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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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A Homework Station for Every Student

homework station

School is in session and that means homework assignments will be assigned soon. Your child will be more productive and motivated if they have a dedicated space – a homework station – where they can complete their work. The important part of a homework station isn’t where it is located or how fancy it looks, just that your children get in the habit of studying at the same time and in the same place. This habit creates a great foundation for productivity in years to come.

Elementary School

In early elementary school children may need supervision while doing homework. Their homework station should be where you can watch from afar

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RESET and get Strength from Structure

reset

It’s September, and some parents refer to this month as the “true new year.” For busy parents of school aged children, it feels like that anyway. Now that everyone is back in school, we parents have a wonderful opportunity to hit RESET on all those routines that may have gone by the wayside during the last couple of months.

  • RESET your wake-up time. Make a habit of waking up at the same time every weekday. Provide your child with an alarm clock (not their cell phone). If they have trouble hearing it, place it across the room. TIP: For those kiddos who want their cell phone in their rooms at night because they like to listen to music – consider the Amazon Dot. It connects to Spotify and other music services but it won’t let your kid Snapchat all night.
  • RESET your morning routine.
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3 Tried and True Ways to Store Your Scarves

scarf organizer

Whether you own gorgeous Hermes scarves and real Pashmina wraps or whether you just like to stay cozy in a hand knit infinity scarf, you need a place to store your scarves.

Roll or Fold the Scarves in a Drawer

Folding your silk and pashmina scarves will protect them from wrinkles. Ideally you can store these special items in a dresser drawer. Casual scarves can also be folded or rolled and placed side by side in a drawer. If space allows, winter and summer scarves can live together in a single drawer. This is a great

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5 Tips for Closet Organization

Closet

When you are getting ready for your day, are you able to find what you need in your closet easily? Or, is getting dressed in the morning a struggle, a hassle, or a generally unpleasant experience? Here are five simple guidelines for closet organization.

  1. Your closet should be no more than 80% full. Any fuller and you don’t have space for your hanging clothes to swing freely while you are choosing your outfit for the day. Avoid overstuffing your closet by donating ill-fitting and unworn clothes regularly. Move off-season items to clear labeled bins under the bed and switch your wardrobe out in the Spring and Fall.
  2. The items in your closet that you touch daily should be in clear view and at chest height.
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5 Facts About Why We Can’t Stop Shopping

Woman shopping

We are frequently told that we have a problem with consumerism in this country. We are told we need to stop shopping. We need to simplify, minimize, and trade stuff for experiences. That is easier said than done. Even those of us who consider ourselves minimalists, can’t resist all of the time. (Sometimes I surprise myself by how quickly I toss some wonderful bargain of an item I wasn’t shopping for, or even thought about, into my cart at Costco. $16.99 for a set of cute king size sheets? Are you kidding me Costco?)

Why is it so hard to resist shopping, to NOT buy??

Those Genius Marketers

For one thing, our economy relies on consumer spending. Companies employ genius marketers

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You Have the Power to Prevent Clutter!

prevent clutter

To prevent clutter, take tiny, deliberate steps, one after another!

 

“There is always a step small enough from where we are to get us to where we want to be. If we take that small step, there’s always another we can take, and eventually a goal thought to be too far to reach becomes achievable. “-Ellen Langer, Harvard University Psychology Professor

 

Consider the following scenarios:

Maybe your goal is to remodel your kitchen, but right now your kitchen cabinets are cluttered and bursting at the seams. Your counter space (where there is any) is used by your children for studying. The kitchen is the hub of your home, where you pay your bills, make school lunches and entertain. You can’t even imagine how you could get rid of all the clutter and get ready for a remodel and then live without a kitchen for weeks on end. Feeling overwhelmed, you put the remodel on indefinite hold.

Maybe you’d like to catch up on laundry-permanently, but you have an enormous pile of dirty laundry

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Parents Need a Break During Summer Vacation Too!

summer vacation

For kids, summer vacation is amazing – long days, no school, no homework, few if any responsibilities, playing all day, sleeping in until noon and hanging out until late at night. For parents on the other hand, summer can be far from easy.

Summer vacation means more “work” for parents than the rest of the year. Although you probably booked summer camps in February, there is still a lot to be done. Your schedule can be changing week to week, which may increase everyone’s anxiety levels. If your kids are in day camps, then you might be coordinating rides or chauffeuring

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Someday, When I Have Some Time, I Will…

stack of magazines

We talk about how busy we are all-the-time. We talk about how we can’t get everything done. We talk about needing to slow down and do less. Simultaneously, we talk about what we will finish “someday,” when we have extra time. We earmark “projects” for this mythical “someday in the future,” but then (not surprisingly) that time never comes!

Here is a common list of “someday” activities:

  • Someday, I will read through those old magazines in the office and under the coffee table. I might want to try the recipes in those old magazines I’ve been saving. Someday, I would like to look through this catalog to see if there is anything I like.
  • Someday, I will finish those elaborate baby scrapbooks
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