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.

Mari Helin-Tuominen photo-1444427169197-de497742b62d
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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

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

 

Advertisements
Posted in Organizing, Uncategorized

Is it time to downsize? Is your parent needing to go into a smaller place ~ think tiny

Today we are going to talk about downsizing, whether it’s for you, or for a parent.  Many times we find that just don’t need as much space.  But what is tiny? It could be 100, 200, 300 or 500 square feet?

apartment apple business chair
Photo by Tranmautritam on Pexels.com

There is a big difference in 200 and 500 square feet. We just spent a week in an 800 square foot cabin it had 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms plus a separate laundry room. All in all  it had everything we needed. We had plenty of room. But I could see how it would require some changes to how we shopped. There was not a pantry or a linen closet. But it was certainly doable.

apartment bed bedroom chair
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

We have lived in smaller. Back when we were first married we lived in a one-bedroom apartment it was probably less than 500 square feet. Of course we did not have anything so we had plenty of room. LOL

When you start thinking about living in less than 500 square feet you

ashtray book cushion decoration
Photo by Terje Sollie on Pexels.com

will have to be really smart about what you own. Your spaces will have to do double duty. Your dining area will probably be your office. You will need to have furniture that fits the space. You can’t have an oversized overstuffed sectional and a big man recliner. You will not be able to host thanksgiving dinner for 10 and expect to seat them all at your huge farmhouse table with the matching hutch. Nope ~ Not going to fit.

If you think you might want to go tiny there are some things you have to ask your self ~

man and woman sitting in front of table with books and cup of coffee facing each other
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

How do you live?

  • Do you have big parties?
  • Are you a cook or a baker?
  • Do you need a stove and an oven? Or do you just need a microwave and a coffee pot?
  • Must you have a large soaking tub? Did you know most tiny houses have a 6-gallon hot water heater? That is something to keep in mind if you insist on taking long hot showers. You can add a tankless hot water system at a cost.
  • How about laundry? Are you willing to go to a laundry mat? You can get an all in one machine but the downside is it is small and smaller appliances may end up costing your more than their full size versions.
  • Do you plan to work at home? Do you need a lounge area or just a place to sleep?
  • How many people will be sharing this space with you?
  • Can you be in a confined space together for extended periods of time or do you each need your own space?
  • What are you hobbies and how much stuff goes with that?

Downsizing ~ Can be painful Litmus Test

close up photography of white poodle
Photo by Cal David on Pexels.com

Anyone who is thinking tiny sounds like something they might want to try I suggest you be willing to part with at least 80% of your stuff. Are you willing to let go of those special over sized antiques or other large family mementos? If you said no, then tiny is not for you.

Still thinking you can go tiny?

tiny apartment photo-1468323867382-6a9fcbbd68f2

Would you like to dip your toe in tiny the water?

Try an efficiency apartment or buy a used RV or travel trailer. You can find a well-maintained RV for less than $5000. An RV is a quick and easy way to try tiny living.   You can’t really customize the floor plan but they are ready to go.

However if you have seriously given this thought and you are ready to do it.

Go for it.

There are great benefits of living tiny. Lower cost for purchase, utilities will be lower than in a full size house. You will need less stuff to fill it. You can spend time enjoying your new tiny lifestyle and less time to clean it. If you tiny house is on wheels it can be moved with you if you have to relocate.tiny house photo-1446144525544-808f420174ec

Lots of people are taking the tiny plunge. Even if you are not thinking less than 500 square feet you might be thinking about downsizing your home. You can define your own tiny.

So is tiny living for you?

Thanks ~ Pamela

bee-LOGO

 

#downsizing #tinyliving #lessstuff #tinyhouse #organized #clutter #overwhelmed

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.

Mari Helin-Tuominen photo-1444427169197-de497742b62d
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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

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

 

Posted in Organizing

Why is it so difficult to find a pen when you need one?

Well for one thing some people have a habit of keeping every one regardless of whether or not it actually works..

Are you ready to solve this problem and remove some clutter today? OK this is an easy one. Ready?

Go get a pen that doesn’t write, or a wooden pencil that you’ll never sharpen and THROW IT AWAY.

DO IT. DO IT NOW.

The only writing implements in your bag, on the jar kitchen counter, or in the drawer in your desk, or the basket on your coffee table, should be ones that actually write!

Excellent! You are one step closer to being organized.

pens markers and such

PS – also throw away all of the markers and sharpies that are dried up and never let them annoy you ever again when you are halfway through scratching over mailing labels when you’re returning stuff to “OH NO YOU DIDN’T. ”

So how many pens did you toss today?

Thanks

Pamela

 

Pam's Bee.jpg

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

bloglovin

 

Posted in clutter, family, Organizing

Don’t put that down!

Look around? Do you see coffee mugs on the table, your desk, or dishes on the counter? How about are you using your treadmill as an extra valet? Do you want an easy tip to cut that clutter out?

Alejandra Parejo- Cup photo-1448632055520-5180f82474e2
Photo by Alejandra Parejo

You need to implement the one touch rule.

What is the one touch rule?

 

Easy. If you have something in your hand ~  take it where it belongs. Don’t put it down.

We recently talked about laundry. Fold it when you take it out of the dryer and put it away. How about when you and come home from work or school and you change clothes? Hang them up or put them in the laundry basket. Don’t throw them on the bed or your exercise equipment. Touch them one time. If you toss them on the bed you have to come back a second time and put them away.

Let’s talk about dishes. Don’t leave them sitting around. Don’t put them in the sink, immediately put them in the dishwasher.

Who is guilty of leaving an unfinished craft project on the table? How about ingredients all over the kitchen when cooking or baking?

When you use something ~ put it back. Touch it one time.

This applies to your entire family. Kids too.

Danielle MacInnes photo-1455815152231-be9c88eb7468
Photo by  Danielle MacInnes

The Parent Coach, Susan Stiffelman at the Huffington Post suggests the following:

  • “Establish that no new toys can be taken out until whatever has been played with has been put away. Kindly remind your daughter if she forgets. And by all means, do not clean up her messes. If you cave in and do the job for her, you will have taught her that if she whines or procrastinates long enough, she won’t have to take responsibility. Acknowledge that you understand that she’d rather not put away her paints, or that it looks like it will take forever. By letting her feel heard and understood, you’ll ensure that her upset will dissolve more quickly — and help her accept that she simply has to get the job done.”

  • Start by resetting the rules. Explain to your kids that you’ve made some new decisions about cleaning up, and you want to share them so that everyone knows what to expect. “When you’re finished playing with something, it’s important that you put it away completely before you move on to something else. If you forget, I’ll remind you once. If you still forget, that particular toy will go in a special box for a month.” Some parents tell their children that toys that are left out will be given away. Decide how harsh you want to be — but make sure that you follow through. If you deliver meaningless threats in the heat of the moment, your child won’t take you seriously.

  • Break a big job down into bite-sized steps. Help your children work in manageable increments if they have a lot to clean up. “Start by putting away anything with red on it … or anything made of plastic … or whatever is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand.” This will help them learn that, little by little, they can get a big job done — whether it’s cleaning up a physical mess, working on a complex report or organizing a research project.”

For more of Susan’s tips click here

If only I could get the fur babies to put back their toys.IMG_0316_1024 2

You should have better luck with your kids.

Aaron Burden photo- crayon 1453749024858-4bca89bd9edc
Photo by Aaron Burden

Only Touch an Item Once

I love your feedback.

Pam's Bee.jpg

#beeorganized #overwhelmed #disorganized #family #realmom #motherhood # truelife #mom #kids #laundry #onetouch, #clutter #reallife

 

Partners

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.

college photo-1423798402048-1eb649bf30db.jpg

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

pams-bee-jpg

 

#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

photo-1467564151038-a705a00e19bf
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.

warren kelly photo-1464886127619-5a478b4fad96

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 family, Organizing, summer tips

It’s almost time for SCHOOL! Get ready now.

Wow, can you believe July is almost half over!  Schools will be starting before you know it.  For Mom, this is great news!!!  Mom control yourself.  For the kiddo’s not so great news.  Am I right?school 7-18

Summer is the time for relaxed rules and lots of fun. But with only weeks until school starts for many of you. Now is a good time to start some new habits. Did you know it takes approximately 21 days to form a new habit?
So let’s talk about what you can do now to be ready for the 1st day of school.
Right now is a good time to buy summer clothes. Since school starts so early you may be sending your kids to school in summer clothes until it cools off. Why not take advantage of the summer sales now. This will allow you to spread out your shopping and give your pocketbook a little breather.
Before you shopping, you need to know about the school’s dress code. Do they allow printed words on clothes, tank top or saggy/baggy pants? Also, before you shop you should go through your child’s closet. What still fits and what have they outgrown? This is a good time to empty their drawers and clean out their closet. It will make getting ready easier you get rid of the stuff that no longer fits or is worn out.
Do you have the right paperwork for your kids to start school? Now is a good time to gather your papers. Immunization records, birth certificates, report cards from prior school or proof of medical examination for your athlete. Preparing now will prevent a mad search or frantic last-minute trips at the deadline.
Talk to your kids to see what their expectations are? Do they want to participate in sports or other extracurricular activities? How much time are you going to be spending on evening and weekends?

Have you arranged for after school care? Make sure your child knows what the plan is and where they will be going.
Speaking of going. How are they getting to school? Do they know they way? Is there a bus or a new schedule? Are they walking? If you are driving them do you have a backup in place? If they are going to a new school a trial run a few days before will ease everyone’s minds. Trust me now it a better time to figure this out rather than the first day of school.

Swing photo by Miles Tan-1460788150444-d9dc07fa9dba

Let’s think about a routine

Time to start everyone on the back to school path.
Meal times, morning and bedtime will shift so if you start early and slowly implement those changes easier. Start creating good habits now. Mornings are going to get crazy – trying to get everyone up, dressed, fed breakfast, lunches packed, dinner planned and out the door…

7-18 photo-1465143192652-61c44e8449bd

Setting an evening routine will make your morning better.

The night before:
Determine what clothes everyone is going to wear the next day and lay out kid’s clothing.
If possible pack lunches and have a dinner plan. Do you want you your kids to make their own lunch? Well if that is the case. Let’s set up a zone with lunch items in an easy to reach kid friendly space.
Check their backpacks for homework, projects or library books. Make sure sports bags or musical instruments are ready to go.
Don’t forget your own stuff. Know where your keys, bag, and papers are that you will need for your day too.
It’s a great idea to have everything in a designated place easy to access as you walk out the door.
Keep it positive. Your kids may not be as excited as you are to return to school. Get them excited to see old friends or make new. You might want to make posters counting down the days. Plus make the back to school shopping trip a fun event. Let them pick out a few things.
When the first day arrives.

Get up early, keep an excited attitude, make a good breakfast, take photos and let the kids chose where to go out to dinner.
What is your back to school tips?Pam's Bee.jpg

 

#backtoschool #routine #organized #family #parenting #kids #momslife #dadslife