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5 Must-Haves for Spring Cleaning Your Clothes Closet

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Great ideas! 5 Must-Haves for Spring Cleaning Your Clothes Closet | organizedartistry.com

 

Where I live, it’s kinda cold. And it’s the first day of Spring (insert frowny face here). As much as I’d love to start doing a little spring cleaning in my closet, I still need my polartec tops and flannel lined jeans. May have to start elsewhere this weekend…

But, if you live in a warmer climate or just can’t look at your boots one more day, then by all means start spring cleaning your clothes closet.

 

Here are the 5 ‘must-haves’ you’ll need for this project:

Garbage bags

Despite their name, these bags won’t all be used for garbage. Grab two colors–black, white, and a third bag can be a reusable tote. Designate black for trash, white for donations, and the tote for repairs. Why use this system? I have heard stories of people accidentally donating their trash and putting their donations to the curb because they used bags of one color.

As you are sorting through and purging clothes from your closet, place them in the correct bag. Clothes with repairable tears and shoes/handbags that need a little TLC from the shoemaker go in your tote bag. When you finish, place the black bags wherever you keep your trash, put the donation and repair bags in your car or at your doorway, and mark off a day on your calendar to drop off them off at their next destinations.

Pad of paper and pen or cell phone

As you go through your clothes, you may find that they have an old stain, they’re too loose or tight, or you just don’t love it anymore. When getting rid of garments, keep a list of items you’d like to replace. That way, when you’re at the mall, you don’t have to think about what clothes you need–just refer to your list and you’ll know exactly what purchases to focus on. Use pen and paper or your cell phone to create the list–whichever works best for you.

Bottle of water/snack

Spring cleaning a clothes closet is a physical activity. Handling some sentimental items and items with ‘bad karma’ attached to them can be emotional as well. Even if you’ve eaten a large meal before starting, I’d recommend having a bottle of water and a snack at arm’s reach. You’ll need a break to clear your head and refuel–how often you do that during this task is up to you and your needs. But, I always advise my clients to bring a snack and drink into the space we’re working on. It means they don’t have to leave the room and lose focus while we’re working.

Large flat or multiple small flat surfaces

When going through a clothes closet, it’s important to have a place to put the clothes while sorting them out. If your closet is in your bedroom, use the bed to place the garments down as you make decisions. If your clothes live in a room without a bed, use folding chairs or storage tubs to separate your clothes by category. The floor is NOT a good option unless absolutely necessary. If that’s the case, please open a flat sheet, lay it on the floor and place your piles on top of the sheet.

Time

A basic organizing principle to follow for spring cleaning or any organizing task is. ‘Make an Appointment With Yourself.’ We make appointments to see doctors and to make our hair look fabulous and we wouldn’t consider canceling them except in an emergency. Do the same with Spring Cleaning. Take out your calendar and pick a day to start. Pencil in 15 minutes, a half hour, an hour–whatever amount of time you think you can manage. Keep that appointment. You’ll be glad you did.

What do you think you’ll find in your clothes closet this Spring?

 

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Organizing Quick Tip: Organizing Donation Requests

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Do you get a truckload of charities and non-profits sending you requests for donations? They can really pile up–especially at holiday time!

This scenario may sound familiar…

You write a check to a charity. A few months later another donation request from the same charity lands in your mailbox.  You don’t remember whether you’ve donated to them or not so you do one of two things:

• you send them more money
• you toss the envelope on your desk and now it’s clutter

Today’s Organizing Quick Tip will help you keep track of all of those donation requests…

Create a home for 
‘donation request’ envelopes. 
 

Follow these steps to keep those donation requests under control…

• Get a small box–approximately the size of a shoe box.

Examples of some boxes for this task:

Stockholm Photo Box from The Container Store
KASSETT Box w/Lid from IKEA
• Place the box in an area close to where the mail enters the house.• When a donation envelope comes in the mail, place it in that box.

• Go through the box every three months to sort and purge for duplicates. I guarantee–you WILL have duplicates!

• After Thanksgiving, sort and purge the the donation envelopes one last time and decide which organization(s) you’ll donate to. Spread the piles across your dining room table or sofa if you need a lot of room.

• Make your donations in December–once a year (if possible). That way you’ll have no problem remembering when you sent your charitable donations. This eliminates the need to look back at a year’s worth of checkbook and credit card statements to see when and who you donated to.

• If you don’t already have one, create a ‘tax file’ for papers you’ll need to collect for tax purposes.

• Place receipts for your charitable donations in the tax file.

• Empty your ‘donation request’ box and start over.

I recently set up this system for a client and she said it made her life so much easier in these ways:
• It organized all of her donation requests in one spot.
• It allowed her to notice when she had multiple envelopes from the same charity/non-profit.
• By doing her donations once a year, she no longer has to try and remember or look back in a check book register or credit card statement to see if she already made a donation.This will save you time, money and brain power. Give it a try–let me know how it works for you!

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Tales of a Town-Wide Garage Sale

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In 2000, my husband and I got married and merged two households. Between all the stuff we came with and the beautiful wedding gifts we had received, our home was overflowing with three of this, four of that and too much of a whole lotta stuff. So, we decided to sort through what we owned, purge out what we didn’t need and have a garage sale.

I wish I had pictures to show you but our driveway and lawn were filled with our belongings. People thought we were downsizing and moving! I overheard one woman on her cell phone yelling to a friend, “You gotta come over here–there’s so much great stuff!”

Two days and almost $1000 later, we had done a good job of clearing space in our home. We used the funds to buy a patio set which we still own. At the end of day two, I turned to my husband and said “I never want to have enough stuff in our home to do a garage sale again…”

It’s now 2013. We’ve had two children and our house was feeling full. My husband swore our attic floor would soon buckle and bins of stuff would crash to the floor below. In the Spring we began, Operation ‘Get It Out of the House.’ Big ticket items like our crib and two exersaucers found new homes. Bags upon bags of baby clothing found their way to three different expectant mothers. My husband says he could hear the attic exhale for the first time in years.

Tales of a Town-Wide Garage Sale - A perfect way to purge before a home renovation I organizedartistry.com #organizegaragesale
Multiply this times three and that’s how many bags of 0-12m baby clothing I gave away!

I kept purging–kiddie toys to the preschool, old pillows to the trash and then it happened…My neighbor tells me our town is having it’s first town-wide garage sale.

I pass the great news on to my husband. He’s as excited as I am.

I continue purging. I started to collect boxes and plastic bags, and began pricing. I even dug up the Word file for the garage sale sign I had created in 2000 (Hubby says that didn’t surprise him one bit…).

Tales of a Town-Wide Garage Sale - A perfect way to purge before a home renovation I organizedartistry.com #organizegaragesale
My cousin Dale gave me the ‘Fill a bag for $1’ idea. Brilliant!

After pricing, I sorted our items by category–Baby, Kid Toys, Housewares, Books, etc. counting down the days when I could finally reclaim my garage space again.

We had about a tenth of the stuff we put out in 2000. Our friend gave us some of her things to put in the garage sale so she could purge her house, too. We had two beautiful sunny days and although foot traffic was light, enough customers made purchases to say it was successful.

 

My neighbors across the street set up a few tables and my nine year old neighbor decided to try his hand at selling some toys he and his brother didn’t play with anymore. I advised him to lay them out on towels grouping ‘like’ with ‘like’–dinosaurs with other dinos and all vehicles together, too. He sold a few items (including one of the bikes in the background) but at least half of them went to my son’s preschool or to my own kids!

Tales of a Town-Wide Garage Sale - A perfect way to purge before a home renovation I organizedartistry.com #organizegaragesale
The wares of a budding entrepreneur…

 

A few shoppers commented on how organized my labeled pricing system was. I smiled and said, ‘Thanks.’ Oh, if they only knew…
Two days later, we made less than a tenth of the money we had made in the 2000 garage sale but that’s OK. We weren’t doing it for the money–we were getting rid of the ‘old’ to make room for the ‘new.’

Some funny/unexpected things that happened during the garage sale:
• My neighbors bought some of my stuff!
• A shopper thought a painting marked $3.00 was actually $300. We all had a good chuckle…
• A grandma about six inches shorter than me bought and then picked up a Little Tikes picnic table and walked back to her house with it.
• I sold a NJ Devils giveaway towel to my seven year old for $ .25. I thought it would be a good math lesson…

He said, “Mommy, I can’t believe you were going to sell this!”

Some great things that happened during the garage sale:
• I had fun hanging out with my neighbors and celebrating our selling successes.
• My kids acquired some cool toys and baseball mitts from our neighbors across the street.
• I got to read two magazines during selling ‘downtime.’ Any mom of small kids know that this is quite a feat!
• We made a little extra spending money.
• We purged our home of things we no longer needed.

At the end of the garage sale, I packed up all unsold goods and split them into three categories. Give to Preschool, Give to Thrift Shop, Bring Back in the Garage. The ‘Give to Thrift Shop’ bags and boxes went from my driveway to my car to a local donation center. My ‘Preschool’ items are enjoying a new home in my son’s classroom and the one (!) bin marked ‘Bring Back in the Garage’ is being dealt with this week.

So, if your town is declaring a town-wide garage sale soon, or you’re looking to make some room in your home and some money for your wallet, here are a few tips to make your garage sale successful:

• Use a color coded pricing system and hang your signs everywhere. I used blue painter’s tape and a marker for any item over $2.
• Wear comfortable clothes with pockets and comfy footwear. You’re going to be moving and standing a lot.
• A few weeks before your sale, start collecting large and small plastic shopping bags for customers to put their purchases in.
• Group like items together. If someone is looking for kids toys and they’re strewn across your lawn, customers are less likely to see them and buy them.
• Smile and welcome your potential customers. Engage them in conversation and ask if you can help them find anything special.

OK–Who is ready to have a garage sale?

 

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Planning + Mini-Goals = New Year’s Resolution Success

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In my last post, guest blogger Audrey Cupo of a A Better Space encouraged you to evaluate the past and plan for the future.

Well, the future is here. Did you make any resolutions for the next twelve months?

According to the people at StatisticBrain.com, the top ten New Year’s resolutions for 2013 are:

1. Lose Weight
2. Getting Organized
3. Spend Less, Save More
4. Enjoy Life to the Fullest
5. Staying Fit and Healthy
6. Learn Something Exciting
7. Quit Smoking
8. Help Others in Their Dreams
9. Fall in Love
10. Spend More Time with Family

Did you see that? ‘Getting Organized’ is one of the top two resolutions people made in the new year. Looks like my colleagues and I are going to be very busy this year!

All kidding aside, many people say they want to get organized but are not successful at achieving their goal. Unfortunately, only a small percentage are. But why?

A few reasons:
– The goals they set for themselves are too vague.
– People get easily discouraged and give up too soon.
– They don’t have a way of measuring their successes however small.

They don’t have a PLAN.

That’s why I would advise anyone who has made a resolution for themselves this year to do two things first:
– Create a plan for reaching your New Year’s goal
– Set mini-goals within that plan

Planning out the path for reaching a goal can be as easy as doing a ‘brain dump’ on a piece of paper or on your computer. Create a list of all the steps you need to take to reach your goal. They don’t need to be in any order–you can fix that later.

If you’re a visual person like me, you might want to use a graphic organizer to help you with your plan. This is a great way to organize your thoughts. An example of one:

Courtesy of The Writing Bug

If ‘Getting Organized’ is one of your New Year’s resolutions, write ‘Get Organized’ in the big circle. In the next smaller circles write the room/area of your home or life you’d like to get organized. In the smallest circles (attached to the medium sized circles) list the tasks that need to be done to achieve your resolution to get organized. Create as many spokes and circles as needed. These are your mini-goals.

A mini-goal is a tiny step to complete on your way to reaching your ultimate goal. It helps you to break down the process into smaller, more manageable pieces.

Examples of mini-goals for getting your home/life organized:

-Every Tuesday, I will sort/purge/organize one drawer in my dresser until all drawers have been gone through.

-I will label an envelope ‘Receipts’ and once a week, I will empty my wallet of all receipts into that envelope. At the end of the month I will review all receipts.

-At the end of the day, I will spend 15 minutes making sure all items are in the home they belong in.

-I will create a ‘Donations’ bag in my garage and pledge to put all items to be donated in it. When I know I will pass the local thrift shop, I will put the bag in my car, drop off the donations and place the donations bin back in its ‘home.’

-I will inventory my pantry before heading to the supermarket.

Successfully setting mini-goals and reaching them are cause for celebration–don’t over look that. Every mini-goal milestone brings you a step closer to your goal and should be honored and celebrated!

“Vision without action is daydream. 
Action without vision is nightmare” 
– Japanese proverb

Did you make any New Year’s resolutions? What’s your plan?

On Hurricanes, Organization, and Being Thankful

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It’s been almost a month since Hurricane Sandy blew through the Northeast.

I am thankful that my family came out of the hurricane fairly unscathed. We had power and heat–our only loss was internet and cable for about a week. We know many who slept in chilled houses and went wherever they could to charge their phones and laptops for weeks on end. And that’s nothing compared to people who completely lost their homes…

But I was nervous…

You see, in the spring of 2010, a month before giving birth to baby #2, a storm dropped our neighbor’s huge tree onto our home. It came through a window of our three-season room and took up about 80% of our backyard.
Our neighbor still has another big tree in his backyard and as you can imagine, my husband and I were concerned about Hurricane Sandy causing similar or worse damage to our home.
We hoped for the best but prepared for the worst. And then got organized.
We made ice. And filled ziploc bags with water to make more ice. We bought all the ‘D’ batteries we could find and gathered all our flashlights, candles, and electronics in one place. I also gathered all information we might need in case of an emergency: 
-our homeowners and car insurance polices/account numbers, 
-our PSE&G account and contact information, 
-the telephone number for News 12 New Jersey to hear news reports if we had no other way to access the news.
I packed a few days worth of clothes for all of us and a weeks worth of diapers for my little guy. This is just the kids’ pile…
I also packed water, non-perishables and made a list of perishables to take with us in case we had to evacuate our home.

I was anxious about another tree falling on my house during the hurricane but I was equally as anxious about the possibility of having to feed my youngest child if we had no refrigeration or way to heat food up. He has multiple food allergies on top of the fact that he’s 2.5 and doesn’t have the most sophisticated palette.

I channeled my anxiety by making lists–a great way to get organized and prepare for an event such as a hurricane. I started on paper but then switched over to my favorite productivity app, Evernote. I use this app as a place to dump my brain and keep information for future use. I started an ‘Emergency Preparedness’ folder in Evernote and created the following lists of items we’d need:

-perishable food
-non-perishable food

-perishable food for my child with food allergies
-non-perishable food for my child with food allergies
-important contact information
-what we’d need to take with us in case we need to evacuate (clothing, cash, medicine, important papers, etc.)

You can access Evernote from any computer or your phone–the information is all in the cloud. I HIGHLY recommend this app. My desk would be overrun with papers and post-its without it!

Now that I had made my lists, I felt more prepared for the upcoming storm. What I wasn’t prepared for was my 2.5 year old getting his foot stuck between the slats of a dining room chair as the wind was howling and the trees were swaying. Days later, people asked us if we had any damage due to Hurricane Sandy. I laughed and said to them, “one chair–and it was INSIDE the house.”

It was repaired the next day and now our son’s booster seat sits on this chair. I think we’re going to be telling this story for years to come…

After the storm blew through, we touched base with family and friends discovered that we were one of the few homes around town that had power. We had no TV or internet access but I was grateful that we had heat and a fully working kitchen.
Our preparedness helped us as well as with others. We shared extra batteries, extra room in our fridge and freezer and gave out food, ice and a warm place to hang out to those who needed it.

School was closed for seven days. What kept my kids most occupied during the no-school days following the hurricane?

Balloons!

Is it possible to be thankful for a bag of balloons? Why not?

We also had nieces and nephews stop by to play and warm up. We had fun with stickers and crayons and other non-electronic toys. I will say–despite the fact we did not have cable, our DVR worked. So, we did have a bit of television to keep the kiddies occupied.

During this time, I also taught my kids how to use the Swiffer. They loved pushing it around, especially my 2.5 year old. He and my 6 year old had a competition–who could pick up the most dirt and dust with it. I had very clean floors after the hurricane!

Slowly we heard about more and more people getting their power back. Schools were opening again. Gas lines were getting shorter. Everyone from celebrities to relief organizations were collecting for Hurricane Sandy relief.

My son’s school sent a note home that they were collecting items for the towns of Little Ferry and Moonachie, NJ. I used this event as a lesson in gratitude/being thankful. My six year old and I talked about how we were very lucky that nothing happened to our house during the hurricane and how others had not been so lucky. We collected items from the list, labeled the bags and he helped me take them to school.

Three cheers for Warren Point Elementary School of Fair Lawn, NJ!

Three more cheers go out to Girl Scout Troop 445 of Fair Lawn. They made up a list of food items they wished to collect for those affected by Hurricane Sandy and were nice enough to staple a plastic bag to the list. Very organized, ladies!

Once again, I took my son into our pantry. We had another talk about people affected by the hurricane that need food and how lucky we were to have what we need in our house. He read the items from the list and I put them in the bags–a lesson in literacy and gratitude. I recycled the plastic bag, and used paper instead…

Other companies/organizations involved in collecting for Hurricane Sandy–

Deposit A Gift, an online cash gift registry service, has partnered with The Foundling Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund and is donating an extra 4% for every dollar given. Here’s how you can help. People have even created ‘registries’ for family/friends who have lost much to Huricane Sandy. Here’s an example of how one couple is raising funds for their Aunt Pat who lived in the devastated Breezy Point area of NY.

Whole Foods near me in Paramus, NJ is collecting coats through December 7th for New York Cares 24th Annual Coat Drive. According to the NY Cares website, “the storm created an unprecedented demand for warm coats.”

The Container Store is partnering with One Warm Coat to collect gently used coats, hats and mittens, sweaters and sweatshirts.

Please take a look in your closets and see if you have any outerwear that is in good enough shape to donate. This is the perfect time to de-clutter and help others.

Hurricane Sandy blew through town a few weeks before Thanksgiving–a time when most of us have more of an awareness of what we’re thankful for.

I’m thankful for much but in terms of the hurricane, I’m thankful…

-we had power, a working kitchen and didn’t need to leave our home.
-that we were able to help others after the storm.
-for my husband being home from work for a week and the time we got to spend as a family.
-for the break from the internet. As wonderful as it is, sometimes my eyes and brain need a rest…
-for the little time we got to organize. Not always easy with little kids around but we tackled a few -hot spots in my house.
-for Evernote which got me organized for this storm and prepared for a similar emergency in the future.
-that the only storm damage we had was a dining room chair!

A hurricane is a powerful reminder of our need to express gratitude and desire to be of help to others. Just because Thanksgiving has passed and the holiday season is upon us doesn’t mean we should forget about those who were affected by Hurricane Sandy. Please consider de-cluttering your closets, buying an extra holiday gift for a displaced child, or donating food to a local food pantry. Keep thankfulness and gratitude on your mind and in your heart this season and always.

Organizing ‘Quick Tip’

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After purging items for Trash, Donation, or Repair get them out of your home ASAP.

Photo: Stacksandstacks.com

• Trash goes to the curb/garbage room
• Donations go to a local thrift shop or drop-off bin
• Repairs go to the tailor or fix-it shop

Put Donations/Repairs in the trunk of your car and deliver the bags to the appropriate places as soon as you can. If you can arrange it, purge items from your home the day before your garbage is scheduled to be picked up.

Dress for Success + Dressbarn = S.O.S. Send One Suit Weekend

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Maybe you used to work in an office and had tons of professional clothing. Then, you had a baby and decided to leave your job. Or, you lost a few pounds and some items no longer fit you. Maybe your style has changes or your office dress code has been done away with.

Regardless of the reason, today is the perfect day to purge your closet of any professional clothes that you no longer want or need.

Why? Well, it’s for a good cause.

Dress for Success is an organization that encourages the self-sufficiency of women and helps them enter the work force and take charge of their lives. They are partnering this weekend with Dressbarn to collect new and gently used professional clothing for women.

So, I am asking you to go into your closets and look for blazers, skirts, dress pants, suits–anything a woman could wear to an office. This is the perfect time of year (being so close to Spring Cleaning time) and the perfect cause to ‘let go.’

The Send One Suit drive began yesterday and continues through Sunday, March 4th. Besides a tax deduction receipt, I hear you get a 15% off coupon from Dressbarn when you donate. Don’t usually shop at Dressbarn? Offer that coupon to a woman looking for a job. Chances are she’ll be looking for a way to save money on her interview clothes. That’s two good deeds in one day–hurray for you, early Spring Cleaning, Dressbarn and Dress for Success!

Sort, Purge and Thank the Garbage Man

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As a Professional Organizer, I help people de-clutter their homes and get rid of things they no longer need, want or use. Sometimes the items are donated, sometimes they’re given to friends and relatives. But, most often, they’re bagged up and left at the curb.


Professional Organizers (and their clients) make LOTS of garbage. On ‘Garbage Day’ our clients put it all the trash bags we’ve made out to the curb (some tell me they wait for nightfall when the neighbors can’t see) and say goodbye to them forever. We are the hero. Our clients are relieved of a weighty burden. But, who is the real hero here with the most weighty burden?

Trash Collectors, Garbage Men, Sanitation Personnel–the people who haul away trash.


Professional Organizers partner with Home Stagers, Psychologists, Real Estate Agents and other professions to help clients reach their organizing goals. Trash Collectors are the silent member of a Professional Organizer’s team.


I recently read a blog post, written by Kindness Girl (also known as Patience Salgado) that piqued my interest. Patience took a poll to find out what the most thankless job in America was. Turns out the answer was–garbage collectors. Knowing what an important role they play in our society, she created a ‘kindness project’ for them. She says in her post,


“What could be a more lovely and simple message of respect than saying, “I see you, I value your contribution to my community and I thank you.”


Patience enlisted the help of her daughter’s kindergarten class to make thank you cards for the trash collectors. Word spread and more schools joined in on her kindness project.


How great is that? Just when you think one person can’t make a difference–think again.


So if you get a moment, stick a ‘Thank You’ sign on your garbage can once in a while–especially days you put out an inordinate amount of trash.


As for me, I’m going to look into making some ‘Thank You’ stickers to place on the trash bags I create in my own home and those of my clients. It’s never too late to show appreciation through random acts of kindness.

Uncle Sam Wants YOU–To Be Organized for Tax Season

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It’s the beginning of the new year–a time when people make resolutions to lose weight, spend more time with family and make other such improvements to their life. Many set goals to get organized in the New Year.

If that is one of your goals, that’s wonderful! I commend you for setting a goal to improve the quality of your life. I have the perfect organizing project for you. When you’ve finished it, you’ll be less stressed and have more time to enjoy the beginning of Spring.

I don’t want you to sort your sock drawer. No, I’m not sending you to organize your garage in the middle of winter.

Your first organizing project of the new year is to: Get Organized for Tax Season.

We’ve all heard about the person who walks into an accountant’s office with a shoebox full of receipts. It’s a stereotype, but if I polled a bunch of accountants, they’d probably tell me that the stereotype is more of a truth than an exaggeration.

If the thought of getting organized for tax season makes you start to twitch, not to worry. I’m going to use a few basic organizing principles to guide you through the process and put a smile on your face and your accountant’s.

Break a Large Task into Smaller Tasks
Prepping for your tax appointment can seem overwhelming. I’ll tell you that a task becomes less overwhelming once it is broken down into many smaller tasks. Do a brain dump of all the things you need to do to prepare for a tax appointment. Then put those tasks into priority order and create a check-off list for you to follow until the last step has been completed.

Create a Home
In the next few weeks, your mailbox will be stuffed with W-2’s, 1099’s, statements from financial institutions and other papers necessary for filing your taxes. In order to keep track of them, you’ll need to create a place for all of these papers to ‘live’ before they visit the accountant. Normally, I advise people to use shoeboxes an an inexpensive organizing tool but in this case, I’d prefer not to feed the shoebox stereotype. Take a large poly envelope, preferably see through, and place all tax-related documents in there. Have a file drawer or cabinet? Create a hanging file with a tab that says ‘TAXES.’ As they come in the mail, place the tax papers in the file.

Make an Appointment with Yourself or Delegate
If you’re doing your own taxes, make an appointment with yourself to get them done. Pick a day and time when there are few distractions and when you are most coherent. Write that date on your calendar and stick to it. Are you having an accountant file your taxes? Great–you’re delegating! Call their office in late January or early February to make an appointment. Put it on your calendar.

Sort it Out/Group ‘Like with ‘Like’
It’s a week before your appointment. Take out that poly envelope or tax file and look at all your papers. If you have a stack of them you’ll need to sort them by grouping ‘like with like’–all interest statements from banks go together, all receipts for gas and tolls should be clipped together, etc. This will enable you and your accountant to process your tax return quickly and with less stress (and coffee).

A few tax season Do’s and Don’ts:

Don’t: procrastinate. This is one of the worst things you can do at tax time except for showing up with that shoebox (see above).  If you’re doing your own taxes, it won’t be much fun if your version of Turbo Tax unexpectedly quits at 10:30pm on April 15th. You’ll never get your accountant’s full attention if you procrastinate–in fact you might be put on extension. And by then, you’ll be talking to the secretary if she hasn’t fallen over from working overtime for the past three months.

Don’t: arrive at your accountant’s office with your statements in their sealed envelopes unless you want to see his/her head pop off. If your accountant’s head does not pop off, it’s because they have already decided that they will charge you for having to open all of your envelopes.

Do: take the Social Security numbers of all family members you are filing taxes for. If you or a member of your family owns a business, bring the tax ID number with you as well. Your accountant will thank you a hundred times for being prepared with that vital information.

Do: collect all proof of donation papers (thrift stores, schools, great causes, etc.) throughout the year and keep them in the poly envelope or tax file discussed above. You’ll need them to get that tax deduction!

Tax season does not have to be a painful time of year. With some preparation and organization, you’ll be on your way to a less stressful and more relaxed way to pay Uncle Sam.

NAPO-NNJ Soles4Souls Shoe Drive

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Let go of those lace-ups. Say ‘so-long’ to those slippers. People need them.

The National Association of Professional Organizers has partnered with Soles4Souls to collect new and gently used footwear for those in need.

According to their website, Soles4Souls, “collects new shoes to give relief to the victims of abject suffering and collects used shoes to support micro-business efforts to eradicate poverty.”

On Sunday, December 4, 2011 donate your new or gently worn shoes to Soles4Souls at Sports Authority of East Hanover or Clifton, NJ between the hours of 11am and 3pm.

Sports Authority
Location #1: 142 Rt. 10, East Hanover
Location #2: 415 Rt. 3 East, Clifton

Besides knowing that you’ve helped someone in need, what else do you get from donating your shoes on December 4th?

• Receive 20% off your entire purchase at either Sports Authority store that day.
• Receive a $10 off coupon from 1-800-GOT-JUNK?.

You can’t go wrong–especially if you have some shoes in your closet you don’t want anymore. Get 20% of a new pair of sneakers and consider using that $10 off coupon to haul away other items in your home you no longer need. It’s a win-win if I ever heard one…

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Professional Affiliations

NAPO Golden Circle  Bergen Health and Life 2015 POWR
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