5 Paper-Related Items to Edit from Your Home Command Center

By Dawn Link, CPO®

We all have some form of a command center or central hub in our homes. It could be the desk area in your kitchen, or a corner in your dining room, or on your desk in the home office. Regardless of where it is located I am sure there are items that you can edit out of that space, especially in terms of paper clutter. Here are few categories to get you started.

1. Paper and Electronic Bills – How long do you need to keep your paid bills? Well, it depends. If any of your paid bills are used as a tax deduction, it needs to be kept for as long as your accountant tells you to keep your taxes. Some people like to keep bills for a calendar year and then when January rolls around, they will purge their files and start new. Some don’t keep any at all. Some scan their bills and store them electronically, again keeping them based on their accountant’s advice. It really comes down to the space you have allotted to store your important papers. The ah-ha moment here to take away is that when you clear old papers from your files, you make space for present day bills. Don’t go buy another file cabinet just so you don’t have to edit your papers! read more

Greeting Cards Organized in Hanging File Folders

A client of mine loves to give gifts and send greeting cards to friends and family.  She had been keeping her cards in several baskets but they were not in any order.  After sorting the cards into similar categories: birthday, holiday, sympathy and so on, and purging some cards that she no longer cared for (especially the free cards sent by charitable organizations as a thank you for your donation) we needed a way to organize the cards.

card drawer

The volume of cards was considerable so the card storage boxes that can be purchased at Hallmark would not cut it.  My client already had a two-drawer filing cabinet in her bedroom that was not being utilized.  After emptying the filing cabinet, we madefile tabs with her categories and put the cards in the hanging files.  This makes it much easier for her to see the collection she has and choose a card to send. read more

Yard Sales

Selling what you no longer want or need is one way of bringing in a bit of extra cash, so long as you know what you’re in for. Yard Sales are a lot of work. If you want to give it a try here are my top 5 tips:

1. Spread the Word – if no one comes, you won’t be selling a thing. List your sale locally, both on line and in print. Share the date with friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers.
2. Price to sell – remember people are looking for bargains. Group things together by price and have a colored sticker code. This beats having to print up or write up price tickets.
3. Get a permit – some towns require a yard sale permit. You don’t want to have to pay a fine, if your town requires a permit, and you don’t have one. Check with your town hall before you plan a yard sale.
4. Donate after the sale – establish the rule that nothing from the sale goes back into the house or garage. Instead pick a donation location before the sale and set up a pick up date or drop off date.
5. Have cash on hand – make a trip to the bank before your sale so you’re prepared. Only accept cash as payment, and have plenty of change and singles to make for smoother transactions. read more

Creating a Home Mail Center

We may not be sending handwritten letters to our friends anymore, but there’s always something still in the mailbox.  I wanted to give you three tips on how to create a home mail processing center.

1. Assign a home for incoming mail.  Whether it’s the corner of the table in the hallway or a paper tray on your kitchen counter, you need a specific, designated spot for the mail once it comes into your home.  Nothing else lives in that spot. Whether you process your mail daily, weekly, or whenever you get around to it, at least you know ALL the mail is right there waiting for you. read more

One In and One Out

I’ve been on a hunt for a new dressy winter coat for quite a while. I kept my old one, since I didn’t have a replacement yet, even though I hadn’t worn it for a few years. But I decided it was ridiculous to hold on to it when I wasn’t wearing it and there were people who actually needed a warm coat to use. Out it went.

With the help of a stylish pal, I finally found a great new coat. When I brought it home, I did what I always try to do when I update my wardrobe: I looked for the old one to put in the donation pile. read more

Downsizing Your Home Library

I worked with a woman recently who had accumulated a fairly large home library over the years.  Because her library had out-grown her bookcases, she had little stacks of books all over her house.  Novels waiting to be read were neatly stacked on the bottom shelf of her night stand.  Business-related books were stacked up in her home office.  Her husband’s sports trivia books were piled on the shelf underneath their coffee table in the family living.  Finally, technology caught up to her.  Two years ago, she bought a Kindle and her library became irrelevant – especially that stack of books waiting to be read! read more

Holiday Decorations: To Keep or Not to Keep?

It’s that time of year. On the day after Thanksgiving, we pull out our holiday decorations. If you’re like me, you have certain things that you just love! A beautiful glass ornament that my grandmother gave me or a snow globe I found it in a little shop in Germany. They have emotional and sentimental value. If you’re like me, you also have items that you no longer use. Strings of lights I haven’t put on the shrubs in years or plug-in window candles that I’ve replaced with a battery operated version. But I carry them down from the attic year after year and then repack and store them again at the end of the season. read more

The Tech Box Conundrum

About a month ago, David Galloway wrote a short article on apartment therapy asking “Should You Toss Your Tech Boxes?” I was very excited to hear his answer because my husband and techy friends all save the original packaging their electronics came in. We have boxes stored in our closet, attic, and basement. Whenever I question the logic of keeping all these boxes, my husband and friends tend to spout the same reasoning: We need to keep these boxes just in case we want to return, ship, or sell the item. They believe that keeping the tech packaging is part of the stewardship of owning an electronic device. Between David and his readers, here is the list of criteria they came up with for keeping or tossing your tech boxes: read more

Simple Cord Storage Idea

Hooray for Pinterest and Nic Ole showing me this simple cord storage solution!

Don’t we all have a box of unused cords stored somewhere in our homes? And wouldn’t this be a much nicer way to find what you need easily?

If you’ve got a ton of cords (as I do), then you could even have different boxes for caetgories of cords: Computer, A/V, Peripherals, etc.

Erin W

Erin Elizabeth Wells is a Founder and CEO of Living Peace LLC of Salem, MA and Winchester, MA and is a NAPO-NE member.  Check us out at www.living-peace.com.  Or call (617) 519-5693. read more

Time to Declutter: Five Ways to Know that It’s Time to Get Rid of Something

  • It doesn’t work. Your home is not a landfill.  I understand that you don’t want to contribute to the growing landfills, but that doesn’t mean that you need to harbor garbage in your home.  It’s OK to throw things away when they don’t work.
  • It no longer serves a useful purpose. If you don’t use it anymore, it could serve someone else much better.  Sell it or donate it.
  • When you look at it, you feel crummy. If something has bad memories or associations, let it go!  It doesn’t matter who gave it to you or how long you’ve had it.  If you don’t love it, wouldn’t buy it in a shop, or it makes you unhappy when you see it, then it doesn’t need to be in your home.
  • It’s only taking up precious space. I understand that many of us have enough space to keep some things that we mayneed or do not exactly love, but those of us who have limited space need to be very careful that extraneous items don’t take the place of the items we do use and love.
  • You don’t want to clean it, dust it, pack it, move it, or insure it. If you don’t care enough to maintain it, you’ll enjoy the extra space much more once it’s gone!
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