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I have been hearing from friends on the East Coast that they have started to switch over their closets for the warmer months.  I have begun the process with clients as well.  Here on the East Coast we have had a burst of record heat.  96 degrees yesterday!  I am sure there will be many folks wanting to pull out the shorts this weekend!

If you have a system in place to do this, it will be less painful and take less time.  For several clients, we’ve got it down to a science!

The process and the storage will be different for everyone.  There are many variables that come into play — closet size, storage space, Spring/Summer activity wardrobe, and even “how hot do you get.”  My condo stays very cool, I tend to get cold easily.  So I still keep light sweaters out.  Only the turtleneck cashmere goes away.  But for some, they run hot and they won’t need to have any sweaters on hand.

A friend in NY lives in a small space so their off season clothing actually lives at a relative’s house.  It may not be the most convenient, but it is the most appropriate use of his space, and he has a “system.”  Yeah for him!

Ready to switch over?  Here’s how.

  • Go through your current closet/drawers.   Remove any items that are “out of season” for you.
  • Decide now if anything can be donated or consigned while it is fresh in your mind.
  • Make charity drop offs or schedule pick ups right away.
  • Store anything that will be great for consignment separate from everything else.  This way you will be organized come the Fall.  Mark your calender for Sept 1 to drop the clothing off.
  • Make sure items stored for the season are clean.
  • Move “off season” to your off season area.  Depending on your space it can be binned in an attic or basement, hung in covered racks in basement or attic, in an extra closet such as a guestroom, outside of your home if you live in the city and have a very small space.  For some it needs to be in the same closet.  If this is the case, put off season in the area that is hardest to get to.  Label bins by person for family members.

Now it is time for the Spring/Summer clothing

  • If you already store away, bring those bins/clothing to your closet.
  • Now is the time to try on the previous year’s items.  Especially children.
  • Anything that doesn’t fit or you no longer like?  Charity or consignment.
  • Make charity drop offs right away or schedule pick ups.
  • Bring to consignment right away.  The season has begun.
  • Put all clothing away.   Like items together.
  • Once you put your Spring/Summer items away, you will be able to see if you are missing any pieces from your wardrobe.  Make a list of anything you may “need” for the season.  This will keep you from buying unnecessary items.  It will also help you wear what you have by completing outfits.

This process can take a little time…but it will be worth it.  Dragging it out will only take longer in the long run.  Spending time looking for clothing will waste time.  Buying duplicates or items you really don’t need will waste time and money.  You get the idea…

Happy switching!

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Games of all sorts are a great source of entertainment!  I think many of us have forgotten this with the popularity of video games, texting, social media sites and endless channels of nothing on TV.

Board and card games are great for young and old alike.  Besides having fun,  kids can learn skills such as concentration, focus, patience, taking tuns and math to name a few.  For older folks, we keep hearing medical reports stating how important it is to keep the mind active so to avoid cognitive issues.  Games can help!

Ok, here is the organizer in me coming out…

  • Regularly review what games that are played.  Especially if a child has outgrown it.
  • Donate or toss ones of little interest.  If you donate, make sure all the pieces are there — the charity will check!
  • Store all games together.  In some cases by child in their rooms makes sense.
  • Ziploc bags can be great to use inside a box to keep small the pieces contained and organized.
  • Store smaller games and playing cards in clear containers.

Having difficulty storing because of the game box sides are broken?  Hard to stack because they are different sizes?  Check out the Game Savers Box!  Created with just these challenges in mind, these plastic boxes come in various sizes to store the board and pieces to our most popular games such as Monopoly, Risk, Colorforms, etc.  These sturdy boxes close tight and make it easy to stack and store.

Have fun organizing the toys and next time when you are with friends or family and think “there is nothing to do” pull out a game and have a blast!

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Tax Tip Thursday – Week 4

February 12, 2009

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So…you have or have scheduled time to empty out the 2008 files, set up ones for 2009, sorted receipts and documentation by like category, totaled up receipts or run reports and checked for errors.  You have documented and calculated your charitable donations.  You have made an appointment with your tax professional or bought your Tax software.

Now it is time to complete your return.  Remember, I am an organizer not a CPA.   Here are some links to further help you prepare and beware.

Tax Mistakes

Tax Central From MSN Money

IRS – Frequently Asked Questions

Tax Tip Thursday will resume in a few weeks…where we will focus back on the “organization” of tax related documents, what to keep, what to shred, etc.

For now…I want to give you time to work on your taxes.  Good luck!

Got a question on how to organize for prep?  Just comment here and I’ll give you the answer!

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You Give, You Get

February 6, 2009

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I have the pleasure of regularly making donations to a number of charities on behalf of my clients.  Unwanted household and clothing items are donated in the process of de-cluttering a home or office.

This week I went behind the scenes with some fellow organizers to a Boston children’s charity Cradles to Crayons. Cradles to Crayons works to provides, free of charge, low-income and homeless children from birth to pre-teen the basic essentials they need to be safe, warm, ready to learn, and valued. They also set a foundation for lasting change through the meaningful, tangible volunteer opportunities  provided to thousands of youth and adults each year.

Here are some great take-aways from my experience:

  • Requests for assistance have DOUBLED since the economy tanked.  They generally service 300 children per week.  They are currently getting requests from 600!
  • They spend $50,000 (yes thousand) in trash disposal every year.  Rule of thumb –if you would not put in on your own child or have your own child play with it, do not donate it.
  • When donating toys, games and puzzles make sure they have all the parts.  They check!
  • Charities such as Salvation Army are partners.  Attempting to “trash” as little as possible they work to find other charities for items that may not fit their criteria.

These can be translated to any in-kind donation organization.  In the Boston or Philly area?  Learn more about Cradles to Crayons.  In other areas,  find a charity that is close to you.  What is no longer serving a purpose in your life can make a meaningful difference in someone else’s.

Remember….”you give, you get.”

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