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One of the biggest challenges I have been facing over the years is managing the bill paying process.  It’s not that I have a hard time paying bills, but I become overwhelmed by all the other stuff that goes along with it that creates such a mess in my house.  Well, I’ve decided the time has come for me to figure out a remedy for this problem and I’ve managed to work out some pretty cool solutions.

My biggest struggle was with mail.  In this “paperless” day and age can somebody please tell me why I have so much paper to deal with???  As I mentioned before I work full time so every day I come home to a new stack of mail on the kitchen counter.  It is usually sitting next to several other stacks of sorted mail pieces previously received that I need to do things with.  I have been in the habit of sorting the mail each day and throwing out the junk, but I still have bills, cards, school papers, coupons and other various pieces of paper that need action so I wind up with several piles of papers all over my kitchen counters – messy, messy!

I’ve mentioned that I’ve been trolling Good Will lately looking for bargains and I ran across this beautiful wooden bowl last week.  Bestill my heart it was $2.99!  (Can I tell you how much money I’ve spent on mail sorters of various sizes, shapes and colors that just don’t cut it?  I guarantee you NONE of them was $2.99!)   Right then and there I decided it was the perfect solution to my action mail stack.  This gives me one place to store the mail until I get working on it and it looks pretty while it’s on the counter.  Not to mention that it has a limit to its capacity so if it’s getting to full it’s time to stop procrastinating and get to work on those bills, etc.  Voila!  Solution numero uno.

After I attacked the paper piles on the counter I moved on to the secondary paper catch-all – my desk!  This is home to every printed receipt of online payment, check stubs, old checkbooks, bank statements and paid bills from the dreaded mail stacks.  Considering that I was in school the last three years this pile has grown into a Jabba The Hut monstrosity both on and below my desk.  Each time I look at all that paper with sensitive information that is potentially dangerous to expose I am overwhelmed at what to do with those things!   Daily it mocks me,

Heh, Heh, Heh, you are my kind of scum Solo.

So I finally manned up and tackled the beast last weekend, cleaning, sorting and putting away – but still, what to do with all that paper???  Well  it turns out that Office Depot has in-store shredding services for .99 per pound – who knew?!    If you keep an eye out they occasionally run free specials where you bring it in and there is no charge (even better!).  So I loaded up my paper in bags, tossed them  in the trunk and I’m heading off to the Depot.  Take that Paper Jabba!  Don’t underestimate MY power! : )

Well I must say all that weight off my shoulders was inspiring so I was spurred on to further neaten up my finances by creating a budget on Mint.com.  This is a safe and secure site that is super easy to create a budget by downloading your bank account and watching what you spend your money on.  Once you have categories set it will tell you if you overspend or underspend in that category and you can set up alerts to update you on your goals periodically.  Really nice program!  If you are interested check it out here.

How about you?  Any practical suggestions to neaten up your paper filled life?  I’d love to hear your ideas – do tell!  As for me I’m living in paperless heaven and enjoying every minute of it – and yes, my neatness has made me much less Shrew-like!

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