Going paperless, and making room for creativity {NeatDesk review + giveaway!}

Written by editor Nicole Bennett, of Gidget Goes Home.

Organization can be really freeing. As we simplify and see less clutter around us, we really feel the effects of this seemingly difficult task, of attacking the mounds of paper.

As we enter the busy holiday season, and we try to take the craziness down a notch, I can only think that reducing the paper clutter surrounding us will only serve to also reduce the chaos in our lives as well. Those of us who call ourselves creatives know how stifling clutter can be, and yet also how hard it is to avoid when we are at work in the creative process.

Read on as I share how I”ve been tackling the paper overload, and I”ll also tell you how the amazing NeatDesk system has been working for me. I”m super excited because today I get to not only tell you about this tool that will simplify the organization process, but I also get to give one away to a lucky reader.

Less paper clutter equals more room for creativity

It is ridiculous how fast we accumulate paper. Anyone else with me on this? It”s like a fast-multiplying organism that seems to take on a life of its own the minute it enters our home.  Here”s how I”m dealing with my paper clutter these days.


I love magazines for inspiration, but one way I”m reducing paper clutter from the get-go, is reading my magazines with my iPad in hand (you could do the same with a laptop or smart phone, or even at your desk by your computer).

I used to rip pages out and save them in binders or in stacks and well, that was a simple recipe for paper pile-up… and the truth is, those inspiring pages rarely actually served to inspire any projects because they got lost in the binders and stacks. Not to mention that the magazines were skeletons missing half their pages that had to be relegated to the recycle bin!

Now? When I find something I like I do the following: 

  1. Search for the project, idea or article online. Martha Stewart”s website, for example, actually houses digital records of all her recipes and projects from Living magazine (at least in my experience so far).
  2. Pin it to one of my Pinterest boards.
  3. Pass on the magazine, with all its pages in tact, to a friend, or donate to a school or library.

The pages I already have ripped out, I am retroactively applying the previous method to, or, if I really want to save them, I will scan them with my NeatDesk and file them on my computer to use later.

Important documents

It”s hard for me to write or do other creative endeavors when my desk or work area is overflowing with stacks of papers, waiting to be filed or saved for posterity.

Now we are scanning all of our car service documents, insurance policies, invoices, receipts, you name it. Anything we think we might need for a return we”ll keep a hard copy of, but everything else will get filed in our NeatWorks digitial file cabinet and exported to our external hard drive for safe keeping.

NeatWorks is the software that comes with the NeatDesk scanner. It”s easy to use and organize in and even analyzes the text on documents for archiving so you don”t have to manually type in all the info to describe a document.

You know those forms you get from baby and yearly child well visits at the doctor? I had those filed away, taking up precious space in a binder and now they are digitally filed and paper copies shredded. These are simply for reference. Just like insurance policies, if I somehow lost all my digital copies, I could always request a copy from the doctor”s office like I could from the insurance company.

I”m also working on scanning and digitally filing any other paperwork that you might not classify as “important” but that I want to save for reference, such as sermon notes and handouts from church leadership meetings, recipes, some children”s mementos and schoolwork, owner”s manuals and even small trail maps for local hiking trails.

Business cards

Is it just me, or is it fun to exchange business cards? In an increasingly-digital world, they sort of seem inconsequential, but they”re still fun.

I keep the prettiest ones for design inspriation in a plastic sleeve that”s made to hold biz cards, but the rest now get scanned into NeatWorks with my scanner”s handy business card slot, and again, NeatWorks analyzes the card and extrapolites the contact info. It will even sync with my Mac”s Address Book.

Again, all of this scanning and organizes serves to free up more creative space, in my work area and in my brain.

And with NeatCloud and NeatMobile, I can then access my files from anywhere– my computer, iPad, or even my smart phone if I need something on the go. This is much more effective for finding information than trying to leaf through stacks of paper that are waiting to be filed (an endless cycle if I ever saw one).

I”ll also be syncing some of these documents and inspiration with Evernote, which I use as another way to digitally file and organize my recipes, notes, thoughts and things I want to remember.

With the limited space we have at my parents” house, this new system is revolutionizing our organization. And I”m excited for laying the foundation for a simpler system when we do move in to our new place.

A few more resources on reducing paper clutter (including what to keep and what to toss): 


Today, one lucky Simple Homemade reader will win a NeatDesk scanner, complete with the NeatWorks software and a 30-day trial of NeatCloud and NeatMobile (this is an almost-$400 value!).

Isn”t that neat? {Sorry, I couldn”t help myself!}

Entering is easy, just use the Rafflecopter widget below. Start where it says ” 1 Do it!”

Giveaway ends Monday, November 19th, at midnight EST. Good luck!

Thanks to the Neat Company for sending me a NeatDesk to review.

About Nicole

Nicole can be found blogging at her lifestyle blog GidgetGoesHome.com, and is the editor of Simple Homemade. She loves to read, sew, make ice cream, take pictures, watch baseball and go for walks by the beach with her hubby and three little kiddos. She loves anything handmade and is affectionately known as a bit of a hippie among family and friends.


  1. Would LOVE to win this awesome gift! Thank you!
    Sarah M

  2. Oh, my new husband and I desperately need organization in our home office. We would use it to finally get the clutter out!

  3. Wow! What a great product and giveaway! We could use the NeatDesk to finally get years of important personal documents (grad school notes, family information…) into a digital format.

  4. I too love magazines. I’d love to use the scanner to get rid of all the cut out articles, recipes, tips, and photos that I’ve collected over the years. Thank you for a great giveaway!

  5. I would love it to simplify all the kids’ paperwork!

  6. That would be so nice to win…

  7. This is something my husband and I have been talking about for a long time. I really don’t like all the paper clutter! We own a duplex and keep all the utilities bills, it would be nice to be able to just have them online and not have to worry about keeping the paper!

  8. Mine would be magazine pages, recipes, room design, craft ideas, gift ideas, etc, etc, etc. It would be so nice to have them organized and not stored.

  9. Robin from Frugal Family Times says:

    It would be great to scan the kids’ artwork – we are buried under it here!

  10. Kids’ paperwork and receipts!

  11. I am a paper piler and stacker and my office is overflowing! My husband gets so frustrated with me. I have gone digital with other things but really need to digitize my desk and all my papers.

  12. Man, I NEED this bad!

  13. I hate filing things away – bills, statements, reports, etc… I have the NeatDesk on my wish list!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  14. MaryBeth Loewen says:

    Would love to use this to turn a large box of papers into digital form! Thanks for the giveway.

  15. Would love this! Ones of my goals has been to go paperless, and this really simplifies that process!

  16. I pin magazine articles that I want to re-read too. I would use this to save my kids’ school work.

  17. I would love this! I think it would help me to keep all my teaching notes and research materials from cluttering up my life, which would help me to be less stressed about work and leave me more time for other creative pursuits!

  18. amanda paige says:

    Oh it would help me out a lot. I do a lot of research and I keep saying I am going to scan my handwritten notes but never get around to it and I also have a lot of paper I want to make digital.

  19. I have stacks of papers I’d love to scan and get rid of. They accumulate so fast!

  20. I would love to use the NeatDesk for scanning receipts!

  21. Organizing receipts!

  22. Kim Wilson says:

    I could use anything and everything to help organize my daughter and I. Would certainly LOOOOOVE this gift!

  23. Clean up our files and make things accessible on the cloud. My family moves about often, and there would be so much peace of mind knowing that the important things wouldn’t get lost in the shuffle. Great giveaway!!

  24. I never throw any papers or magazines away, which leads my husband to throw away all my important papers with the junk. The neat desk would be such a help for me, especially to organize all the homeschool papers I can’t seem to get rid of.

  25. I’d be most excited to use it to scan in all of my daughter’s artwork!

  26. I’m always interested in learning a new organization method. And this system looks like fun!

  27. This is awesome!! Hope I win!

  28. I’d love to reduce my paper trail, scan in my magazine ideas!

  29. I am a single mom, by choice, raising my 2 1/2 year old daughter with help from my mother. My mother is a magazine and recipe junkie and has boxes of ripped out, cut out, copied recipes/ideas all over the house. I would love to be able to get this stuff organized to make room for our three generations!

  30. I would love this to take care of medical paper work and homeschool papers too.

    Not to mention the general clutter of paper I seem to accumulate!

  31. would love to empty out my file drawers for sure!!

  32. Kacy Steiner says:

    This would be amazingly helpful for our household with five little (artistic) girls! I would love to have a way to keep their creative work without taking up sooo much space.

  33. I’d love to scan all of my son’s school papers!

  34. I would love it to track expenses but I think I would like it the most for scanning my hundreds of recipes so that I could do away with all of the ones I have torn out of magazines and scribbled on half sheets of paper.

  35. We’ve got a filing cabinet in my bedroom closet, papers on the kitchen counter, and a stack of papers on the printer. We could really use some organization!

  36. If you saw my desk right now, sheesh… We just moved and all the boxes of paper stuff I couldn’t bear to part with are now mocking me heartily (and preventing me from being creative in that space). What wouldn’t this help with?!

  37. I would scan stuff for my husband to sort through later! I’m pretty good about getting rid of junk paper clutter right away, but the worst is when my husband says, “just put it somewhere, I’ll look through it later.” I would scan things for him and then shred/recycle without fear. :)

  38. Random bits of paper are all over the place at my house. I’d love to set them free into the ether!

  39. for all my office filing…. I hate filing and would love to just use this and toss all the paper ;-)

  40. i would love a better way to deal with all our paper clutter rather than stacks and files that never seem to work that well!

  41. We have lots of sermon papers to organize and old papers that would do fine being digital

  42. OMG!!! This would be so freakin’ amazing! I have boxes of files that are waiting to be filed and I just haven’t found the time to do so.

  43. You know, my all in one printer/scanner requires me to stretch my body and fuss with the lid to scan. If I had a NeatDesk, maybe I would have a neat desk (and no big fat I’ve-really-got-to-get-to-scanning folder)

  44. Oh it would be Neat to have one of these due to the paperwork from home school and the Army paperwork that builds with each passing year!

  45. I have been organizing 18 years of paperwork and scanning as I go, but my scanner is starting to make noise. I think I’m wearing it out! This would be such a blessing right now to win this.

  46. This would help organize reference papers.

  47. I literally have boxes of papers in my house and was just considering buying this for Christmas. I have to do something!! My lack of organization is becoming a terrible probl;em.

  48. Oh wow! I have been looking for ideas to help simplify my workspace and become less “tied” to a big desk with lots of files. Wonderful giveaway!

  49. This would save us so much space.

  50. I would be most excited to use it to form a recipe file