Is AUG the new BOGO or FOMO?

AUGHave you ever heard of BOGO? What about FOMO or YOLO?

These acronyms are clever and catchy:

BOGO: Buy One, Get One is an advertising phrase that encourages people to purchase because of the promise of a second item…whether they need it or not.

FOMOFear OMissing Out is a phenomenon where people refuse to commit to plans or feel less present in their current activity because they wonder what they’re missing (that might be more fun).

YOLOYou Only Live Once is my youngest daughter’s favorite.

Ever heard of AUG? Don’t worry if you haven’t. Other than being the abbreviated version for this month, it is my attempt to be clever by encouraging de-cluttering throughout August. AUG stands for Anything Unused Goes!

AUG is an acronym that is very flexible. I invite you to get creative with the different ways you can use it to clear unused, useless and unworthy things from your life, space and storage areas.

  • In your closet, you can customize it to Anything Ugly Goes. Get creative and Abolish Unattractive Garments! Whatever phrase you use, the concept is to adopt an approach of streamlining your belongings.
  • If you are a collector of teapots or chess games, you can change it to Anything Unworthy Goes. With collections, we sometimes forget to consider the value of individual pieces because we get overly concerned with the size of the collection. But this is BOGO thinking rather than keeping quality in mind. I want to suggest you use the rest of this month to decide if an item warrants display space — or if it deserves a spot on the donation or resale pile.
  • Apply Abandon Unused Gadgets to electronics. With today’s technology, things become obsolete faster than ever before. Chargers, cords, ports and storage devices may not be up to date and therefore become unusable. Don’t let these useless devices clutter your work space…YOLO!

How do you decide worth or usefulness? Please don’t decide worth solely by how much you spent or invested in something. Real worth is defined by how valuable it is to you today. Decide how necessary your stuff is to your life and its worth of the space it’s taking up in your home, car or office.

Lots of folks confuse usefulness with an item’s ability to still be useful – without considering if that item is of actual use to them. Today, there are so many ways to donate, repurpose and recycle things. Don’t hold onto things that clutter YOUR life. Let Anything Unused Go!

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Top Time-Saving Google Short-Cuts

Sometimes the simplest things make a huge difference. We spend a lot of time on computers, and if we could do what we needed to do faster, there would be more time to do the things we want to do. Here are my top Google short-cuts that help me save time.

1. Google is a great spell check
Don’t know how to spell a word? Type in the word using your closest guess. As long as your guess is reasonably close, Google returns the correct spelling.

2. Google searches on images
When looking for a product, type in the product description and select “images” for your search tool (gray options across the top.)

3. Google is a dictionary
Need a definition? You don’t need to go to a dictionary website. Type in “define” and the word and google give the definition.

4. Google understands date ranges
To identify a range of years, use two periods. I use it often to get the most current technology results. (iPhone updates 2016..2017)

5. Google is a calculator
Type in an equation and Google gives you the result and displays a calculator for additional calculations.

6. Google gives the weather forecast
Type in the zip code and the word weather and you get a 10-day forecast. (weather 08003)

7. Google answers questions
Type in the question and results yield the answer. (When does daylight savings time end?)

8. And my personal FAVORITE – Google is a fabulous timer
Let your computer alert you after a certain amount of time? Type in “timer” and the length of time, and a countdown timer dings when you are out of time. (Timer 10 minutes)

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TAME THE PAPER TIGER – WHAT TO DO WITH DOCUMENTS

Purging is an often recommended and common sense first step to organizing. When we’re dealing with documents, most of us aren’t always sure what to toss, what to keep and for how long. Here are some guidelines to get you started on handling common types of documents. Your situation may be more complex, if, for instance, you have chronic health problems, or have a business. When in doubt, ask an accountant, attorney, daily money manager, or other trusted professional. When it comes to those documents that you should keep, consider that most of the documents can be scanned and the hard copies discarded.

 

TOSS

  • Bank withdrawal and deposit slips, ATM slips
  • Expired warranties and instruction for items you no longer own
  • Statements for closed accounts

KEEP SHORT TERM

  • Receipts for minor purchases, keep until you’ve used the items
  • Credit card receipts, discard after you’ve verified against the credit card statement
  • Pay stubs, keep until you receive annual Form W-2
  • Utility and cable bills, either toss once next one arrives or keep up to a year (longer if needed for tax purposes)
  • Credit Card statements, discard after one year unless needed for tax purposes
  • Quarterly brokerage, IRA, mutual fund statements, keep until you receive the annual statement
  • Bank statements, keep 1 year
  • Car registration and insurance, keep until updated
  • Medical Explanations of Benefits, keep 1 year, but if you qualify for medical tax deductions, 7 years.

KEEP LONG TERM

  • Deed, keep as long as you own the house
  • Records showing what you spent on home improvements until you sell the house (proves value to potential buyers and could offset expenses of home value has increased significantly)
  • Car title or lease, keep as long as you own or lease the vehicle
  • Receipts for major purchases keep until the warranty expires
  • Receipts for big-ticket purchases, keep as long as you have the item, in case you need to make an insurance claim
  • Insurance policies, keep as long as effective
  • Documents for tax purposes, such as receipts you’ll itemize, (IRS recommends keeping 7 years after filing, in case you need to file an amended return or if questions arise)
  • Records showing how much was contributed to and withdrawn from IRAs and 401(k)s
  • Documentation of the cost basis for investments, whether purchased, inherited, or received as a gift, as long as held, then retained for 7 years after included in tax filing

KEEP PERMANENTLY

  • Marriage licenses
  • Divorce papers
  • Military records
  • Birth certificates
  • Wills, Power of Attorney, etc.
  • Death certificates
  • Proof of repayment of student loans, mortgages and other debts
  • Copies of all tax returns with W-2s, which could be useful to correct erroneous Social Security earnings mistakes
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Staycation (all I’ve ever wanted!)

So, everyone wants to go on a vacation, even the band, the Go-Go’s, as heard in their song, simply titled…”Vacation”!

However, with gas prices and flight costs rising, taking a simple summer vacation has gotten to be a lot more expensive. Add in paying for meals and entertainment and say goodbye to even more of your hard earned money.

Oy vey…what a headache! Why not forgo all that stress, save some money, and instead have a Staycation in your very own home!

Merriam – Webster defines a Staycation as “a vacation spent at home or nearby”. Turn your home and backyard into an outdoor oasis that everyone in the family will enjoy. Think about how a hotel is set up and organize your home as such, for the whole summer or even for just a week!

Start in the kitchen:
Set up an island or part of a countertop for a breakfast buffet/snack bar like you would find in a hotel chain. Set out those single serve cereal boxes, some fruit and granola bars; maybe even whip up a large amount of pancake batter. Buy an inexpensive waffle maker and you can have fresh waffles every morning! Since you are saving money by staying at home, splurge a little here. Find melamine dishes and bowls and acrylic cups, and stash your everyday dishes and cups up on a higher shelf. Tie them together with a bright tablecloth and you have a fresh new look. When you decide to eat al fresco, just take those items outside!

Head into the great outdoors:
After a nice breakfast head outside for the next phase of the day. If you are in the mood to relax then set yourself up on your patio or lawn. Put on some music, bring out your favorite books and/or magazines, and even work on a hobby that you’ve been neglecting. Keep a cooler filled with your favorite beverages and you’ll be set! If you are in the mood to get out of the house, then use those at home days to figure out where to go. If you don’t have a pool at your home or community, consider a membership to a local pool. Or maybe you’d rather go shopping; an outlet center is a great way to spend a day and most offer coupons for additional savings. Another idea is to become a tourist in your own city. So often, our lives get so busy that we can’t appreciate the historical areas and landmarks that our own city has to offer.

End in the bedroom:
Use as a sanctuary to rest and recharge after a busy day outdoors. Put crisp linens and a light comforter on the bed in soothing beach colored neutrals. Try to keep it as a technology free area, which shouldn’t be too hard, because most TV shows are on reruns! Keep a book on your night table and read that instead.

However you decide to spend your Staycation, take the time to savor every minute of the day. Push aside obligations and expectations and put the focus on you. You deserve it!

 

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Are You Ready to Make Self Care a Priority?

Imagine this scenario. You’re overwhelmed by the amount of work you have to do, way too many projects have piled up at work and in your home, and your calendar is overflowing with overdue tasks. To try and take on these endless tasks you slowly give up aspects of your social life, skip meals, and stop exercising. When we get stressed out, self-care is often something that is sacrificed. The problem is that this actually causes us to have even higher levels of stress.

In our busy society, we can easily sacrifice taking care of ourselves with the belief that the harder we work, the faster we can get it all done. But this approach can end up being counterproductive if your ability to function efficiently is compromised as self-care is essential to daily productivity and overall health.

First, it helps to prevent complete burnout. Also, tending to your needs can reduce the unhealthy effects of stress as self-care is crucial to keeping the body and mind functioning properly. Finally, self-care promotes focus. If you take breaks after intervals of work, you perform at much higher levels of productivity.

Aside from taking regular breaks, it is also important to take the time to eat meals and exercise regularly. Taking the time to nourish the body and work out should be given the same consideration as an important appointment. It may feel like an easier choice to skip exercise due to the amount of time preparing, commuting, working out, and showering, but the payoff of feeling healthy decreases stress levels, and a stronger immune system is all worth the effort.

Include enough time for proper eating and exercise in your daily schedule and you’ll notice that you perform at a higher level and get more work done in your day. Find a way to hold yourself accountable by working out with friends, participating in group classes, hiring a professional trainer, or using an app like All Day or Lift Log.

Additionally, we all know it can be difficult to make healthy eating choices when we’re surrounded by processed foods that are easy to access. Instead of attempting to eat a completely healthy diet, you may find it helpful to focus on one specific eating goal at a time. Try cutting out most saturated fats, reducing carbohydrate or sugar intake, or eating more fruits and vegetables. If you rethink your approach to eating more healthy, the process will be a lot more manageable as you build good eating habits.

Practicing self-care can work as the foundation that allows you to take care of everything else in your life. Isn’t it ironic that the first thing we sacrifice in an attempt to be more productive is our own well-being? If you read this and find that you have fallen out of the practice of taking care of yourself, then follow these tips to help get back on track.

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ORGANIZE THAT GARAGE!

Garages tend to become the dumping ground during the winter. But the best thing about organizing the garage is that if we do a really good job, it usually stays that way for at least a year. In reality, families use garages as storage facilities rather than a place for the car. That stuff can include obsolete electronics, delayed decisions about where to put something, overflow from the house, and unneeded building supplies. Since the whole family probably uses the garage, bring everyone together and make it a family affair. Let’s break it down:

START WITH A CLEAN SLATE AND UNCLUTTER

  • Pull everything out onto the driveway if you can. Sweep it out and eliminate the cobwebs.
  • As you pull items out, sort them by categories:
    • lawn and gardening, work bench, sports equipment, dry goods overflow, car accessories, tools and power equipment, paints/solvents, lawn furniture, beach items, camping, etc.
  • Talk to your children about their items and help them eliminate clutter. Consider having a garage sale to sell their unneeded toys.
  • Finish or get rid of the unfinished projects (two years old or more).
  • Find a new home for stuff that shouldn’t be stored in an uninsulated garage (e.g. photographs, items that could melt).
  • Eliminate duplicates and donate unneeded tools, doors, windows, appliances, or anything to build a house to Habitat for Humanity in your area.
  • Take hazardous waste items (e.g. oil-based paint) to local semi-annual cleanups.

STAY IN THE ZONE

  • Divide the garage into zones according to the categories you’ve established.
  • Think “grab and go” and store things where they are convenient.
  • Hang tools where they are most accessible.
  • Keep car accessories close to the cars.
  • Store overflow from the kitchen close to the door near the house.
  • Reposition some zones as the seasons fluctuate: move bikes, beach items, and lawn furniture down in spring and move the skis and sleds up high.

TYPE OF STORAGE/SYSTEM

  • Put big items back first and the rest goes around those items.
  • Think ‘up’: store infrequently used items on high floating shelves or beams.
  • Metal on cement will rust the metal. Rest metal on wood or up on the wall.
  • Studs with no dry wall are great for peg boards. Cut different sizes according to the types of stuff you have.
  • Use open wire epoxy-coated steel shelving: wet things can dry, mesh prevents dust.
  • Consider a garage storage system. Search the Web or go to Lowe’s or Home Depot.
  • Use different colored plastic bins for different zones so it’s easier to put them away.
  • Hang long things vertically so they take up less space. If garden tools don’t have a hole to hang, drill one.
  • Remix things you may already have: Use old drawers/cabinets, shoe bag on the wall to hold small garden tools, old table for a work bench, etc.

Finally, if you enter your home through the garage make sure it’s clutter-free and welcoming. Hang a welcome home sign, clean the door, and put a nice door mat in place. You deserve a nice welcome home!

And remember: “Every time you put something back where it belongs, it’s a gift to yourself.”

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