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As you are sorting your stuff you will see what you have a lot of in the space you are working in. I recommend using containers you already have during the process. This can range from checkbook box covers to tupperware containers or 17 gallon clear storage bins; what ever size container that seems to be the appropriate size items you are working with.
If you pile items, especially paper items in the container, you make more work for yourself. You still only see the item that is on top and have a one by one process of working through what you have sorted. But, if you “File, NOT Pile” the items in your container you can easily flip through and see everything you have as well as find what you need. Isn’t that what organizing is all about….easily finding what you need. Thinking vertical, instead of horizontal will also help you maximize your space.
One more question that I didn’t have time to ask you yesterday … do you schedule your everyday chores such as dinnertime, laundry, paying bills, etc. at certain times (ex. dinner-5:00 thru 6:00), or are you more flexible with daily stuff? Thanks you for your help. – Sandra
Kim says: Good Morning, Sandra! I’m glad you asked both questions. In one hour, you can pass on only so much information. The key donation sites in our area are:
· AmVets, in the Kmart parking lot at Plainfield and Rte. 83
· The Second Chance Resale Shops
South location: 1131 Fairview Ave., Westmont 630-2241-7268
North location: 246 E. Geneva Rd., Wheaton 630-260-8855
· Glen Ellyn Book Rescue 630-545-9710
· The Sharing Connection 630-971-0565
511 Chase Ave. (South of tracks, off Belmont), Downers Grove
You can also call these various charities for pick up at your home:
· Goodwill Industries 630-467-1353
· American Cancer Assn 888-875-4066
· Purple Heart Veterans 708-396-8995
· St. Vincent DePaul 312-655-7182
· Vietnam Vets 708-371-4418
Anything that can be used for craft projects can be donated to the DuPage County Girl Scout Council or if you have quantity, to your local elementary or preschool.
As for scheduling, you do not want to be too regimented with your time. I plan things on the calendar for AM, PM or Evening, after I have an appointment and I’m in the area, or after I accomplish a certain task I know I can accomplish next, such as laundry. I will write the “To Do’s” on the calendar with no set time though, I just enter it in the morning, afternoon, or evening area of the calendar.
Kim says: Thanks for asking, Sheila. When you purchase items, initially you need to decide how important that purchase is. Receipts for items that are tax write-offs should be put with that years tax paperwork. Items that are big ticket purchases, usually things that are over your home insurance deductable, should be put with all your other big ticket receipts in your fire safe or safety deposit box. By doing this, you will have proof to insurance of the replacement cost of these items. As for small, daily purchases, put the receipt in a “30-day envelope”.
Typically stores have a 30 day return policy. Put the keeper receipts in this [30-day] envelope. When you do the bills each month, pitch the last month’s receipts. Hold for 90 days at most if that is the store policy. I know of no-one who takes cash or credit returns after that. The best you could probably do then is a store credit for the sale value.
If you are giving a gift, put a gift receipt with the item, or fold the original receipt and staple it to the items tag, just in case.
Take out the same set amount of money each week so that you are NOT using your debit card randomly (and forgetting some of the entries). Do this on the same day each week – maybe Monday or Friday.
Pay your bills two times per month whether by computer or by check. In this way, you do all your data entry at the same time. If a direct withdrawal is taken out on the 5th, mark it when you are doing your checkbook on the 1st. The other option is to pay each week the same day as your withdrawal.
Schedule time to do this on your calendar, just like you would any other project.
Note: Average all your cash purchases for the past 6 months to come up with a realistic withdrawal for you and your hubby each week.
Kim says: Hi, Richard! Part of getting your financial papers organized means deciding which should go in the safe deposit box. Typically these are ones of financial value in and of themselves. There are certain documents you may need to keep on hand. By and large, they’re also replaceable but are difficult to do so. In the event of a fire, flood, tornado, etc. you could get copies, but it takes a lot of time and effort.
In a safe deposit box (or second choice, a fire-retardant safe), keep:
· Deeds and titles
· Marriage licenses and divorce decrees
· Birth certificates
· Home inventory and big ticket purchase receipts
· Social Security cards
· Stock certificates
· List of bank accounts, brokerage accounts, certificates of deposit, and credit cards (with account numbers and branch locations)
· Insurance policies
· Personal Tax returns (past three years)
· Wills and trusts
· Power of Attorney
· Medical directives
· Funeral and burial instructions
Of course, anything of personal value to you, that you only use or need once in a while, should be kept in there too.
Keep me posted on your progress with your papers.