Morning routine game changer for coffee drinkers!Read More
I have a number of clients who are collectors. Recently, I had a client with a ton of artwork but no more wall space. Also, figurines and other collectibles. Since it was will writing and insurance time it was time to take photos and archive. It was also time to think about possibly selling some pieces and invest that money for the future. A friend introduced me to Sortly. It's a fantastic FREE app that allows you to photograph, tag, annotate, and sort any item. You can use it to categorize everything! The app will also scan barcodes to give you an idea of prices for your stuff! Let's say, you Sortly all of your DVDs or books and lend one out you can make a note in the app for who and when etc you lent it! Check it out!! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! https://www.sortly.com/
Ok guys, It’s after the first of the year and 1099s/W-2s should have shown up by now. First things first. Get your year-end papers together. Get 1099s, W-2s, expenses and whatever else OUT and in a pile (a pile that is PROMINENT. Don't let them sit under anything else.).
Most importantly, EXPENSES. If you don’t have a bookkeeper or an accountant you send those things off to on a regular basis you need to create a document that breaks down each category with the total of each category. For example, any meals that you can deduct need to be added up and the the total entered into the doc. MEALS: $400 BOOM done. If you DO have a regular bookkeeper, biz mngr, or accountant and all you need to do if send them all of your receipts? Just stuff those receipts in manila envelopes or labeled large plastic baggies to send to them. The purpose of this is to make receipt clutter go away and easy to put away. Shoe box, ziplock, sexy pouch? If you don't have to sift through your own receipts just shove them into something easy! Just put them AWAY! If you give yourself an easy place to stash receipts there's no excuse. Grab that weird onion paper and shove it!
Ways to contain and keep track of receipts without a scanner or spread sheet. Bless my bro for this great idea…
I ONLY save the receipts that I plan on deducting. It makes itemizing easier. Truly, credit card and bank statements have all of your expenses on it. However, if you bought non itemized things on the same receipt as itemized things (ie. toilet paper for my house is not deductible but the packing tape I use for work were bought in the same place and that IS deductible.) Save the receipt and circle the itemiz-able things then file, throw in the show box, envelope, or that spindle (see above). If you buy anything deductible with CASH... SAVE THOSE RECEIPTS! Don't overly sub-categorize day to day files. Over categorizing or sub-categorizing gets most people in trouble of overwhelming an already overwhelming situation. For example, if you decide to categorize monthly and, all of the sudden you have to go out of town or some crazy shit happens in your life, you will F yourself. Receipts, then, are everywhere and you blame yourself for not keeping up. NOT. FAIR. TO. YOU.
If you like sub categorizing...I recommend filing by deduction type rather than by the month. Month doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things only the type…Meals, Travel, Supplies etc. EVEN if you file quarterly. Get large envelopes and label them. If you have to.
SIDENOTE...I have 2 separate businesses. I have 4 separate files for each. (Acting Income Organizing Income...Acting Expenses and Organizing Expenses) The day I choose to add everything up is MINE. I choose to make it special. I order out, have a cocktail, and reward myself the next day for gettin it done. I take this day to take out each receipt out separately and organize by type (mileage, uniform, healthcare). I find that taking out my expenses once a year and separating, by type, then entering it into a .doc file is easiest for me. I need a lot of table/floor space. ; ) Then just add them up and bring those .docs to your accountant.
AFTER YOUR TAXES ARE FILED
Keep all returns always. Only the returns. And hide. Put them in deep storage you only go to once a year. Receipts within 4-7 years (IRS can’t come after you for anything after 7 yrs so shred or toss any old receipts from 2009-10 (7years) and shred or trash. Honestly, 4 years is safe if you know you have no unclaimed income. Or, have committed fraud.
I also throw my yearly day-planner in there just in case. It has more reference to my work than I could muster with memory.
Take all returns and use either large envelopes or hanging files, label accordingly, and tuck away for the following year. You should never exceed anything larger than 2 of these…
There are a trillion ways to get prepped through the year for taxes. These are just a few ideas. Please let me know if you have any questions or your own ideas that might help someone else! Here's hoping you get a sizable return!!
I have a number of clients who are either collectors or have inherited valuable and/or priceless objects. These objects can be anything from cds, books, comic books, costume jewelry, dishes, figurines, art, or furniture.
I found a great site http://www.decluttr.com these guys will buy cds, gaming equipment, books, toys, legos, etc. Once you download the app you can scan the barcode with your phone! They'll tell you right away how much it's worth to them. Sure, some cds will only be worth $.15 to $3.00. But, if you have a bunch to sell it can really add up!! Take that cash and unload the weight from your space!
Typically, with books, I would say Google "where can I sell books" and you'll probably find those rare gems, these days, of book stores that will buy your books! First editions, rare, art, or comic books are going to be your biggest return. However, they will still buy classics, collections, and popular books. If you are in LA there are 2 places I love. The Iliad in the Valley or The Last Bookstore Downtown. Always call first and ask if they're buying. Most will say their buyer will be there at a certain hour on a certain day. This is great! That way you won't feel like you're wasting your time or gas! Comic books can become more difficult these days. They need to be in perfect and protected condition. Maybe think of taking a chunk to a dealer closest to you and then bring in more from time to time. You don't want to over load these guys. They'll often say, " I'll give you x amount of dollars for the whole lot."
Check out https://www.replacements.com/ They will buy your old china and silver. But be careful, you have to ship and insure the dishes. If you'd prefer to melt the silver, look online to see how much the going rate is. NOT for silver plated. ONLY pure sterling. There is probably someone who will buy it per pound to melt. Don't be discouraged. It's worth is not as much as it used to be.
My dad and I were talking about things he inherited from his parents and grandparents. There are 2 beautiful vases with little to no markings on them. He posed the question, "what if these are rare?" How would we know?? He brought it to my attention (because he's a PBS nerd and loves Antiques Roadshow) that looking into who the specific appraisers are could be the linchpin to finding the true value of our stuff! SO...here's a link to the appraisers on Antiques Roadshow. It's worth a call! You could be sitting on thousands of dollars! Ask questions! Send photos!
Also, If you've found that you have a bunch of vintage items, you can open a store on ETSY. It's suuuuper easy. They only allow handmade or vintage items to be listed. This is a great resource for people with vintage clothing, furniture, or objects to find a proper home.
BOTTOM LINE... Even though you think it's WORTH a ton of $$, it is only worth what someone is WILLING to pay for it.
There are a ton of options to sell your things. These are just a few options. If you have any questions please leave a comment and I will do my best to resource and respond!!
Thank you Pop and Misty. xoxojo
HUGE DISCLAIMER! I'm not a psychoanalyst or therapist! I read a lot of stuff. That being said...
Getting organized, dieting, quitting smoking, etc. all really come down to changing habits. You can read a book or blogs but you will, most likely, still have difficulties breaking that habit. Don't beat yourself up! We need to figure out, first, why we've developed this habit. Habits form because, as basic as anything, any situation will cause a response. Our reptilian brain, as it's called, controls our primal instincts. Fear, anger, aggression, survival instinct are all rooted in this part of the brain. This lower part of the brain is as base and primal as it gets! Any thought that causes fear, uncertainty, anxiety, or depression gets redirected to this survival part of the brain. Our reaction to this is "fight, flight, or freeze". (I love the 3 Fs. I got this from Carley Hauck founder of Living Well Awake.) When it comes to dealing with our piles of stuff we usually fly or freeze. These reactions are why this part of the brain also controls our habits. Whenever you feel discomfort it is the perfect time to discover why. Once we discover the "why" we can change our thinking pattern. Our brains cycle through a situation by thought, a feeling about that thought, and then behaving based off of that feeling. Here's an example...
Situation: I have a huge pile of papers on my desk.
Thought: "I don't want to deal with that huge pile of papers."
Feeling: Dread; I'm afraid of what I'm going to find in that pile. Shame; I can't believe I'm so lazy to let it become like this. Frustration; I just don't want to deal with that pile!
Behavior: Adding more paper to the pile then moving past pile and ignoring it. HABIT.
So, then how do we change this habit?
We need to redirect the negative feeling into a more positive feeling. Your brain can and will redirect itself from old negative thoughts to new more affirmative ones.
Situation: I have a huge pile of papers on my desk.
Thought: Stupid papers. But, I would really benefit if my counter was clear. No mess. More counter space.
Feeling: Serenity; My space can breathe. Comfort; I can breathe. Satisfaction; I did it! Confidence; I did it and I can do it again!
Behavior: I tackle the pile! * Once you decide to tackle that pile you'll probably realize that most of the papers were junk mail or bills already debited from your account. You can easily and with little time tear those things up and toss 'em out of your life!
This takes a lot of conscious effort but once you've got this you've dug out the toughest root in the soil. Those positive feelings are the best reward you can give yourself! And, damnit you deserve it! Remember my favorite motto: It's simple but it ain't easy.
Also, guys, I have a few really unhealthy habits and wrestle with them constantly. Only when we are really ready to change them will we really change them. Let's remember that and be nice to ourselves in our own process and progress. xoxojo
Sometimes I wonder if I have a constant need for validation. I've felt it in my intimate relationships and in my work. Being an actress for as long as I have has forced me to learn that feeling validated by a booking or a compliment on a performance is almost worse than getting a bad review. But that want for validation is still there - as much as I know that feeling only comes from my ego. My sense of truth comes from inside of me. Right? So, in the end, this want is not a need for validation as much as appreciation. Appreciation is wonderful! BUT, what I long for, as an organizer, is feeling ACCOMPLISHED. And that, my friends, is a beautiful thing.
My most recent client and I have been periodically to clear his “ paper clutter”. He and his wife bought a beautiful house in a beautiful location. They have undergone many renovations to make the house a home. Tonight I thought about the work we’ve done thus far. The amount of work we’ve/he’s (he deserves a ton of credit) accomplished is beyond the typical clutter clearing. I remind myself when I come home from a session with him that BAGS of paper work have been shredded, filed, or recycled. Because, like my clients, I need to feel a sense of accomplishment. Although I cannot photograph the “Before and After” of this progress, I know that checks he never cashed are being reissued, old tax issues are being solved, unnecessary business cards are being thrown away or put into his phone, and keepsake cards, writings, tickets, and photos are being put in their right places. Instead of the initial gratification of “before and after” photos, I bask in the knowledge that the work we’ve done has earned him “lost” money…cash found in random places and un-cashed checks he lost in the shuffle. When all is said and done he will have made money working with me. ; ) Also he, now, knows what to do with junk mail, and how to file his paperwork.
We have to sort our feelings the same way we sort our clutter. Is it our ego talking? It it our desire do help? Is it our desire to know that the work we've just done is quality and worthwhile? I'm going with the last two. I've accomplished a blog! I'm validated by my accomplishment.
The feeling of being organized has to come from ourselves. We decide when a job has been accomplished. But life throws things at us indiscriminately. Today's top priority could be at the bottom of the list tomorrow. So, we all need to pick our battles! I didn't truly understand what this meant until a friend said it in reference to an issue I was having in my former marriage. I was picking every battle. I was so unhappy that I could make everything an issue. It made life miserable for both him and me. He could never get his head above my constant disappointment of his actions. I had so much anxiety over the lack of control I felt I had in my life. Obviously the relationship imploded and I sought some much needed therapy. During this period of self discovery I realized that nit picking was something that I was REALLY good at. It was because it gave me some false sense of control. But that's just what it was...FALSE. What happened in my marriage is what happens in our heads when we can't see the forest for the trees. Be easier on yourself and consider taking some things off of that daily battle to-do list. Ease the overwhelming "NEED - to - get - done battles" to "WANT - to - get - done battles". Lower the priority of the "Wants" and consider taking them off the list. Focus on the "Needs". You might find that you may only have a few actual "Needs" on the list.
Try this whenever you hear yourself say "I need..." replace it with "I want..." and see if it changes the intention for you.
"I NEED to buy a present for my friend's birthday."
"I WANT to buy a present for my friend's birthday."
Just replacing this word lightens up the self-imposed pressure of any daily battle that we choose. You may even realize that your friend is probably just going to be happy with a phone call. So cross that one off the list. ; )
As of late, many of my clients have been reading (or have read) Marie Kondo's "The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up". "How can I explain that keeping a gray t-shirt doesn't give me joy but I want to keep it?" "Does it give you joy?" is the modus operandi of this philosophy of purging. Let's break it down...
1. Does this item (let's talk clothes) have a valuable use? This means,
IT'S INCREDIBLY COMFORTABLE
I LOVE HOW IT FITS, IT MAKES MY (insert body part here) LOOK GREAT.
I NEED IT FOR WORK. AND, ALL OF THE ABOVE
If YES to any of these, KEEP.
2. Does this item (let's talk Tchotchkes!) bring me joy?
MY MOM/DAD/RELATIVE/FRIEND/BOSS GAVE IT TO ME Even if your mother (et.al.) is deceased, if that item doesn't remind you of them and illicit thoughts of lovely memories, it becomes a random object. Mom wouldn't mind. KEEP what reminds you of the good things. Donate the rest. Someone needs or wants it more than you.
3. THIS WAS EXPENSIVE.
It doesn't have the same monetary value that it used to. The only way to deal with these items/clothes is to sell! I have some great designer "stuff" in my house. But if I Google the value, I find often that it may only be worth a fraction of its price. DISCLAIMER! If your item is worth selling, it will become part of a "to-do" list (ie. adding the item to a SELL pile in a corner of a room and will have to actually be listed and sold.) Then research what people will offer to buy it for. If it's not worth the time to list it, LET IT GO! Housing these item wastes mental energy and valuable real estate in your home.
Let me know your thoughts!!!!
I have been so lucky to have met the lovely Kiley Eberhardt. She is the owner of Past To The Future. PTTF takes your hard copy photos and digitizes them. She will customize how you prefer to receive the digital form. PTTF doesn't send out your images to another company. They specify how you prefer your images to be uploaded. When agreeing to work with PTTF, you will receive a client sheet that allows you to specify family members, dates, special events, etc. so that your photos will be as chronological and detailed as possible. PTTF is the fine tooth comb that makes hoards of photo boxes streamlined and organized. Then, when you'd like to print, or even make a slide show for a special event, there's no need to dig around through thousands of pictures. Even if you don't live in So-Cal you can ship the photos to PTTF and they will be mailed back. The prices are beyond reasonable and that "to-do" will be off your list. I promise you PTTF works hard to make sure that your memories are saved, respected, and easy to access.
Now, I'm speaking as my role of General Organizer, once you finish this project you can bin the photos and store them out of your way!!
Many things get in the way of getting organized. Take exhaustion and work out of the equation and you may say, "I won't have this pile of (blank) over here when I fix my shelf," or "I'll be able to organize the closet once the closet door is fixed," or, "I'll organize as soon as I repaint the room." If you're not a "do-it-yourself-er", chances are you wish you had that person you could call to fix those annoying "to-dos" around the house. Here are some sites devoted to those needs. The final one is devoted to the BIG jobs.
FOR PRETTY MUCH ANYTHING - TaskRabbit - Prior to becoming a TaskRabbit, these people are background checked and screened. You sign up for a free account, place a bid for what you're willing to pay, and the Rabbits offer their services! I've used this service to help maintain my website, as well as paint my kitchen, and have been very satisfied with the results! They'll even run errands for you!
FOR HANDYMEN JOBS BIG AND SMALL - RedBeacon - These "pros" are also screened and background-checked as well. I have recommended them to clients to positive results. From leaky faucets to a fidgety outlets.
FOR REMODELING - Bolster - This is incredibly exciting because almost no one I know has ever recommended their contractor. Trusted contractors are hard to come by mainly because the jobs are so large and the costs are so varied. Bolster's site helps navigate you through pricing guides. They lay out the market value/quality so you can better understand contractor's estimates.
Please share your positive experiences with these companies in the comments below!
If you're lucky, you hired a company to install your AV system. They mounted your beautiful large flat screen to the wall and all of those boxes and wires are hidden in the wall, never to be seen or dealt with. Or you're like me, screen on a stand, on an Ikea media shelf, shoved against the wall, wires smooshed under and between wall and media stand. Hey, it works for me! But for most people it doesn't. Also, the wire problem doesn't usually start and end at AV equipment. Office equipment is another place where this gets messy.
1. The most annoying part about organizing wires is finding "the path of least resistance". What I mean by this is, in most cases, the FIRST wire to contend with is the power strip and its cord. Then, you move to proper placement of electronics (ie. av cables, co-ax cable, speaker wire, etc). Try not to tangle those wires like a bunch of jumbled necklaces. You really need to put thought into this. For example, whether you want the speaker wire under or over the co-ax.
2. Then, using any of these pictured (thank you pcworld!) , coil the excess wire and hold in place with 1 or 2 of the ties.
3. Here's where we HIDE the wires. These are two products I've seen to help conquer the wire mess.
Here's the DIY...Get an attractive box and cut a hole or two (depending on the placement and amount of wires) and weave them through the closest hole. This is the most recent one I made Macguyver-Style for a client...
Share your ideas or ask any questions in the comment section!!
These plastic dry-cleaning bags are only a courtesy that dry-cleaners use to keep your clothes safe during transit. They can actually trap moisture, which can lead to mold and bacteria growth. Also, the chemical used to treat the clothes, usually perchloroethylene (PERC), has been linked to cancer and other health problems. Leaving the bags on can bring this chemical into your home. Also, natural fibers like cotton, silk, and linen need to breathe.
Here are some options to keep you happy and healthy.
-Try to dry-clean less. Cashmere loves water! Just don't put it in the dryer!! Lay it flat to dry.
-Remove the plastic bag and hang any dry-cleaned clothes outside or in a garage to air out before wearing or hanging in your closet.
-Recycle the bags and return the hangers to the dry cleaner.
-Check out eco dry-cleaners.
-Try to get your dry-cleaner to reuse a cloth bag that you provide if they don't already.
GIFT CARDS?!?! Apparently you can sell your unwanted gift cards! You can try to recoup at least some of its value in cash by listing it for sale on Gift Card Granny. The site says that sellers can get up to 92% cash back for unwanted gift cards. Not too shabby for something you didn’t buy in the first place.
Stole this info from www.dotcomplicated.co
ELECTRONICS *Stole this info from www.dotcomplicated.co
Gazelle: Easy functionality and free shipping make this site a go-to resource for selling back electronics. Answer some questions about your device online and then print out your packing slip. Once they receive the device, you’ll get paid via check, Amazon credit or PayPal. Our only caveat: they focus primarily on Apple products, although they accept many types of cell phones.
USell: USell.com takes the guesswork out of selling your electronics to a vendor. The site shows you the best offer and makes it easy to ship the product for free. USell accepts a wide range of electronics, including cameras and MP3 players.
BuyMyTronics: Similar to the two previous sites, BuyMyTronics lets you ship your item for free and reimburses you through PayPal or check. BuyMyTronics gave the highest quote for my iPhone 4, and promises to erase all your data from any device you send in. The site buys more obscure electronics like GPS, camera lenses and accessories.
Amazon: 15% Sales fee and a $1.35 closing cost fee. But no $40 subscription fee if you plan to sell less than 40 items a month. (Less than 40 makes you an Individual seller instead of a Professional seller) I only recommend this option if you have some REALLY desirable goods that you just don't want.
CLOTHING & ACCESSORIES
If you have clothing that is still stylin and worth a few pennies or that classic piece you'd just rather have the $$ from there are a plethora of places to hawk your duds.
OFFLINE check out your local resale shops and find out what their buying policy is. They tend to buy seasonally and can be very picky about what they take. So do them and yourself a favor and call first. Don't bring in 4+ bags of clothes unless you know they're even remotely interested.
Tradesy: Takes a 9% Commission. Easy interface. Photo cleanup to make yourthe photos of your items all nice and shiny. They have an iphone app which makes selling quicker and easier. The shipping cost is automatically added to the list price, and Tradesy will send you a complete shipping kit with prepaid postage as soon as your item sells. All you have to do is pack it up and put it in the mailbox.
Poshmark: Takes 20% Commission. The fab gimmick here is the "shop your closet" mentality. Poshmark sends the seller a pre-paid, pre-addressed shipping label. The seller packages the item and uses the label to send to the buyer’s address. The shipping rate is $7 for anywhere in the U.S., and the buyer pays for shipping. Buyers pay for items (and shipping) with a credit card, and the transaction goes through Poshmark.
RARE or SOUGHT AFTER ITEMS...Ebay. Period. If it's extremely rare, find an auction house like Bonham's or Sotheby's.
LARGE ITEMS AND FURNITURE..Craigslist. Also, I have yet to use them, but check out Mooveloot.com
Make it easy on yourself guys! Decide first if it's worth your time and the money you may make to sell your stuff.
Wow. Check out that five head.
When clients call, I most commonly hear...
I'm already an organized person but I need help...
I'm already an organized person but I need a system...
Calling a professional organizer is like calling a personal trainer. We can walk into a gym and "work out." However, most people call a trainer because they need the extra push to actually get to the gym and get the proper feedback from someone who's focused on their goals. The first step of this process when working with your organizer/trainer, is to go through everything with a fine tooth comb. This forces you to be very specific when making decisions. When an objective-outside eye is present to assist you, you are forced to look at every item and make a SPECIFIC decision.
Organizing is first and foremost about MAKING DECISIONS.
Our personal stuff contains hidden meanings and values. A professional organizer forces you to look at why any object is taking up space in your home. I/We work collectively with you to decide whether or not something is valuable enough to Donate, Keep, or Sell. (Or what my boyfriend affectionately calls "The Donkey Kong System.)
DONATING...Goodwill, Salvation Army, St. Vincent's, etc. literally create jobs from our donations. When something you think SHOULD be worth what you paid for it, it probably isn't true. A classy jacket from St. John or BCBG that you spent $200+ for is no longer worth that price. Now, someone can get a job. Someone who normally wouldn't be able to buy something that made them look professional at a job interview, because YOU donated something they could afford. AND, Goodwill specifically has an employment program providing services to individuals with disabilities and who are seriously and persistently mentally ill. Which, come on, is awesome.
KEEPING...You love it. It has real sentimental value. It's worth holding on to because when it comes back into style you are proud that you've held on to vintage greatness.
SELLING...If you believe something you own is worth selling, then that becomes a priority, ie, part of a "To Do" list. I'm going to create a blog for my favorite places to sell, wait for it... If it is not worth your time to sell online or take to a re-sale shop it is not a priority. Hence, take these items to donate. Someone will probably need that item more than you ever will. Refer to Donating paragraph above.
TRASHING... No professional organizer worth your time and money will force you to get rid of anything or do it "their" way. I/We have made it our duty to ask the right questions to streamline your choices, and make your life more efficient.
There is no one system to organize. Organizing is personal and specific. However, if you can clearly make decisions about items that enter your home you are already heading toward a clutterless and and more organized space.
I was just asked by the LA TImes for my opinion on storing and organizing digital photos. Here's what I told them...
The biggest problem with organizing photos is simply taking the time to do it! Once you've carved out some time there are many simple ways to organize digital photos. If you have a mac, iPhoto is an easy click and drag program to add and label albums. iPhoto itself can hold up to 250,000 photos. However, it can be difficult to search for an individual photo. That's where Folders/Albums and Smart Folders/Albums come in. Smart Folders or Albums are more currently updated and you can search with different options (ie. date, location, face, event). So part of the organization is knowing beforehand how you'd like to divide up your images and make sure you label all of the files!
If storage becomes a problem you can create different photo libraries that can be exported from the original library. But you may have duplicates of the original files which you should delete take use less storage.
As far as photo organizing apps go Photo Manager Pro is a great option for 3 bucks!
When all else fails just take some time letting go of the photos/albums that are of no use to you anymore. Holding on to photos of exes, people you don't spend time with anymore, or photos that bring to mind a negative time in your life is just bad mojo!
Here's a link to the article. Some other people were quoted and have some great ideas!