5 tips every mom needs to declutter her desk

These simple solutions help you know right where the homework, coupons, invitations, etc. belong!

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  • Junk mail, homework, coupons, ads,

  • Bills that I should file.

  • Magazines and more are sitting

  • In my paper pile.

  • Cluttering my countertop

  • And looking downright scary.

  • I start to chip away and wonder,

  • Where's my secretary?

  • So if it seems I've vanished -

  • Haven't seen me for a while,

  • Please start to dig, I'm buried

  • Underneath my paper pile.

  • Fortunately since the year I scribbled this poem, I have emerged - and not without some helpful tips to share.

  • Here are five ways to help declutter your paper pile - for good!

  • 1. Create an "Out 'n' About" organizer

  • This is a great way to have all of your coupons with you on the go. Mine, for example, is an 8.5 x 11 file with tabs to separate items, like the "free meal" cards earned by the kids at school, gift cards or discount ads that come in the mail.

  • Keeping this file in the car makes it easy to flip through when you need to decide on the best place to pick up dinner.

  • 2. Get some strong magnets

  • Do you like to have those must-see papers posted on the fridge? Small decorative magnets just don't do the job. They need to withstand the repeated opening and closing of a door, and sometimes stick through several papers.

  • The jackpot gems I found were in the construction section of Home Depot. These "Pull Power Handle" magnets can hold up to 25 lbs. of weight and are worth every penny of the $5.97 they cost. I lined them with duct tape to protect my refrigerator's smooth, white surface.

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  • Now that permission slip, event reminder and this week's reading record are both viewable and accessible.

  • 3. Use binders

  • After trying a stacking file, I decided that binders are a better system based on their look and portability. School papers, registration receipts for sports, unfinished artwork and more are all lurking within these neatly placed personal binders.

  • When it's time to go through them, each child can find a place to spread out and purge old papers.

  • 4. Have a "Mom's Mailbox"

  • When the kids reach the age where they are old enough to be expecting the Lego catalog, but are still too young to be trusted to let the parents know about any other mail that arrives, this will help.

  • Designate a place for them to put all mail besides their own, for you to sort through each day.

  • A simple but sturdy file box does the trick. It is upright, so the mail doesn't get buried.

  • 5. Use a "For now" folder

  • Certain items, like party invitations, monthly newsletters or wedding announcements, contain timely information that may need to be referred back to. Keeping these kinds of items in their own folder will allow you to easily check a date or time if needed. Be sure to clean it out regularly to keep it current.

  • Now you are prepared to tackle those papers as they come!

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Julia M. L. Whitehead is a full-time mother of 5 who loves biking and skiing through the Rocky Mountains with her husband and family.

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