How to Organize a Desk Without Drawers [10 CLEVER TRICKS]

For years, I used to hide all the mess in my desk drawers, but Since I switched to a standing desk without drawers (much better legroom) last year, that option is no longer available.
While drawers help you hide all the mess, they also take up your legroom and prevent air flow (leading to sweat marks :/).

So, when you don’t have any drawers, you must be creative with your setup,
and here are ten tricks to organize your desk without drawers:



How to Organize a Desk Without Drawers

To Organize your desk (with no drawers), you can use monitor stands or arms, under desk trays, desk organizers, laptop stands, external cabinets, cups for pens, a trash can for useless documents, and the vertical space on your wall. In addition, all cable management makes you even more organized.

Now, Let’s jump into details for each section to see how you can create storage for your desk and Organize it:


1. Use a Monitor Stand or Monitor Arms

Have you always wondered how some professionals fit two monitors on small desks and have a minimal setup? What’s the secret? It’s using monitor arms!

Even if your desk has storage, I still suggest getting a nice sturdy monitor stand or arm. Monitor stands/arms will free up a lot of space that your monitors take.

Additionally, if you are a taller person, you can use these arms to make your desk setup taller and work more comfortably with your monitor.

  • Monitor stands usually come with dividers built-in. So not only do they free up a good amount of space below your monitor, but also they help you organize that new space.
  • Monitor arms, on the other hand, are much more flexible. Especially if you spend many hours at your desk, they are the best option for both organization and comfort.


Monitor Stand


If you use a dual or triple monitor setup, I’d highly suggest picking arms over stands.
You can read more about organizing a desk with multiple monitors here:
Desk for Multiple Monitors


2. Use The Wall

If your desk is near the wall, you don’t need drawers. All you have to do is hang shelves and pegboards to the wall.

  • Shelves: basically, you can use them for anything that can fit there: books, files, plants, high school trophies, and even your speakers.
  • Pegboards: pegboards are an excellent choice for hanging headsets, calendars, connection cables that you often need, and the best one, a photo of your loved ones.




Ideally, for having shelves and pegboards, you want to place your desk in the corner of the room to have shelves on one side and pegboards on the other.

However, if that’s not possible, you can hang them easily beside each other where you can reach them easily.


3. Use Desk Organizers

If you are working at an office dealing with many files and papers, using a desk organizer is necessary. Desk organizers are divided into different storage areas for files and documents, pens and pencils, and staplers and paper clips.

However, if you work from home at your home office and don’t have many files and papers, there are better options. I used to have a desk organizer on my setup, filled with pens and papers. But after a while, I noticed that I only used one pen and one tiny notebook; that was all. And then I realized that the desk organizer was just taking my desk space and was not worth it.


Desk Organizer


So, depending on different jobs, for some people, it is super helpful, and for others, it’s not necessary and only takes the extra space on the desk.


4. Under Desk Trays

Minimalism is not only aesthetically beautiful, but it also works!

Hiding all unnecessary items under desk trays makes a big difference in having a clean, organized, and minimal desk setup. You can use under desk trays to store all the gadgets that you don’t need on the desk, including:
internet connection cables and routers, charging adapters, and power outlets.

If you are using an external monitor and you don’t need your laptop open, you can also hide it under the desk to save some space(while connected to the monitor).

Keyboard trays are the other option. Moving your keyboard and mouse under the desk can save a good amount of space on the desk. However, I’m not a big fan of keyboard trays and suggest that you install them only if you need to.

In my experience, most keyboard trays are a bit shaky and also limit the legroom. Also, the whole goal here is to organize a desk and free space for your most important things, including the keyboard and mouse. I just wanted to mention it as an available option.


5. Consider a Laptop Stand

As I mentioned in the last part, if you don’t use your laptop’s monitor and keyboard, it is best not to keep it on the desk. You can move it under the desk and hide it there (while connected to your monitor, keyboard, and mouse).

However, if you need your laptop’s monitor as the primary or secondary monitor, having a laptop stand- just like a monitor arm- will help clear some space below the laptop and make it much more comfortable to work with.


Laptop Stand


Laptop stands also do an excellent job with cooling your machine. Clearing the laptop’s bottom means more airflow reaches your laptop, and the heat transfer will be better. Also, there are some models with cooling fans built in that you can pick.


6. Separate Storage Cabinet

Standing desks are all the hype these days! Mostly, they are a solid desktop on two or four legs; that’s it, no drawers.

And for a lot of people, including me, that’s the best option. The idea is to have a solid desk as a foundation with the most legroom.
Then you can add all the storage cabinets and other parts as you prefer.

(NOTE: make sure having no drawers doesn’t force you to put everything on the desk, overloading the desk will damage the motors and lead to different errors on the controller, which means that you have to reset your standing desk)


External Desk Storage


External cabinets are the best option. You might have to spend a few more dollars for these cabinets than for built-in drawers. Still, it’s worth it, considering the flexibility and customization it provides.

With external cabinets, you can choose if you want to place them under the desk or beside it.
However, I never give up my legroom for anything, so I choose external storage.


7. Use a Cup for Pens

having your pens, pencils, and other little things floating on the desk can be annoying. If you have a desk organizer on the desk (discussed in part 3), you don’t need to use any jars or cups.

However, if you don’t have that luxury, a cup or a jar is all you need to store your pens and pencils and other little things like paper clips, erasers, etc.


Pencil Cup


8. Use the Trash Can More Often

Since we don’t have any drawers, our goal is to minimize the clutter on the desk. That means all useless objects must be in the trash can ASAP.
Although it seems very common sense, most of us just forget about it, and after a few hours, we suddenly face all the mess accumulated on the desk.

Every day, take a look at all the things you have on your desk, extra files and papers, useless documents, or even your snack leftover, and throw them all into the trash can.


Desk Trash Can


9. Desk Mats Make a Difference

You might think that desk mats are only for comfort and sliding the mouse. Well, partially true! Desk mats also divide your desk space into two separate areas and make it look more organized.

For me personally, the desk mat area is only for my mouse and keyboard. All other things, including phone, notebook, speakers, etc., should not enter my working area, which is the desk mat. It may seem weird to you, but trust me, you’ll feel much more focused while working if you try it for a while.


Desk Pad


Also, you can read this article for different methods to clean your desk mat:
How to Clean Desk Pads


10. Finally! Cable Management

It doesn’t matter even if you have a hundred drawers all over your desk; if you don’t put the time and manage all the cables properly, you’ll never have an organized workstation.

The simple rule here is to minimize the number of visible cables. The more lines you hide, the cleaner your desk looks.

A few simple tips on cable management:

  • Use a wireless mouse and keyboard.
  • use under desk cable management racks and trays to hide all power outlets, extra cables, modem router, etc.
  • try to pass your monitor cables through the stand or the arm.
  • never leave your charging cables for your phone, laptop, and other gadgets on the desk. Organize them in a way that the minimum amount of cables is visible.


Here’s an ultimate video guide on cable management by Sam Beckman:



If you are using a desk with no drawers and are overwhelmed with all the stuff on your desk, don’t worry! As I mentioned in the article, there are many creative ways to organize your desk.

Just to summarize all the tricks in the article,
here’s How you can Organize a Desk Without Drawers:

  1. Monitor Stands or Monitor Arms
  2. Under Desk Trays
  3. Use Desk Organizers
  4. Use The Wall
  5. Consider a Laptop Stand
  6. Separate Storage Cabinet
  7. Use a Cup for Pens
  8. Use Trash Can More Often
  9. Desk Mats make a Difference
  10. Finally! Cable Management


I hope now you can use all or some of the tricks mentioned in the articles to build a clean and organized desk setup.

Next, here’s a great article on maintaining a clean desk setup:
keeping your desk dust-free

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