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10 Reasons We Keep So Much Paper

Paperwork on a cluttered desk

It seems that everyone struggles with paper clutter. At the beginning of each year, we encourage clients to go through filing cabinets, recycling or shredding unneeded documents. For some folks though, the paper clutter is deeper than a few old insurance explanation of benefits or old quarterly financial statements.

The following are ten reasons we hang on to so much paper!

  1. Information is powerful. We keep a lot of paper as reference material, so we can find it later when we need it.
  2. For many people, printed copy is easier to read than online. Some folks print reams of documents with the intention to read through every page.
  3. Catalogues are promises of a better future self or home. We often hang on to them for inspiration or potential future purchases.
  4. Magazines can be full of knowledge we’d like to retain. We keep them to read them again, or to hang on to the “knowledge” we’ve gained.
  5. Beautiful photography in magazines may inspire our travel. We may get ideas for home remodeling projects from magazines. Although much of this information is also available online, we may keep the magazine as a physical reminder.
  6. Sometimes, the paper is your work product. You may have copies of projects
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New Year’s Resolutions for 2018

New Year's Resolution

 

On New Year’s Eve, a friend asked me whether I set New Year’s resolutions. In the past I have, but like many people, I didn’t really stick to my resolutions. I think this is because January 1st is an arbitrary day to begin doing something new or something I should have been doing all along. Just because it’s January doesn’t mean that my schedule is any different. There is no magic fairy that comes and gently clears my calendar with one soft breath, leaving time for me to work on my resolutions. On the contrary, January is time to catch up on work I delayed when taking time off during the holidays.

My friend said that instead of setting resolutions she’s unlikely to keep, she chooses a specific word – one that evokes what she’s striving for during that year. In 2017, her word was – nonjudgmental. Good choice, I thought!

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Organize to Protect Your Identity

Paperwork on a cluttered desk

Data breach. Customer information stolen. Identity theft. Those words regularly appear in the news, making you, the consumer, angry. You wonder why companies can’t seem to figure it out–either stop collecting personal information or protect it!

Despite companies’ security efforts, the risk of identity theft isn’t going away. Criminals world-wide seem to be one step ahead. In 2016, over $16 billion was stolen from consumers, around $1,300 per victim.

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10 Quick Ways to Make Your Kitchen Holiday Ready

Holiday Kitchen

During the holidays we use our kitchen more than any other time of the year. We will bake cookies. We will host family and friends for dinner. Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year’s Eve give us plenty of opportunities to use all our dishes, kitchen gadgets, cookbooks, appliances, and panty items. This makes it a perfect time to make decisions about what kitchen items are still relevant, needed and useful.

  1. Check your pantry supplies. Use website stilltasty.com to determine whether your spices or other pantry staples need to be replaced. Make a list of staples you need to replace.
  2. Will you use fine china for special dinners this holiday season? Many don’t.
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Are You Drowning in Paper Piles?

paper piles

Where does all that paper come from?

Paper used to be a rare and precious commodity, but today most families are drowning in it. Mail, such as utility bills, financial statements, medical explanation of benefits, store catalogs, magazines, and election pamphlets are delivered daily. Children’s school work and art projects also create volumes of paper. Work related documents, those can pile up quick. What if you have a small business? Tons of paper. What if you manage multiple properties? More paper.

Much of the paper which enters our homes represents an action item of one kind or another. The action item might be: pay this bill, review this statement, call this company, read this document, save this document for the future, take advantage of this retail offer. You empty the mailbox on your way home from work, and voila everything in the mailbox is more to-dos for you. Great. Just great. As if you didn’t have enough to do already.

Mounds and Mounds of Paper

Even if you don’t receive many magazines or catalogs and you pay your bills on-line, you are still dealing with mounds

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5 Steps to Make Your Guest Bedroom Ready for Thanksgiving Guests

A guest bedroom

There are two more weeks until Thanksgiving, and I am C-A-L-M. We are getting ready early this year. We know who is coming over for dinner. I have ordered my turkey. I know what the menu will be and who is bringing what dish. I’ve even made a shopping list. Bring it on! I admit it, I was feeling in control. Then, last night, one of the kiddos was feeling congested and he wanted the humidifier in his room. Piece of cake, I knew exactly where to look!

A few minutes later, as I am digging around in the guest bedroom closet, unsuccessfully trying to locate the humidifier, a terrible thought occurred to me. Guests will need to sleep in this very room and it looks like a tornado swept through here long ago! My smug holiday mood evaporated pretty quickly.

The door to the guest room is always closed, and for good reason! The bed hasn’t had sheets on it

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Get Help for the Holidays: Outsource, Delegate, Simplify!

Holidays

The taste of Halloween candy is still fresh on your lips, but you’ve already begun feeling the stress of the upcoming holidays. The next two months will be a whirlwind of shopping, planning, hosting, traveling, and celebrating, all on top of your already frenetic life. This should be a joyful time of year, but with all that is on your to-do list, it feels overwhelming. Instead of hiding under your covers until January, tackle the holidays with this three-prong strategy: Outsource, Delegate and Simplify.

You deserve help – who says you need to tackle the entire holiday season by yourself?

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Self-Activation: What’s Getting in the Way of Getting Yourself Going?

When you can't get going

If you’ve ever seen the meme, “I can’t adult today,” you know the feeling. It’s known as “self-activation,” or “getting that heavy ball rolling” a phrase coined by author Ari Tuckman. Self-activation is harder some days than others. It’s harder depending on the task at hand. There are certain tasks which really make us cringe, and we ignore, delay, and avoid these tasks as much as possible. Sometimes, these tasks get done late or never get crossed off the to-do list at all.

Some tasks feel so overwhelming that we can’t seem to begin

Whether it’s cleaning out the garage, paying your taxes, or planning a Thanksgiving dinner for a large group, if the task before us feels overwhelming, we may never start.
Sometimes these are tasks are emotionally charged. We might worry we are going to disappoint or fail. To overcome this type of overwhelm, the key is to do any small part of the difficult task, and build off that.

The first action of an overwhelming task can be to ask for help. Why not?

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13 Ways to Downsize Mom and Dad’s Estate

Downsize estate

Imagine the following scenario. Your 80-year-old father is relatively healthy, but recently you’ve noticed he’s become more forgetful and confused. You and your siblings suspect it may be time for your father to move to a retirement home or an assisted living facility closer to where you live. He currently lives alone in his 5,000-square foot home of thirty years. Your parents were very active adults with many interests and hobbies in retirement. In recent years, since your mother passed away, he has lost interest or the ability to take part in these hobbies. Apart from his bedroom and the kitchen, the rest of the home has gone unused for many years.

This would be an emotional time for your family. You and your siblings would be considering different treatment and housing options for your dad. Moving is a high stress event at the best of times, even more so for your elderly parent. The to-do list is long. You will need to unearth all his relevant financial

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7 Things You Need to Know to Freeze Your Credit Today

credit freeze

A while back, my friend refinanced her house and then she froze her credit. We had been discussing identity theft when she told me about this. I’d never heard of this concept before. Times have changed I guess, because now phrases like “data breach” and “identity theft” seem to be a part of daily vernacular. Recently, one of the top three credit bureaus, Equifax, was hacked and now we are left to wonder whether our personal data is out there being sold on the “dark web.” (That’s another fun new term – look it up!)

The silver lining is that it is easy to freeze your credit and protect yourself from strangers opening credit cards and securing loans in your name. It took me all of 30 minutes to freeze my credit across all three agencies (you must do all three), Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.

Get a free credit report

You can get a free credit report once per 12 months. It’s a good idea

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