Admit it, as you were getting your tax stuff together this year, there was a whole lot of muttering. Maybe even some mumbling. You probably swore to yourself that next year, things will be different. Next year, you promised yourself, you’ll be more organized.

There’s no need to wait until next year to get started, though… Neat Company and taxgirl are teaming up to help you do a little spring cleaning right now. We’re offering one reader their own NeatReceipts and one reader their own NeatDesk.

With NeatReceipts (and NeatDesk), you can scan all your paper receipts and save them digitally. You can even assign a tax deduction category (medical/dental, travel, etc.) to each receipt. The result? Less clutter, more organization. Cool, right?

And it’s simple to win. To be entered to win, just answer this question: What’s the messiest spot in your house or office – and why?

We’ll choose one winner for the NeatReceipts and one winner for the NeatDesk randomly out of all of the entries. Here are some additional rules:

  • Entries must be posted in the comments section below by 11:59p.m. EST on April 24, 2010. Don’t panic if your comment doesn’t show immediately – if it goes to moderation (because, for example, you’re new here), the time stamp on your comment is what counts.
  • Due to shipping considerations, only those residents of the US and Canada can enter.
  • You must include your full name and your email address with your entry. I won’t publish your email address, but I do need contact information for the winning entry. I respect your privacy, and I will not send you anything unrelated to your entry in this contest.
  • By entering the contest, you agree that I may post any part or all of your submission including your name as a part of the contest announcements or promotions, with the exception of your email address.
  • The decision of the judges is final and in our sole discretion.
  • Enter as many times as you like – but you must post a different comment each time. Links and pingbacks while appreciated, don’t count.
  • My normal comment policy applies (you can read it here). I have standards, you know.
  • If you want to include a photo, that would be fun. However, the comments section doesn’t allow attachments – so just link to flickr or twitpic or wherever your photo is posted. Just be judicious. Remember, my mother could be reading.

Easy, right?

Unlike last year, I’m not going to judge entries (well, not out loud anyway). Maybe I’ve been watching too much Ellen DeGeneres on American Idol but I feel the need to be nice – and since I can’t simply compliment you on your outfit, I’m dismissing with the judging altogether. So random winners. No pressure. What are you waiting for?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Kelly Phillips Erb is a tax attorney, tax writer, and podcaster.


  1. Irina Jordan Reply

    The messiest spot in my office is the top of my filing cabinet. All those papers waiting to be filed having a party up there :). They just gang up on me :).

    I’d love to win this nifty gadget. Let me win, let me win.

  2. I believe the messiest spot in my house is our guest room/office/tool storage. We rent a townhome, and hubby has his own home improvement business, so sadly, this room is always a wreck. I’m surprised guests want to stay with us sometimes!

  3. Another of our messiest spots is our kitchen. Hubby likes to do his office work at our table, so it is always covered in paperwork. And, it’s the only good spot for plants, so my plants sit on our table. And the little corner of our kitchen that is ‘hidden’ by our table is chock full of empty pots and other miscellaneous things that have no place else to go. Ugh!

  4. The messiest spot in my house is my home-office area. There’s CDs to put away, mail to open & throw away, invoices to file, receipts to store. Repeat….receipts to store. lol. I always have a mind-set of “I’ll get to it all-at-once when I can,” but when I see the items piling up, I turn away and procrasitinate to do it another day. I need to eliminate less clutter & more organization.

  5. Sarah Fowler Reply

    The messiest part of my house is my office, because I don’t have a good scanner to deal with all the flippin’ mail!

  6. Messiest part of the office –> the top drawer of my desk. Everything without a proper place is put there.

  7. Messiest part of the kitchen is the drawer I put all of my receipts in – while they wait to be transferred to the appropriate file folder in my office.

  8. The messiest part of my home, my office. I hate to file…fear of loosing something important or forgetting to do something, so it ALL sits on top of anything flat, columns everywhere. Haven’t a clue where anything is because, once the pile falls over, it goes into a cardboard box (saved from my last bulk copy paper order) and then the boxes become the new columns. Do they sometimes topple over too, don’t ask!! HELP!!

  9. My home office desk. As a tax preparer I’ve been busy since January and so I keep throwing it on the desk to deal with later. Well it’s now later and I have about eight inches of stuff piled up, I’ve lost the bottom two inches of my monitor because it’s covered by mail and paperwork and things that need dealt with. Now I just have to get up the nerve and grab the chair and whip and try to tame my mess!

  10. The messiest spot in my office is the space between my desk and my book case. It’s this awkward corner spot that seems to attract all the objects that don’t have a home. I throw all the stuff I don’t know what to do with in that corner because it’s there and because it hides stuff really well.

  11. The messiest spot is probably anywhere in my home office. It’s so messy I am now working off the dining room table! It’s remarkable I have so much stuff – I try to go through it once a week.

  12. Messiest spot: my closet. That’s where stuff ends up waiting for “later”.

  13. The messiest space right now is the family room. It’s become the catch all room — eat, watch television, write and work (even though I have a perfectly good office on another floor), etc. I do a little cleaning and clearing of the room every week, but I just can’t seem to get ahead of the game.

  14. The messiest spot in my house is my daughter’s bedroom floor. She is a young artist. Her job is to empty the recycling into the large bin outside. Unfortunately, as an artist, she can’t let all those promising materials to to waste, so about half of what she takes out gets brought back in and ends up in a project on her bedroom floor. What kind of mother would I be if I thwarted her creativity? ( We won’t even talk about my art room)

  15. The messiest spot in my house is definitely my home office. You’ve heard of cat ladies? Well I’m a textbook hambre. I hoard my undergraduate and now graduate textbooks. I am always worried that I won’t get the best value if I sell them back and so I have dozens of them everywhere. Unfortunately, the amazon book market is flooded and now all these old editions would bring in less than the cost to ship.

  16. Unfortunately, I don’t have just one messiest spot. My receipts end up all over the place. They end up in my purse, next to the computer, in the drawer of my vanity, my husband’s favorite place is a big pile on top of the vanity. The paper is out of control. Please help me organize so I can be free from the messes.


  17. The most messy spot in my home is my office. Papers everywhere. Shelves stuffed with stacks of paper. Tons of folders and books. My office is messy! 🙂

  18. With the two of us being really busy and often bring work home, bills to pay and *stuff*, I think the messiest place has to be any horizontal flat surface – even then we’re not picky if the pile below is stable enough!

  19. easy, my office. Especially right after 4/15 because the piles get bigger and I don’t put as much away because I’m usually still working on the files. It does look a little bit better now that I picked it up and got a little organized.

  20. Donna Summers Reply

    The messiest place in our home is our library (aka office). Besides accommodating volumes of book that will keep us alive until we’re a couple of centuries old (we have to live long enough to read the all), we have every piece of paper, large & small, that references a purchase, repair, guaranty, etc. The only thing missing is the kitchen sink and, of course, a NeatDesk scanner. Since we are already drowning in paper, we’re hoping to be rescued SOON (help….).

  21. Our biggest mess is our kitchen counter. We come in the back door, and all the mail ends up dumped there, along with keys, phones, etc. I also tend to clean out/swap purses right in the same space (on my way hurrying out the door), and heaps of receipts, notes, etc. get pushed around b/c they need to be kept but never quite get put away anywhere.

  22. The messiest space in my house? It’s a tie between my actual desktop (where papers, tools, and food gather) to the space beside my desk where the trash can sits, used as a pedestal to hold aloft a box of more papers, binders, magazines, and unassembled wooden goodies (my craft business). Surrounding the pedestal can are stacks of applications, magazines, forms, works-in-progress, and clothes. Aaaaack!!!!!

  23. The spot under/around my coffee maker. A drip here and a drop there, but I can’t stop making coffee long enough to clean it up.

  24. Christina Olson Reply

    The messiest place in my house is my closet, because that’s the only place where my husband is not allowed. The rest of the house is spotless. (I’m blessed, I know.)

  25. Like many above – my office. There are two piles that are particularly dastardly however – the first is the pile on my footrest (which may be a metaphor) for the work that still has to get done in a priority fashion. The second pile (related to the first and very nearby) is a stack of journal articles that I have to read. I’m a visual person, so one of my deepest fears is that I will have a piece of paper that contains some type of deep, brilliant insight from an overlooked scholar and I will misplace it, missing forever the brilliance that could have been the remaining puzzle piece to understanding the chaos around me. It may be too much to ask from a pile of papers, however – the only thing I hope for more than a solution to my current problem is the ability to not change my habits – making piles and piles of papers, perhaps in an abandoned aircraft hanger somewhere. Since that is unlikely to happen, I’ll have to try changing my habits. And perhaps going paperless.

  26. The messiest spot in my office is around the computer. That’s where the papers accumulate.

    I hope I win! I need a scanner…

  27. Scott Rader Reply

    There is without a doubt no messier spot in our house than our living room. Thanks to a 4.5 year old and her baby brother, there is stuff everywhere, toys, clothes, photo albums, bottles, remotes, electronics, magazines, newspapers. They seem to think it’s fun to spread everything around the living room, it’s always a chore to get in there vacuum, after which it remains clean for about 12 hours tops.

  28. Like most others, my desk at home is the messiest. I am generally a very clean and organized person. It drives my husband crazy that I am a fanatic about the cleanliness of the house but leave my desk a disaster. I do organize it at least once a month, but it doesn’t take long to clutter. It’s near the bottom of my priority list. He also hates that I keep receipts (after all, I am a CPA so this behavior isn’t all the abmornal if you ask me).

  29. Christopher Deck Reply

    The messiest part of my home office is ALL of it! I do part time bookkeeping for extra money and many of my clients give me boxes (one puts everything in a dynamite box from the ’70’s LOL) and folders of receipts to tally. Everything is sitting on just about every available open space in a chaotic, but yet slightly organized fashion (I have to keep track of this stuff!). I have an all-in-one scanner to digitally keep everything, but it does not like anything that is not a normal piece of paper… So I literally have to scan individual pages, documents, receipts, etc and it is the biggest consumer of my limited time for my little start-up. I’d like a better solution, but since I’m just starting, I cannot afford anything yet! I would love to have something like this in order to make my life a little easier.

  30. My messiest place is my desk. It is very much a catch all because it is in the living room. Even more so now that our youngest has been crawling, we put things up from her on my desk.

  31. The messiest spot in our house is my workbench. With 3 young kids it is hard enough to find time to fix broken things or finish the latest project. So when a fix is made I usually just pile the broken pieces and tools on my workbench. There was a landslide on it last week – one of the train cars that goes under the xmas tree is now junk.

  32. The corner of the spare room in my new house. My desk is being used to stage my old house, under orders of my realtor… and all my files are piled where it’ll go if/when the old house ever sells.

  33. Gilbert (@CrazyOnYou) Reply

    That’s easy! It’s our attached garage.

    Why? Because it’s just so darned simple to open the inside door to it and stack things “just temporarily”.

    I’m the only person in our county who opens his garage door every tornado warning and prays for it to come by, just so I’ll have less to crawl over or around…

  34. Robert Heynen Reply

    The messiest spot in my house is on the nightstand, where I place all my receipts with the intention of actually organizing them as I go, as opposed to ALL AT ONCE!! (Of course, the latter ALWAYS prevails for some reason!!)

  35. The top of my desk at home, hands down. It is where everything that does not have a place to live ends up, as well as anything my husband finds of mine, so that stray socks mingle with invoices/receipts/letters and breed horrible things…..

  36. Karen Cassidy Reply

    The biggest mess, and my greatest source of frustration, is the living room. My husband resides for the better part of his day on the couch. Next to him is a disastrous pile of loose papers, cough drops, the TV remote, snacks, his calendar and unopened mail. I’ve tried piling it all into a nice looking basket so it can be moved if someone ELSE wants to actually sit down on the same couch. That didn’t work. He just piled the mess higher so it overflowed onto the floor. Between that mess, the kids’ school papers/backpacks and the dog bed, I avoid the living room if possible.

  37. I have two areas in my house that seem to attracted mess and clutter. One being the kitchen counter and the other our bonus room. The bonus room is used as a rec room for my two boys. As you know kids have tons of toys and for some reason my kids love the small ones that I continually step on. I’m thankful they don’t leave their things on the stairs or I would have certainly have had to visit the ER.

    As for our kitchen counter, it’s the same for many I can see from these posts. This is the spot where we dump all our stuff at the end of the day. I try to keep the island clear of clutter but it basically all gets pushed to the counter. At least the piles look neat 🙂

    And why does my husband continue to leave all his stuff on the counter when he has a dedicated office???? If anyone has the answer to that one, let me know.

  38. Our messiest place in the house is usually the guest room. It just ends up collecting all of the things that we don’t have time to put away. This room now needs to be converted to a nursery so the pressure is on. I have to get working and that “Honey-Do” list this weekend.

  39. RandomWinner Reply

    Messiest spot is where my receipts pile up in the spot where my NeatDesk will go after I win it.

  40. Megan Thornes Reply

    As a woman and an estate planning attorney who owns her own law firm, I make it my job to be organized at work. Everything is neatly tucked away into the appropriate file, clearly identified and ready at the click of a mouse. At home I hate clutter, newspapers are recycled daily, dishes are washed and put away each night and my home office desk is clear and ready to use.

    It sounds like I don’t have any messy spots much less a “messiest spot.” But I do, I admit it, and it is even worse than having a single messiest spot, I am a “bag lady” and so my mess travels with me. Every piece of personal mail, receipt, notice, newsletter, article, coupon, reminder and anything I think I may ever remotely need again, upon receipt, goes into a nice decorative bag that I carry around with me to sort/file/complete when I have the time. I carry the bag to work each morning, home each night, on weekend road trips, on vacations, and even when I go out to run errands. As more paper arrives, I just keep stuffing away until 1 bag has expanded to 2, and then I carry that second bag with me as well. Carrying more than 2 bags has proved to be painful (to my shoulder and from the looks of my husband, family and assistant at work) so I try not expand to 3. As January rolls around each year I stick a big envelope in my bag and into the envelope goes all things tax related. I usually intend to sit down in mid February and search through the rest of the bag to find receipts and tax related items to add to my big tax envelope inside my bag but inevitably the task seems too overwhelming and it doesn’t get done.

    Why I am a bag lady is a question that I have an answer for, but it is not an excuse. Perhaps I am just obsessed with bag? I don’t think so though, I think that having a paperless office and being so organized at work has spoiled me; everything is available at the touch of a button. When I am dealing with personal items, I still want to be able to access everything at the touch of a button, whether I am at home or popping by the store or visiting my in-laws. However, unlike work I don’t have an assistant or a scanner at home so I have turned my bag into my Assistant/Scanner. Everything is available and with me all the time, I simply have to sort through piles of paperwork, and of course it takes like 10 or 20 minutes to find anything as opposed to 10 or 20 seconds….I’d love to make NeatReceipts/NeatDesk my new Bag!

  41. The messiest spot is my computer desk which is located in my sewing room. I am a big crafter and download lots of ideas and patterns. I was just talking about getting a scanner to organize some of my patterns and ideas. The Neat Desk Scanner would be ideal for me.

  42. Mine is my kitchen table/desk! I’m working on finishing up grad school and the CPA exam, so I set up a command center at my kitchen table. I’m basically using it as a really huge desk. But given that I eat three meals a day there and work at least 12 hours a day at it, weird stuff has started taking over!! Right now, besides my computer, monitor, pens, inbox/outbox, mouse, and calendar, I believe my command center is also housing today’s mail, some Benadryl, several half full cups of tea, chapstick, and some water bottles.

  43. Carla Ostic Reply

    My boss’ office is hands down the messiest area in the accounting firm I work at. We all marvel that the woman knows where anything is………but much to our surprise she knows exactly what is in each pile, stack, cardboard box, plastic tub, grocery sack, and the biggest shocker……..what’s in her purse. The desktop is covered with work in progress, and the floor is covered with papers to recycle. How such a brilliant mind can work in that atmosphere remains a mystery. Her office is filled with plants that seem to thrive from her green thumb and the massive amount of eye clutter for stimulation !!! The plants would enjoy watching her scan !!

  44. Cameron Dechant Reply

    My desk is covered with about 3 inches of paper, and my laptop either sits on that, or my lap throughout all of my frustration. Having several large file cabnets with every piece of paper we have ever gotten, and some day want to have digital. The floor and my bed are also used as paper organizing space! And I am yet to clean out the computer bags I have that are used for paper I need on the road. I NEED HELP. THE NEAT DESK FOR MAC WILL SAVE ME FROM THW PAPER MONSTER!

  45. My whole office is a mess–I’m a packrat, and my home office is the dumpsite that keeps the rest of the house from being overtaken (mostly)–but my desk is the worst, in that it’s the one area that gets the most traffic. (The bookcases and other flat surfaces look worse, but it’s the mess on the desk that most interferes with getting things done, and what’s the function of the office if not to get things done?)

    New mail mixes with old mail, the books I needed to refer to/quote end up in precarious piles, often falling on the printer, items I need to shred mingle with the ones I need to file… it’s just a zoo. And because it’s already a mess, my wife thinks nothing of tossing more on the pile… (…which makes it yet more of a mess, which justifies adding more… and so on…)

    Admittedly, it’s a mess of my own making, and I suppose I’m as guilty of making it worse (on those same grounds) more often than I deserve credit for trying to improve it, but I am slowly cutting it down to size. (As bad as it is, it used to be worse…)

  46. Do “sock elves” have an evil twin that snatches a certain receipt that comes up missing when you know that it is the 5th receipt down of the 2nd stack of the 1st pile? My desk, as is 90% of others, has to be my pick mess of the century! Receipts, medical records, appointment cards, business recrords….aahhh, the sweet smell of paper in this paperless society….NOT

  47. Michael Park Reply

    Messiest spot on in my office is the desk. Specifically the file inbox where all the mails, files, and receipts are piled up so that I can process and file them when I have spare time. It’s a monster that’s getting taller without control!

  48. The closet in the den. Can’t even go in there….and who would want to?

  49. Israel Davidowitz Reply

    The messiest place in my office is the bottom drawer of the desk. The place where all the new check books, pictures I just don’t want to throw out, five years worth of reading material I still have to get to etc. It is fine most of the time, but when I need something from there, forget about finding it without taking out the whole drawer and turning it over. After that I can easily find things for two days, and then the cycle starts again.

  50. The messiest spot in my home office is behind the computer monitor. Sometimes I stash stuff back there that I intend to get to later. It’s a horrible filing system…!

  51. When your job is organizing for other people, sometimes you forget to do it for your own family. Ok, I don’t forget. But sitting outside going through the tools and power drills in a big heap isn’t my idea of fun. So, the tool shed is the Messy Winner at our house.

Write A Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Skip to content