All posts for the month March, 2014

Keep tax info better organized and clutter free

Published March 30, 2014 by marcistone

I picked up a few library books about some Feng Shui ideas and plan to review them today. Tomorrow, I’d like to reorganize my home office to make it a little more efficient and flow properly.

Paperwork is one of those areas that can get out of control and I think I’ve streamlined it as much as I can. My banks keep records for 7 years, and almost everything can be found online these days. I also saved receipts in a taxes email file.

Last year, I better organized my taxes by keeping a note file (I called it taxes) on my ipad and when I spent money for a certain area I logged it there (I wouldn’t put the receipt away until it was logged). It made filing my taxes very easy. I just had to add up each category and insert the total on the IRS form. I filed in January, which is difficult with business taxes. Paper scanners are also helpful for keeping better records.

Organizing paperwork has become easier with changing technology. I no longer need a filing cabinet in my office, and my files are now saved in email files. It has made my life a lot easier.


Every item we own is only with us temporarily

Published March 25, 2014 by marcistone

I’m really enjoying dealing with one item a day from my office. I’ve updated all of my class boxes and gotten rid of a bunch of old textbooks. I still have quite a few items in my office I don’t need. I’m off work next week and I plan to reorganize my office for better Feng Shui flow, and get rid of the rest of the items I don’t need.

While reading a book recently, I came across this idea and I find it fascinating. Each thing we own flows through our fingers temporarily. Whether it is an item handed down from generation to generation, or a gift from a friend that is used and passed on to another friend or family member. Nothing is permanent. This made me realize that even the items we love dearly are just temporary. We need to enjoy them for the short time we have them. Kind of like friends. 🙂

Can gifts become clutter?

Published March 21, 2014 by marcistone

I recently received a gift from a friend. It wasn’t something that I would chose for myself. I went through it and tried to think of when I might use it. No ideas came to mind. I felt like I needed to keep it because someone spent some time thinking about this purchase for me. But at the same time, I didn’t want to add it to my clutter.

Gifts are hard sometimes for these reasons, but ultimately I need to take responsibility for what I allow in my home. Something I won’t use doesn’t serve a purpose. I’d rather be surrounded by items that I love and can appreciate.

Clutter clearing is only useful if you address why you had it in the first place

Published March 16, 2014 by marcistone

This morning, I flipped through a book called Making Peace with the Things in Your Life. It had a little bit of a different take on clutter. It seemed a little bit more focused on accepting the items, rather than getting rid of them. I obviously don’t completely agree with this theory, but it gave me a few good ideas. This idea wasn’t stated in the book, but came as a result of what the author said.

Clearing clutter is important, but if you just replace it with more items, then your life becomes consumed with constantly clearing clutter (or perhaps becoming a hoarder), or your time may be consumed with taking care of the clutter.

I have chosen to take clutter clearing seriously this year, but in order for me to make any progress, I need to address why I bought these things in the first place and stop buying them. So far this year, this has been relatively easy. As I get rid of most (if not all) of the clutter in my life, it’ll be interesting to see if this gets more difficult.

You can get others to clear their own clutter

Published March 14, 2014 by marcistone

Wayne wants a new hat from Filson for his birthday. I said that he had a lot of hats already that he doesn’t wear. I asked him to go through his box of hats and give me 5 he didn’t want so that I could take them to the homeless shelter and then I’d get him the hat he wants. I also asked him a bunch of other questions like why this hat was special or better than his other hats, etc. So he went through the box and came up with 7 hats he never wears. I’m taking them to the homeless shelter today. 🙂

Clutter clearing is about asking ourselves tough questions

Published March 12, 2014 by marcistone

Yesterday, I took a group of students to a homeless shelter as a field trip in one of my classes. We were taken into the chapel for a short video and speech about their program before we were taken on a tour. I noticed several people sleeping on the floor in the corners of the room. Some had a blanket and some did not, and a few had a backpack nearby. It struck me that the backpack had everything they owned in it. They mostly likely did not have any other earthly possessions. In once sense, I found this thought very freeing. On the other hand, they are homeless.

I brought several bags of food items and clothes with me to donate and my students also did. Wayne had given me two expensive coats to donate. While I’m happy that they will be of use of people who need them, I also realize that he had never worn them and that could’ve been money better spent. I’m slowly beginning to understand that we often buy things that we don’t need and will never use. Maybe we think we got a good deal on it or there might be a situation in which we may use it. Maybe the purchase makes us feel better. But it isn’t about the item itself. Otherwise we’d use it.

I’ve been extremely selective this year about buying anything. In fact, other than food and medicine I think I’ve purchased 2 things. But I thought for a long time before I bought those items. Did I need it or just want it? Will I use it more than 1-2 times? How will I use it? Do I own something already that I can use instead (it’s amazing how many items I already had when I asked this)? Dozens of items I “wanted” didn’t make it past these questions. I don’t want to go through a year long project of getting rid of things, only to fill up the space with more stuff.

This whole process has been eye opening for me. I can already see how drastically my spending habits have changed for the better. I’m looking forward to seeing how much things will change around the house by the end of the year.

Getting rid of clutter feels productive

Published March 9, 2014 by marcistone

This week, 4 large boxes of clothes, un-used auction items, and some office supplies were picked up by the Salvation Army. I also shipped a box of clothes to my niece and she loved them. She said she was keeping quite a few of the dresses, and giving the rest to one of her close friends.

Even though it was a really busy week for me, I still had 5 minutes a day to get rid of one thing in my home office. It doesn’t feel like a huge project when I focus on one thing per day and it feels productive.