Starting the Organization
The best way to start making your workspace/desk more organized is by doing a purge. This means going through all your stuff and deciding whether or not you really need it. More often than not, you will find that a large proportion of your stuff is just clutter and is not needed at your desk. Try putting the stuff somewhere else where you can get it when you need it, but still have the extra space on your desk. It is important that you go through each and every item decide if you really need the item right at your desk or can spare a few seconds to go get it
How can anyone be productive at a desk like this?
So how are you supposed to keep those piles and piles of files tamed? Its easy... get a file cabinet. The number of files, printouts, handout, worksheets, forms, and other records we need to keep are astounding. It is impossible to just put these files on your desk, if you did your whole desk would be covered with just paper. You need a way to manage all these files in an easy way so you can get them when you need them, so get a file cabinet...and for god sake label the darn things (the files and their folders). One important thing to remembers is to keep this cabinet in easy reach. If it's a five minute walk to put that file away you will never end up putting it away.
And if you must put files on your desk save space by separating the groups of files by putting one stack vertically and one stack horizontally and putting a post-it on top of each group to label what the files represent.
If you are like most people, you probably have a supply of 50 pens on your desk, ten packs of post its, hundreds of paper clips, multiple staplers, .... and well you get the point. You have a lot of utensils. But how often do you take out that pair of scissors. And seriously people, are you really going to have such a pen losing/exploding disaster that you will need more than two backup pens. Look at those supplies and decide which ones you really use, and with the ones you use keep at most two backups, I prefer one. Put the rest in a quick access place that you can get to, but will not add to your clutter. Personally, I am an abusive post-it user, so I keep two packs of post-its on my desk. I prefer pencils to pens so I have two pencils and that is it. Everything else, scissors, staplers, extra pens, markers, etc. are all on a shelf. So declutter! Get that staple remover out of here!
Keeping your desk clean and stress free
So, at this point you probably have an awesomely organized desk and strategies to attack all that clutter that is to come. But trust me it will not stay this way. In a few weeks, if not days, your desk will go back to being a warzone. To keep your workspace as peaceful as Switzerland you need to take a few minutes at the end of the day and put that pen back in the corner. It takes a little bit of discipline, but it's worth it when you come to your desk everyday and everything looks so organized. So spend the three minutes at the end of the day when you are just about to leave and clean everything up a little bit. Trust me, it is soooo worth it.