Before And After Bookcase

Bookcase Before

 

This last weekend a friend and I were busy organizing. The catch all area for them was their bookcase. They estimated  the mess in their office has caused them to spend hours looking for the documents needed for a tax return.

Frustration and blame does not make for a happy home. The only way there would be success was for them to accept they needed to declutter.

The big problem for students and teachers is they may again use one of those books for reference. Getting rid of a book doesn’t mean it goes out of existence.

Donate to the library!

Let the library store it for you. If you can’t find that lost book then the library can check out other libraries and have it sent to yours.

We started by taking everything out and giving it a good clean. Then one by one, only putting back the books they needed and used. We also did the rest of the office. Lots of paper, junk mail, souvenirs, and everything in between.

Like items with like items. This will save you hours of searching.

Bookcase After

Discovering Minimalism

Living with less.

This may or may not be for you. I’m not here to twist your arm but to propose an alternative to living with lots of stuff.

Alternative – Live with less

Charity – Giving is good

Benefits – Peace of mind and freedom

SIMPLICITY

 

 

 

 

 

 

Perfectionism Is The Enemy Of Progress

TulipsI heard this phrase on the radio today.

From Wikipedia;

The perfect is the enemy of good is an aphorism or proverb meaning that insisting on perfection  often results in no improvement at all. The phrase is commonly attributed to Voltaire…..

The first story that came to mind was a family I knew that lived out of boxes for years and could never make a decision. When asked why they had not hung pictures or put things away they said it was because they wanted things to look just right and therefore could not bring themselves to make the final decision.

Sometimes you just have to plow ahead and accept that you might make a decision that you regret. This is when we ask ourselves…what’s the worst that could happen? If you are stressing over hanging the picture on the wall then the worse that could happen is you would have a little nail hole eventually above the picture. So what! Fill it with fill or toothpaste, take a q-tip and dab some paint on there. So what!

The same goes with organizing which can’t happen unless you declutter.

IT’S JUST STUFF

It’s not alive! It doesn’t require a funeral or a memorial service. It’s not going to Heaven or Hell, it’s just going to someone else that could use it. That’s all.

It’s simple.

Stop stressing and relax, it’s just stuff.

Pretty Flowers, Be Patient

blooming sunflowerOrganizing your stuff is a process and if you want to be successful you will have to get rid of what you don’t wear or use or even need (which for most of us, is a lot of stuff)

Parting with expensive stuff is painfully hard. A harsh reminder of money not well spent. Ouch. Maybe the one good thing to come from parting with something expensive is next time around you won’t be lured into buying it in the first place.

Parting with sentimental stuff can be just as hard. There are ways to safely let go and at the same time keep the memory.

No matter what method you use you need to remember to be patient with yourself.

If you follow through and begin to declutter you will eventually see something pretty in the simplicity of life.

Be patient.

 

 

 

 

Do You Need More Money?

moneyCould you use a pay raise? Would it make you feel better and less anxious to have more money in the bank?

Tip of the day

The more you get rid of the less you will buy. The new thing you buy today is old tomorrow and eventually, will be the thing you are giving away. If your goal is simplifying you might think twice before spending.

It has been said that your financial situation has more to do with how you spend and less to do with what you make. Hard to believe? I know. The internet is flooded with HOW TO SAVE tips, but…..

Benjamin Franklin said it best….”A penny saved is a penny earned.”

 

What To Do With Wallets

walletThere is something nice about having something new. After years of having the same wallet I thought it would be nice to get a new one and replace the old.  The old one was fine, not broken or ripped but it was looking kind of raggedy.

The wallet was too big anyways. Lots of hidden pockets meant carrying around pointless business cards and pieces of paper.

Some women end up with neck and shoulder pain from carrying around heavy purses with bulky wallets and all of the other fun stuff that you can find in purses.

Replacing is the key word.

This wallet quickly ended up in the goodwill sack.

One of the best suggestions I ever heard when it comes to wallets is to take out everything and make a photo copy, especially before a trip. If you have ever lost your wallet on a trip you will know what I am talking about.

I wasn’t able to find anything fun or clever to do with wallets. Only that people make wallets out of all sorts of material including duck tape. They have a purpose and that is to carry around your most important information. Knowing what’s in your wallet and having those numbers , like your drivers license, somewhere else is critical.

The men in my family have quite the reputation (Rick) of losing wallets. First they accuse…”where did you put my wallet” Then it’s the frantic phone calls to cancel the cards. Followed by everyone stopping what they are doing and looking for it. Only to find under a couch cushion.

Really? Yes Really!

Hoarding Awareness Week

WOW!   composting food

I just found out that this is Hoarding Awareness Week. This is now getting lots of attention. More and more studies along with more publicity not to mention the TV shows. Over the years I have met a few serious hoarders but most of us fall somewhere in the middle.

In fact most people would simply say… “I would like to be more organized”

Organization means being productive and happy. If you are finding it hard to get organized you might want to consider the possibility that you have too much stuff.

If the key to happiness is being organized then what is the key to being organized?

Get rid of things that you don’t use!

That includes;

Clothes you don’t wear.

Broken things in the garage.

Gadgets in the kitchen that you have never used.

Towels and sheets that haven’t been used in 5 years, 1 year for the brave.

It’s a start.sunflower

Give yourself permission to NOT be a hoarder.

 

 

 

 

Going Paperless

paperworkIs it possible?

Paper is one of the biggest challenges of all. We are told we have to keep records for 7 years, some say 3 years and my accountant says FOREVER.

The paper work generated in a single household can be staggering. If you own a business then it is down right ridiculous the amount of paper we face everyday.

Let’s start with the mail. If you want to save money and have less paper work then head right for the trash can. Those coupons and advertised great deals are a trap.

You don’t need them.

How many copies do you need of your high school transcripts? My husband makes lots of copies just in case. Drives me crazy. Easy on the copies, you really don’t need that many.

What would happen if you lost all of your files in a fire? Would it be the end of the world? Have you scanned important papers?

Like all of the other areas in our homes this is no different and will forever need attention. However there are systems out there that will help you get organized to make it easier to find the papers you need. That system is called a computer. Make sure and back it up.

So whether you need old files for a tax audit or needing info for filling out a job application or maybe you are gathering papers for a home loan, you need those files at your fingertips. It is terribly frustrating to spend hours looking for those documents.

Keeping electronically is the way to go, with paper back up just in case.

LABEL LABEL LABEL

If every electronic file says “important’ and every paper folder says “for the year 2013”, then you are in trouble and will be searching into the night. Not good! Call it what it is.

This will take time but it will be worth it.

 

 

 

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!

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!