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.

Pam's Bee.jpg

 

 

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

 

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Posted in Organizing, Uncategorized

Whack A Mole

Does this sound familiar to you?

You walk past your crammed closet and think “I’ll clean it eventually.” Your overflowing drawers will not close and you think, “Oh what’s the big deal. I haven’t cleaned it because I am busy.”

You can’t find your keys in the pile on your table and say, “So what? Doesn’t everyone have a clutter problem?”

You work really hard to pound down your piles of paper, yet they continue to pop up like Whack-A-Mole. whack-mole

You buy containers and baskets and chalkboard labels to hold your stuff, yet it continues to multiply like bunnies.

But after each attempt to change your ways, the stuff in piles remains. After each failed attempt, the disorganization goes downhill. So why can’t you get control?

As frustrating as it is, you learned something necessary: you can’t just wave a magic wand, buy a bin, or trash a tower of paper and call it organized.

Why does this happen?

It’s a lifestyle. And like any other lifestyle you have to learn and practice. And get better at it every day.

Check back with me often and I will continue to share tips with you. If you think you need my help I am here.

Thanks

Pamela

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Posted in Organizing, Uncategorized

Psst…… What’s In Your Drawers?

OK, let’s talk about your drawers.

Are you hoarding rubber bands, twist ties, shopping bags or you tell me?

Why? You don’t need 1,000 rubber bands, 50 twist ties from your bread wrappers or 25 paper bags.

Really, you don’t. You might need a dozen rubber bands and a few of the other things. Why do you think you might need them? If you can’t come up with a good reason let them go.

And No a Rainy day is not a good reason.

The better question is, how many have I used in the past 6 months? If you answer is none then you really don’t need them.

rubber band ball

I’ll admit my Dad had an amazing rubber band ball but he had goal. When it reached a certain size he would retire. By the way he did.

 

Throw away, recycle or sell needs to be your mantra!

 

“Happiness is a place between too little and too much” – Finnish Proverb

 

What did you do today to find your happy place today?

Pam's Bee.jpg

 

#nomorestess #clutter #organizing #whatisinyourdrawers

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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 summer tips, Uncategorized

Maine! Is this on your bucket list?

Maine is on my bucket list.  I have traveled almost all of the United States but the upper east coast including the original 13 colonies remain on the yet to be explored list.  But one day I am sure I will get there.  In the mean time, I have found an amazing blog that will have to suffice.  For now.

“The sunlight claps the earth, and the moonbeams kiss the sea” Percy Bysshe Shelley This week my husband and I are enjoying time with family in Maine’s beautiful Acadia National Park and its surrounding towns. Since Erica’s challenge for the week asks us to demonstrate transition, I thought the awakening of sleepy Bar Harbor with […]

via Magnificent Maine – WPC — Travels and Trifles

Posted in clutter, Organizing, Uncategorized

Dorm Rooms – Tips to help you live in 114 square feet

Oh, my goodness can you believe it is almost that time again?  Ah, College Move in day. It’s right around the corner.  Do you have a college freshman in your house or are you a college freshman?    I know you are both looking forward to the day and a bit nervous.  Not to fear I want to share some of the best tips to make your move in day the best it can be.

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But how are you or your daughter going to make it in 114 square feet?   The average dorm room is 12 x 19 feet (228 total square footage) to be shared.

In that space, there will be a bed, desk, dresser, probably a mini fridge and microwave not to mention all of those clothes, makeup, hair stuff, and toiletries.

EEK that is tiny living. So you are going to have to make the most of every foot.

Will you be coming home for the holidays? If so maybe you don’t need all of your winter clothes since it will be fall when school starts.

Clothes

  • Also, think comfort for class clothes and shoes.   Perfect examples are solid tanks, comfortable flats, and a comfy pair of jeans. Mix and match will be your friend. Remember that scarves can really change an outfit.
  • You will not need lots of dressy outfits. Think a basic little black dress with a jacket and dressy outfit and shoes for more formal affairs like internship interviews, presentations or formals.
  • Work-out clothes, a bathing suit, bathrobe and shower shoes & sneakers
  • If you are going to an area where it gets chilly you will need a light jacket. Heavy coat, mittens, hat, and scarf *(if you’re going to a campus with a colder climate) Maybe rain boots and an umbrella. Don’t forget a comfy pair of slippers (for hanging out in the residence hall)
  • Remember your entire space will be small. So don’t bring lots of shoes. No more than 6 (1 of each: flats, dressy heels, sneakers, shower shoes, slippers, boots) It’s hard but really you will not wear every shoe in your home closet and more importantly, you don’t have room for them all.

Don’t over pack.

Whatever you think you need edit out 40% of it.

Mom can send it to you if you really need something. *If you are going home for Thanksgiving you can switch out your fall clothes for winter and pick up your winter coat then.

Oh, by the way, you will probably be sharing a bathroom with lots of other girls.

No leaving your stuff in the bathroom.

You will have to carry it from your room to the bathroom and back again. Bring your own shower supplies. You’ll want a small bag or carryall that is easy to hang up where you can reach your soap, shampoo, and conditioner.

What should you bring with you?

  • A waterproof shower caddy – either a plastic caddy or a mesh bag
  • Towels and wash cloths
  • A robe – for covering up after you shower – It might be a bit chilly in the halls even if you are not modest
  • Shower shoes – either flip-flops or crocs
  • Shampoo and conditioner – if you can use the 2-in-1 kind, you’ll save space
  • Razor and shaving cream
  • The shower gel is really easier than bar soap.

 

Which brings us to Laundry.Laundry photo-1469504512102-900f29606341

You will be doing your own. So you will need to bring your own laundry detergent, softener, stain remover and quarters. You will need a laundry basket or bag to get your stuff to the laundry.

Don’t bring:

A printer there should be a printer lab so you will not need one.

Toaster, hot plates, skillets, or toaster ovens

Candles

Halogen bulbs and/or lamps

Most schools do not allow you to put holes in the walls so no nails.

You will not need an alarm clock if you use your phone.   Your phone will be your camera, calculator, calendar and address book. You are on your own to get to class. Mom will not be waking you up so if you need a loud alarm clock then, by all means, get one.

This is not by any means a complete list if you want more tips on what to bring check out this  list from College Love to Know  Things to Take to College Dorm

Good Luck and Enjoy every moment of your new adventure!!  I love to hear your comments.

Pamela

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#college #dormlife #tinyspace #lessismore #clothing #packinglist

Posted in family, summer tips, Uncategorized

Should you go on vacation?

This is one of my favorite blog posts.  So I am sharing it with you again.  Enjoy and GO on VACATION!.

Should I stay or should I go was never a question in my family.  The answer was always let’s go

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Photo by Marjorie Bertrand

I was reading comments on vacation memories and got to thinking about my own.

Our family motto is,  “it was not a vacation until someone had a flat tire or ran out of gas”. I got to thinking about all the prior vacations. The memories ran from shortcuts that were not, in fact, shorter but may have involved some very narrow roads that may not have had guard rails that went on for miles with no place to turn around. Praying that you did not meet another vehicle since we were pulling an RV.

My granddad loved Colorado and we went there many times. I have traveled by vehicle all over the United States and parts of Canada with my parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, brothers and my husband. We have stayed in tents, a Scotty tiny trailer, fully functional RVs, hotels, and cabins.

I have seen lots of wild animals from bears, moose, and elk, to little ground squirrels. 45 years ago we fed a bear chewing gum one time.  DO NOT DO THIS.  don't feed the bears

I have seen a rogue bear who he thought he could share a tent. The owners of the tent were willing to let him because who’s going to stop him.

We always went to the ranger talks. We learned about the parks we were visiting and heard some great stories. The walk back to the camp was amazing. No lights except for the stars and flashlights. If you have the opportunity to do this, do it. Take the time and take your kids.

I can’t tell you how many flat tires or times someone ran out of gas. Someone in my family has this thing about wanting to see how many miles they can get out of a tank of gas.   There have been many other calamities such as the time the truck caught on fire – That was a bit too exciting! Then there was the time the mini-bike fell off the back of the RV. My uncle was following us and I think he had to change his pants after that experience. Of course, this is the same uncle whose short cuts were not shorter.pierre SD

Of course, my parents will never forget the time they left me in South Dakota, which was 754 miles from home. First, you have to understand it was way before cell phones and there were 5 vehicles all traveling together. I was prone to ride with almost anyone of the 5. So it was just a matter of miscalculation on all our parts. I can tell you that now to this day. When I get out of the car to go to the restroom…I have the keys.

It was an adventure for me. Hours later when my parents stopped for the night and set up camp they discovered there was one less kid with them… Huh? What took hours to drive earlier did not take anywhere near as long back. I was fine. My parents got a few gray hair that day. But never the less vacation continued on as planned. It was an amazing time.

My cousin’s birthday was always celebrated while on vacation. One year we couldn’t find a cake so she got a cookie with pine needles candles on it. She still talks about her birthday cookie.

My husband and I took a trip with my parents to Yellowstone a few years ago.  There was a forest fire blocking our way back to the DNR Dude ranch (yes, that was the name) where we were staying.  So we had to take a detour of  163 miles.  We almost out of gas but we saw the most amazing sunset I had ever seen.  All I am saying is sometimes the detour brings a wonderful surprise just around the bend.

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If you are on the fence about taking a vacation let me say, GO! They are your vacation days. Take them. Spend time with your family. Unplug and go. There are only so many summers when your kids will be little. They are growing up and you need to make memories.

So go make memories. Good or bad they will be the things you will talk about for years and years to come.

Heck, maybe one of your kids will write about it someday.

Pam's Bee.jpg

#vacation #goRving #travelwithkids #familytime

 

A Piece of Advice
Journey

Posted in summer tips, Uncategorized

When Cold water is Hot — Live Laugh RV

Thanks to Ingrid for spotlighting a common Arizona summer problem.  Hot water.  Friday our high was 117 degrees.  Let me tell you there is no such thing as cold water this week.  Even our commodes are steaming.  Nothing like a sauna on your rear.  I am not complaining because you never have to shovel the sunshine and most of the time we spend outside with wonderful weather.  We treat summer like northerners treat winter.

Thanks, Ingrid.  

Living a minimalist mobile lifestyle can be enlightening, fun, and rewarding but it can also present challenges. Last summer, Al and I meandered around Idaho, Wyoming, and Colorado and although we had a fantastic time, the transient way of life can be stressful at times. Wanting to keep our schedule flexible, we didn’t make any […]

via When Cold water is Hot — Live Laugh RV

Posted in Uncategorized

CAISSON HORSES ~ Military Funeral

Today I spent a little time learning about the Cassion horses which are housed at Fort Myer Caisson Barn.  They perform a somber and revered part of military funerals at Arlington National Cemetary.  If you have never been it is more than 600 acres of hallowed ground.  The Caisson horses are cared for by the U.S. Army’s 3d Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard).

I stumbled upon some photos taken by LIFE MAGAZINE while they visited the Old Guard stables.

CAISSON HORSES

A Caisson horse is one of the 6 horses that is hooked to the caisson which is the cart that holds the casket of a fallen and ranked soldier.  You’ve probably seen the image of a Caisson.

CAISSON

What is a caisson or how did the name come into play?  Here is an explanation:

“The caissons were built in 1918, and used for 75mm cannons. They were originally equipped with ammunition chests, spare wheels, and tools used for the cannons. Today these have been removed and replaced with the flat deck on which the casket rests.”

The silence of the procession is broken only by the rhythmic clip-clop of the seven handsome horses. Astride four of the horses, Soldiers sit ramrod straight. The horses, head erect, bodies taut and controlled, seem to imitate the solemn military bearing of the men and women who sit quietly in the saddles.

Six of the horses pull a flag draped casket on a black artillery caisson. Both Soldiers and horses are conscious that this is no ordinary ride through a cool, shady country lane. They have the honor of carrying a comrade for his last ride to Arlington National Cemetery, where he will rest in peace with other honored dead.

http://oldguard.mdw.army.mil/specialty-platoons/caisson

I found this article from Stars and Stripes by MEREDITH TIBBETTS.  This just an excerpt and I recommend you go to this site and read the article in its entirety.

Headstones and Horses: 

That ritual starts with these soldiers, up at 4 a.m. to prep the horses and equipment. There are 61 horses in the team, with some on rest at Fort Belvoir and some at work at Fort Myer. The horses rotate between forts, working one week and off the next. There are currently 49 soldiers who care for them, but there are positions for 56.

Saddles must be cleaned, horses too — whether they like it or not. Like their human counterparts, some are rather grumpy as they get hosed down. After the showers, the horses are dried off and brushed down. Shoes are checked and horses are dressed.

Special funerals have a caparisoned, or “cap” horse, where empty boots are positioned backward in the stirrups. This horse would follow the caisson with the casket and was usually led by a single foot soldier. At Arlington, that happens when an Army or Marine Corps officer was ranked a colonel or above. The most famous cap horse at Fort Myer is Sgt. York — named after the World War I soldier Alvin C. York — who walked behind President Ronald Reagan’s caisson.

According to the small museum in the stables at Fort Myer, one of the earliest examples of a cap horse in the United States was the funeral of George Washington. His horse, carrying his saddle, holsters, and pistols, was led behind the procession. Abraham Lincoln, however, was the first president to be honored with a caparisoned horse in a state funeral.

This is not my normal type of post but I was so moved by the Caisson Platoon and Arlington I had to share it with you.  I hope you enjoyed it.  Come back for tips to help you get and stay organized.

Thanks Pamela