In need of a smarter kids’ desk setup? Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin, cofounders of The Home Edit, school us in their strategies.

By Real Simple
Updated August 23, 2017
Jonny Valiant
Jonny Valiant

Elevate Supplies

Help keep the desktop clear by stashing grab-and-go items, like scissors and spare tape, on a peg-board or open shelves.

To buy: Peg-It-All storage panel, from $100;

Eliminate Extras

Whether they’re pens and pencils or notebooks and erasers, edit out supplies that have seen better days. Having fewer items in the rotation will reduce clutter and stop it from spreading to the rest of your house.

To buy: Mint signature ballpoint pens, $12 for 12;

Size Up

Choose a piece of furniture that will continue to work as your student grows. Seek out an option with ample drawer storage to avoid surface clutter.

Establish Order

Set up simple systems for your kids to follow: a tray for paper, a spot for books, a folder for finished projects. If everything is easy to find and put away, children are less likely to create a mess.

Purge the Paper

Reduce the amount of paper that piles up by employing an app like Artkive (, which stores digital versions of your child’s artwork.