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

 

 

 

 

 

 

What To Do With Books

BooksReading is a big hobby! Not of mine, but for many, it’s your number one thing. You read non stop and you collect as well. Having the library room, full of books, with the dark green walls, the mahogany wood and the duck statue is your dream.

Your not collecting children books as pictured here but real classics. The ones that smart people read and quote. The books that got you through medical school and law school. Ya, those books.

Books are the worst if you have to move them. They are heavy as can be and as you move them you realize you probably will never read them again. So why keep?

There are many in my family that just can’t part with their books. I even went to the trouble to see if they were worth anything on the internet. Answer. Not really.

Let’s talk about your local library!

Libraries have kept up with technology and yet they still have old fashioned books. You can donate to the library and get a tax write off. They are quiet and peaceful places. They have programs for all ages and organize groups to meet and talk about books.

If you need a particular book, they can get from other libraries. Plus they have fish tanks full of pretty fish.

Is it time to declutter your book shelf?  The good thing about decluttering is you get to make that decision.

Simplify your life.

Give your books as a donation to your local library. Let them store the books for awhile.

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.

 

 

 

 

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!

 

 

 

 

The Famous Bible Verse On Cleanliness And Doing Taxes

What does the Bible say about cleaning and organizing? There is that famous bible verse…

Cleanliness is next to godliness.

Oh wait, that actually isn’t a bible verse.

The paragraph below is from answers.com.

Being clean is a  sign of spiritual purity or goodness, as in Don’t forget to wash your  ears–cleanliness is next to godliness.  This phrase was first recorded in a  sermon by John Wesley in 1778, but the idea is ancient,  found in Babylonian and Hebrew religious tracts.  It is still invoked, often as  an admonition to wash or clean up.

We do know the bible says a lot about laziness. I’m trying to decide if I am just lazy when it comes to gathering tax stuff or just not emotionally prepared to do so. It’s one of those things I avoid until it absolutely has to be done. The good news is, I am not alone.

Organizing paper is so critical, not only to businesses but for your home business as well. You might say, I don’t have a business in my home, and you would be wrong.

Even for the most simplest of households, you do what businesses do. You hopefully make money and you pay bills. It may not be as complicated as a business but the same concept applies.

Remember the days when we thought using computers would do away with paper? Little did we know. I know more than a few that wished they had invested in paper companies. The need for paper has increased not decreased.

And here we are, full circle back to organizing and decluttering. If you declutter your computer or your work area, the tax preparation will be less painful.  The organizing books collectively tell you that if you declutter what you don’t need that almost any organizing technique will work. Whether it is separating categories on a computer, using color folders, binders with tabs or simply a pile with sticky notes.

Taxes….ugh

It’s that time!

Clean up your work area this week. You’ll need to get started on taxes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why Did The Shoemakers Kids Never Have Shoes?

What is the origin of the phrase, the cobbler’s children have no shoes?

From Wiki.answers.com:

Origin unknown; however the essence of this phrase is used to describe the phenomenon where certain ‘professionals’ in any given area are so busy with work for their clients and their teams that they neglect using their professional skills to help themselves or those closest to them. For example – the painter & decorator who never decorates his own house, the web designer that hasn’t finished their website, or the accountant who is late in submitting his own tax return!

The reason I took this year to get organized is because I’ve been very busy over the years organizing other homes and businesses. If you were to drive by my house and the garage door was open, you would assume a hoarder lived there.

It reminded me of that saying that the shoemakers kids never had shoes…..

This is why I am taking a year to get organized. Before I even start I know the answer.

GET RID OF STUFF!

So here we go……..