Ellen Rohr UN-CluttererOnce, I was asked to submit a proposal for writing a brochure for a manufacturing company. I was on friendly terms with the president of the company, and he had asked me to take on the project. I put together a proposal and decided to deliver it in person.

When I arrived, the president’s secretary told me that he had left for a few minutes, and suggested that I set my proposal on his desk. So, I walked into his office and was shocked to see towering stacks of papers and product samples two feet deep on top of his desk. Every square inch was covered.   Piles had tipped over on top of others.

I set my proposal on top of this sea of paper, and visualized it drowning before it ever got noticed. After leaving, I called his office and left a voice mail, alerting him that I had dropped off the proposal. Later, he returned my call and promised that once he got caught up with a few things, he would take a look and get back to me. He never did. And I didn’t mind. I knew we wouldn’t ever get anything done!

I am not a neat nick. I am not particularly tidy or organized. But, I have disciplined myself to be orderly and systematic because I don’t like the consequences of being a slob. I don’t like people to think that I am disorganized and out of control. On the contrary, I want people to feel that, by working with me, they have found a sane harbor in a sea of chaos.

I also got tired of searching for everything I thought was “right here.” The key is to UN-Complicate.  When we strip down, streamline, and simplify…we get more of what we want, with less time and effort.  And your desk is a great place to start!   A clean, well-organized desk is a reflection of your business, and your integrity.  You just can’t talk to your team about order and accountability over a giant stack of un-done paperwork.

For small businesses, this is even more important! Less staff means more responsibility for everyone. If you are buried under excess paperwork and clutter, it’s hard to run a streamlined organization. Start with the desire to organize – and get the tools to make it happen.

I teamed up with Staples on this blog.  I only brag about companies I love, and I love them.  I get a charge out of shopping for office supplies, you know, new stuff.   Here’s a cool tip:  You don’t need to spend more on name-brand office supplies.  Opt for Staples Brand Products.  The quality is equal to or better than other perhaps-better-known brands.  So you can spend less for a lot more.  From pens and markers to storage systems to furniture, Staples Brand Products can help make your office streamlined, organized, UN-Complicated! …with high quality products at great value.

Can your office use a Spring refresh?   Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  • Collect the tools you’ll need – a garbage can, a stapler, post-it notes, paper clips and a marking pen and furniture polish or all-purpose cleaner, storage bins and boxes, and of course a large cup of coffee!
  • Lock your door and turn off your phone.
  • Take everything – I mean everything– off your desk. Empty all drawers and shelves. Set everything on the floor.
  • Actually clean your desk, inside and out. Polish it – make it shine!
  • Go through every pile and get rid of the trash – THROW IT OUT! Be ruthless…out-of-date information? Toss it! A magazine that is more than two months old? Pitch it! (Remember, it is unlikely that you would ever look through your huge piles of stuff to actually find something. If any of this information is available online or with a telephone call that is where you should get it.)
  • Put everything you need to keep into “like kind” piles on the floor.
  • Use your tools to make small notes, staple corresponding items together, label and sort.
  • Put back on your desk ONLY the things you will need to access regularly.
  • Put back on your shelves ONLY the current projects that require your immediate attention.
  • Take the piles of like-kind information and FILE them! This includes stuff you can’t throw away but need to store, like tax records, financial information, past projects.  Important records shouldn’t be stored in a cardboard box or in the middle of your current work space! These Staples storage boxes are high quality, reusable, sturdy, and go a long way in keeping your space organized.


  • Put back in your desk drawers each type of office supply item you use. Get some new pens, mechanical pencils and highlighters (you know yours are all dried up!)  Isn’t it a joy to have fresh supplies?  And it’s more professional to have a uniform selection of pens and other writing utensils rather than pens you’ve accumulated from your last few business trips or conferences! For a small investment, you get a lot of motivation.  Staples helps you stay well within your budget when updating your space and purchasing supplies.


  • Now that your desk is organized, remember that to be productive you have to be comfortable! Don’t break the bank on an expensive desk chair. Upgrade to mesh and better design. Staples has a wide selection of chairs that are a great value…and chic, too.
  • Finally, put your mission statement on your wall.  In a frame, or lovely, customized stenciling.  Never staple or tape documents to the wall.  Your office is where you do your thinking!  Honor the space.


A clean and organized desk is no small thing. It is symbolic of your commitment to excellence, fundamental business basics and focused thinking.  It is a testimony to your personal discipline.  Organization speaks volumes.

You do you, first.  Then, space by space, clean up the whole office and shop.  All team members can pitch in.  Schedule a Saturday Spring Cleaning Day.  Enlist a neat-nick co-worker and go through the steps of delegation.  For each area, a team member can take everything out, clean the space, bring back only what’s really needed.  Recycle or pass along the furniture or organizing tools that just don’t speak to you anymore.  Make your office a place that inspires you to do your highest work. Take pictures when you are done, and assign team members housekeeping duties/procedures to keep things tidy.

Yep, Staples is my one-stop-shop for creating an organized space! With Staples Brand Products, you can update your workspace with quality products for less.  The savings bonus means dollars straight to your bottom line.    Thanks, Staples, for the Spring cleaning help and inspiration!  #MakeMoreHappen

Business UN-Complicated…and your Desk UN-Cluttered!

“Success is a science; if you have the conditions, you get the result.”— Oscar Wilde

xo$ Ellen