Whether you're a minimalist to the core or simply like things neat, a minimalist desk setup offers incredible advantages on the mental and material plane. Minimalist principles are, in essence, about conscious decision-making and living a purpose-driven life.
It's understanding what resonates with you on a very personal level, what brings more beauty and joy to your life and what is just taking up space. As The Minimalists eloquently state, "Minimalists search for happiness not through things, but through life itself."
Your workstation is the perfect backdrop for embracing this philosophy. After all, do you really need 25 different writing utensils, three notebooks, every-color-in-the-rainbow sticky notes and pictures of friends you last saw in high school? Yes? If they bring you joy, then keep them, by all means!
Once you've decluttered, cleaned and streamlined, you can create a space for the things that matter the most. And, in the process, you'll not only clean your desk but your mind as well.
Let's explore the neuroscience behind having a clean desk and the 15 best minimalist desk setups to help you get there.
Numerous studies in Harvard Business Review confirm what you innately know: clutter affects your productivity while increasing stress and anxiety. How many times have you wasted precious minutes searching for a document in a pile of papers, growing increasingly agitated? As a human, probably many. Life gets busy, and cleaning the desk gets buried in the pile of the many "to-do's."
These studies also prove clutter's negative effect on the ability to focus, distracting you from your best intentions. It can even increase the tendency to snack on junk food. With that in mind, let's tackle your desk and create a minimalist desk setup one step at a time.
To create a desk that leaves you inspired, you need to start with a fresh, clean slate. Remove everything and put it in a box or two. If you need more than two boxes, well, we'll discuss that later.
For some, creating a minimalist desk setup may require a new desk. Fortunately, today's designs offer simple solutions that can replace big, bulky and uninspiring models. Consider wall-mounted desks that free up space while creating a clean, uncluttered look. Some even double as bookshelves or fold down from the wall for optimum aesthetics.
A simple desk with room for a set of drawers or filing cabinets underneath gives you the space you need to keep your desktop clean and clear.
Before indulging in the dividers and shelves that can help you maintain order, it's time to inspect your belongings. If you're a "things" person, this activity can be a little challenging. Put on some soft jazz or music with nature sounds and get into your Zen zone. Then, put each item you pick up into a keep, toss or give-away pile.
Remember, the minimalist mindset is based on the theory that "less is more." Everything you own either serves a purpose or contributes to your peace of mind. Imagine every item you let go of reducing stress, increasing productivity and enhancing your life. Ask questions like, "Do I need this? Does it add beauty? Does it bring joy? "
Do you know that some minimalists have paired down their belongings to less than 100 items? That's everything — clothes, shoes, furniture and pens. Hard to imagine, right?
Drawers are extremely helpful in maintaining a clutter-free desk zone. If you don't have drawers, a simple solution is self-adhesive under-desk drawers. Add drawer organizers to ensure every item has a place to call home.
The idea is to keep as much as possible off your desk. A minimalist desk setup typically consists of your computer, a lamp and maybe a picture or plant. Pairing down to that level makes you look at each item you own through the lens of value and love.
Wires have no place in a minimalist desk setup. Fortunately, we live in a wireless world! Consider getting a wireless mouse and keyboard. If some wires must remain, a cable management tray or backside wire organizer can help keep your desk and floor uncluttered.
For some people, opening a drawer whenever they need a pen, scissors or notepad can suck the joy right out of their clutter-free desk. If you can relate, a desk organizer adds a little more "stuff" to your desktop but puts everything you use every day in easy reach.
These hold your essentials, with some including a special place for your smartphone. You can also select organizers that align with your design, whether made out of mesh, wood or bamboo.
Some minimalists consider an all-white color scheme the best approach. However, neutral colors can bring the natural world indoors and add a nice design element. Ideally, keep the color palette monochromatic with varying shades of the same hue. Colors to consider include natural wood tones, blue, gray, taupe and soft green.
From desks to storage cabinets, a minimalist desk setup considers natural materials, a simple design and straight lines.
Going paperless is one of the best ways to achieve a minimalist desk setup. And thanks to today's digital world, it's possible! Receipt and paper scanners let you store important documents on your computer, backing them up to an external drive or cloud storage service. Note-taking apps rid your space of Post-it notes, and digital to-do lists keep your life organized.
The right lighting improves productivity and enhances your workspace. Adjustable task lighting is ideal for your desk, illuminating the activity at hand. Consider LED desk lamps with a swing arm and adjustable temperature and brightness settings. The most important consideration? Make sure you love it.
One or two plants add life and beauty to your space. We care for them, and, in turn, they care for us. Numerous studies show their many health benefits include improving air quality, increasing feelings of well-being, reducing stress and improving concentration. Plants shown to improve the air include spider plants, Boston ferns and bamboo palms.
One breathtaking painting or beautiful nature scene can refresh your senses and improve your mental outlook. From a tropical waterfall to endless waves or mountain peaks, choose an image that inspires you.
We know minimalism is more about subtracting than adding. However, to keep things off your desk requires a place to put them. Not all of us can pair down to 100 items! A small, streamlined upper cabinet with two or three shelves creates a space for books, journals, inspiring quotes and photos.
You can ensure it blends in with your design by choosing bamboo, wood or metal units and sticking to the same color scheme. You can even use wire shelves for an industrial look. Consider ones with doors if you want to retain the ultimate minimalist decor.
One simple shelf above your desk gives you the space you need to keep everything off your desk. This solution is ideal for smaller desks and if you have a creative muse who enjoys vision boards, writing and drawing. In one quick maneuver, the few items on your desk can transfer to the shelf, giving you the space to create.
A thin vertical shelving unit tucked next to the desk in a corner wall offers a space for color-coordinated baskets, a few books and a plant. Choose square wicker baskets that slide right into the shelf and look like they belong.
These can hold your current projects in organized files for easy access. Consider placing a philodendron plant on the top shelf, letting it cascade down, bringing a touch of greenery.
While standup desks are growing in popularity, thanks to the phrase, "Sitting is as bad as smoking," many people still prefer to sit at their desks. Minimalist desk chairs follow the monochromatic rule and blend in with your chosen design. They are also simple (instead of big and bulky), comfortable and ergonomically designed. Popular options include those with wooden legs.
Minimalism is all about functionality. It's ridding yourself of chaos and embracing a simpler lifestyle where everything has a purpose and a place. Start with decluttering, then use these tips and tools to create a minimalist desk setup. Who knows? Your entire apartment may become a minimalist zone.
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