Last year, I created a notes file on my iPad for keeping better track of my tax spending. I still keep the receipts, but I have a line for business and car expenses, medical, buying items at auction, etc. At the end of the year I just need to total each line and I’m ready to do my taxes.
Although during the year, I’m sure I forget to add a few items here and there, but it saves me a lot of time (about 8 hours) when it’s time to do my taxes. It makes doing my taxes so much easier. I still keep a file with all of my receipts and paperwork, but I don’t need to sort all of the receipts by each section just to get a total. It has helped to reduce the amount of clutter in my head, as I attempt to keep track of everything during the year instead.
I like this idea about constantly changing the items we live with. There’s something to this idea that by doing this we change our lives in the process.
“To change skins, evolve into new cycles, I feel one has to learn to discard. If one changes internally, one should not continue to live with the same objects. They reflect one’s mind and the psyche of yesterday. I throw away what has no dynamic, living use.” – Anais Nin
I’ve been slowly working my way through the list I made for this weekend, and I found quite a few things that I can sell online, that I don’t use anymore. I also went through an old box of photos, cards, and memorabilia and that was fun. It’s been a relaxing weekend.
This weekend, on one big project I found it was easier to break up over several days. I planned to spend 20 minutes a day on it, and it was amazing how quickly that one project was done if I was completely focused on it.
One of the areas that I’ve sorted through this year, but didn’t really get rid of very many items in is my numerous bags of clothes. I’ve lost quite a bit of weight this year and some of those old clothes are starting to fit again and I’m glad that I didn’t get rid of them. I suspect that this is the one big project that will have to wait until next year when I’m at the weight that I’d like to be at.
It looks like I’ll get everything else done that I planned to do this year for this project, and I’m happy with that. I’ve gotten rid of hundreds of items more than I could’ve imagined. For the most part, my house feels organize and clutter free and that was my overall goal for the year.
I still have a little more than three days off this weekend and I have big plans to get rid of some clutter. Whether or not that happens is another story, but the plans are there. I’m up early, with coffee in hand, and I’m ready.
My nieces daughters birthday is coming up and she lives 2,000 miles away. I feel like I’m sending more on postage every year than the gifts for family themselves. I have a subscription to Blue Mountain online greeting cards (they are really beautiful), and this year I attached a gift card to Build a Bear to that. I know her mother will take her there, and most likely they’ll have fun with the experience.
I have sending gift cards to my parents over the last few years because my mother told me once that she didn’t “need any more crap” and I could relate to that. Gift cards are a great idea from so many different aspects. No shipping (or minimal), the receiver gets to pick what they want, and you don’t risk getting them something they don’t want. Of course, it’s also important to know they’ll use it.
Yesterday, I went to a high end consignment store to see if I could sell a few things and get a credit at their store (you can also get cash if you want). It was an interesting experience. I took about 15 items and they took 5 of them. They said they would list them for about 40% of what they were new, and I get 40% of that if they sell. If they don’t sell after 87 days, they donate them to charity. I can call in the next month or so to see if I have any credit at all.
I shop at the location that is closest to my house, and the clothes I wear the most I bought there. So any credit at all would be used. They also mentioned about 5 or 6 other stores that might take the items they would not. I had the impression they thought they only took the best stuff, and these others stores would take lesser items. J At least now I know the process if I have things in the future I’d like to get some credit for.
I have a few more areas in my home that I’d like to clear the clutter in, and I have about a month left to get it done. I like to idea that I’m forced to confront this issue several times a week by writing in this blog, even though some days were difficult to do it. It’s kept me focused on my goal this year. I’m already wondering what project I can tackle next year, and blog about. 🙂
Yesterday, I caught a glimpse of a TV show that was showing the house of an Amish family, and I was instantly struck by how bare it was. A bedroom had a bed in it and that was it. That’s truly minimalism. And while I can respect that kind of living with very little, I do enjoy having those things around that I enjoy using or looking at.
When I first started college, I was given a test to see what type of job I should have. The results came back and the counselor said I love being around aesthetically pleasing things. I remember just staring at her, and asking so what type of job should I have? She suggested working in an art gallery (which even now I can say I have no interest in). But over time I can see that things have a place and when something looks just right…I love it. I use the phrases “that’s beautiful” or “it’s a thing of beauty” several times a day. Whether I’m looking at a beautiful flower, a photo, a hand of cards, or a students perfect paper. I clearly appreciate beauty and order (thanks mom).
I’ve never been one to over clutter and when I’m done with something and don’t see any use for it anymore, I will get rid of it. It one of the reasons I wanted to start this project. I wanted just the stuff I love around me, and I think I’ve done a good job of that this year.