Let's Get Tidy
Photo by Lolly Jane
Marie Kondo, Author of “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” now has her own show on Netflix: Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. Have you checked out her show yet? It debuted on January 1, 2019. She is so popular that her Kon-Mari method of folding and her DIY approach to decluttering is now a verb. Social Media is exploding with tweets and posts of people Marie Kondo-ing their closets, non-profits are overcrowded with everyone’s stuff. It’s all the buzz.
I love Marie Kondo’s approach to tackling the clutter. She has a no-nonsense approach that works. She tells her client how to declutter and makes them do it. Kondo does not know what sparks joy for her clients, they have to determine that themselves. There are many Professional Organizers that will declutter for you however, if you don’t put in the work yourself you won’t appreciate it and will most likely fall back into a disorganized routine. I tell every new Organizing client, “if you don’t do the work and keep it up with maintenance (putting things away and creating homes for new items) your house will return to clutter shortly after we organize.” People have to have a mind shift and be disciplined to continue living an uncluttered life.
Kondo, also has a spiritual approach to organizing and decluttering. Her clients kneel, say a prayer with appreciation and gratitude to their house before beginning the process of letting go of possessions that don’t spark joy. I have only worked with one client that says a prayer before we begin our Organizing and Financial Organizing sessions and it really sets a positive tone. Regardless of your beliefs and/or Religion beginning with prayer, laying out your goals…your intentions can only help with this process.
Kondo, encourages her clients to let go of all articles of clothing and anything else that does not spark joy. She instructs everyone to take all clothing out of their closets, and dressers and pile it up on the bed. Go through each item to determine if it brings you joy or not. If not....get rid of it. I guess it works because you can’t go to sleep until you get through the pile.
I encourage you to watch her show and read her book to motivate you to get moving on your de-cluttering goals. I also recommend that you call Simple Solution Organizing. We will coach you through your big project.
Interested in learning more about Marie Kondo? Here are a couple of good articles in Rolling Stone and Apple News.
Here is an example of a beautiful way to display an item that sparks joy. My client’s mom made this beautiful Quilt. She enjoys it every day of her life.
Chief Executive Organizer
Keep These Receipts
Clients ask me all the time: what receipts do I need to keep? Why do I need to keep them and where should I keep them? Here is a guideline.
Home Receipts: I subscribe to an email newsletter from Laura Leiden, Realtor with Keller Williams. Her most recent newsletter explains why every homeowner should hold onto repair and improvement receipts. Here is a copy of the newsletter.
Homeowners are familiar that they can deduct the interest and property taxes from their income tax returns. They also understand that there is a substantial capital gains exclusion for qualified sales of up to $250,000 if single and $500,000 for married filing jointly. However, ongoing recordkeeping tends to be overlooked.
New homeowners should get in the habit of keeping all receipts and paperwork for any improvements or repairs to the home. Existing homeowners need to be reminded as well, in case they have become lax in doing so.
These expenditures won't necessarily benefit in the annual tax filing but may become valuable when it is time to sell the home because it raises the basis or cost of the home.
For instance, let's say a single person buys a $350,000 home that appreciates at 6% a year. Twelve years from now, the home will be worth $700,000. $250,000 of the gain will be exempt with no taxes due but the other $100,000 will be taxed at long-term capital gains rate. At 15%, that would be $15,000 in taxes due.
Assume during the time the home was owned that a variety of improvements totaling $100,000 had been made. The adjusted basis in the home would be $450,000 and the gain would only be $250,000. No capital gains tax would be due.
Some repairs may not qualify as improvements but if the homeowner has receipts for all the money spent on the home, the tax preparer can decide at the time of sale. Small dollar items can really add up to substantial amounts over many years of homeownership.
The important thing is to establish a habit of putting receipts for home expenditures in an envelope, so you'll have it when you are ready to sell.
This article recommends keeping the receipts in an envelope. An envelope is fine if you have a very small amount of receipts. I recommend a file jacket: An enclosed file so receipts do not fall out.
Depending on how many different types of improvements were made will determine how many file jackets or envelopes to use. For example: Bathrooms, Kitchen, Garage, etc. Another storage idea is a binder with sheet protectors to sort home receipts by project. However, if you want/need super easy one file jacket, drawer or envelope will do the job. The important thing is to keep the receipts.
You do not need to keep service repair receipts on appliances for taxes but you do want to keep them for the warranty period.
Tax Receipts: Note there are huge changes to the tax code and it may not benefit you to keep some of these. Check with your own Tax Advisor for what to keep and how long. Keep in a folder labeled Taxes and the corresponding year.
Electronics, Appliances, Furniture and other Big Ticket Item Receipts:
If you want super simple have 1 folder titled Big Ticket Items or whatever you would think of to find these receipts but I would recommend 5 folders for this category: Electronics, Large Appliances, Small Appliances, Furniture and Big Ticket Items.
Inventory these items. If your house burns down you will need to claim and prove that you owned these items and provide a valuation to your Insurance Company.
One of my friends and ex-colleagues, Julia Marlowe, has her own Inventory Business: Athens Home Inventories I highly recommend Julia if you want to hire someone to do this for you.
Auto Repair Receipts:
Keep these for proof of maintenance. Some Auto warranty programs require it. It’s also good to have a record of all repairs and service.
Clothing & General Shopping Receipts:
I hope this article is insightful and helpful. If you find it helpful please share it. Anyone can sign up to receive my e-newsletter by clicking this link or visiting my website and scrolling down to the sign up link.
Chief Executive Organizer
Simple Solution Organizing LLC
I'm in the spring edition 2018 Connections magazine: an Athens Georgia magazine.
The above article is about Rightsizing. Downsizing is all the rage but what everyone should think about is: what is right for your particular situation. This article is thought provoking; it really made me think about my own situation. My husband, Karl, and I have 2 children: our daughter is 22 living in New York City and our son is 15 in 9th grade and has 3 more years of High School. Karl and I are already looking at smaller homes online and talking about our future living situation. After reading this article I am going to rethink everything.
I want to have room for my children to visit and be comfortable when they visit. I love my children and want to spend as much time with them as possible. Our families do not live near us and we enjoy hosting them when they visit from California and Iowa. If we downsize they would have to stay in a hotel. Many of you may prefer family to stay in a hotel….
Things to consider: Grandchildren, extended family, Property Taxes, size of home, upkeep of home, stairs, proximity to grocery stores, location location location, proximity to friends and activities you enjoy, your age and health. You don’t have to downsize unless you want to. However, getting rid of clutter and items that you never use is always a good idea. Rightsizing is what’s right for you.
Our best friends recently sold their beautiful home off of Timothy and moved into a much smaller home in 5 Points. They always wanted to live in 5 Points. They have 3 children in school so the thought of downsizing was a difficult decision. They moved and they are so happy. They can walk everywhere; best of all UGA Football games.
The more I ponder about downsizing the more I think the size of my home is right for us and probably will be for many years. Our home is 3,400 square feet including a 1,000 square foot finished basement with private access that we rent out on Airbnb. It’s not a huge source of revenue nor is Watkinsville a huge tourist attraction but we do rent out for all the UGA Football home games. Having a private space with a bedroom, bathroom, and living room is great for out-of-town family and friends. So, maybe we won’t want to sell in 3 years when our son graduates High School...but we still might want to. Don’t hold me to it.
Chief Executive Organizer
Why is stuff so important to all of us? I want more…give me more! More food, drink, bigger home, bigger car, more cars and trucks, boats, RV’s, vacation homes, furnishings, sports equipment, cosmetics, jewelry, clothing, stuff, stuff, stuff. Wow, that’s a lot of stuff. As I type this I’m in my bed sick with an awful cold and all I wish for is to be well. You can take my stuff away; I just want to feel better. What matters in this life? What matters to you? I think that family and health would be ranked at the top of most people’s lists; definitely at the top of my list.
My husband and I recently watched a documentary entitled Minimalism A Documentary About the Important Things. I recommend watching it. We viewed it on Netflix. I appreciate the philosophical views that are stated in this film and I think it is good to stop, think, and be reminded of what is really important in life, on a regular basis. I take a yoga class on Sunday afternoons; the Yoga Instructor, Helen, ends every class by telling us, “be thankful for everything we have in this world.”
It’s good to be thankful for what we have and feeling thankful is a very healthy emotion. I love this quote: "Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough." -- Oprah Winfrey. Here are more thankful quotes. The Minimalism movie focused on many important aspects of how and why to choose a life with less things. According to the movie, making a conscious choice to live with less equals more joy. They gave examples of how more stuff can lead to more stress in your life.
Overflowing closets filled with tons of clothing, accessories and shoes is not always a good thing. Waking up and walking into an overflowing overcrowded closet starts your day off chaotically. It can be very stressful deciding what to wear when you have so many choices. In addition, not being able to find items in a disorganized overcrowded closet is frustrating. So one of the systems brought up in the movie is a Capsule Wardrobe: a wardrobe consisting of 37 pieces per season. Less things, equals less choices, equals less stress.
Defining Minimalism is different for each person or family that practices it. For example, not everyone will want to buy or live in a “tiny house.” I certainly don’t want to. However, my current 3,400 square foot house is a lot to clean but we love the extra space for entertaining our friends and our children’s friends. So what does minimalism mean, how is it defined? According to Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus, known as “The Minimalists.” “If we had to sum it up in a single sentence, we would say, Minimalism is a tool to rid yourself of life’s excess in favor of focusing on what’s important—so you can find happiness, fulfillment, and freedom.”
I’m intrigued and interested in learning more because I agree with these values. I’m attending a teleseminar by Joshua Becker, Minimalist Expert, in a couple of weeks. I plan to share more with you.
Happy Valentine’s Day ---- I don’t need flowers but I do want dark chocolate.
Chief Executive Organizer
Simple Solution Organizing
Are you a Hoarder? I am...
I attended my 6th NAPO Organizing Conference in May 2016.. It was held close to home this year in Atlanta. I attended several educational seminars and I will share great tips with my readers throughout the year. The Opening Keynote speaker, Scott Greenberg, explained “Don’t spend your life proving yourself spend it improving yourself.” I love that. The title of Greenberg’s presentation was The Third Factor: The Mindset for High Performance Leadership, it was very inspirational. Greenberg, shared his definition of Leadership and Mindset.
Why do some people succeed while others struggle? Most of the time it boils down to three factors: The first is the “External.” This factor includes all of the outside issues that directly impact our endeavors. The economy, the competition, the weather, government regulation – all of these issues affect us, and they’re all out of our control (which makes them tempting to blame). Most people focus on the second factor, which is our work. That’s our operations, our strategy and that long list of things we do every day. It’s all the stuff that keeps us busy. It’s probably what you’ll be discussing most at your meeting. The belief is that if we work hard enough with the right blueprints for action, we’ll be successful. But plenty of people work hard and have little to show for it. Turns out there’s a third factor that’s less tangible, but the most important. It’s what really distinguishes high performers from everyone else. It’s the one thing that the best leaders, the best salespeople, the best athletes and all the most effective people have in common. That factor is mindset. Nothing determines how successful you’ll be more than the way you manage your thoughts and emotions. Skill is important, but ultimately mindset eclipses skill set. When you’re armed with both, the possibilities are limitless.
Greenberg, went on to tell us that most of us in the room, if not all of us, are Hoarders. What!!!! We are all Professional Organizers in the room. Head Trash defined as Cognitive Distortion all the awful things we tell ourselves about ourselves, that have very little merit. For example: I’m not worthy of a Promotion, I’m not as good as my Colleague, I don’t have enough Education or the right Education…(fill in the blank). Our Mental Heckler hoarding our brains with clutter. We all need to declutter our brains of the negative Head Trash we tell ourselves.
Lastly, Greenberg told us his personal story which touched all of us. He had a college scholarship to NYU and was an aspiring Film Director. He had everything, or so he thought, going for him until he was diagnosed with cancer and had to drop out of NYU. He discovered through his tragedy a different line of work, Motivational Speaking, and he would not change a thing. He told us to have Gratitude for everything because “who knows what’s good or bad.”
Simple Solution Organizing