Being that it is the season of giving and the time of the year for reflection there has been some discussion about holiday cards. I can tell you that I will continue to mail Christmas cards. I don’t send as many as I once did but that is because I no longer am interested in appearances nor do I keep people in my life that are not healthy. What I mean by that is I have edited my “friends” list. For example, I used to have people who I worked with but was not friendly with. We had nothing in common except for our employment. Some of them were chronic complainers. You probably have a few of these people you know the “Never happy with their life,” “someone owes me,” or the “let me tell you what she or he did” gossipers. I don’t have time for that.
I most certainly don’t have it all but I am very happy with what I have. I choose to look at the glass as half full.
Don’t get me wrong I am always available to lend an ear and I don’t dump people just because they are having a bad stretch. I distance myself from people who are just not healthy for my mental state and you can too.
Sometimes you just have to clean out the emotional clutter. Let go of the baggage you have been carrying around. You will feel better about it.
The older I get the faster time goes by. Today I am putting up the Christmas decorations and preparing to send out my Christmas cards. So now that you have limited the number of holiday cards you will be sending what do you do with the ones you receive? Do you keep them forever, recycle them or toss them?
Do you enjoy getting an electronic card or message as much as a piece of mail?
It’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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I don’t normally share products but…… These are fantastic! I am always looking for a gift that is outside the box. No pun intended, these so fit the bill. The KIWI company is perfect for kids! It is a teaching opportunity that is fun! I am always looking to be that Aunt you know the one that sends the best gift, not the ones that you can find everywhere.
Click here if you are looking for a special gift for a special kid in your life:
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?
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.
For six months of the year we make a ritual of laying and lighting a fire in the fireplace and sitting around in the evenings and on weekends. We begin our fire ritual on the 1st really cold October day. We have swivel chairs on either side of our fireplace with a reading table in between and we tend to sit and read, talk and relax, and gaze into the flames. We keep our house cool in the winter so the warmth of the fire brings us all together. We often move the books off the table and eat supper in front of the fire with our children.
Words from Alexandra Stoddard:
My first memory of visiting my Godmother in Framingham, Massachsetts, when I was five, was sleeping in the guest room in a high mahogany four-poster bed that faced a beautifully carved mantel, there was a crackling fire…
OK, you have cleaned out your closet and you have bags and boxes of stuff you are letting go.
Now what to do with it? Do you take it to Goodwill or shove it into one of those boxes in the parking lot of your neighborhood grocery store?
I am an advocate of donating your stuff if it is still usable. If not please don’t donate. But where?
You have to do some research and follow your own heart or make up your own mind. Here we have many many many (did I mention Many) options as to where to donate. If you want to look into some of the charities and be informed when you’re giving back, you can check out sites like CharityWatch.org to find out how your donation will actually reach people in need.
Everyone is familiar with Goodwill and Salvation Army but did you know many churches have thrift stores? Also, there is Dressed for Success, Veterans, Althimers, Food banks, CancerCare, habitat for humanity, Women’s shelters, animal shelters, Big Brother Big Sister, Soles 4 soles … the list goes on. If there is a cause that pulls your heartstrings you can probably find a way to donate to them.
You will be helping others and helping yourself. You can do it! Don’t let those donations linger in your home or trunk. Let them go.
October means fall, or some of you say autumn but whatever you say soon there will be falling leaves and falling temperatures. We moved to Arizona to not have cold winds, freezing rain and snow. In looking at the weather I see that snow is already falling in the north. But the rest of you will soon have to be dealing with just those things. We have always had a rule; if we have a two-car garage we will be parking two cars in it. We do not allow it to be filled with clutter and stuff. If you have a garage and you can’t park your car in it and you want to; let’s work together and make that happen.
Now is the perfect time of the year. Not too hot, not too cold. Just right.
First things first: Timing
Start this project the day after your regular trash pick-up day. Next, if you have “Big trash day” or “bulk trash day” start the weekend before that day.
Get lots of big garbage bags.
If you have not used it in a year and it is not a tool let it go.
You have 4 choices; you can throw it away, donate it, give it away or sell it.
If you live in a neighborhood you can put your stuff on the curb with a “free” sign and more than likely it will disappear. Last weekend was our big trash day and we put our a broken mini-fridge and a heater along with some tree limbs. We barely closed the garage door before someone swooped in and grabbed the broken mini-fridge. They had plans to convert it into a cooler. (Thank you Pinterest!). The next morning the heater was gone too.
Just a word of warning – Don’t leave your junk on the curb for very long. Your neighbors will not take too kindly to a junky street.
If you moved into your house over 2 years ago and you have boxes that you still have not opened. Don’t. I Repeat Don’t Open them! Just donate them. You have not needed them they are taking up space.
If you have unfinished projects that have been unfinished for over 2 years, news flash you are not going to finish them. Let them go. If not set a firm deadline and if that deadline passes without you completing them you have to let them go.
If you are using your garage as a storage facility for excess furniture that you do not have a timetable to use, you need to let it go. Most likely when you move into that new house your old stuff that has been sitting in the garage with the spiders, bugs, mice, and dust will not work in your space. I can only assume it does not work in your current house. If you are holding on to your bachelor furniture that your wife will not let you move into the house, just let it go. She is not going to change her mind. Wouldn’t you rather park your car in the garage than sit in that ratty recliner with the oversized rear projection screen TV?
Remember, months of winter weather are fast approaching. Just saying 10 to 20 more minutes of sleep vs. starting a cold car, scraping off the windshield. Being the wonderful man who you are you will not have to do the same thing for your wife. She will be so happy.
Remember Happy Wife….Happy Life.
Maybe she will buy you a new amazing recliner for your dream man cave.
Garages: Just because you have a Garage for storage, doesn’t mean you have to keep everything there forever. Schedule one or two days a year to give the Garage a once over. Once you get the hang of it you won’t have to make a big project out of it. Just look for a few things that you can toss or donate. And then do it!
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.