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Author: Darla PompilioGeneral Move Management

Three Steps to Moving

miniature house packed in a cardboard moving box

STEP ONE: DOWNSIZE

Now is the time to be selective. Plan to bring only the items you really want in your new space.

  • Do I love it or need it? Consider your space and purge enough so that all your items have a place in your new home.
  • Determining what to do with all of your purged items in advance and save time.  Donate, give to family and friends, trash or sell.
  • Check your local donation outlets to see what they take and if they pick up.
  • Be sure to ask family and friends before giving them any of your items. You don’t want to fill their house with your unwanted stuff.
  • Check with your county waste to see if there are items that cannot go into the regular garbage.
  • Research the value of an item. Send a photo to an auction house for a quick response. Other avenues for selling items: yard sales, ebay, letgo, Craig’s List and consignment shops.
  • Give yourself permission to let go of sentimental items. It’s okay to let go of items you don’t want or love.

STEP TWO: PACK

Packing Paper vs. Bubble Wrap

  • Paper for dishes, mirrors and small fragile items. It takes up less space than bubble and allows for stacking items, like dishes.
  • Bubble wrap for larger items like appliances and lamps.
    It adds a layer of air cushion.

Packing Boxes vs. Plastic Tubs:

Packing boxes:

  • Easy to stack and store flush in a moving truck
  • Recyclable & easy store when they are broken down
  • Come in standard sizes for easy moving
  • Made to protect household goods

Plastic tubs:

  • Great for storing items in your new home
  • Inefficient and cost more to move because they cannot be stacked edge to edge
  • Vulnerable to cracking and collapsing during a move
  • Keep items dry

Best Labeling Practices:

  • Label on the top and side of the box
  • Use permanent marker
  • Put your name on the box – first
  • Put the name of the room on the box – second
  • List the items in the box – third
  • Share your floor plan
  • Label the rooms in your new home

STEP THREE: UNPACK

  • Put on some great dance music
  • Set up bedroom and bathroom first
  • Reclaim packing materials. Many moving companies will pick up moving materials and recycle them after the move.
  • Avoid clutter as you unpack by giving all items in your new home a place to live. An item that does not have a home will be put down in any available space.

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Author: Darla PompilioConsignment General healthy living Recyling Shopping

Good Habits for Earth Day 

Earth Day - April 22Every time I enter a client’s home, I’m reminded of the sheer amount of stuff with which we surround ourselves. Does our stuff make our lives better or more difficult? And, what happens to all of the stuff we don’t want?

Most clients try to recycle as much as they can, but the truth is, much of what is donated ends up in the dump. Just this week, I was at a baby shower and the mother-to-be received so many gifts, she remarked they would need a storage unit. She wasn’t kidding.

April 22nd is Earth Day and a great opportunity to reflect on the world we would like to leave to our children and grandchildren. Take a look at the road sides as you drive around this month. Few places don’t have plastic bags blowing in the limbs of the trees and litter strewn about. While we need things to live, conduct business and improve our quality of life, do we want to leave a legacy of trash for the next generation?

Water bottles are a scourge on our earth and resources. According to Ban the Bottle, “Americans used about 50 billion plastic water bottles last year. However, the U.S.’s recycling rate for plastic is only 23 percent, which means 38 billion water bottles – more than $1 billion worth of plastic – are wasted each year.” The EPA estimates that 75% of the American waste stream is recyclable, but we only recycle about 30% of it and The Recycling Coalition of Utah states that “Americans represent 5% of the world’s population, but generate 30% of the world’s garbage.”

How can we stop burying ourselves and our loved ones in garbage? 

  • For starters, buy less. Do you really need that new (fill in the blank)?
  • Reuse what we have. Owning fewer items makes them easier to find and in turn, we are more likely to not have to re-purchase the same items.
  • Buy items that come in less packaging: less packaging means less waste.
  • Shop for pre-owned items and support local organizations like thrift stores.
  • Compost food scraps; vegetables/fruit peels and leftovers.
  • Donate what we no longer want, need or love. This extends the usable life of the items, allows someone else to enjoy them, and they stay out of land fills.
  • Re-use glass bottles/jars for water/food, in place of plastic bags or wrap.
  • Stop using plastic shopping bags. Get into the habit of using reusable shopping bags.

Happy Earth Day!

 

Author: Darla PompilioClutter General Goal Setting Organizing

The Power of Intention

New BeginningAre you in need of a new beginning? The New Year resolutions have faded into the holiday glow, and now is a great time to renew and refresh your home, your space, your life. The best way to begin anew is to plan with intention. According to Deepak Chopra, M.D., Intention is the starting point of every dream. It is the creative power that fulfills all of our needs, whether for money, relationships, spiritual awakening, or love.

Intentions are the bedrock of goals and desires. When planning with intention, you want to come from a place of authenticity. Ask yourself what you genuinely want to achieve. For your intentions to take form, it’s important to set goals.

Goals should be specific and measurable for them to be powerful and effective. That doesn’t mean that your goals must come from a place of stress and guilt, be competitive or full of pressure. Setting measurable goals gives you the clarity that is needed to help manifest tangible outcomes.

Actions support your goals and intentions allow the goals to take form. Creating daily, weekly, and monthly actions is key to achievement and may involve building or changing some habits. Habits require practice to establish or break, and the cessation of action is more about the loss of support and accountability than failure or weakness.

Sometimes we all fall short of our goals. This is when a shift in perspective can help us overcome feelings of defeat. Be kind to yourself, practice focusing on what you have accomplished and allow yourself to make mistakes. Enjoy the process and have fun along the journey.

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Author: Darla PompilioClothing General Organizing Travel

Practical Packing for Travel

Travel suitcaseTo roll or not to roll…that is the question. There’s a lot of debate about the best way to pack a bag for travel. We’ve used three different methods with our clients. The best method depends on the purpose of the trip, the kind of clothing you are taking, if you prefer hanging your clothes at your destination and wrinkle control.

Layering
In the layering or bundling method, layer the clothes in a crisscross fashion in the suitcase and intertwine them into a bundle. This is a great method to reduce wrinkles and we were easily able to pack as many as 25 items of medium sized women’s clothing in one 22” carry-on. The downside is that the entire bundle has to be removed and unwrapped to retrieve your clothing.

Rolling
Rolling the clothing is another popular method. You can roll each item individually or group like items together and roll as a bundle. We found that grouping like items together does save some extra space and reduce some of the wrinkling that can occur with various fabrics when rolled.

Folding
And finally, the folding method. This method does take up more space than layering or rolling. However, for some fabrics, it’s a better way to reduce wrinkling. Folding the clothing with a piece of tissue paper or plastic in the middle will reduce friction and therefore the wrinkles.

In the end, we found that a combination of methods often works best. Rolling items that don’t wrinkle easily and folding others with plastic were the easiest techniques to combine. Once the larger, bulkier items were placed in the suitcase, we filled in all the gaps with smaller items like underwear, tank tops, bathing suits and belts, so that every nook and cranny was filled.

Author: Darla PompilioElectronic Organizing Home Office Productivity Time Management

Seven Steps to Organizing Your Electronic Files

clutter-clipart-6431197_f260Believe it or not, it only takes a few steps to get your online files organized. Below are seven steps to help you save countless hours and avoid those embarrassing situations that come from searching for lost files. Let’s get started!

1. Start at the Root
Determine where you want your file system to live on your computer. Having all your files and documents under one ‘root’ folder on your computer will make it easy to locate your files. Many single Windows users have all their folders, files, and documents stored haphazardly in the ‘Documents’ or ‘My Documents’ folder on their PC. If this sounds like your system, then you might want to consider starting from scratch. The easiest way to do this is to save all your current folders, files, and documents to a new folder and name it something like Archive_2015 or any appropriate name that’s easy to remember. Now you can start to create a new file structure with broad categories without losing any of your current information. After your new filing system is created, you can move previously created files and documents to the newly created system on an as needed basis.

2. Create a File Structure
File structure is the backbone of your filing system and it begins with using folders for general categories. Think big when creating filing categories and limit the number of folders to a critical few. Describe the contents of the folders with short commonly used, meaningful terms. Start broad and get more specific as you add files and documents to those broad category folders.

Examples for business folder names:
        Administration
        Clients
        Financial
        Insurance
        Legal
        Marketing
        Organizations
        Sales
        Vendors
        Projects

Examples for personal folder names:
        Financial
        Medical
        Health & Wellness
        Housing
        Insurance
       Taxes

3. Use Sub-Categories
After you have created your folders using broad categories, you will want to create files with sub-categories. Sub-categories are used to organized those files and documents within your folders. You may have a folder called ‘Projects’ and within that folder are several files or sub-categories called Project-A, Project-B and Project–C.

4. Determine a Naming Convention
It’s important to name your folders and files consistently and logically. Storing multiple drafts of the same document can get confusing, and a naming convention is one way to avoid that confusion. Also, adding a date at the end of the file name is a great way to keep track of multiple documents, and the addition of initials at the end of the file name will add clarity if more than one person is working on the same document.

Naming convention examples:
      Jane_Doe
      Jane_Doe_1/1/15
      Jane_Doe_1/1/15_JD

5. ‘Save As’ You Go
File your documents in the proper location by using the ‘Save As’ feature. ‘Save As’ allows you to save and file your documents as you go, so they will be placed in the correct file or folder from the start.

6. Clean Up Your Desk Top
Evaluate what you really use and delete those icons or shortcuts that are outdated or infrequently used.  Note: deleting a shortcut is not the same as deleting a file, folder or program from your computer. Deleting the shortcut will simply remove it from your desktop.  A program like Fences is a great way to automatically sort out all those remaining icons into organized, easy to see boxes and categories. The program can sort the categories for you or you can create your own categories.

7. Backup Your Files
Have a regiment in place to regularly back up your files. If your hard drive fails or is damaged and your only source of backup is your computer, then you risk losing all of your business transactions and correspondence. The rule of thumb for data protection is “if you need it to run your business, then back it up.” Having all your files saved to a ‘root’ will make that process easy.

Author: Darla PompilioDocument Management Paper Receipts Tax Prep

Tax Documents & the Challenge of Receipts

taxtime2
One of the most confusing parts of getting ready for tax time is knowing what documents you need to prepare your taxes. Basically, the documents break down into three categories:  Income statements, deductions, and receipts.

 

The Challenge of Receipts

Receipts are the most challenging documents to store and organize. This is especially true if you are a small business owner. Receipts are your main protection if the IRS decides to audit and details are critical. It’s imperative to keep all receipts pertaining to business and a very good idea to get into the habit of making notes on entertainment and dining expense receipts.

Consider Scanning for Added Protection

Scanning your receipts can help solve two problems. First, if the IRS comes knocking, they won’t care that your receipts from four years ago have faded; so scanning receipts is a great way to give you that added layer of protection. Secondly, if you set up a system to scan as you go, then you won’t have to wonder where all your receipts are stored, and you won’t have to deal with that shoebox full of papers come tax time. There are many smartphone apps dedicated to receipt scanning that are easy to use and can save you hours of searching, sorting, and organizing papers during tax time.

Income Statements:

W-2 – wages and salary
W-2G – gambling winnings
Form 1099-R – retirement income
Form 1099-INT – interest
Form 1099-DIV – dividends
Form 1099-MISC – miscellaneous income, including self-employment
Form 1099-G – government payments
Form 1099-SA – MSA or HSA distributions
Form 1099-B – broker or barter exchanges
Form SSA-1099 – Social Security benefits
Form RRB-1099 – railroad retirement
Schedule K-1 – partnership income or loss

Deductions:

Form 1098 – mortgage interest
Form 1098-T – tuition
Form 1098-E – student loan interest

Receipts & Records:

Unreimbursed mileage related to work or volunteering
Charitable donations
Contributions to retirement plans
Healthcare expenses
Self-employment income and expenses, including any:
-Home-office expenses
-Health-insurance premiums paid
-Transportation costs
-Advertising fees
Rental property
Moving expenses, if you moved for a new job
Expenses for energy-efficient home improvements
Tuition or fees paid for education for you, spouse, or dependents
Retirement account rollovers
Child care and dependent care expenses, including the employer identification number (EIN) or SSN of the care provider

Additional Documents:

Your Social Security number (SSN) or taxpayer identification number (ITIN) and SSN’s or ITIN’s for spouse and dependents (if any)
Your birth date and birth date for spouse and dependents (if any)
A copy of last year’s return

Documents List Source:  H&R Block