How to Create a Minimalist Desk Setup That’s Easy to Maintain


Studies over the years have shown that an uncluttered workspace can lead to greater productivity in workers, in addition to less stress and a better overall mood. One recent study by the Princeton University Neuroscience Institute found that constant visual reminders of disorganization can cause people to lose focus and limit their abilities to process information, thus decreasing their productivity. The study says, “multiple stimuli present in the visual field at the same time compete for neural representation,” while “a clean work environment will help you be more productive, less moody, and better able to process information.”

Fortunately, it’s easier than ever to have a minimalist desk setup. Those of a certain age may remember the days when almost every desk had on its surface: a landline telephone, rolodex, calculator, storage box for floppy disks, clock, and stacks of paper. Today, all these items have been replaced by a single computer and a cellphone. 

If your desk area is currently more cluttered than you would like it to be, it’s time to take a fresh look at your space. There are likely things on your desk that don’t actually need to be there. Maybe it’s papers that you can scan and save digitally rather than keeping as hard copies, or perhaps it’s a desk lamp that you never use. Do you really need that mug filled with pens, pencils, and highlighters? Determine which items you really need and get rid of the rest.

A desk with clean lines can help you achieve a more minimalist look. Check out Desk A— RLDH’s top-selling minimalist desk.

Every line of work will have its own set of tools that are required. Your job may require that you have two monitors on your desktop or some other type of specialized equipment that you can’t work without. You can still maintain a minimalist desk setup with your necessary equipment, it just might mean you’ll need to be a bit more selective with the other items on your desk. 

If you enjoy having personal items in your workspace, such as photos or favorite souvenirs from your travels, consider hanging them on the wall next to your desk or installing some sort of shelving nearby, rather than setting them directly on your desktop. Floating shelves are a popular option, as they don’t take up any valuable floor space. By using shelves, you can still keep your cherished items near, without cluttering up your work surface. 

There may be other items currently on your desk that you can hang on hooks to help you get to a minimalist desk setup. Headphones, backpacks, and purses are just a few examples of things that can easily be hung on a nearby hook. On our popular minimalist desk, we have included hooks on the front two legs of the desk for this very reason. 

Another tactic to achieving a more minimalist desk setup is to go wireless when possible. A single wireless speaker or wireless headphones can help cut down on the clutter. Take the wires you have remaining after converting to wireless devices and group them together using inexpensive Velcro wire ties to create a cleaner look.

Once you’ve created your minimalist desk setup, it’s important to maintain it. Be thoughtful about new items you bring into your workspace, and take the time at the end of every day to clear your desktop of any items that accumulated over the course of the workday.