Archives for April 2013

Flowers And Spending Time Outside

orange rosegeraniumsToo many flowers around the yard is never my problem. I would love to have more. The problem is after they bloom and after they’ve turned brown. Gardening is fun most of the time but it can be a chore to clear out the old.

In my area, Geraniums are the easiest thing to grow. This is why I have lots of them.  You don’t even have to buy them. Cut off a stem from another plant and stick in the ground.  You can also use a root starter from Home Depot or any other store that carries gardening stuff.

This season my favorite flowers are ranunculus. A beautiful garden needs attention.

It’s Spring, get out of the house and spend time outside!

flowers in garden

Paintball And Other Outdoor Sports

My family is big (see about me) and we have produced lots of boys and one girl.  Through out the years our garages have been full of…..

balls, bats, mitts, tennis rackets, surfboards, wetsuits, skis, golf clubs, snowboards, skate boards, bikes, bowling balls, ping pong tables, exercise equipment,  and more.

Without a doubt those items helped create wonderful memories and were well worth the cost.

But the time has come to reevaluate what is being used and what needs to be passed down to kids, grandkids or given away to other family members that could use them.

The two big questions to ask yourself when making the big decision, keep or not to keep is….

1.When was the last time this item was used? 

2. Could someone else be using this and creating new memories?

Many of these sports are seasonal. It is possible that a year or two went by with no use and then that third year the snow was good and you could finally get out the skis and snowboards. The problem we had is our wood skis were so old and new stuff had been invented so we would end up renting the new stuff while the old stuff stayed on top of the garage.  But, we kept them.

If your stuff is real old you might be up against new technology. The newer stuff may make you better or at least look better.

Talk to friends and family that have kids that may be interested in your sporting equipment if you haven’t used in years. You could also post in the classifieds or you may be lucky enough to have a second hand sporting good shop in your area. They sell things on consignment.

If you haven’t used in 5 , 10, 15 or even 20 years or more, why are you keeping the stuff? Remember, most of you have the proof with photographs and good memories. The stuff is now just  taking up space and the chances of using again are slim.

The more you give away, the less you will buy.

Giving away changes your spending habits. Instead of buying the latest and the greatest think about renting sporting equipment. It’s cheaper and with new technology it might even make you better at the sport.

 

Are You An Organized Hoarder?

“Nothing good happens after 12 midnight” is a line from one of my lectures to all of the teenage boys in the family. They tell me I just don’t understand because I go to bed early and I’m up early.

Last Saturday was no exception, although it was a little earlier than usual. We are dog sitting and one of the dogs heard something on the front porch and went bonkers. It was a raccoon. After a cup of coffee it was time to plan the weekend.

There were a few movies we wanted to see but my big goal was to continue organizing the garage. In order to be successful in organizing the garage, several things will have to go. Just doing the household shuffle, or in this case the garage shuffle, would be a waste of time.

Having things off the ground and hanging is the way to go. If you ever look at those magazines that do garage makeovers, notice the floors are shiny and empty.  Another amazing thing about those makeovers is they make it so you can actually park your car in the garage.

Recently a family member, who parks his car (unlocked) in the driveway, had his garage door opener stolen out of his car. Two lessons learned, try and park in your garage and if you can’t, at least lock your car.

Would it be possible to park in your garage if things were hanging rather than on the ground? If you have already purged things from your garage that you will never use again then it is time to organize.

It is a toss up between Home Depot and Bed Bath & Beyond. I don’t get out much but when I do, Home Depot is the place for me. They have all sorts of hooks and shelves for garages. Epoxy coating, to tiles and plastic bins, all to make your garage look spectacular.

Word of caution about containers. The stores make them look so organized in the pictures but for those who are trying to simplify they can be a real trap. Storing Christmas decorations that you use every year makes sense but what else are you storing? If it isn’t see through plastic or at least labeled you will waste time trying to remember what the heck those containers are storing. You don’t want to go out and buy stuff only to find out later you had it hiding in your organized mess.

Are you an organized hoarder?

I remember an episode of Hoarders where the woman had everything labeled in boxes. It was quite impressive. The problem was she would not have been able to use all of it in a lifetime.

The blue hanging organizer was in the closet for years and one day I looked at it with new eyes and realized I didn’t use most of what it was storing.

Start looking at your stuff with new eyes.

Closets and garages are a challenge. Start looking at your stuff with new eyes. Get up early this weekend and before you organize, declutter the containers.

 

 

Mirror Mirror On The Wall

I don’t know anyone who collects mirrors. Having said that, why did I have so many mirrors in my garage? I guess, over the years I’ve replaced a few and just could not bring myself to throw out the old ones. That is how they ended up on the walls of the garage.

No matter where you were standing in my garage you could look into a mirror. Before getting in the car to go to work I thought it was clever to have a mirror there, just in case I forgot to apply some lipstick.

These mirrors still did the job but I didn’t need that many and besides, someone out there might like to have them.

As I was getting them ready to go I noticed a broken vase that I had on the front porch with the cracked side against the wall. This was going to be an easy decision. The fake flowers were put into the charity pile but then I had to get rid of the broken glass.

How to dispose of broken glass.

http://www.ehow.com/how_7565096_dispose-broken-glass.html

The goal is to give away without breaking the glass and if you need to dispose of broken glass, whether it is a mirror or a vase, you need to be careful. Follow instructions.

There are many interesting superstitions when it comes to mirrors. The one that most of us have heard over the years is, if you break a mirror, it brings 7 years of bad luck.

Years ago I toured the Queen Mary and I remember only one fact from the tour. The guide said there was a pink tint to the mirrors to hide the green faces from being sea sick.

The only mirror that I might be interested in buying, is the mirror that makes you look thinner.

Look around your house and garage. How many mirrors are there? How many do you use? How many do you really need?

Simplify your life today by getting rid of things you don’t use!

 

 

 

It’s A New Day Today

My year is up, now what? I took a year to really get organized. What I discovered is what I already knew. Being organized or at least feeling organized creates calmness. Makes you feel at peace. It is the opposite of chaos.

How does one get organized?

They get rid of what they don’t use, need or enjoy. For most of us, that is a lot of stuff. I’ve posted dozens of short stories on getting rid of things along with ideas that came from many of you.

Something else I discovered was I like being a minimalist. This is not to say that I don’t have stuff but less for me was best.

For now my stories will continue. There are other areas that I want to declutter. I’m always interested in your stories and any ideas you might have to help others get organized.

Get out a tissue we all have issues.

One more thing that has become clearer over this last year is that whatever your issues are, someone else has had it and worse.

It’s official. Hoarding is now a disease. You are in good company and no need to go it alone.

You need support and it’s out there.

Stay tuned for more!

Too Much Stuff

Here is what I posted a year ago…

 

Do you feel unhappy at times? Do you feel crummy but don’t quite understand why? You might start going down your mental list and think to yourself… there is no reason to not feel good…but you just don’t.

You normally feel this way when you have a dentist appointment but you don’t so why do you feel this way?
 
Maybe things are going OK but sometimes you feel overwhelmed,  understaffed, overworked and underpaid?
 
Is it possible that there could be a simple explanation as to why you feel this way at times?
 
Are you tired of putting away more laundry, doing more dishes, filing more paperwork, or reorganizing the garage only to realize you are spinning your wheels with no real results?
 
Hi, my name is Kathy. That is Kathy with a K and I am from California.
 
I am not a writer but there are things I want to write, especially when it comes to the key to happiness, which I believe is quite simple.
 
Say goodbye to clutter and get organized!
 
This will be an exciting journey. Join me!
 
We  have too much stuff!
 
I am taking a year to go through every area of a house. After much research I can summarize what all of the experts say on this subject.
 
DECLUTTER. Get rid of you don’t use, need or enjoy.
 
How simple is that?
 
Here we go………
A year has gone by. Wow! What a difference a year makes.
Year two is about to begin…stay tuned!
 
 

Frivolous Fawn Hair Dye

Hair DyeIt was always a choice between;

1. Wash out

2. Semi permanent

3. Permanent

Choosing the right color was always the real problem. How did I end up with so many boxes and bottles of hair dye? Well, in the summer I thought I would go for the lighter look and in the winter, the darker look. When the two for one sale happened, I bought extra. Then just in case I wanted something exciting for the month I would buy something with a red tint. That is how it happened.

 

It’s time. Take out all of the hair dye boxes and bottles including bottles like Frivolous Fawn. If they have been there at least 6 months and you don’t plan on using in the next month, then toss.

This won’t take much time.

If you buy from the beauty supply store and mix your own then you probably already know that once the color and developer are mixed, you will have to throw the extra away. It stops working after 30 to 45 minutes.

Just for the record, my hair has been every color you can imagine. I still can’t decide what color I like the best but for now I know I don’t want to be grey. Or is it gray?

Taxes And Clutter

It is that time of year to start gathering your documents for your tax return. Yesterday in the car I heard a tax consultant talking about contributions and how to correctly report them. The advise was good and it plays right into organizing and decluttering stuff.

To be safe check out the IRS website and/or talk to your accountant, tax attorney or consultant.

If you give money to a church or to a non-profit and have the back up to prove it then it is easy to calculate. It becomes a little more complicated when giving goods. A car donation will need to be appraised and could potentially raise a red flag. The problem with giving stuff is it is always more valuable to you than the IRS.

How do you value that $55.00 dollar blouse you purchased a couple of years ago?

http://www.irs.gov/publications/p561/ar02.html

Go to the IRS website and look at Publication 561.

“Used clothing and other personal items are usually worth far less than the price you paid for them. Valuation of items of clothing does not lend itself to fixed formulas or methods.                          

The price that buyers of used items actually pay in used clothing stores, such as consignment or thrift shops, is an indication of the value.                          

You cannot take a deduction for clothing donated after August 17, 2006, unless it is in good used condition or better. An item of clothing that is not in good used condition or better for which you take a deduction of more than $500 requires a qualified appraisal. See Deduction over $500 for certain clothing or household items, later.                          

For valuable furs or very expensive gowns, a Form 8283 may have to be sent with your tax return.”

One way to keep track of what you have given away, would be to take pictures. Make sure to write down the item, the date and the fair market value. Don’t forget your donation receipt. Keep good records probably goes without saying. If you are one of the few to keep receipts going back a few years then you could always attach that receipt for extra back up.

Every year as I prepare taxes I vow to do a better job at keeping records for the next year. Then next year comes and I am back to square one wishing I had kept better records. There is just no good excuse.  There are programs on the computer and scanning devices that just about do everything.

The same organizing techniques apply when it comes to taxes.

1. Like items with like items.

2. A place for everything and everything in it’s place.

Trust me. I know what you are going through. I could tell you that if you wait to the last minute to do your taxes that it will only take a minute to do but that would be a lie. What are you waiting for?

Get started today!