This may not be what you think. I am not selling anything other that a way to reduce life clutter.

I have a new tactic. Well it is new for me at least. Here is my problem. Well here is one of my problems. My desktop is a repository for way too much stuff. That is true of the Desktop on my computer as well. Once in a while my wife helps me out by coming in to my overwhelming mess and tidying it up.

I live under the illusion that my mental filing system can find stuff on my desk based on the archeological dig principle. The older the artifact the deeper it will be in the mess. No really, if I can recall the last time I looked at that piece of paper I know approximately how far down I have to dig. The method works – to a point. Then when my frontal lobes are overloaded with the history the desk becomes unmanageable. That is where Wendy comes to my rescue. My sense of being overwhelmed is reduced dramatically for a while.

But then I have another problem. I have no idea where she puts my stuff. And sometimes she doesn’t remember either. Her way of filing things isn’t mine.

That is especially true with wires and stuff like that. She will never be able to distinguish a USB connection from a HDMI. So both get in the same pile. I’m dead. Now I do have a system for the wires. One wire; one baggie; figure 8 coiling. (Google that one if you don’t know what it is and wires get you messed up.) Got it. Now I just have to do it.

But then paper is a problem as well. I end up with a lot of pdf files to read. I would rather print the file; mark up the pages I want to keep and throw the rest away. But then I have to get concepts from the saved pages into a searchable set of data. I am ok with that part when I do it. Ah but finding the time to do it is the rub.

So here is where my new shiny two for one system comes in. I have been working this for about a month now so it is almost a habit. It is simple and slow but it works. I no longer hope for the day when I will clean everything up.

My daily low level routines now include this two for one system. I try to make myself put two things away every time I take one thing out. Every time I put a piece of paper on my desk I get rid of two. It is hard for me to admit this to myself but I have no idea how at least one of the two things I am getting rid of got there in the first place. There must have been a moment when I thought it important enough to keep. I probably thought I would use it momentarily or at least in the next day or two. But I didn’t and there it sat. It couldn’t collect dust because there was another piece of random paper keeping the dust at a higher level in the dig site.

Wendy’s system for me is different. The school teacher in her comes out as she asks the question, When you take something out why can’t you just put it back when you are done with it? Good question. My answer isn’t as good as the question but here it is, I think I might need it again in the next few minutes. Then I just forget about it if I don’t end up needing it. Because my mind is much quicker than my hands the things just inadvertently get put on the top of my pile.

My two for one system beats this. I don’t try to stop and think to put things away in the moment. I just have to put two things away that I left in the pile before.

OK so I’m not perfect. I don’t do the two for one swap all day every day. But I am finding that apparently over a month I am doing it more often than not because the pile is decreasing. Slowly but surely I am evolving into an organized freak. No fear; I won’t get there any time soon.

But my two for one system is giving me new hope and a sense of accomplishment from time to time. I like that feeling. Maybe you should give it a try if you are at all like me.