Excess: according to the Oxford Dictionary excess is defined as an amount of something that is more than necessary, permitted, or desirable. A lack of moderation in an activity, especially eating or drinking. I would add consuming to this definition. Excess is exceeding a desirable amount. Do you have excess in your life? I would like excess cash and wealth and I don’t want excess stress or responsibilities. We see a lot of excess of things and stuff when we Organize and Downsize people’s homes. That insatiable desire to acquire more and more Excess.
A few stories of excess. Ann, not her real name, recently separated from her husband. She wanted help deciding on items to keep or get rid of before she moves up north. Her 2-bedroom apartment filled with stuff. We worked on creating homes for articles of clothing, toiletries, and décor. There was an abundance of Knick knacks and newly purchased items. Ann struggled with anxiety of where to put things…so much so that she did not put them anywhere. They just piled up. Does this sound like you? If so, just try something. It does not have to be perfect or permanent but try something! Move forward. We learn by storing items in different places. Where would you look for the item? Start there and make progress.
The other advice I give to anyone who might be moving soon: is to not buy any furniture or decorative items. It is very expensive to move, stuff gets damaged and you can buy practically anything and have it shipped for free.
Barbara, another client, has Elementary age girls, and a beautifully remodeled home with amazing closet organizers installed. Young girls, with lots of creative pursuits, will create a lot of clutter. There are so many fun items they use: art supplies, American Girl Dolls, Lego’s, stuffed animals and lots lots more. The toys were taking over Mom’s space too. During our session we moved all their items back into their bedrooms. Barbara reclaimed her living and dining rooms. I told her that she deserves to have “her” space.
A few tips to reduce your kids clutter is to 1) limit the amount of Lego’s or Dolls to a specific container(s). Once the container(s) are full they have to get rid of some (of that toy category) if they want more. 2) Growing kids change sizes frequently. Have a container in your kids closet designated for the clothing they can’t fit into or don’t wear anymore. It's best if you implement systems like this when your kids are young. They are more likely to keep it up. They are also more likely to do it if they see their parents “practicing what they preach.” My husband and I have a bottomless container in our garage for clothing and other items we want to donate. When the container gets full, we bring it to Habitat for Humanity and start all over again. Having a designated spot to put unwanted items in helps a lot.
One of my Team Members and I were working with a Downsizing client. Renee, recently retired and wanted to simplify her space. She donated a lot and is Consigning through Finders Keepers Consignment in Decatur. Renee told me she no longer makes impulse purchases. She shops online a lot and will place items in her cart. She waits a couple of days and returns to the cart and generally does not make the purchase. This practice deters impulse buying. Great advice!
Removing excess items that you and your family no longer want or need opens up your space for what you do want and need. Excess stuff weighs us down emotionally and physically. Let go of some excess stuff this month. You won’t regret it. If you struggle to let go of your stuff, we can help.
Planners & Calendars
I gave up Paper Planners many years ago and transitioned completely to digital. It was not an easy switch. I think I missed a few appointments and scheduled some on the wrong day and it was very embarrassing to say the least... I felt a lot of pressure to get on board with the wave of the organizing future: using and mastering a Digital calendar and To Do List(s). A few months past and it did get easier to navigate and use the Digital Calendar efficiently.
However, I think I lost an important valuable tool by giving up my Paper Planner. One of my esteemed Colleagues, Julie Bestry, from Chattanooga, TN writes a blog called Paper Doll. She wrote an insightful post about Paper Planners. She explains why some are better than others, depending on user preferences and learning style. There are so many different varieties available. One revealing fact that Julie provides is that when you view a digital calendar on your smart phone; you’re only seeing 1 day: a sequence of dots signifying appointments. You have to click multiple times to see everything in your day. This is a narrow view of your schedule and your life. We can make more informed scheduling decisions when we are able to view and analyze our full week and month.
How do you feel about Digital To Do Lists? I personally don’t like them for me but they work very well for a lot of people. I’ve been using a Digital Calendar and Paper “To Do List(s)” written in a notebook. This process created a void because it is not a cohesive method. This is why I’m excited to reincorporate a Paper Calendar & Planner and write my “To Do Lists” in it. This will take place during my weekly planning sessions. I will continue to use my Digital Calendar – it will be more of a hybrid system—I will have to duplicate writing and typing some appointments into both calendars but I think the end result will be solidifying those appointments into my memory. It will also be a huge motivating factor to schedule and keep weekly Planning Session Appointments which did not always happen.
I have advised Client’s for years to only use 1 Calendar because appointments can slip through the cracks. This year I’m going to try 2. If it does not work out; I can always change back. It’s a good idea to try different things, shake things up, and reevaluate your current system(s) from time to time. I personally think that when you use a Paper Planner you have an incentive to sit down and write in it. This process may create synergy flow. I never had that experience with my Digital Calendar. That was just clicking and typing no creativity sparked during that activity.
What change(s) do you want to make this year? What’s working and what’s not? Be realistic and create achievable goals for yourself. Even one micro change that will enhance and improve your health, relationships, and organizing systems at home and work can make a big impact.
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Use the Nice Glassware
Add your Emergency Roadside Assistance number into the Contacts section of your phone under Roadside Assistance or Auto Insurance and include your policy number in the notes section. If you are in an emergency situation; you will not want to search for it.
Daily Money Manager/Financial Tip:
2023 – What changes do you want to implement? Auto renew: most subscriptions are set for auto renew. Do you know what (each subscription) when (date it renews) and how (what account: checking or credit card it is withdrawn from)? Create an excel document or hire us to research this and create it for you.
Please! Help Yourself & Use the Nice Glasses:
Our clients have valid reasons for clutter: their parent died and they inherited all of their stuff. However, we also hear a lot of excuses why they have clutter: I bought this item, I don’t like it but it cost a lot of money so I can’t get rid of it.
I recently worked with a client organizing her kitchen. She is an older woman, living alone, in a beautifully remodeled home. She explained to me how her Builder and Designer had made very bad choices with the remodeling of her kitchen and laundry room. She really wanted to duplicate the layout of her previous kitchen in her current home but that did not happen.
During our consultation I made several recommendations for products that would make her kitchen better organized. She purchased them and we met again a few weeks later. I was really surprised when I discovered that she was keeping several sets of glasses for people who rarely visit her and one “ugly” set for herself that she would not offer to her visitors. She also had one additional set of nice glasses that she offers to visitors but does not use herself. That is a total of 3 sets of glasses, in her cabinet, that she rarely ever uses. Does this sound a little bit absurd to you? It does to me!
I strongly believe that 1) people visit us to spend time with us; they don’t care what glasses they drink out of and 2) use the nice glasses and get rid of the ugly ones. Glassware that is only used occasionally, stored in a prime real estate cabinet: is clutter. It is very frustrating to hear excuses like this. I spoke with her about the rationale but the glasses stayed.
Do you make silly excuses for keeping clutter? Lots of people do.
Are you helping or hurting yourself? Here is a list of excuses:
It’s only stuff. Remember…it’s only stuff. What do you want or need? If your goal is to get better organized and reclaim your space then you need to HELP YOURSELF.
Speaking of clutter. Christmas is almost here. I cringe at the thought of so many useless gifts that people will not use or want. Why not ask loved ones what they really want or need?
We hope you have a beautiful holiday season.
Financial infidelity can jeopardize your relationship. Do you have secret accounts that your spouse is not aware of? Do you withdraw funds from savings or other accounts without conferring with your partner? This is a serious breach. Ed Coambs, a Financial Therapist in Matthews, N.C., and author of The Healthy Love & Money Way says that focusing on the acts of infidelity rather than what’s at the root of them can cost couples not just their financial security, but also their future. According to Sigrid Foreberg, a reporter at MoneyWise, 3 in 10 Couples Have Dealt With Hidden Bank Accounts or Other Money Secrets.
One spouse may be educated in financial matters and the other is not or one makes significantly more money than the other and feels justified spending without divulging that information. In a January survey on financial infidelity from U.S. News & World Report, about one third of couples say they’ve faced the issue either as the partner who hid information about money decisions or as the partner who was left out.
Early on in my marriage, I discovered that my husband purchased a piece of Golf Teaching Equipment without my knowledge. Oh boy! That was a difficult day. I discovered it while we were on a vacation. We worked it out, moved on, and have not had another incident. We talk regularly about our finances - current immediate needs and goals for the future.
We use an online password Vault: LastPass. That keeps all of our usernames and passwords in one place. If something happens to either one of us, the other will be able to access our accounts.
One of the services we provide at Simple Solution Organizing LLC is setting up an emergency planner for our clients. We create a dashboard that lists all of our client’s accounts, account numbers, important contacts, and other vital information. The emergency planner can be shared with our client’s important contacts (in case anything were to happen). For example, my husband and I shared our planner with our adult daughter.
Financial Literacy is critically important. I think the basics of how money works should be taught in every middle school and retaught in high school. I attended a webinar yesterday sponsored by the American Association of Daily Money Managers, during which the speaker, a family law attorney, told us that 50% of his clients (primarily women) do not know what a 401k was. He typically represents high net-worth couples. This is incredibly sad!
Money matters a lot. It does not matter what your status in life is: stay-at-home mom or dad, the spouse of a CPA, a money management professional, a student. You need to know financial basics, how to save and invest your money, know where your money is stored, and how to access it. This is true if you are single or married. I have worked with many widows who are coping with the loss of their significant other and the stress of learning how to manage their finances during the crisis.
If this blog post has made you uncomfortable and you feel overwhelmed about this subject, please schedule an appointment. We can help.
Chief Executive Organizer / Daily Money Manager
The Top 5 Credit Score Drivers
I recently attended a webinar through my Association AADMM, American Association of Daily Money Managers on Credit Scores. I learned so much and want to share this important information with you. Even if you are at a stage in your life when you don't need to qualify for credit you may have Adult Children or Grandchildren that can benefit from learning how to preserve and grow their credit scores.
There are 5 Drivers that affect Credit Scores:
1) Past Delinquencies: 35% of your credit score
Make your payments on time. For Collections, request a "payment for deletion" before paying the debt to erase the collection debt from your credit report.
2) Debt Ratio: 30% of your credit score
Keep credit card balances under 30% of their limit. Call your creditors to ask which day they report to credit agencies and make payments ahead of the reporting date. Paying down debt on your oldest card will have the most immediate positive impact on your credit score.
3) Average Age of File: 15% of your credit score
The longer you have an account open, the more it positively impacts your credit score. Never close down a credit card.
4) Mix of Credit: 10% of your credit score
Maintain various types of open accounts. Include revolving and installment lines of credit on your credit report.
5) Inquiries: 10% of your credit score
Each time your request credit, a hard inquiry will be placed on your credit report and will likely drop your credit score between 3 and 8 points. You can comparison shop for auto or home financing during a 14-day window, and it will only count as one inquiry. Pulling your own credit score for educational purposes will not effect your overall score.
*These tips are ONLY focused on credit scores and do not take
into account financial debt and consumer behavior. Therefore,
not all of these tips might be applicable to you. Before you take
any major action, speak to one of the credit coaches at CredEvolv.
This information was obtained from
Chief Executive Organizer
Financial Organizing / Professional Organizing / Downsizing