Posted in clutter, family, Organizing, Uncategorized

Are You Facing A Paper Avalanche?

Paper work. Paper avalanche. Paper chase. Whatever you call it I know papers they are the downfall of many of you.  What to do what do you need to keep?

Most financial papers fit in to one of 3 categories

  • Keep indefinitely
  • Keep for 7 years
  • Keep for a year or less

Keep For A Calendar Year Or Less

ATM receipts and deposit slips –  when you receive your bank statements you can shred them.

Charge slips (unless it is for a major purchase), for minor purchases once you are satisfied with the purchase. Shred the receipt when your credit card statement.

If you do not have a home office you don’t need to keep your utility bills, monthly  mortgage statements or quarterly investment reports.

Keep your pay stubs, credit card statements and investment reports until you receive the W-2 or year-end summaries. Once you have those you don’t need the monthly statements.

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Photo by Mari-Helin-Tuominen

Keep Seven Years

Year end credit-card summaries, along with your W-2s and 1099s.

If you itemize your tax return you need to keep all documents you utilized to determine your deductions. These additional documents you should retain include: canceled checks and receipts for all deductible business expenses (such as those for entertainment, home-office equipment, and professional dues), retirement-account contributions, charitable donations, child-care bills, out-of-pocket medical expenses, alimony, and mortgage-interest and property-tax payments.

After 7 years you should scan the actual tax returns or the year-end summaries of your investment accounts as they can come in very handy for future financial planning.  Then you can store them on a flash drive or a CD in a safe place.1024px-Usb-thumb-drive

Infinitely:

Keep receipts for major purchases and receipts that show how much you’ve paid for home improvements as long at your own your home. This will satisfy three things: Insurance claims, potential buyers and when you sell your home to reduce possible capital gains.

Keep beneficiary designation confirmation and purchase price slips that show beneficiary designations and the purchase price of stocks, mutual funds, and any other investments you hold.

It goes without saying that you need to keep your will, birth and marriage certificates, insurance policies, property deeds, and other permanent records in a safe but accessible place near your other financial documents, so you and your heirs will always be able to get to them quickly, if they need to.

Invest in a fireproof safe or a safe deposit box for your forever documents.

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I  suggest scanning and digitizing your important personal documents as a back up copy. More info on this by News Leavitt Just remember a digital copy is not the same as a paper copy but it is much easier to obtain a replacement copy of you have a photo copy.

Also, invest in a shredder.  In today’s world you really don’t want personal information floating around out there.  You can find them for not much money.

For more information  how long to keep your documents check here for more info from bankrate.com.  They have a very detailed list.

Now that you know what to keep and what to shred, I have a post on how to deal your paper as it come in the door.  If you would like to read it here is the link  Did you get Stacked?

I hope this helps you let go of your papers.  I love your comments.

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#organize, #clutter, #paperwork, #documents #taxtime

 

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Posted in family, Organizing

Do you make the same resolutions each year?

And So Begins A New Year……12 New Months.

Someone once said do what you love and you will never work a day in your life.  I think there is a bit of a misunderstanding in that statement.  Just because you love what you do does not mean you don’t work and that you don’t work hard.  It just means that you enjoy what you are doing.

A photo by Tim Arterbury. unsplash.com/photos/VkwRmha1_tI

With each New Year many of us find that we need to make resolutions or feel the need to take stock of our life.  Now is a great time to use the New Year as a way to better our selves or to take the time to plan out the year.

But before you can do this you must first think about what do you really want?

I was having lunch with a group of women and one of the things that we discovered is that we are sometimes not sure what we really want.  We played a bit of a game where we were  asked to think about these 4 things. We were compelled to learn, reach for, try, test, experiment with, and do by specifically writing down what we needed to feel the following:

Wanted

Happy

Secure

Loved

If you would like to take a closer look take out a piece of paper or open a new page in your computer and divide it into 4 squares.  coffee photo-1444418776041-9c7e33cc5a9c

In the squares write each of the topics.

Wanted                                Happy

Secure                                 Loved

Now think about what makes you feel wanted? What do you need to feel wanted?

What makes you happy?  What do you need to feel happy?

What makes you feel secure? What do you need to feel secure?

What makes you feel loved? What do you need to feel loved?

 

Come up with as many as you can.  Really think about it and write it down.  Any of these could be related to finances, safety, job, education, and flexibility or to family or friends.

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Maybe  your wanted it to have your family come to you for their needs. That you will always have the laundry done or that your husband has what it need to make you a cup of coffee in the morning. You may feel wanted by knowledge that you are very good at your job or that you are the go to person in certain situations.  You are the best party planner; you organize all the family dinners or holidays.home-photo-1415301918039-3a58086adf06

Maybe your secure is to own your own home?  Or having a plan for retirement or even for your kid’s college?  Your secure could be knowing that you have marketable job skill? Your secure could be related to finances, safety, job, education, and flexibility or to family.

Your happy could be taking a family vacation or maintaining a calm and organized home?  It could be that you love to cook and preparing a meal for your family or friends makes you happy.

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Your loved could be having a dog greet you at the door and love you unconditionally.  It could be having your husband make you a cup of coffee each morning.  Seeing the joy on your kids faces each day.

Now that you know what you need, you can check how you can get these things.  Now you can make a plan.  Whatever it is you can do it.  So keep learning, reaching, working, reading, trying, resting, and moving forward.

Remember failing to plan is planning to fail.

 So what will you do this year?

 

Thanks Pamela

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Posted in family

Milnot Fudge recipe

It’s that time of the year again!  Last year I shared our families go to, must have ever Christmas Fudge receipe!  By The Way ~ Milnot Is Evaporated Milk!  Enjoyfudge-milnot

My family has a tradition of making candy on Christmas Eve.  We all gather at my parents house and the little kids are already in their pamajas. It’s a great time had by all!  Lots of laughter, sugar and of course chocolate! Little kids go to bed early and then the santas helpers work really begins.

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Please share your holiday traditions with me.

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Posted in family, Organizing

Photo Storage Organizing Tips

markus-spiske-117324It’s almost that time of the year where you will be taking lots of photos and the last thing you need to see is “Memory full”  EEEK!

Plus some of you will be sending pictures to the grandparents.  Wouldn’t it be nice if those pictures were organized?  No one likes to spend hours searching for that picture of Pam on her horse wearing the yellow outfit.  Who has that kind of time?  At the holidays!!  No one.santa-4123836032_424fbe1779_b

Well, it would be a good idea to get organized.

Since most if not all of our current photos are electronic here are some tips to organize your electronic photos.

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Smile!  Selfie!  Group Shot! Candid Shot! Look over here!!

OK, now that most of us are living in the digital age we have a camera on our phone and our tablets. Plus many of us have digital cameras. We take lots of pictures. We shoot selfies, our kids, our pets, our food, our flowers, our toes and lots of other things.A photo by Toronto Eaters. unsplash.com/photos/i_xVfNtQjwI

I take photos of my grocery lists, of books I want to read, of business cards I want to keep, I snap screenshots of directions, email information and other tidbits that I want to explore further.

Life is too short to keep bad pictures! But no one wants to lose his or her memories.

We have memory sticks; chips, memory cards, DVDs, old cell phones and some of us have negatives.cell phone photo photo-1454473332662-09275b52e5a1

But did you know that electronic photos can and do create clutter?

How many bad photos do you have? How about duplicates? There is really no reason to keep unrecognizable overexposed or underexposed blurry pictures or unintentional photos of your hand or the floor.

Have you organized them? Most people don’t they leave them where they took them. Cell phone or digital camera. You share them on Facebook, Instagram or by email. But that is also how they can be lost. What should you save? How to organize them? Where are they?

The first thing you have to do is find them. Go through all those old devices and see what you want to keep. Then you will need to decide how and where you want to keep your photos. There are lots of articles and tips on this that can be found all over the Internet.

Electronic photos are fairly easy to organize. You can set up folders and then you can further organize them by subject. Thank goodness electronic photos are dated. So your photos will automatically be by date. It is easy to start with a folder per year. Then you can organize them by the event. You may want to be specific if you are setting up a folder for holidays who knows what holidays are in there.

I find it is easiest and fastest to keep them on USB flash drives organized by year – I can simply grab the one I need, plug it into my computer, and easily find and copy over the image I’m looking for. I have USB drives that are labeled by year with a black paint pen and attached to a standard metal key tag like one of these flash drives.  Bonus, your precious memories are backed up onto a flash drive that you can store in a fireproof safe place.

For even more specific tips on how to organize your digital photos, I have attached a link from techlicious com 10 tips to keep your digital photos organized.

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If you are looking for ways to take a better picture you might want to check this out:  5 ways to take Great Photos

I recently read that it is highly likely that most photographed generation will be the one who doesn’t have a photograph in 10 years. What do you think?  I love getting your comments.

Thanks Pamela

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(Photo credit Unsplash)

#organize #photos #selfie #digital #pics

 

 

Posted in clutter, family, Organizing

NATIONAL CLEAN OUT YOUR REFRIGERATOR DAY – November 15

Later this week is national clean out your refrigerator day. So you know what that means…

Empty the containers that are way in the back.

Toss out the takeout from 3 weeks ago. (You will thank me later.)

Do you have an almost empty bottle of mayo or Catalina dressing? Do you even like Catalina dressing? No? Well, why are you keeping the ½ ounce that is at the bottom of that bottle?condiments photo-1465060780892-48505fc8f941.jpg

Do you have a beer that you have been saving for the Astro’s to win the world series? They did and that beer may not be as satisfying as the last game was. Ditto for any other expired food you have in there.  Let it go.

Besides if you live in the USA, Thanksgiving is coming. You need room for all the food. The dressing, pumpkin pie and the turkey, oh my. You must make room for the goodies.

Now that you have tossed the science experiments that were growing in your refrigerator it’s time to clean all the shelves, wash the crisper drawers.  Don’t forget to vacuum condenser coils and vacuum out under the refrigerator.

Again you are welcome!  Now enjoy your nice clean refrigerator.

So Happy Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day!!!

Thanks!

Pamela

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#refrigerator #clean #thanksgiving #family #parenting #momlife #dadlife

 

 

Posted in family, Organizing, Uncategorized

Do you have a Plan? Organize you finances ~ October is National Financial Planning Month

So do you have a budget? Do you know when you power bill is due? Does your significant other?

Yes ~no~ maybe? While for many couples money is a point of contention. Each of you needs to know what is going on with and where your money is going. You both need to know how to access to your online accounts and at the very least how much money is coming in and going out.

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Are you one paycheck away from disaster? If you are then you need to put the brakes on and talk to someone.

There are so many ways to dig you out of a hole. Such as cut up your credit cards, use cash, use the envelope system, Dave Ramsey’s, Suze Orman, or any number of other systems that are out there. They are easy to find. I am sure you can find one that you can work with. There is even the suggestion to keep only one credit card but freeze it in a freezer bowl of water for EMERGENCIES.   That way you have to thaw the card and by having it frozen limits your access. It’s really not a good idea microwave your credit card.

Everyone needs an emergency fund.

Note new shoes or a new outfit, going out to dinner or big TV is not an emergency.

An emergency is tires for your vehicle, car repair, hospital or dental emergency, job loss or home repair.

Have you thought about how you might buy a house?

Are you are looking for a house, will you buy in the city or country? How long will your commute be? Are you willing to do that? Do you have money for a down payment?   Can you handle the mortgage payment, insurance, taxes and maintenance? When you become the homeowner you also become the super. Oh no the hot water is out? That is your problem. Leak in the roof. Yep ~ that repair is on you. By the way these repairs are not covered by your standard homeowners insurance. You can purchase a separate home warranty plan that will cover some of these repairs.

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So maybe you are in the market for a new vehicle. Can you tell me how much your car insurance is?

If you are in the market for a new car would you check to see how much your insurance will cost on the new vehicle before you purchase it? Did you know that your automobile insurance does NOT cover repairs unless it was as the result of an accident? Not because you didn’t check the oil and you blew up the engine or your drivetrain just wore out. WHAT THE WHAT.

Yes ~  this is why you need an emergency fund.

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Do you have children? Are you making a college savings plan? Do you want it help your kids go to college or do you think that if they do it all themselves they will be more serious? But can they? Have you thought of this before?

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All photos from Unsplash.com

Have you got a plan for retirement? Do you have a date you would like to retire? Do you know the earlier you start saving for this the less money you have to put in? Right AMAZING. If you have not started saving, now is a good time.

If you do have a retirement date in mind will you be debt free on that date? If you have less money coming in you need less money going out.

What about where will you live? Does your house allow you to age in place? Is there are bedroom and bathroom on the main floor? Stairs are not your friend when you get older. Your knees will thank you.Lindsay-Henwood Upsplash photo-1448387473223-5c37445527e7

 

Do you have a will? Even if you are young you need a will. If you are young parents you need this more than ever.   You want to provide for your children. Who will become their guardian?

Are you single? Do you have a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care? Lets say you are in an accident, you have a life threating injury and unable to communicate? Who speaks on your behalf? Who are they going to call?

Advanced Directive? Is a written statement of a person’s wishes regarding medical treatment, often including a living will, made to ensure those wishes are carried out should the person be unable to communicate them to a doctor.

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No financial or legal advice is being give here. I only want to make you think. Organize your finances and get your financial plan started. Take advantage of National Financial Planning Month.

“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!”  ~ Benjamin Franklin

So do you have a plan?  I love you comments.  Please share this with your friends and family.

Thanks  Pamela

 

#organize #finances #planning #money #overwhelmed #newpost #momlife #parenting #budget

Posted in clutter, family, Organizing

Tips to bring Order to your Chaos—

“Creating order in our lives allows us to live a life full of endless possibilities.”

~ © Norma Bobb-Semple 2016

Photo credited to Unsplash Creating order in our lives allows us to live a life full of endless possibilities. © Norma Bobb-Semple 2016

via Order — normabobb

Hello,  Anyone who has been here before knows that I am all about controlling your chaos,  organizing your life and corralling your clutter.  Clutter is a time thief.  If you can’t find what you need you spend valuable time searching.  You look under the bed, in the car or between the couch cushions.  Sometimes you give up and buy a new whatever was lost.  That is a budget buster.  You know you bought the funniest birthday card for your sister months ago now her birthday is in a week and you can’t find it.What do you do?  You know what you are going to do.  You buy a new card.  Then the week after her birthday you find the first one.  But you can’t send it to anyone else because it says To my Sister for her 30th Birthday…. ARGH!!

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You know you need to put some order in your life.  But you are overwhelmed?  Where to start?  I am here to help.  You can look back at some of my prior posts to give you an idea.

It does not matter where you start.  The first step is to begin.   The thing that you lose all the time is a good place to start.  If that is keys.  Determine a set place for them.  Put them there every single time.  Without fail.

If it is that your kids can’t seem to get their school stuff together in the morning before school.  You have a nightmarish morning trying to like trying to herd cats.    Set up a system.  Backpacks in a designated spot, homework checked before they go to bed, determine what everyone is wearing the night before and you will eliminate much of the morning chaos.  You might actually enjoy breakfast with your kids.wp-1474664786272.jpg

Maybe you plan on making dinner but what to make?  What do you have?  What do you need?  Organize your pantry.  That way you will know what you have and if you keep a running shopping list you will not run out of ketchup, butter or sugar.  When you open the last of something put it on the shopping list.  If you keep this list on your cell phone it will always be with you.  You can then make a plan the night before as to what you are making for dinner. You will know what you have and what you need to get.

You can get organized.  I am here to help you bring order to your life.  Where do you find are your biggest clutter areas?  What do you frequently lose?

Thanks, Pamela!

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#newpost #organized #overwhelmed #momlife #priorities #Seizetheday #parenting

Posted in family, Organizing

Paper Chase! No More ~ Organize Your Papers

Binders can be your best buddy to get you organized.

You need a binder for your life if you don’t do file folders then a binder may work better for you.

Today we have a reminder of how an ordinary day can become an emergency.  Watching the news and seeing how devastating Harvey has been to Houston makes me realize how important a  binder is.  So this is a good opportunity to revisit the subject.

Living in Oklahoma as you know is tornado alley. Every spring we would have the threat of severe weather. So when you think there is the very real possibility your home could be wiped off of the map or at the least have parts and pieces end up in Kansas you develop a special set of skills. One of the skills is you have things you know you need to grab on the way out the door.

We lived in Oklahoma on May 3, 1999, when an F5 tornado smashed into and through my neighborhood. Our weatherman said, “People in the path of this storm need to get underground or get out-of-town.”

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Since we didn’t have an underground shelter. So we got out-of-town. We were rushing through the house grabbing stuff, our insurance information, homeowner’s policy, health insurance, car insurance, identification papers and even a list of phone numbers. Also, we had just purchased a new vehicle and had yet to notify our insurance agent of this new purchase so some information about our vehicle wasn’t a bad idea. This would have been so much easier and less chaotic if we had a binder.

Well fortunately for us our house was still standing. Our trees and fence were another story and we never did find the owner of a patio chair that blew into our yard.

After that experience, we created a home binder.

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Photo by Jordan Ladikos

Home Binder –

It has copies of our deed to our home and our insurance policies.  Each time we make a major purchase we document the purchase; warranty dates then add the warranty and receipt to our home binder. At one time I kept the manuals but now all this is readily available on the Internet. So I can’t find a reason why should I keep them.  We do keep a list of maintenance, repairs, and upgrades we have made to our house.  This information is helpful for you are selling your home and you have to make the necessary disclosures.

Important Paper Binder –

We have a binder for our important papers. This binder stays in a fireproof box.

For us, important papers are birth certificates, marriage license, passports, social security card, wills and trust documents other licenses and certificates. Additionally, we have a DVD of the inside of our home. (This is very helpful if you have to replace your contents.)

Home Management Binder –

This could be called the ICE or Mom Manual. It will have flyers from your kid’s sports, school events, schedules, and newsletters. Also, it will have an emergency contact sheet. This binder will have school, teacher, baby sitter or daycare provider contact info. Passwords can also be stored in this binder. You can add pages to include your budget and bill payment schedule.

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Photo from Flickr

I know some families use a binder for their kids’ artwork and school papers. Every child gets a binder. Papers you want to keep are 3-hole punched and placed in the binder immediately. Then at the end of the year, you can scan the ones you want to preserve forever.

There are lots of templates online for pages of anything else you might want or need to have.

The purpose of the binder is to put everything all together and easily accessible. I look forward to hearing about your binders, how they simply and organize your life.

The time to create a home binder is before you have an emergency situation.

Thanks  Pamela!

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#newpost #organized #overwhelmed #momlife #priorities #Seizetheday #momlife #parenting #family #emergency #disaster
Posted in family, Organizing

Homework! Making it Easier for All

Create a homework box!

Now that back to school supplies are everywhere. It’s the perfect time to pick up and create a homework box. It could be a tote, box, basket, or crate. The purpose is to have everything your kids need to do their homework all in one spot.

Add things like pencils, a pencil sharpener, erasers, crayons or colored pencils, markers, calculator, index cards, tape, ruler, paper, highlighter and post it notes. You might even add a timer. Your kids will have everything they need, will not spend time looking for and putting off doing their homework.Aaron Burden photo- crayon 1453749024858-4bca89bd9edc

While you are at it you might as well set up an after school snack zone. Fill it with Mom approved snacks your kids can grab when they get home and are starving.

A shoe organizer with pockets is a great way to set up a snack zone. You can hang it on the back of your pantry door. By placing Mom approved snacks in the zone your child can reach. Older kids snacks can be placed in the higher pockets.

Next have a discussion with your children about homework expectations.

  • When they are to do homework? Do they get a certain amount of playtime are there scheduled breaks. This is where the timer will come in handy. You know how long you kid can work before they need to blow off some energy.
  • Snack before starting homework or after? If you are giving them a sugar snack you know they are most likely going to need to burn off the sugar energy. When did they have lunch? My husband is a little bit crabby when he is hungry and he is a little bit hungry all the time. ❤ So, I always have snacks and you know a hungry person can be a cranky person.
  • Where are they to do their homework? Chose a place with minimal distractions. (Like TV and toys.)
  • Where is the homework box kept? Remind them that if they use the last of anything to let you know so it can be replaced. Don’t forget when you open the last package is a great time to add it to the running shopping list.
  • After the homework is completed where should your child put it for Mom or Dad to check it? I’m going to suggest you have them put it in a folder in their backpack. Once you have checked their homework they can return their backpack to the designated spot you have near the door.

If you would like to have a homework routine checklist

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Chore Chart = Less Nagging

a whimsical life has a great one. A Whimsical Life Homework Routine  Remember if your children know what is expected and they know they have a checklist there should be less nagging.

So are you excited that the kids are going back to school or are you sad?

Have a great day!

Pamela

 If you like what I have to say feel free to re-blog.  Help yourself, help me and help others.

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#homework #school #backtoschool #organized #snacks #family #kids #parents

Posted in family, Organizing

Do your kids have too much stuff?

Do you find that you are buying a treat every time you take your kids to the grocery store or Target?  Do you feel like you have to bribe them with a new toy just for a bit of cooperation?

child-toy-takeover-427824_960_720So what happens to that new toy?  Is it a cheap something that breaks the second time they play with it?  Or a sweet treat?

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Try this:  Reward you kids with things they want to do rather than things they want to get.  You will be teaching them to value experiences or things.  Bonus your house, car, and purse will not be overrun with the crap they really don’t want or need.maxime-bhm-110048.jpg

Clutter control in disguise. Not only will your wallet thank you, your kids will too.

Have a great day!!!

Thanks Pamela

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#momslife #livingwithkids #reward