How I gave my small desk a big makeover | Business, Finance & Technology


If there’s one thing I know about myself, it’s this: I don’t work well in chaos. Recently I came to terms with my office. Specifically, my desk.

I have a fairly small desk, by design. I have just enough space for my computer and a couple of monitors. The desk has only three small drawers that are so full of clutter, I can barely coax them to open. Upgrading to a larger desk with great big drawers is not a solution for me because I know myself. Without intervention of some kind, I’d manage to load up that big desk, fill up all those drawers and end up with an even bigger dilemma.

I think I’ve figured out why this happens. When I’m working and I need something like a pen, I need it now. This moment. I don’t have time to rummage through stacks of paper, books and manuscripts or these minuscule drawers to find a pen that actually works. When I can’t find what I need when I need it, it makes me want to sit in the corner and chew my hair.

Which brings me to the point of this column: desk organization. I did it. I took the time to do it right this time, and what a difference it has made. Wow. My desktop is clear and clean, all my cables, cords and connections are untangled, organized and accessible.

And my three small drawers? They are so organized and beautiful, this desk now gives me the functionality of an ordinary desk twice its size. Here’s what I did:

First, I measured everything. Then I spent an hour searching for just the right solutions for my specific needs. I found everything online (all discounted with free shipping!). Total, I spent less than $50 plus a couple of Amazon gift cards languishing in the back of my wallet. It’s the best money I’ve spent in a long time.


My computer peripherals and chargers require a total of six electrical outlets. A Quirky Pivot Power Strip plus two Quirky Cordies (Walmart) have taken charge of keeping all my cables handy and beautifully organized. And the best thing: I can take my laptop with me, then bring it back and find all the cables exactly where I left them and all ready to plug in. So handy.


This was tricky because my drawers are long, fairly narrow and very shallow — just 2 inches. I need dividers of some kind that will fill the space but allow for good visuals so I can see what I have. Modular, clear, acrylic drawer organizers are just perfect and completely fill these drawers. Now, everything has a place and is in its place.


My desk is not the only cable and cord station in this office. I have another power strip to handle the television, lamps, printers, adapters, lamps and so forth, which creates an unsightly mess. I got a BlueLounge CableBox (Amazon), and is it slick. The power bar/surge protector fits inside of the cable box, keeping it dust-free and everything well protected.


A useful rolodex caddy (Amazon) sits on top within handy reach. It’s not so big that it will accumulate a lot of clutter but is large enough to be useful.

I don’t know what’s come over me. Maybe it’s spring fever, and I’m not questioning it one bit. Getting my desk back up to full functionality has given me such a boost of energy, I’m ready take on the world!

Next: My closet.

Mary invites you to visit her at, where this column is archived complete with links and resources for all recommended products and services. Mary invites questions and comments at, “Ask Mary.” This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of, a frugal living blog, and the author of the book “Debt-Proof Living.”


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