One nice thing about moving was getting all the stuff off my desk. Finally a reason to just throw all the stuff that somehow ended up on my desk into a box.

Most of it’s still there, so why is my desk cluttered again?

Mostly it’s paper, and I know who’s to blame. There’s a second grader in this house, and guess where all her school work ends up when she gets it back?

Ok, ok, I could give it back to her after I look at it. Blame it on me. Really. Just go ahead.

A little of the clutter has to do with bills received as I work toward making all our bills go on auto pay. Once all that’s settled I won’t have to worry about keeping track of who’s been paid.

And I suppose I can throw out the catalogs for the school fundraiser now that it’s over. No point in being tortured by those pictures of cookies anymore. The cookie dough will get here when it gets here, in late October.

I know I’m not the greatest at keeping paper clutter under control, but I do still have a few tips for managing it.

1. Have a safe place for bills that need to get paid.

Don’t let these get buried in the clutter. Put them someplace where you’ll find them in time to pay them. Get on auto pay if you like… I love it. Even pay them as soon as the bills come in if that’s what it takes. Just don’t lose track of any of your bills.

2. Have a safe place for checks that need to be cashed.

Motivation to get these taken care of quickly should be even greater than that for paying bills. But sometimes checks sit a little until I can make it to the bank. Giving them a safe place to sit ensures that I don’t lose any and need to ask for them to be reissued.

3. Give it back.

I’m not so good at this one, as I noted above. I really need to give my daughter the chance right away to decide if her school work is kept or recycled.

We don’t have it up yet, but we have enough wall space here that we’re planning on putting up a board for each kid to put up their favorite artwork and school work. Gives them a place to show off rather than leaving it buried for all time. At least until the boards fill up, as they will.

4. Make friends with the recycle bin.

I just need to get faster about this one. Papers need to go more quickly into the recycle bin than I tend to send them. My desk wouldn’t be half so cluttered if I would make a quick decision as papers come along.

5. Get it filed.

I put this last because really, there aren’t that many papers coming in that I need to keep in a file. Doing that means it will probably stick around FOREVER. Move after move after move. There aren’t that many papers that really need to be kept.

Business records, financial records, important school papers, yes. Every little message from the school, no. You know the stuff you want to keep.

Maybe eventually I’ll be better about keeping the paper to a minimum on my desk. For now all I can do is keep on trying.

At least my habits in this area can’t get much worse. Well, they could, but that would be quite the disaster.