Graphic: Shep McAllister

Whether you’re heading back to school, or are just sick of your messy desk, these products can keep your clutter under control, and they can do it in style.

Photo: Amazon

Keeping all your notes and appointments in one place, rather than written on a million sticky notes, will help reduce visual clutter and keep you more organized. If you don’t find yourself reaching for a planner regularly, a to-do list that offers a little organization and guidance is a great in-between. This weekly planner notepad is blank, meaning you can use it one week, and skip the next without feeling like you’re wasting paper. If you want something even more pared-down, this to-do list from Knock Knock just divides tasks by days and includes a spot for “next week” for ongoing tasks you don’t want to lose sight of.

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A two-for-one organizer/computer stand would allow you, if you so desired, to keep the rest of your desk clear. This model has room for pens, sticky notes, clips, and even a spot for your phone. The phone slot can also hold business cards, and the narrow slot can also house glasses, lip balm, and more.

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Not all offices will let you install something as permanent as a shelf. But if you work from home or have the freedom to more permanently customize your office, it’s an easy way to buy you a lot more space. Plus, you’ll be more motivated to keep whatever goes on the shelves organized if you have to look at it all day, unlike whatever gets shoved into your desk. If you want a completely clear desk, install it low and keep things like pen cups and tape on it.

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I love the look of these rustic metal wire shelves from Mkono, but if you want something more minimal, these U-shaped shelves are another great option.

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If there’s a surface, I’m going to find a way to stick a tray on it. Anything that can motivate you to get various sources of clutter (change, mints, paper clips, tea bags, rubber bands) organized into one spot instantly makes the area feel calmer. These simple geometric trays are stackable, making it easy to create more (or less) storage space as needed. The green tray can also be used as a coaster. If you want something simpler, it’s hard to go wrong with simple gold.

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Most office supply closets will have some kind of matching desk set available for things like pencil cups, letter trays, and tape dispensers. For something with a bit more flair, Poppin’s desk sets are generally tame enough for even the most conservative offices but have more visual appeal than flimsy black plastic. You can also easily add on with other things from their collection in matching or complimentary collars, like their scissors or “grip grass.”

Poppin tends to be a little pricey, so if you want a less expensive option with plenty of personality, copper wire organizers update the metal mesh organizer look. They’re chic enough that, even if you don’t want a letter sorter or hanging file organizer ar your desk, you can take it home for your entryway or bedside table.

Graphic: Shep McAllister 

Drawer inserts can be helpful for all this little bits and bobs, but sometimes feel overly prescriptive. These stackable, shuffle-able cubes allow you the freedom to set them up for your actual needs. The trays can also be stacked and organized on the desk itself.

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If you really want to make your desk feel uncluttered but know you won’t remember to clear it off every night, acrylic organizers are an easy visual trick that also is very on-trend right now. And these file holders and pencil cups, unlike acrylic coffee tables and chairs, require far less care and attention to keep them free from fingerprints.

Photo: Amazon

Pencil cups can be a little silly when, most of the time, you just reach for your favorite pen over and over again. Rather than cede that desk space to something with limited utility, get something that can do a bit more heavy lifting. Yamazaki’s “desk bar” has slots for pencils and pens, as well as a place to put watches and jewlery, and a catch-all for other office sundries.

Umbra’s storage box has slots for pens and pencils, as well as a narrow space for scissors, rulers, and other stationary. The drawer at the bottom acts as a spot for sticky notes or whatever else you want to stash there.

With a cup large enough to accommodate a cell phone, Artinova’s wooden pen cup can hold way more than pens. But the real appeal here is a calendar you can use forever. Move the dials for the month, and the sliding rectangle lets you easily set the calendar for a new month. Just slide until it shows the correct first day of the month, and you’re good to go.