, the University of Minnesota found that employees with disorderly workspaces were actually more innovative and creative with their ideas than those who had tidy offices. That doesn’t mean you have to go topsy-turvy on your desk to jumpstart those creative juices though.

If you’re a stickler for all things tidy, a messy desk will only stress you out. Being too stressed can decrease your productivity, make falling asleep harder, and increase your chance of grabbing that tub of ice cream. Turn things around by cleaning your desk!

How to Keep Your Desk Clean and Organized

Now that you’ve decided on having a clean work environment, how do you tackle the mess? After all, it might seem like a lot to handle in one afternoon.

Follow these simple tips and your desk will look freshened up in no time!

Have a junk tray – Throughout the day, you’re bound to have a lot of papers or files land on your desk. When that happens, place them all in one tray, and go through them whenever you have time.

Toss out what you don’t need – Do you need a project outline from 8 years ago? Probably not. When going through your pile of papers, recycle what you don’t need and file the things you do.

Color code your papers or folders – You’ll find documents faster when they’re in a designated spot. For example, invoices could go in a red folder, while applications can go in a blue folder.

Label your storage – Do you have hundreds of customers? Maybe you’re a teacher with 7 different classes. By labeling your storage, you’ll know where invoices or homework assignments are right away.

Disinfect your keyboard, phone, mouse, and desk – A study funded by The Clorox Company found that keyboards and office desks have more germs than most toilet seats. You can stay healthy by wiping down your workspace daily.

Keep only the essentials out – You don’t need an old coffee cup or yesterday’s half eaten lunch on your desk. Save room for the necessities like a pen, notebook, and calendar.

Create a designated spot for tools – Scissors, pens, pencils, staplers, highlighters, paper clips, etc. all deserve their own spot. Whether it’s a pencil holder, desk organizer, or paper tray, make sure everything has a place.

Clean daily – At the end of every work day, take 5 to 7 minutes to tidy up. You’ll be amazed at how long your desk can stay organized just by staying on top of things.

Some days are hectic, and you might not have time to tidy up. But once you’ve taken the time to clean your desk, it’s important to try and keep it that way.

The Desks at Quality Logo Products®

Your desk can say a lot about who you are or what kind of job you have. Here at Quality Logo Products®, our desks range from tidy and inviting to a promotional products workshop.

Compare and contrast two of our team members desks!

Aany’s Desk

Notice how neat, clean, and organized she keeps her workspace.

Aany keeps the essentials out on her desk with very little clutter. She works primarily on the computer, occasionally needing to jot things down on her notebook. Off to the side her sticky notes and extra pens are there for when she needs them!

“I’m a reserved and quiet person. I think my desk reflects that because there’s not a lot going on with it.” – Aany A., SEO Analyst at Quality Logo Products

Sam’s Desk

Sam’s creative juices are flowing so he doesn’t keep things as tidy.

On the other hand, Sam works with a lot of our products. His desk is often cluttered with promotional items to photograph and he always has his camera nearby.

“My desk is a weird mix of messy and organized, kind of like my brain. There is a place for everything, especially the essentials like my camera and coffee mug.” – Sam D., Graphic Designer at Quality Logo Products

Your desk can say a lot about you and your job. It could be clean because you never print things out since everything’s online. Maybe your desk always looks cluttered because you’re writing the next bestseller, or you need to approve next fall’s fashion designs. Either way, there’s a good chance your desk will reflect your personality or tasks at hand.


Fowler, P. (2017, September 29). 7 Health Benefits of Getting Organized. Retrieved from https://www.shape.com/lifestyle/mind-and-body/how-cleaning-and-organizing-can-improve-your-physical-and-mental-health

How a Clean-Desk Policy Drives Productivity and Creativity. (2016, September 08). Retrieved from https://www.cleverism.com/clean-desk-policy-drives-productivity-creativity/

The Benefits of a Clean Desk Policy. (2018, August 24). Retrieved from https://www.shrednations.com/2018/08/benefits-clean-desk-policy/

The Surprising Health & Psychological Benefits of a Clean, Uncluttered Desk. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.sixwise.com/newsletters/05/11/02/the-surprising-health–amp-psychological-benefits-of-a-clean-uncluttered-desk.htm

Tidy Desk or Messy Desk? Each Has Its Benefits. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.psychologicalscience.org/news/releases/tidy-desk-or-messy-desk-each-has-its-benefits.html

About the author

Kyrsten Ledger

Kyrsten is a promo expert with a passion for branding . Her vast knowledge of promotional giveaways and marketing has led to several articles and published work for PPB Magazine, a publication from the Promotional Products Association International.