It is funny how sometimes a smart idea just doesn't occur to you for years! Why we never thought to put shelves over the desk is beyond me, but it finally struck me like a moment of genius the other day!
We already had the shelves, but I decided to paint them white and voila! I was able to clear the cookbooks out of a cabinet (thereby making more cabinet space) and now I have a space for some books and other materials for Ben that I don't really want the kids to have free access to. AND I have a clean desk than can now be used for whatever I want!