Desk Cleanup Suggestions?

hey MPU,

Having a struggle with my desk. It sounds silly, but I can’t get myself to do some work the last 2 days.
My desk just has this cluttered wire look. It doesn’t help either that I have been watching those immaculate overly clean completely crazy gaming and productivity room setups either.

Attached is a screenshot of my desk, if anyone has better suggestions, please let me know.

From left to right…

  1. PS4
  2. 2 x 4TB WD Drives (1 does Time Machine and 1 does CCC)
  3. HDMI Switcher
  4. Logitech Speakers (need to change this out, maybe the Audio Engine A2+)
  5. Anker USB Hub
  6. Focusrite Scarlette 8i6
  7. Dell P2715q monitor
  8. Control Button for Speakers
  9. Switch Adapter for Super Smash Controller
  10. Macbook Pro (mid 2014)
  11. Switch Dock (behind the mac)
  12. Boom Arm, Mic, Headphones

This desk doesn’t have any cut-outs in it. I am wondering if I am being overly crazy in this.
The gaming systems are here so I don’t bother the rest of the family at night.



Productivity at a desk for me starts with good ergonomics. Given your case, I would first attack these things that will be problems for me:

  • The keyboard is too small for serious touch typing. I have ergonomic keyboards at work (Kinesis Freestyle) and home (… old style fails to come to mind at the moment).
  • The keyboard and mouse sit too high for comfortable activity long-term. I have an under-the-desk pull out at home.
  • The monitor(s) sit too far back and possibly are not at the proper eye level. My monitors and MacBook Pro sit on stands to be properly above the keyboard+mouse level and at eye-level about half-way for both my work and home configurations. The monitors are about an arms length away in both cases. And, I have single-vision computer glasses specifically set for the distance (i.e. NOT reading glasses).

Productivity next starts with keeping a clear space to the left front of the desk. I am right-handed. So, I look over to the LEFT to read input documents or content. I also keep a bit of space on the right front side as well.

After that, I don’t care. Both of my desk tops are in a state of flux. The home gets cluttered with bills and projects (e.g. I just got a new bluetooth headset, so the box and instructions are pushed off to a side until the testing phase is done). The office gets cluttered with assignments and administrative files (although I have the advantage of a second desk that carries much more of the clutter.

I do keep to a rule that those things that I use frequently stay in one place at all times. So, at work, my office phone sits in one place while at home, my charger cables all snake around on one side of the monitor stand.

Hope this gives some positive ideas.



I found that good mechanical switches improve my typing more than “ergonomical” shape. But that is probably personal preference :slight_smile:


Far less wire than my desk. No more excuses. Get back to work! :smiley:


I assume those are patents? Nice!
Nice 'scope too.

My question would be, what does “work” mean?
There’s a lot going on there, and plenty to draw your attention.
The ecobee sensor probably doesn’t need to be there. It takes a little bit of your attention. Do you think about being hot or cold when you see it? Subconsciously?
Looks like your backup drives are connected to a hub, so they could be put out of sight. Maybe even using @MacSparky’s “tacky” solution of taping under the desk.
Do you need to see the PS4? I assume all content is downloaded now, so no need for access?
Do you need the mic in your face? I assume it could swing out of the way if you’re not recording. Route the headphone cable behind your laptop to get it out of the way.
Pen clipped to composition book. Need it? Can you stow it?
Is the desk next to this yours? There’s an Echo there to draw your attention.
Close the blinds.
Not sure what you could do about the wires. Move the amp-thingy off to the side would get cables out of your way. Do you need to see the front of the box? If not, it could go under your laptop.
Maybe thinking in terms of the different modes that you operate in would help compartmentalize your equipment. Put the PS4 away when you aren’t gaming, etc.
Finally, maybe you just need a deadline :slight_smile: That’s what lights a fire under me.

Since mine is much worse, I can freely dole out advice.


Haha thank you @tomalmy and @JohnAtl !! I am unable to move the PS4/Nintendo Switch, they are all plugged into the monitor. I thought about getting a small TV and putting them on a separate desk (the one next to it) but at least “away” from the workstation.

In addition, I also took a break from the room and sat at my kitchen counter with the iPad and a note book. Did some journaling instead of work.

Yes, I do like to have a structured office, but I think I am also trying to find something else to do “cleaning behavior outlet” because my project is on hold. 2 developers aren’t communicating properly. The “old” developer is supposed to hand-off things to the “new” developer.

I have a list of things that I need to do for the project, but they all rely on the new developer implementing what I need, which makes me feel powerless being in this mess. It’s days like this I wish I knew how to build my own apps. Another regret, I wish I was insistent with my old developer on better documentation that I could review personally. (Idiot’s manual essentially)

So, I am left with keep waiting patiently…or bite the financial bullet and ask the new developer to rebuild the whole thing from scratch.

*sidenote - I also already all the items on my list that doesn’t require a developer. At this point, I think all I can do is just continue to write future show ideas and notes.

*sidenote 2 - sorry for venting out that last part


Couple of moves to consider with the goal being to move all visual clutter away from the monitor and out of your peripheral vision:

  1. Move USB hub & HDMI switcher to right of laptop, or under it
  2. Move Focusrite either under the laptop or to the right - this and #1 will clear out many of those cables that are in your peripheral vision at the bottom of the monitor
  3. Stack Smash Controller on top of Focusrite
  4. Run ALL cables directly back to the wall before going left or right; drop them behind the desk and then run over to the left or right depending on what they need to connect to, again coming straight out from the back of the desk to the other peripherial (if you want to eliminate the clutter under the desk, you’ll have to tie them up and tack on the desk’s bottom surface)
  5. Swap the location of the laptop and the PS4 since most of the laptop’s cables are on its left side - this way they aren’t near the monitor - if you do this then put all the hubs and switches to the left of the laptop; may need to slide the monitor to right to accomodate (which might be good from an eye strain standpoint - it seems like it would be hard on your eyes to have half the monitor backlit by the window and half not)
  6. Get an extension for the headphone cable and then route it to the back and under the desk (see #4) and then tack it so it exits out the front of the desk (from underneath)
  7. Get a hook for your headphones and mount to bottom of desk - now there’s no headphone cable anywhere on the desk
  8. As mentioned by others, mount the hard drives under the desk - they don’ t need to move often
  9. New mousepad or consider a felt deskpad that could hold both keyboard and mouse on one pad to keep them together and for a neat look
  10. Elevate the monitor with a shelf for ergonomics and to create a little “garage”/hiding arrea for some of the switches/hubs, etc.

If you make any changes, post an update pic! Good luck!


A caveat: my Magic Mouse doesn’t like my felt deskpad, so I needed to buy a leather mousepad.

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Yep, 6 of the 11 patents I received. The scope is no big deal (I worked for Tektronix 25 years), a Rigol DS1054Z I purchased to make illustrations for some books I’ve written or am writing. But it does mean I have 3 displays on my desk!


@tomalmy, @FrMichaelFanous & @JohnAtl All of your desk setups make me want to tinker & play around and with the Macs. Totally inviting!

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I have moved to only using sound bars for my TVs. You might consider one of the small models made for monitors. Less wires and clutter.

When using my MBP with my Thunderbolt Display I mount it vertically behind the monitor. Most of the wires stay hidden that way.

A 2" hole saw with solve this problem and you can install collar/plug kit to give it a finished look. Most Big Box hardware stores carry what you need. ( has them as well)

Start at the rear center of the desk and add a second or third on either side if required.

Get an under desk headphone hook to clean up the Mic Boom.

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I touch type on this solar powered keyboard all day every day at work. It’s fine for me. It didn’t go so well when I had it in a keyboard drawer at home. It didn’t get enough light to keep charged up and I sometimes had to leave it sunbathing under a lamp.
A keyboard or mouse is not ergonomic on its own. Good ergonomics requires positioning devices appropriately with respect to the person. For me, that means either a keyboard drawer or raising the chair and using a footstool, or a standing desk. I’m now using the Logitech K811 at home as need a multi way to work with my home Mac and work Windows notebook.


I’m right handed but look to the left when inputting information. This is how it was taught back in the dark ages in typing class. (Anyone else remember typing class in high school?)


::looks around at desk::
::notices all the stuff to input into CAD at left::


Yes. I meant left for where I look.

I took touch typing in high school and it has proven to be one of the most invaluable lessons of my life.