Tuesday, January 31, 2006

New Year's Resolutions

It is the last day of January and Get Organized Month has flown by! You may also be wondering where the time went if you made a New Year's Resolution 31 days ago.

If you resolved to get organized in 2006 and still have not started, don't worry, the calendar doesn't have to read January 1st for you to have a fresh start! Anytime is good for setting new personal goals.

It has been said that many people cannot keep their New Year's Resolutions because they are too broad and do not have specific goals. I often see this too with my clients that have tried time and again to "get organized" on their own. They know they want their home or office to look organized but do not know how to break the work down into specific steps and goals. Or perhaps it all seems too overwhelming.

It is okay! Simply Organized Life is here to help you know where to start and set realistic goals when it comes to your organizing journey. Remember, getting and staying organized is a process, not an event!

If you can, take a little time today to evaluate where you are in the process of meeting your New Year's Resolutions. Start small and set obtainable goals for yourself with realistic deadlines.

If it still seems overwhelming, feel free to post or e-mail us your questions regarding reaching your goals in getting organized! We are here to help you!

Friday, January 20, 2006

Organizing Products

In my first post for Get Organized Month, I promised to share my thoughts on some popular organizing products.

Those of you that have worked with me professionally or inquired about my services know that I recommend organizing products sparingly and am not currently affiliated with any product line. While there are so many great tools (and pretty things!) out on the market these days, I find that when I work with my clients, roughly 90% of them do not need to buy any physical products to get organized.

While my opinions may not make me popular with the $4.36 billion home storage products industry (Newsweek, June 7, 2004), I firmly believe that getting (and staying) organizing is more than just buying the right products.

That being said, in this post I will recommend one tool that can really help you out in your organizing journey.

If there is one product that I recommend frequently to both residential and commercial clients, it is the shredder. A shredder is a wonderful tool for getting rid of unwanted papers and protecting your privacy. There are shredders on the market at various price points, so that nearly everyone can find one in their price range.

Take some time during Get Organized Month to use your shredder and get rid of unnecessary papers!

Monday, January 16, 2006

Organized Tax Time!

Believe it or not, it is tax time again! Why wait until April, when Get Organized Month is here now! Even if you do wait until April to file your taxes, I have some simple organizing tips that will help you in the months ahead.

2005 Taxes
Employers and financial institutions (such as banks and mortgage lenders) are required by law to mail you the appropriate 2005 tax forms by January 31, 2006. This includes W2s and 1099s to name a couple of the forms. You may have already received one of these forms in the mail.

Make sure you have a special place to put these forms where they will not get mixed up with other household paperwork, used as drawing paper by your child, or God forbid, eaten by the dog! Hanging file folders work great. You can also use any sort of folder or envelope. If you feel compelled to use a shoebox, go ahead! The important thing is to keep all of your tax paperwork in one easy to find location.

Now is also the time to spend a few moments gathering up other tax related papers, such as receipts or cancelled checks from donations. If you work with a tax professional, such as a CPA, request a worksheet or list of documents that you need for your appointment (many CPAs will send this automatically). If you prepare your taxes yourself, be sure to pick up the appropriate forms at the post office or library before they are gone.

2006 Taxes
In my last post, I wrote about decluttering my basement and coming up with a few donations. If you decide to declutter during Get Organized Month, remember to request receipts for your donations. However, you will not be able to deduct the value of your donations until 2007 when you file your 2006 taxes.

Just as I mentioned above, make sure you have a special place to keep your 2006 tax related paperwork that is separate from your 2005 tax return paperwork. You will need these papers a year from now!

Monday, January 09, 2006

Get Organized Month!

Simply Organized Life is a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers (www.napo.net). NAPO has designated January as Get Organized or GO Month! Throughout the month of January I will be sharing lots of free tips to help you on your organizing journey this month.

I always say to my clients that getting (or being) organized is a process, not an event. Even Professional Organizers need to declutter from time to time. That is exactly what my husband and I did yesterday in our basement in honor of GO Month.

Given my profession, we probably have less "stuff" in our basement than "most people" but that doesn't mean that there isn't room for improvement or a need to pare down a bit from time to time. Over time we all have a tendency to accumulate "stuff" and I am no exception.

Our goal yesterday was to make room for some new holiday decorations without buying additional shelving or storage products (I will let you know what I think about some popular organizing products in another essay later).

We tend to forget about those things in our basement. You know, out of sight, out of mind. It was amazing what my husband I found that we could release to be donated, recycled, or sold on eBay. These things are no longer serving their purpose for us, but we know that there is someone out there that can use these things now!

When you take on your GO Month project be sure to keep in mind that items you may be saving to be used "someday" might be better put to use by someone else "right away"!