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What are the psychological benefits of an organized desk?

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Which is better? A tidy desk or a messy desk? That's a good question! The debate about which is better has been going on for years, and to be honest, scientists are still stumped. However, a tidy, well-organized workspace comes with some benefits that are worth watching.

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

A messy desk leads to misplaced documents, lost information, and clutter. A tidy desk allows you to find what you need, when you need it, without added stress!

Desk cleanliness statistics
There can be up to 7,500 bacteria on an office keyboard.
People waste an average of 4.3 hours a week looking for paper.
57% of people admit to feeling judged for the cleanliness of their workspace.
Employees who have a clean desk can work 7.5 minutes longer without feeling distracted.
Cold and flu viruses can last up to 24 hours. People who have a clean desk are less likely to get sick.
A clean desk increases productivity and stamina by 84%.

Over the years, creative geniuses like Albert Einstein have also been notorious for their messy offices. There are many innovative people who were successful regardless of whether their desk was clean or messy. With that in mind, it's okay to have a messy desk if "organized chaos" works for you!

Why is it important to have a clean desk?

Everyone has a different work style, and that includes how clean they keep their desk. Some companies mandate that your desk be tidy because it's more professional and saves time looking for misplaced invoices, meeting notes, or office supplies like pens and sticky notes. However, with the transition to telecommuting, organizing your desk is largely your decision.

Aside from the workplace benefits, studies show that a well-organized desk also has some psychological benefits. These include:

Making healthier food choices
Improved mental stability
Higher productivity
Better sleep
Better concentration
Reduce stress

If you're a neat freak, a messy desk will only stress you out. Too much stress can decrease your productivity, make it harder to fall asleep, and increase the likelihood that you'll reach for a cup of ice cream. Remedy this by cleaning up your desk!

Is a messy desk bad?

The University of Minnesota has found that employees with messy workspaces are more innovative and creative in their ideas than employees with tidy offices. Ultimately, it comes down to your personal comfort level and what works best for you. If you have a messy desk just because you're lazy, maybe it's time to roll up your sleeves and do some cleaning!

How to clean up your desk

Now that you've decided on a clean work environment, how do you deal with the mess? After all, it seems like you have a lot to get done in one afternoon. Follow these simple tips to organize your desk or workspace!

Use a wastebasket

Throughout the day, you're bound to end up with a lot of papers or files on your desk. Put them all in a tray, and go through them whenever you have time.

Take out the trash

Need a project outline from 8 years ago? Probably not. As you go through your paper pile, recycle what you don't need and file the things you do need.

Color-code papers and folders.
You can find documents faster if they are in a specific place. For example, invoices may be filed in a red folder, while job applications are filed in a blue folder.

Label your filing system

Do you have hundreds of clients? Maybe you're a teacher with 7 different classes. If you label your filing system, you'll know right away where bills or homework is.

Disinfect your keyboard, phone, mouse, and desk
A study funded by The Clorox Company found that keyboards and office desks contain more germs than most toilet seats. You can stay healthy by wiping down your workspace daily. This includes not only the keyboard but also cleaning the mouse pad, mouse, phone, and desk itself.

Leave only what you need outside
You don't need old coffee cups or yesterday's half-eaten lunch on your desk. Save space for essentials like a pen, notebook, and calendar.

Set up a special place for work materials
Scissors, pens, pencils, staplers, highlighters, paper clips, etc. all deserve their own space. Whether it's a pen holder, desk organizer, or paper tray, make sure everything has its place.

Clean your desk daily
Take 5 to 7 minutes at the end of each workday to clean up. You'll be amazed at how long your desk can stay tidy if you just keep track of it.

Some days are hectic, and you may not have time to clean up. But once you've taken the time to tidy up your desk, it's important that you leave it at that.

Final thoughts

Your desk can say a lot about you as a person, your job, and your work style. It could be clean because you're a minimalist who works mostly on a computer, or it could be messy and look untidy because you're writing the next best-selling novel or looking through lots of photos for a fall fashion show.

In either case, whether your desk is messy or clean is a matter of preference. If you notice that you're sloppy, it may be time to clean up. If an organized mess works for you, then keep it up! There really is no "right" choice!

After making the right choice for your desk also organize your organization system too by using HR systems like to avoid wasting time being messy and unorganized as a professional in the business career.

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