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Everyday Cheapskate: Give small desks a big makeover

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 of 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 such as a pen while I’m on the phone, 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 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, and all of 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 that is 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.

Cables and cords: My computer peripherals and chargers require a total of 6 electrical outlets. This Quirky Pivot Power Strip plus two Quirky Cordies are fabulous and have taken charge of keeping all of my cables handy and beautifully organized. And the best thing: I can take my laptop with me, and then bring it back and find all of the cables exactly where I left them and all ready to plug in. So handy.

Drawers: This was tricky because my drawers are long and 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. The modular, clear, acrylic drawer organizers are just perfect and completely fill these drawers. Now, everything has a place and is in its place.

Cable box: 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 and so forth, which creates an unsightly mess. I got a Blue Lounge CableBox and it is slick. The power bar/surge protector fits inside of the cablebox, keeping it dust-free and everything well-protected.

Handy caddy: A useful Rolodex Caddy sits on top within handy reach. It’s not so big that it will accumulate a lot of clutter, but large enough to be useful. (For more information about the products mentioned above please visit everydaycheapskate.com/desk.)

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 Hunt is founder of www.DebtProofLiving.com.

You can email her at mary@everyday

cheapskate.com, or write to Everyday Cheapskate, P.O. Box 2099, Cypress, CA 90630.

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