Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Look What An Hour Can Do?

Hello Friends,

Recently I had the pleasure of a client gifting her remaining organizing hours to a friend to use.  I have a policy on my packages that the hours paid for in advance have to be used within 6 months. Use them or lose them.  So this client decided to pay it forward.  So sweet!

After looking at various spaces in the home and me sharing ideas.  We had one hour left to work and so we decided to tackle this closet in the front of the house.

There was a lot of stuff in this closet, as you can see!  We only had an hour so we quickly sorted everything by category.  First outerwear, then games, then miscellaneous.  It was amazing how quick it went!

We kept the video camera on the top rack.  Whittled down the coats/snowpants to what the client actually loved wearing.  Stacked the wooden shelves rather than having them side by side, and stuck all the off-season shoes in them.  Since the off-seasons coats are in this closet, it only made sense.

Then we added in plastic bins that the client already owned and put hats, gloves and scarves in them - after sorting out what would be kept.  Again, it's summer, so most everything in this closet is off-season.

There was still a little room on the floor so we were able to place the vacuum cleaner here.  This was exciting as it didn't have a home.  It was kept previously on the landing to the basement stairs!

Now it's a closet that makes good sense.  Everything for fall and winter is kept here, neat and tidy. Summer shoes and jackets are kept in a different closet near the door to the garage - the door they use the most.  In the fall, the client could easily switch out the closet contents.  This can be a good way to check for anything in need of repair or replacing.

What happened to all those games, you ask?  They were quickly sorted into donation piles and a pile for the kids to sort through downstairs.  Then they will be stored in a box to be kept with Thanksgiving and Christmas decorations.  With older grown children visiting, this is when they are most played, so it makes good sense to store them together, rather than taking up valuable space in the much used closet.

See what can be done in just an hour?  Ah-mazing.

What area of your home will you tackle with a free hour this week?

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Burn Baby Burn

Hello Friends,

Today I share one idea for tackling the dearth of paperwork present in each and every one of our homes.

This is my "long term" storage.  I organize my tax records and relevant paperwork for the year in labeled file boxes. These are my favorite file boxes and hold up the best.  I label by year, last name or company name (as we are an entreprenurial family).

In one box, the years are combined in one box to save on space.  The IRS recommends that we keep personal tax records for 7 years and business records for 10 - just in case of the dreaded audit.  Hence the 9 boxes with 1 combined = 10 and notice they fit nicely on this shelf unit...well except for the one on top that is teetering a little.

A friend recently shared that they keep their tax records in folded-over, stapled paperbags.  This could be a clever storage idea - except they have 38 bags going back to 1978!  

When working with clients, I stress that we must create a system for them to be able to manage their paperwork.  The system has just a few rules to remember and as long as one works the system, all will be well.

My system is to take one box a year (the box that is 11 years old) to the annual free "shred day" at a local bank and hand it over to be shredded immediately and confidentially.  

True confession:  I used to try and shred all the paper in the box myself and instead, I had a broken shredder each year.  Don't do this.

This year I was on vacation during free "shred day" so it was time to get creative.

It is rather fun to build a big fire and burn it all!  I had to resist the urge to look through all the files though, and despite my best intentions, I did find a couple items to save...

My dog's pedigree.  Never mind that he's 11 years old.  When he passes away, I'll pitch it.

A spine scan for a family member.  I like keeping health records in a folder labeled by person.

I also found our home appraisal from 2007, before the bubble burst...big sigh.

It took a few hours and a large stirring stick, I'm not going to lie.  But it was a pleasant evening and a glass of wine made the experience even more enjoyable.

My favorite thing I found?

There's even a few "coupons" in there that I haven't redeemed!  He's 21 now and one of the coupons says "get up in the morning".  I can't wait to use that one when he's home sleeping in!  

But this one is priceless.  Hmmmm...maybe I'll use it to have him burn next year's box!

When's the last time you accessed your tax records?

What's your system to keep them manageable.