Ultimate OCD Desk Organizer

I spend a lot of time at my desk, and it accumulates a lot of random stuff. Random critical stuff. My wallet. Glasses. Two types of glasses sadly. The tiny Apple TV remote that sprouts little feet and hides under the mail. Along with my Bluetooth headset, multi-tool, USB drives and other bobbles that I need on a semi-regular basis and find myself spending exactly 3.6 minutes each day trying to find under various bits of paper or books or anything else that’s landed on my work surface.

So I built this…

When the frustration level started to peak, I had started looking at various under-the-monitor shelves or other types of trays or something that would let me give all of these little desk minions a home of their own, but couldn’t find anything that really looked right.

Ideally I wanted something that was slightly pitched so that whatever I’d put there was visible and accessible from my seated position, and that meant it’d need to be textured in some way to keep items from sliding off. And it needed to fit the space under my screens, which meant fitting around a relatively large base for the three monitor stand.

So I quickly figured out I was going to have to build something.

I wound up laying out the objects I wanted to store on a cardboard template that fit the space under the monitors, then made a pattern in Infinity Designer on a few pieces of paper. I cut a piece of 3/4″ MDF in the same shape as the cardboard, then used spray adhesive to glue the pattern down.

Then came the router. It’s been a long time since I’ve had the router out and I forgot what a mess it makes when you don’t have a proper dust collection setup. I’m still shaking MDF dust out of my gym shoes.

But I did get the shapes all routered out, sanded and then screwed the shelf into some angled legs. A couple of turns in the drill press to make holes for USB cables for the phone charger, USB hub and headset dock, and it was ready to paint. I sprayed a semi-gloss black base coat, and then finished the insets by hand in dark blue which contrasts nicely with the other colored accessories on the desk.

I routered out five spaces for different pairs of glasses which in retrospect looks compulsive, but that’s what I had hiding on my desk when I took inventory. It turns out now that everything has a storage spot, I’m able to find specific pairs of computer glasses and distance glasses consistently because they get put away right away, and I probably just needed two slots. Still, I know right where the spare pairs live if I need them.

It was a fun Saturday project and it’s definitely helping me keep the key things I need to find right in front of me. If you’ve got the wood working skills and your desk is half as messy as mine was, it’s a worthwhile weekend distraction.