What You Need When You Travel With Your Dog

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Do you sometimes want a list that tells you what you need when you travel with your dog? Mark and I recently went to Salt Lake City, Utah for the weekend and, oh my gosh, it brought back memories of having a toddler or baby. All the stuff we have to take when it’s a puppy is a bit overwhelming. I decided I needed a list to check off, I really did! I have had Shih Tzu puppies or dogs since my youngest daughter was in the sixth grade. Camille came home from school one day and said her teacher was selling a ShihTzu puppy. Back then we didn’t even know what a Shih Tzu looked like or anything about the ShihTzu breed. Well, I went to the veterinarian in our neighborhood and asked him what kind of a dog would be good for our family of four young daughters. I said we wanted a quiet dog that would be loving and sit on our laps. I wanted one that would not shed. I knew I was going to have the dog groomed, but for me, that is better than having dog hair everywhere. I didn’t want a dog that shed because I have so many allergies. That sounds a bit strong, I don’t have that MANY allergies, just the normal pollen allergies. Dr. White said a Shih Tzu was perfect for us. It’s not the smartest dog on the block, but a very loving dog. He left out the Shih Tzu’s can sometimes be stubborn…..that’s okay we love them anyway.

Well, we decided as a family to purchase this cute female Shih Tzu puppy at the school where Camille attended. Keep in mind we had never paid for a pet, except maybe a goldfish or two. We nearly choked writing out the check for $150.00 for this cute little puppy we named, Chelsea. This was way before the Clinton’s were in office, just so you know. It just now donned on me that we had a puppy with the same name as President Clinton’s daughter. Wow! Anyway, we loved this puppy so much we added another one. We actually bred Chelsea so we could have a playmate for her. So here comes Charlie, a son. We kept and sold the other puppies to cover the purchase of Chelsea. Well, sort of, it’s expensive to have puppies. We had her neutered, I couldn’t put her through another pregnancy.

We enjoyed those two dogs for about 12 years and they died about six months apart. I really tried to go without having a dog around the house, I really did. But, I couldn’t. The next thing I know Mark is sending me pictures of some Shih Tzu puppies. Yep, I went to buy one and came home with two. I couldn’t decide which one, so I bought both of them. Thank goodness for doggy doors so the dogs can go in and out of the door to use the potty on their own. I was busy working and we couldn’t think of a name and we saw a can of Pepsi on the counter and named one Pepsi. I named the other one Boston because I liked the name. We had this set for ten years.

Then Mark and I retired, at least part time. We said to each other, we don’t want a dog. We don’t want a dog. Yes, we said this many times. THEN, this last year I really missed having a puppy around. So, the search was on for a new member of the family. Here comes Bentley, a black and white male Shih Tzu. Oh my gosh, they are so dang cute when they are squishy and waddling around the house. Yes, we love Bentley. Here is a list for travel that’s probably a bit overboard, but I want to be prepared for the unexpected. It’s almost the same as my 72-hour kit for pets.

Travel With your Dog:

PRINTABLE list: What You Need When You Travel With Your Dog

I hope this list helps you as much as it helps me! I don’t travel that much, but I don’t want to forget anything and have to go to a store for medicine for Bentley. If something serious happens I can go to a veterinarian with him. Thanks again my friends for being prepared for the unexpected. Even our beloved pets need to be prepared, so now you know what you need when you travel with your dog. May God bless you!

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Can We Ever Be a Minimalist Person?

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First of all, can we be a minimalist person these days? I’ve really been trying to declutter my kitchen, my bedroom closets, the bathroom cupboards, the dresser drawers in every room, the hall closet, and the garage. I want less stuff on the horizontal spaces in my house. First of all, I do not like to dust. Thankfully Mark dusts the house. I can’t say he loves dusting, but he is quick to grab the dusting can and the rags to get the job done. I never judge how he dusts, if he doesn’t dust NO ONE WILL. So there you have it. I detest dusting. It’s so crazy because I love cleaning bathrooms and all the tile floors in the house. Remember, we only have a 1900 square foot home so it’s pretty easy and fast to clean. My entire house has tile, no carpet. I have a rug in the living room and two small rugs by the front and back door. A mop works great.

In 2009 we moved from northern Utah where we had a 4800 square foot home with two kitchens, two living rooms, six bedrooms and four bathrooms. It was great to have the grandkids over and they had a playroom with dress-ups and toys galore. It was the gathering home. Well, one day my doctor told me I needed to get rid of the stress in my life at the time for the sake of my health. I owned my own mortgage company and I worked 60-80 hours a week. Lunches at my desk. No sick leave, no vacation. If I left my staff would not get a paycheck. I did this for 15 years. Enough is enough. We gave all of our furniture to our kids and friends when we decided the time was right to make the move. I hate selling stuff. It’s me, if someone needs it they can have it.

So we loaded up and moved to Southern Utah. I thought this will be nice, a smaller home that we had purchased for the “downsizing time” called semi-retirement. Mark and I are both type “A” and will never entirely retire because we love helping out with our neighbors and the community.

Here’s the deal, I thought I could never be a minimalist person. Now I want a tiny home with my food storage and emergency preparedness items pulled behind the tiny house in a trailer. Mark won’t go for the tiny house, but that’s my goal if I still have my health to do it.

Minimalist Person Ideas

You may ask what the in the world is a minimalist person? Here are my thoughts. Just because I want this doesn’t mean it’s right for you, or anyone else.

  1. Less consumerism….I never NEED the newest and greatest electronic gadget.
  2. Clutter free life, this has taken me several years, it’s still a work in progress.
  3. I want fewer clothes…..I want 5 shirts, 5 pants, 1 sweater and one skirt.
  4. I want fewer pairs of shoes, I used to buy ten pairs of shoes at once. That was downright dumb. I had zero time to shop when I worked. I’m down to three to five pairs and that is changing this weekend when I purge again.
  5. I want less furniture, I’m still giving away furniture to this day. I want less….more empty space.
  6. Simplify my life……I want FREE time.
  7. Simple environment…..I want to SMELL the roses, literally.
  8. Quiet surroundings….I want five or maybe ten acres with trees and no sounds except my dog.
  9. Less cleaning…..tile rocks in a desert home and is so clean.
  10. Less stuff…this is still a work in progress. I take stuff to the thrift store weekly.
  11. No valuables to hang onto…I have no valuables.
  12. Less material things, we bought the cheapest large TV we could find because Mark loves sports. It works, that’s our entertainment.
  13. NO deadlines or schedules…..I want to be able to get up in the morning and say…I’m walking five miles today..in another town.
  14. Continue living a frugal life….this is easy for me.
  15. I gave up my second car to see if we could live with one car, we have had one car for 7-1/2 years now (I do not carpool kids).
  16. I rarely eat out because the food is expensive and the food is way too salty or greasy.
  17. I want to eat healthier and eat less meat, yep I said it. Actually no meat or liquid meat like milk, or any dairy. Mark still eats milk and cold cereal. He takes zero prescriptions, and all his blood work is excellent. Not sure how he does it!
  18. Donate stuff while people will still wear it or use it. YES, clothes go out of style.
  19. Buy right the first time, it will save you money in the long run. Don’t step over dimes to save pennies, or whatever the statement may be. I know some people who made big mistakes spending less on something of less quality only to end up buying the better item within months. In other words, it cost them more the second time because now they have two saws (one that works and one that is not workable). We have had ours for 35 years and finished more than a dozen houses or home remodels with that DeWalt!
  20. Live like today is your last day on earth.
  21. Make a bucket list or imagination board and DO IT!
  22. Think of all the money you will save…..
  23. Grow a garden and put your hands in the earth…it feels wonderful.
  24. Check on your older neighbors on your street….it costs nothing to make them smile, I promise.
  25. Check in with friends and family and talk to them about THEM, not about you, just listen, it’s free and so rewarding.

I have to finish this post with a story about some close friends of ours. Brent and Kathleen were out of town a few years ago and a friend of theirs died up north where they were visiting. Brent called me and asked to go to their house here and get his jacket, a shirt, and a tie to overnight them to him. He was speaking at a funeral. I know the garage code, and as I’m going into their house I said “Brent, which jacket, shirt, and tie do want me to ship? He said, “what do you mean, I only have one jacket, one shirt, and one tie”. My life changed that day about “stuff”. Brent said “I can’t wear more than one jacket, shirt or tie at once. Just go and get the ones in the closet.” Sure enough, there was ONE jacket, ONE shirt, and ONE tie. He is my hero and so is his wife. She is exactly like him.

Let me know if you have the feeling of wanting to be a minimalist person, one step at a time. I would love to hear. Kathleen, my friend above, and I have helped at least 50-60 people move out of their homes over the last 7-8 years. Trust me, start decluttering NOW. I promise you’ll be a lot happier, and so will the movers helping you move. Your kids will be glad after you die. I promise, they don’t want all those trinkets or some of the “valuables” you have. SELL them NOW. Remember, you can’t take it with you, and the kids probably don’t want it. Let’s all try to simplify!

My Favorite Things:

8 Quart Stainless Steel Mixing Bowl by The Cook’s Connection

Norpro Egg Beater Classic Hand Crank Style 18/10 Stainless Steel Mixer 12 Inches

Danish Dough Hand Whisk / Mixer 11″

Bellemain Stainless Steel Measuring Cup Set, 6 Piece

Measuring Cups and Spoons 13 Piece Complete Set of Quality Professional Grade 18:8 Stainless Steel – 7 Stackable Cups and 6 Nesting Spoons Perfect for Dry and Liquid Ingredients

The post Can We Ever Be a Minimalist Person? appeared first on Food Storage Moms.

How To Quickly Organize Your Bills

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Can you use some tips on how to quickly organize your bills? It has to be quick and easy for me or I won’t get it done. I used to do Private Banking for clients at a bank in Salt Lake City, Utah about 20 years ago. I also did mortgages for those same clients when I opened my own mortgage company for another 15 years. I had some clients who were organized with their “financial stuff” and more that were unorganized. The reason I want to explain why I am doing today’s post is because I have found over the years more people need help organizing their financial stuff than they realize. Of course, some people could care less to organize anything. That’s okay we are all different. I sometimes wonder why I am such an organized freak…….is it because I am left handed? I have to laugh, I really don’t know why I love to organize everything!

I usually update this post every year because I get emails from awesome readers thanking me for this easy to do tip for organizing bills. Here’s the deal, once you set up this system you are good to go for years, literally. On January 1st of each year, Mark changes the smoke detector and carbon monoxide batteries and I file or shred last years paperwork. I file the tax stuff in one locked file cabinet and shred a lot of the stuff so the file folders can be used again and be ready for the new year.

How To Quickly Organize Your Bills:

Please picture this….because I was a banker and mortgage broker I would need to ask my clients for tax returns, pay stubs, bank statements and investment statements (for any loans or lines of credit). I soon learned the clients that were organized and those who were not. We are all so different in how we prioritize things. I would always give my clients hard cardboard folders filled with their tax returns and W-2’s, 1098’s and 1099’s before returning the items to them. Most would smile and thank me for “organizing” their stuff.

quickly organize

I think my brain never stops thinking of “projects”…….just saying. So then I started making sets of the following folders for all my clients when I did a loan for them. Then I started giving the sets as a gift to family members and friends. These are some folders I like to use: Smead Fastener File Folder, 2 Fasteners, Reinforced 1/3-Cut Tab, Letter Size, Manila, 50 Per Box (14537) I prefer the multi-colored folders so I can quickly find the one I want. I just use mailing labels like these: 1 X 30 UP Avery 5160 5260 5520 5810 5960 Compatible Sticker Labels – 100 Sheets

Here is the list I use in alphabetical order:

BANKING

CARS

INSURANCE-CARS

INSURANCE-HEALTH & LIFE

INVESTMENTS-IRA’S

MEDICAL RECORDS

MORTGAGE/RENTAL STATEMENTS

PAYCHECKS

PROPERTY TAX INFO

RECEIPTS-DISPOSABLE: These are what I use for receipts: Smead File Pocket, Straight-Cut Tab, 3-1/2″ Expansion, Letter Size, Assorted Colors, 5 per Pack (73892)

RECEIPTS-LARGE ITEMS: Here is another option for filing receipts: Smead Hanging Pocket with Full-Height Gusset, 3-1/2″ Expansion, Letter Size, Assorted Colors, 4 per Pack (64291)

TAX DEDUCTIBLE RECEIPTS

UTILITIES

TAX RETURNS 2016

TAX RETURNS 2017

TAX RETURNS 2018

TAX RETURNS 2019

Here is my famous two hole punch I use for filing my stuff:

quickly organize

If you order one of these and get some folders and use some mailing labels affixed to your folders you will be ready in one afternoon with all your financial information in one place. Yay! Swingline Comfort Handle 2-Hole Punch, 50% Easier, 1/4″ Hole Size, 28 Sheets (A7074050)

It may seem overwhelming if you have never used a filing system before. Trust me on this one, you will love it when you get this system set in place. You will know where everything is in minutes. Yes, you can organize your bills in one afternoon, I promise.

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11 Things You Should Do Before You Die

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I decided to write about 11 things you should do before you die, in other words, what we may all want to consider doing. Sometimes we need a little push to gather important documents together and put them in a binder like the one I designed: Food Storage Moms FREE Printable Emergency Binder Download Please be patient for it to load and the PDF document should show up on your computer on the bottom left-side of your laptop screen or computer monitor. Once the document finishes loading it will be ready to click and print. I prefer printing it on cardstock, and it’s actually in color if you want to print with a color printer. Here’s the deal, no one wants to talk about death in most cases, I get it. I have to tell you a funny story about one of my cute granddaughters, Emmie. One day she came to visit and said to me “Grandma, did you know you’re going to die?”. I said well, “how did this topic come up today?” She was about six or seven at the time and she had recently had a Sunday School lesson where they had talked about death. Well, Emmie looked me in the eye and said, “well you’re gonna die Grandma”! I am known to laugh a lot and I tried to keep a straight face, but I got the giggles so bad only because she was so serious. We then discussed what she had learned in her class. Yes, indeed we will all die.

Over the last few years, we have all had a family member die, a special friend or someone we really admired pass away. Well, this week I went up to Salt Lake City, Utah for the holiday’s and whenever I go up north I love seeing my family and I love going to visit my very special close friends. I visited one family and learned she had had a very close call with death and she has two young children. We talked about the fact that we have both been very healthy over the years and in one afternoon her whole life changed. Drastically changed with some serious health issues. She is not out of the woods yet, and this saddens me deeply.

On Christmas morning, my daughter received a call that her best friend was headed to the hospital in an ambulance. Her daughter had called my daughter to make a few phone calls to help them get in contact with her friends and family ASAP so they would know what was going one with their mother. Well, the friend lives in Park City, Utah and we had the most beautiful snow storm for Christmas day. But this snow storm was treacherous to drive in. My daughter knew she had to drive up the canyon to support her friend, but soon realized she wouldn’t make it up Parley’s Canyon and turned around and came back.

So after much thought I decided I must write a post about my thoughts to help families be prepared after someone in their family dies. I know it is hard because I have had to help friends figure out where their bank accounts are, mortgage company information, insurance companies, and policy numbers, etc. It’s hard when only one member of the family take cares of the bills and the other partner knows very little or nothing about family finances. I mean nothing. Once one of my friend’s husband committed suicide and she had never written a check or had a debit card. She didn’t have a clue about money or debt. Plus, the family had zero life insurance and she had very small children under the age of ten. She had never worked. Now. this could be a young mother, young father or an elderly person who dies. It’s like Emmie said, “well you’re gonna die, Grandma”.

Now keep in mind I am not a lawyer or anyone in the legal system. These are my thoughts and what I have done with my four daughters. You must decide what works for you. My husband and I have both worked in our careers with legal documents and we know how important some of the things I will list below are for any family. Of course, if your worth millions of dollars you probably have already had an estate planner work these deals out with you. I worked with estate planning with my clients on a very small scale during my banking career and directed them to other professionals to finish up their “affairs” before they died. Keep in mind this is the very minimum number of items I am suggesting you do for you and your loved ones before you die.

11 Things To Do Before Your Die:

  1. Talk about death with your family members, not every day, but we need to talk about it. I know I’m going to die and I have had a good life. I’ve been blessed beyond words. When it’s my time, it’s my time to go.
  2. Gather up your important documents and store them in a binder, folder or whatever is convenient and then place them in one secure place. Let your loved ones know where you have these items stored like birth certificates, bank accounts, investments accounts, your will or trust binder, etc. This way they are not frustrated as they try to help the family member(s) that are left behind. I’m assuming you all have a will or trust. If not, get one now or the state where you live may have to determine what happens to your estate/assets when you pass away. As part of that effort, be sure to seriously consider who you want to act as your executor, administrator or personal representative. Money can make people do some strange things.
  3. Label the passwords to accounts, if you feel comfortable sharing them with those who will help take care of those left behind who may need some help with paperwork.
  4. Talk about funerals or cremations and burial plots, whatever you decide you want for your funeral, or in my case a celebration at a park with food catered. Our best friend’s son died and he had the best non-funeral I have ever been to. It was at a park with no casket, no solemn faces. They had music, food catered and bouncy playthings for the kids. Of course, we all cried, but we laughed and giggled about the life he lived. He was the cutest dad ever, and the memories I have will be cherished forever. He was a hockey player and coach and I bet the park was filled with about 400-500 people coming to enjoy his non-funeral. He lived longer than the doctors thought he would, he left behind a beautiful wife and three small children.
  5. This one is silly maybe, but I have been decluttering my house because I don’t want my daughters to have to deal with my “stuff” after I die. I have helped move many people and sometimes I think, wow, why are we moving this stuff. I’m just saying, think about moving, oh it is not fun. Well, just think of the stuff that’s in your home that maybe could be donated, or in some cases put in the trash. I’m not talking about Aunt Mable’s heirloom hankies, although I have trashed many of those types of items. If those hankies or other things are important to you then save them. But sometimes I think our kids will trash them. They may not be treasures to our kids. Just thinking out loud here.
  6. I remember my mom asking me before she died if there was anything she had that I wanted. I think I hurt her feelings because I said I didn’t need or want anything. I know there are a few things my daughters have mentioned they would like. I have given my china to them, I no longer entertain like I used to. Life changes. There are a few other tidbits they may want.
  7. Decide if life insurance is right for you. I have seen many young mothers and fathers die who leave their loved ones behind in a financial disaster. I have also seen where the families planned ahead. Thank you, God, for inspiring them to do be prepared with life insurance to at least pay off their home and have some money to live on until they can get back on their feet to provide for the family.
  8. Talk about budgets before you die. What income will you lose if the breadwinner should die without warning? The income and budget should not be a secret. Have a family meeting and talk about how much money comes in and needs to go out each month. Make it a positive experience. It’s a good thing to talk about budgets with your kids, we have all heard that phrase, “money does not grow on trees”. The more mature children need to understand where the family stands financially.
  9. Think about donating your organs BEFORE you die. What a difference this can make in the lives of others who need the blessing of a replacement organ to survive!
  10. This may seem crazy, but I told Mark if he wants an obituary, he better write one TODAY or there will not be one. Here’s the deal, I can’t remember all the things I want in my Obituary, or for that matter, whether I want my kids to waste the money publishing one. So, there you have it, write your own obituary (minus the dates).
  11. Talk to your family about rest homes, care centers or whatever you want to call them. I don’t want to waste my daughter’s time and energy taking care of me. If in fact I don’t know who I am after a certain age in my life, I am telling you NOW that’s it’s okay to have someone else care for me in a Medicare facility. Also, please remember to have a “right to die or let me go if I am gone mentally” paper signed if you feel comfortable with that. I do, for sure. The hospital will need this legal document if your state allows it.  It is often referred to as a Living Will.

I hope this post helps just one family be better prepared for the death of a family member or friend. May God bless you in your preparedness in every aspect of your life.

My favorite things:

  1. I suggest you get some colored tabs (ten tabs) to go with your binder like these: Avery Extra wide Ready Index Dividers, Laser/Ink Jet, 9.5 x 11 Inches, Assorted, 10 Tabs, 1 Set (11165)
  2. Get some zippered binder pockets like these: Cardinal Expanding Zipper Binder Pocket, Clear, 3/PK (14201)
  3. I used baseball cards pages or photo pages similar to these: Avery Horizontal Photo Pages, Acid-Free, 4 x 6 Inches, Pack of 10 (13406)
  4. I also purchased binder pockets like these: Avery Binder Pockets, Acid-Free, Pack of 5 (75254)
  5. Page protectors like these: Avery Standard Weight Sheet Protectors, Pack of 25 Sheet Protectors (75530)

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Time To Get Organized In 15 Minutes Or Less

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Would you like time to get organized in 15 minutes or less? Are there some closets, kitchen cupboards, bedroom dressers or other areas that that could use some cleaning out? Here’s the deal, for me I can’t look at the whole house or the garage and think “I need to get this house cleaned today”! Of course, I have a routine schedule for the toilets and bathroom and the kitchen, but there are times I want to just declutter. Do you ever feel like that? In order to accomplish this desire to declutter moment, I have to think it through. It doesn’t take much time, but for me, this is a necessity. I do a few things a week, and a few things a month. Then I also have the yearly check the “stuff” moment when I realize I will never use that stuff and it’s time to let the stuff go. I’m not talking about extremely important documents, keepsakes, or heirlooms. But, I also want to reconnect with friends through notes and phone calls so I want to add these things to my list.

We need to start with a plan to tackle things we keep pushing aside. Start with one room or closet that needs the least amount of work. It may be your closet that may have clothes that you haven’t worn in years. Some of our clothes, shirts, skirts, dresses or shoes could be donated to your local thrift store so people who could really use them have them available for purchase at a greatly reduced price.  Maybe it’s your paper stuff that needs to be organized for your significant other to locate in an emergency. We all need to know where those important documents are if something should happen.

It’s a little frustrating when a wife, husband, partner or parent dies suddenly and no one can locate some the critical documents that are needed to help the family prepare for the future without them. I knew a sweet young mother a few years ago that had no idea where her home mortgage was being serviced after her husband died unexpectedly at a very young age. She didn’t know the passwords for bank accounts, and she knew very little about the house expenses. It was a learning curve for all those family and friends that had to step in and help her sort things out. Here’s my FREE printable document to get you started to prepare your important papers to have in ONE binder stored in a safe place: Food Storage Moms FREE Printable Emergency Binder Download Please be patient while this document loads because it’s a large file that is printable that will take a few minutes before you can print it. You should see it at the bottom of your computer screen on the left. Next, you click on the bar and you will see the document ready to print. If you have card stock, that would be awesome.

Time to get organized in 15 minutes

I decided to jot down a few things that I personally would like to nudge myself to get these things done in 15 minutes or less! Get a timer and set it for 15 minutes, I promise it works. I have one similar to this one: Sunbeam 61040 Timer, 60 minutes First, you take a piece of paper and write down the worst room in the house, or easiest cupboard to get done in 15 minutes. It may be other things you can get done in this amount of time that you’ve have been putting off doing so. Let’s get started.

  1. Write a quick note to a friend that you’ve been thinking about.
  2. Gather your important documents and put them in one secure place.
  3. Call someone who you haven’t talked to in months, maybe even years.
  4. Go visit a neighbor and let them know you care about them.
  5. Clean that kitchen utensil drawer.
  6. Clean out the toaster.
  7. Clean the refrigerator, this is a good one for me.
  8. Look under the kitchen sink and throw out all the items you will never use and wipe it down.
  9. Clean the outside of a few kitchen cabinets.
  10. Take the dog for a walk, if you have one.
  11. Get two bags, one 33-gallon clear one and another 33-gallon black one (empty your closet and start filling the bags that are past the donate stage and throw them out.  Fill the clear bag with clothes, purses, or shoes you no longer need and donate them.
  12. Bake some cookies and take a batch to the homeless shelter (yes, this will take longer than 15 minutes, but it’s a worth it, I promise).
  13. Make a simple dinner for a single mom or elderly couple in your neighborhood.
  14. Read a book you enjoy or will give you knowledge about something you have been thinking about.
  15. Read my book with your family: Prepare Your Family for Survival: How to Be Ready for Any Emergency or Disaster Situation.
  16. Help a neighbor rake a few leaves.
  17. Organize the over the counter drugs to stay on top of the expiration dates you may have in the cupboard.
  18. Organize the freezer.
  19. Sweep the garage floor.
  20. Wash your car.
  21. Do nothing and enjoy your 15 minutes of silence (no electronics, TV, radio or computer).
  22. Watch some documentaries on Netflix, if you have it (this takes an hour or more, but it’s all about knowledge).
  23. Go to lunch with a friend.
  24. Organize the hall closet.
  25. Organize the junk drawer, seems like we all have one.
  26. Make folders for your bills and keep them organized
  27. When you get your mail, stand by the garbage can, discard the junk, shred the credit card letters you receive (not the bills), and never touch those items again,
  28. Set up automatic payments on recurring bills, simplify your life.
  29. Dust the room that needs it the most, this is my least favorite cleaning job.
  30. Wipe down the floor moldings.
  31. Wipe down the fans, if you have fans with lights in your home.
  32. Wash your home windows, oh how I love clean windows with the sun shining through them.
  33. Make a menu for the week.
  34. Make a shopping list and shop the least amount of time you can and you won’t be tempted to buy stuff you really don’t need.
  35. Make a plan to be prepared for the unexpected, you will need it, I promise.
  36. Make sure you store water.
  37. Store enough food for your family for a minimum of seven days to start with and keep adding to it, you will need it, trust me.
  38. Rotate your food storage.

Thanks for being prepared for the unexpected, may God bless you and your family. Be prepared and you can sleep at night knowing your family is ready for anything that may come your way.

My favorite things:

Kirkland Signature 33 Gallon Clear Trash Bags – 200 Bags with Smart Ties

Black Garbage Bags, 33×39, 33 Gallon, 100/Case, 1.4 Mil

WaterBrick 1833-0001 Stackable Water and Food Storage Container, 3.5 gal of Liquid, 27 lb of Dry Food Products, Blue

Water Storage Containers – WaterBrick – 8 Pack Blue

The post Time To Get Organized In 15 Minutes Or Less appeared first on Food Storage Moms.

Remember Mom’s Minute Timer-You Need One

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Remember mom’s minute timer, you need one, I promise. Do you sometimes feel overwhelmed with stuff you want a little more organized in your home or garage? I know I do! It seems it’s a never ending project. You know stuff gets expired, stuff you no longer need or want starts piling up. Well, it’s not fun to do it by yourself, sometimes. I needed a kick start to get me going. Here’s the deal, you may think I want to clean this cupboard, this room or this dresser or whatever. I get it. I never stop cleaning out items, it’s who I am. Sort, donate, trash or save.

My point today is this, if you need help with whatever is bugging you, please ask for help. When I lived by my daughters we always had “organize” moments. We would all pitch in and help each other, this is what friends and family do. I totally have to have things organized. I cannot function well in chaos, although I do at times find myself in in a mess! LOL!

Sometimes we have to ask for help. I asked my friend, Lisa if she could help me get some cabinets organized. It is so much fun to do things like this with someone else. People who REALLY know me, know that I am usually very organized. This year I needed help. Lisa and I both believe in the 15-minute timer program, so I am going to share what my dear friend helped me with. We set the timer for fifteen minutes and got started clearing out everything in my cabinets. We emptied everything out and SHE organized it for me. I said, “Lisa, you are the expert.” JUST do it! She is amazing! We would set a goal to get this drawer or this cupboard done in fifteen minutes. It was amazing how fast you can do things if you are challenged by the timer!

Minute Timer:

minute timer

She did my messiest drawer, my sewing stuff. I LOVE this now!

minute timer

Here is one of my craft drawers…yep I can actually find some stamps…oh and ink….imagine that! LOL!

minute timer

Here is my cupboard with more craft things, yes I LOVE crafting!

minute timer

I hope today’s post helps you realize that in order to get organized (if you want to be organized), take baby steps. Make a list of the rooms, closets, files, drawers, cupboards, etc. Choose the areas that are the most important to you. Decide on one each day or one a week. You will be amazed if you set a timer how much you can get done in fifteen minutes. I had to let go of LOTS of stuff, I have downsized to a house less than half the size of my last home. It feels great to let go of stuff I no longer need. Here is the timer I have: Browne Foodservice 2428 Lux Minute Minder Classic 60 Minute Mechanical Timer

Organize items you need:

Clear bags to put the items you want to donate.  Kirkland Signature 33 Gallon Clear Trash Bags – 200 Bags with Smart Tie I use these clear garbage bags to cover and store my stuff in the garage as well.

Black garbage bags for items that are broken or not workable and need to be trashed. Hefty Drawstring Trash Can Liner Bags, 33 Gallon, 48 Count These are a great storage item as well. After a disaster, we will not have trash pickup for a day, weeks or months.

Plastic containers to organize your stuff that you want to keep. ArtBin Super Satchel Removable Divider Box – Art Craft Storage Container, 9007AB

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Back To Basics: How To Organize Your Home

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It’s my Back to Basics series today and it’s all about how to organize your home. I must be on some mission to declutter my home because I keep looking for stuff I don’t need or use. I read an article or saw something on the television that prompted my current state of mind. There was a woman talking about “stuff”, whether it’s clothes, furniture, a picture, a knick-knack or whatever. She mentioned if something no longer gives you “JOY” let it go. I really liked what she said. LET.IT.GO. Before you know it I was offering to help declutter other homes besides my own. I don’t know if there is a song called, “Let it go” or not, but I soon found myself singing that phrase. Let it go, let it go, let it go. Simple words, but so empowering to me. I really want to simplify my life.

The next thing I know a very close friend, Gary stopped by to visit us and said he had been going through his clothes because he wasn’t wearing them anymore. He told his wife about this section in his closet that if he didn’t wear any of those clothes in the next three months he was taking them to the local thrift store. You know, then someone can buy them and enjoy them at a super discounted price. I wish he was the same size as my husband because I would call him in three months since he buys top quality clothing, just saying. I heard myself singing again, “let it go.”

I understand when you look around your home and say “where do I start?” It can be overwhelming, I get it. I use a timer like this one and set it for a certain amount of time per room. Taylor Precision Products Mechanical Long Ring Timer. The timer can be set for 15 minutes for one drawer, set the timer for one hour to do your closet, etc. One of the first things you may need beforehand will be several clear 33-gallon bags for items to take to your local thrift store. I like the clear ones because you know they are not trash. Grab some 33-gallon black bags for trash or items that are broken and not useable. If you have boxes labeled, trash, thrift store or keepsakes that will work as well. If you find some keepsakes be sure and protect them, or even better, display them if they bring you “Joy”. If they are sitting in a box they may be a treasure to you, but after you pass away they may go straight to the trash. Just giving you the heads-up here.

I used to own my mortgage company and would help educate people how to get out of debt. We would go over their bank statements and talk about the various charges in front of us. If a storage unit charge popped up I would ask “you are paying $60.00 a month for that storage unit?” That’s $720.00 a year. Is the stuff inside that unit worth that much or more? Two years paying on that storage unit would be $1,440.00. Man, it better be priceless stuff! I hope you can see where I’m going here. In 99.9% of the time, my clients would say, “Wow I never thought about that!” In most cases they would have been better off selling the stuff and letting it go.

Let’s say your house payment or rent payment is $1,000.00 a month. Your square footage of said house is 1,000 square feet. That means you are paying $1.00 per square foot each month. Let’s say we have a sewing room or guest room. That room is 10 feet by 12 feet. You are paying $120.00 for that one bedroom. This isn’t bad if you use that room all the time. Now, let’s talk about a closet that is full of stuff you haven’t used in three years, maybe even five years. The closet is 3 feet by 3 feet. This means you are paying $9.00 per month to store those coats or whatever in that closet. Of course, we need to keep some stuff, but this makes us all think about some of the items we keep hanging onto, right? The formula to calculate your cost per square foot on a monthly payment basis: take the square footage of your home or apartment and divide it by your monthly payment, that’s it.

Organize Your Home

I am going to list these in alphabetical order, let’s get started. One tidbit of advice is if you have an upstairs and a downstairs, please save your money for an extra vacuum. I just stayed at my daughters and she has three floors in her home. The main floor, upstairs and basement and only one vacuum. I can tell you right now dragging that heavy vacuum up and down stairs is not fun.

Bathrooms

I wrote a post last fall about cleaning bathrooms, so I’m going to slip that information into this post as well. Just so you know, if you have two bathrooms place these items in both bathrooms. This way you are not dragging a container with the cleaning supplies into every room of the house. I used to have four bathrooms and I had a set of these in all four bathrooms. I literally can clean my bathrooms in 10 minutes or less by keeping them clean weekly. Keep in mind, I do not have large bathrooms, but one of them has two bathroom sinks, a toilet, and a walk-in shower. The other bathroom has a tub shower combination, toilet, and one sink. I live a pretty simple life, but I love clean bathrooms. I hate to dust, but love cleaning toilets, what can I say?

11 Ways To Clean The Bathroom Quickly:

Toilet bowl cleaner: Lysol Cling Gel Toilet Bowl Cleaner, Ocean Fresh Scent, 24 Ounce (Pack of 4).

I use this product to spray under the toilet rim and let it soak as directed on the bottle. Next, I use the pumice stone shown below on my list of cleaning supplies.

Pumice stone: U. S. Pumice HDW-12 Pumie Scouring Stick (4 pack)

A few years ago I remember someone saying to me, “well won’t that pumice stone scratch the toilet bowl?” Yep, it sure will, but I would rather see a clean toilet bowl than that the brownish black stuff that won’t wash off under the toilet rim. That’s totally gross, in my opinion. So, I use elbow grease and scrub under the toilet rim with a wet pumice stone with the Lysol Cling Gel Toilet Bowl Cleaner sprayed under the rim. Now, I have never had to do this on my toilets, but if you have a rental or older toilet, you may need to do this in order to make them white again.

Clorox wipes: Clorox Disinfecting Wipes Value Pack, Scented, 225 Count (Packaging May Vary)

These wipes are what I use to wipe down the top of the toilet tank, the toilet tank, the lid, and the toilet seat. I use about 5-6 Clorox sheets per bathroom every week. I use them on the counter tops and the top rim of the bathtub. I also use these to clean the grout that may be yellowed by pee at the bottom of the toilet bowl base next to the floor. The grout can get pretty bad if not cleaned weekly. I call that ring around the toilet! I even use them on the floor.

Window cleaner: Sprayway Glass Cleaner – 6 Cans

I used to buy a popular window cleaner you see advertised all the time. Even though it said it was streak-free, my windows always had streaks. I prefer the cans listed above because they work great. Costco sells a really good brand as well. I am fussy about clean mirrors and faucets. I typically share a can or two with friends and all but one keep asking me where to buy it. I love clean windows and mirrors. I buy my glass cleaner by the case, yep 12 cans!

Shower cleaner: Scrubbing Bubbles Shower Cleaner Mega Foamer 3 Pack

This stuff cleans the shower walls really well, and I mean really well. I sometimes still have to use the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Cleaning Pads with the cleaner if the stains are hard to get out.  Make sure the product is safe for your shower walls.

Bathroom counter cleaner: Scrubbing Bubbles Bathroom Cleaner Aerosol Color Change (Pack Of 2)

This stuff cleans the bathroom counter tops really well, and I mean really well. I sometimes still have to use the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Cleaning Pads with the cleaner if the stains are hard to get out. Make sure the product is safe for your counter tops.

Towel Rack: Amerock H55656WG10 Beveled Hook Rack, White and Satin Nickel, 18-Inch

Here’s the deal about towel racks. We need to make it as easy as possible for people to hang up their towels, whether it be hand or bath towels. Hooks work the best because they literally ensure the towels are in fact hung up to dry. No one likes to fold them into thirds to hang them on the towel bar, in my opinion. I did away with towel bars years ago. I only have towel racks with hooks in both bathrooms now.

Garbage Cans: InterDesign Kent Bathware, 10-Inch Waste Can, Bronze

If you get a nice sturdy small garbage can and use garbage bags, it makes life so much easier when you empty them. I promise. Empty them as needed. Target sells great little garbage cans that are not very expensive.

Garbage Bags: Glad Small Garbage Bags, 4 Gallon Bags, 2 – 30 Packs (60 Total)

You can buy 4-gallon garbage bags at your local supermarket or online. I tie a knot in one corner and slip it over the can. They work great and keep the garbage cans clean.

Toilet Bowl Cleaner Set: Don Aslett Cleaning Center

I have one of these sets in each bathroom so they are ready to use when I clean the bathrooms on Sunday. I do not use them like the video shows. I just use the brush/wand with the cleaning solution squirted on it and swish it around the toilet bowl. Next, I squeeze the brush with the cover and get as much water as possible out of them after scrubbing the toilet bowl. Then I let it dry until the next week. Then I use the Clorox wipes to wipe down the toilet parts as indicated above. This is how I clean my bathrooms in 10 minutes every week, literally 10 minutes.

Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Cleaning Pads: Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Cleaning Pads, 8-Count Box

I use these cleaning pads to clean the bathtub and shower walls. You wet them and start scrubbing. Love it! Just so you know, these cleaning pads will remove washable chalk paint in the tubs and shower. I tried everything and this is the ONLY thing that will remove it. I also use these on rentals where the toilets have really dirty grout on the bottom of the tanks next to the floor. Yep, they work on pee stains.

I hope my 11 ways to clean the bathroom quickly help you clean your bathrooms faster and more efficiently! Here’s to saving time while cleaning the one room in the house that gets used very often! Let me know if you have any cleaning tricks I can add to this list. I love hearing new ideas.

Paper Towels: Bounty Select-A-Size Paper Towels, Huge Rolls, White, 12 Count are a given with me in my cleaning supplies. I have started having them delivered to my house every month. I love it because it’s one thing less I have to go to Costco to buy each month.

Bedrooms

I am not talking about the kids bedrooms here because that’s a whole other story that will be addressed below. I love my bedroom free of clutter. I read somewhere that we shouldn’t have a TV in our bedroom. Well, I do and I love it. It’s in one of the armoire’s that you can open the doors to watch TV and then close when you’re done. I have some favorite shows that I watch before I go to sleep. I do however want all horizontal areas like the top of dressers and nightstands clean and simple. I have a lamp and a box of tissues and a remote for the TV. That’s it. Do you love to walk into your bedroom every morning, afternoon or night and feel happy because of how it looks and feels? I do make my bed up every morning. It’s who I am. My bedroom is truly my sanctuary. So really, my tips for your bedroom would be:

Make your bed every day if you aren’t already and change the sheets weekly.

Get a basket or clothes hamper for dirty clothes (if your budget allows it, buy one that is divided to store whites and darks).

Here’s the prepper in me, grab a pillowcase and make one of these: Survival Bed Pouch by Food Storage Moms.

Do office work in another room, keep your bedroom a sanctuary.

Put clutter away every night, remember this is the room you relax in.

Bedroom Closets

Here’s the deal with closets, if I’m in a cleaning mood, watch out! I drag everything out and wipe down the shelves, the curtain rods and of course, the floors. I have tile in my entire house. I got rid of all the carpet in my home due to my allergies and sinus infections. Hooray! Anyway, I look over the clothes that I hope to “fit into” if I lose weight. If it’s been three months they are going to the thrift store. I want to simplify my life.

I must tell you a story about a friend that lives in my neighborhood. He was up north 350 miles away and he called me to see if I could mail his suit jacket, shirt and tie to him because a friend had died and he needed his suit for the funeral. He and his wife are our best friends here so I know the garage code to their home and they know ours. I asked him “which jacket, shirt and tie”? He said to me “I only have one jacket, one shirt, and one tie, you can’t wear more than one at a time”. I love that guy, I got the giggles because I have NEVER known anyone that only has one jacket, one shirt, and one tie. Literally. Well, it made it very easy to go find the one shirt, one jacket, and one tie in their closet to box up and overnight it to him. Note: these are his “Sunday” clothes, he has more of a selection for weekday use.

They live a simple life and I love them as friends and neighbors. It made me realize I need way less than I have in my closet. Period. I want to simplify my closets and therefore, my life.

In my master bedroom closet, I have two rows of closet rods and shelves to put baskets that hold stuff. I have nine baskets lined up filled and organized. One is for sweaters, travel stuff, dry cleaning, tennis shoes, purses/backpacks, etc. I never have to look for things because I have them organized so I can find them quickly.

I have three types of hangers:

I have some of these for shirts that may slip off the hangers: AmazonBasics Velvet Suit Hangers – 50 Pack
I have these to hang up shorts and skirts: Hangorize Crystal Skirt/Slack Hangers, Clear, Set of 12
I use these for shirts with collars and buttons: The Great American Hanger Company Plastic Top Hangers, Clear, Box of 100

I have a small home so I store all my winter clothes and summer clothes in the same closet. However, I do cover the shoulders with these covers until the next season: Shoulder Covers (Set of 16) I live in the desert so we have a lot of dust here, so the covers help protect the shoulders of my shirts from “dust stains”.

Dining Room

Nowadays, very few homes have a dining room. In my kitchen/dining room, I have a table that is 48 inches by 96 inches. I can seat ten people at my table, I have a large family so I opted to start with a large table and I have never regretted that decision. I did have one cute granddaughter write with magic markers on my wood table and so within 24 hours I ordered a heavy glass top for the table that works well now for meals and crafts. And magic markers, LOL!

Over the years, I have slowly collected just about every color of napkins and tablecloths. I stack them in a cupboard according to colors so I can grab them and be ready to set my table according to the meal I am serving. There is something fabulous about “breaking bread” with friends and family, right? I have placemats as well, but with the glass top on my table it’s a lot easier to just wash napkins or a tablecloth! If I have guests I wash my cloth napkins within an hour after my family or guests leave after a meal. If I use a tablecloth I do the same thing. I use my water bottle and FelsNaptha bar to remove all stains. I iron them the next morning and fold and stack them. I want the napkins or tablecloths put away instead of just sitting there on the dryer. Obviously, I do not use cloth napkins for every meal, especially if I have over 25 people come for a meal. Life is good!

I know in my heart people love to be invited to dinner. It doesn’t matter if you have a fancy table or a card table. A big house or a small apartment. People need to eat together and laugh together. I have heard people say to me, “my house isn’t nice enough.” YES it is. I hope you invite someone in your neighborhood over for dinner this week. Let me know how it goes. I love to hear those things.

Hall Closets

I often have people ask me where I get the plastic containers in my hall closets. You can get them at Walmart, target or wherever they sell plastic tubs. They are similar to these: Sterilite 16428012 6-Quart Storage Box, White Lid with See-Through Base, 12-Pack I throw out the lids because it’s just clutter. I measure the shelf size and spacing between them and buy the storage boxes to fit as closely as I can. I have containers for everything. I even organize all my daughters’ hall closets, if they ask me. Yes, some of them do ask me and I love it. I have containers for bars of soap, shampoo, dust cloths, toothpaste, toothbrushes (new ones for guests), hand sanitizer, vitamins, throat lozenges, various sizes of plastic baggies and so much more. I also have some with drawers similar to these: Sterilite ClearView 3 Storage Drawer Organizer

Kids Bedrooms

If we want our kids to keep their rooms neat and tidy and be proud of their room we need to make it easy for them and train them at the same time. If they have toys, make a shelf that’s secured to the wall so it won’t tip over on them. Every night before they go to bed they need to put their bedroom to bed. You know, by cleaning up the stuff they pulled out that day. If you can afford bins to put on those shelves that’s even better. Label the bins so the children learn where they need to return the games, stuffed animals, toys, etc.

Laundry baskets are a must have. All children need to have a place to put their dirty clothes. If you start when they are young it becomes a habit to take a dirty shirt or pants off and place it in the laundry hamper or basket. After the laundry is finished you can show them how to put their own clothes away. I suggest when the kids are little you go through their clothes at least quarterly and donate or hand down the clothes that no longer fit, are out of style or show undue wear. If they are only wearing the top five outfits every single week, ask them if there are some clothes they really do not want to wear. You don’t need to store clothes they will never wear.

Just think of all the children who could wear them NOW if you took them to the thrift store or give them to a family who could use them. You can also sell them at exchange stores and your kids can choose some gently used new clothes.

Invest in hooks for the closets when the kids are small and add another closet rod that is lower so they can learn to hang stuff up. As the child grows you can raise the hook shelf. A happy child is a proud child because they have learned to keep their room neat and tidy.

Teach the children to make their bed every day and help change the sheets weekly. You will have less sickness, I promise. Man, I love clean sheets and pillowcases!

Place a small garbage can in their room and have them empty every week, the night before garbage day is a perfect day. Here again, we are training our little ones to be working adults. We can’t do everything for them or we will still be doing stuff for them when they are 21 years old.

Kitchen

Now my blog is my business and that means the kitchen is my office most days. I have a very small home and therefore, a very small kitchen. But it works because I made some adjustments. This is not where I store my long term food storage, but you can see I can fill this pantry very full.

By just adding a few extra shelves to your small pantry you gain almost 50% more cupboard space, depending on how your cabinets are built. I have the pantry  shown below that used to have only 5 shelves. I added two more shelves to give me more space that was not as easily usable because of the height. I only have a few tall  items to store in the pantry. Plus, you can only safely stack cans two cans high. I have ten-foot ceilings so the pantry is taller than a house with 8-foot walls. The door alone is 8 feet tall. I want you to know those dimensions so you realize how I was able to add more shelving.

Plan Out The Shelves Of Your Small Pantry

Make a list of the various items you eat every day or every week. Then start measuring approximately how many shelves you can add. I measured and measured so many times then I went to a local cabinet place and had them cut the shelves. I picked up the exact size brackets that were already installed in the side walls. The holes were there so all I had to do was consider the depth of the shelves when measuring for the shelving.

There is something about having a pantry full of canned goods, honey, cocoa, canned soups, etc. I have large and small buckets with flour and sugar for everyday baking and I refill them when needed.

organize your home

Add Some Shelves

I hope this idea can show you how to make more space in a small kitchen. Have you ever wondered why some cabinet makers make cabinets with so few shelves? I bought some extra shelves and I can now find stuff in the cupboards. Those pink bowls are for my granddaughters that come to visit.

organize your home

Here is my other cupboard where I store my spices and bread pans. By just adding a few more shelves….I have twice the space. I realize I have way too many spices, but I love to cook…it’s who I am.

Organize your home

Living Room

Here’s the deal with our living room or family room. If we fluff the pillows the couch looks better. Well, I decided to get rid of all my couch and chair pillows. I love going to people’s homes and they have all these beautiful pillows with fabulous colors all lined up on couches chairs or whatever. Here’s the deal with pillows, I don’t know where to sit on the couch if you have pillows. Do I move it, do I sit on, do I put it (them) on the floor? Sometimes I just stand there in the living room because I don’t dare sit on the couch with those beautiful pillows. My pillows have gone to the local thrift store for someone else’s couch. I wish them well.

Now, I have also decided not to have a lot of knick-knacks in the living room. First of all, I do not like to dust. Period. Mark does the dusting, I set the rags out with the spray and he is happy to do the dusting in our home. Thank goodness. I have a large 18-inch wooden carved out bowl on my coffee table where we place the local ads that look good and the newspaper for the day. One thing I do before I go to bed at night is make sure the room is picked up ready to start another beautiful day tomorrow.

I hope you could use some of my tips today, please share some of your ideas on how you organize your home, I love hearing from you. Let it go, let it go, let it go. May God bless you for giving the things you no longer need to your local thrift store.

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How To Be Ready For Tax Time Next Year

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Would you like to know how to be ready for tax time next year? If you set up a filing system now you will be ready every year before tax time rolls around again. We all know the items the IRS is usually looking for, right? I have to have everything organized whether it’s my house, garage, closets, cupboards or tax stuff. It’s who I am. I am not a tax professional or giving you tax advice here today, I just want to share some of my tax organizational tips. So let’s get started.

Ready For Tax Time

I’m not sure how you feel, but tax time each spring is one of my least favorite times of the year.  It’s not just the tax that has to be paid, it’s the challenge of gathering all the tax related materials I’ll need so the tax forms are complete and accurate when sent in. Years ago my husband and I decided we needed to have a system in place so the effort is less time consuming and as accurate as possible.

The first step was to identify and list the items that would be needed.  We then put together a series of file folders for each type of receipt or form that would be needed. We all know the usual stuff like the W-2’s for payroll information, 1099’s for interest earned and MISC income generated, 1098 forms for interest paid on home mortgages, etc. From these examples, we’re reminded that both income and some types of expenses contribute to the final tax calculations. There are other issues that may need to be addressed, like voluntary contributions to the charity of your choice, property taxes paid relating to your home and/or cars, certain education expenses, withdrawals from an IRA or other retirement accounts, etc.

We decided that a more consistent approach to information gathering was also needed.  My husband suggested that as part of the monthly steps we take to balance our bank statements, we would record and file the activity shown on the statement that would ultimately be needed at tax time. If we sent a check to United Way or deposited funds to our checking account that were withdrawn from our IRA we would make copies of the transactions and file them in the appropriate file folder for future reference. Sure, it took a few extra minutes each month, but it has saved us so much time in the long run because we do it when the activity is fresh on our minds and we remember “why” we did what we did and how it might affect our taxes later.

One thing to remember is that each state is different, so the items you save for review might be needed to not only complete your Federal Income Taxes, but also the state of residence if there is an income tax in your state. Also, some states may allow certain deductions where others won’t.  I’m not a tax expert and can’t provide specific tax advice, that is between you and your accountant. Be sure to ask questions as they come up, don’t wait until later when it may be too late to make changes in how you approach purchases or record income.

Another thing we did years ago was purchase a good bookkeeping program we could run on our computer. There are many choices, but we decided on QuickBooks. My husband has a good grasp of accounting concepts and used those to set up his “chart of accounts” as if we were running a small business. When we spent money or received funds from various sources we would enter the information in our QuickBooks program and assign the activity to the appropriate account. This not only helped us throughout the year to be prepared for tax time to come, but it actually helped us monitor our budget on an ongoing basis to make sure we stayed on track. A great feature of this type of software is that you can print off reports for your accountant as needed, or the full file can be sent if desired.

Another tool to consider, although not used by me, is a program like TurboTax. This type of program is a great time saver and one that can help you stay on track with the actual tax computation and filing. The program may also prompt you to think of both income and expense items that should be considered. We have daughters who think Turbo Tax is the best investment ever.

When we are ready to file our quarterly taxes we are ready in minutes because of the organizational steps we have done for years. Here is a list of file labels you may want to consider for your tax time efforts:

I use the Avery brand address labels #5160 and affix them to folders that are actually hanging pockets. These are the two things I use:

Avery Easy Peel White Mailing Labels for Laser Printers, 1 x 2.62 Inch, Box of 3000 Labels (5160)

Avery Easy Peel Address Labels for Inkjet Printers, 1 x 2.62 Inch, Box of 750 Labels, White (08160)

Smead Hanging Pocket with Full-Height Gusset, 3-1/2″ Expansion, Letter Size, Assorted Colors, 4 per Pack (64291)

Labels For Tax Time

1099’s and copies of checks to reconcile

1098’s

W-2’s

Property Taxes

Car and Other Personal Property Taxes

1031 Exchange Information

Hud Settlement Sheets from home purchases

Business expenses, food, supplies, advertising, gifts, shipping expenses, if applicable to your small business

Charity contributions

IRS information on Taxes

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How To Organize Your Bills In One Afternoon

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Can you use some tips on how to organize your bills in one afternoon? I used to do Private Banking for clients at a bank in Salt Lake City, Utah about 20 years ago. I also did mortgages for those same clients when I opened my own mortgage company for another 15 years. I had some clients who were organized with their “financial stuff” and more that were unorganized. The reason I want to explain why I am doing today’s post is because I have found over the years more people need help organizing their financial stuff than they realize. Of course, some people could care less to organize anything. That’s okay we are all different. I sometimes wonder why I am such an organized freak…….is it because I am left handed? I have to laugh, I really don’t know why I love to organize everything!

How To Organize Your Bills:

Please picture this….because I was a banker and mortgage broker I would need to ask my clients for tax returns, pay stubs, bank statements and investment statements (for any loans or lines of credit). I soon learned the clients that were organized and those who were not. We are all so different in how we prioritize things. I would always give my clients hard cardboard folders filled with their tax returns and W-2’s, 1098’s and 1099’s before returning the items to them. Most would smile and thank me for “organizing” their stuff.

How To Organize Your Bills In One Afternoon by FoodStorageMoms.com

I think my brain never stops thinking up “projects”…….just saying. So then I started making sets of the following folders for all my clients when I did a loan for them. Then I started giving the sets as a gift to family members and friends. These are some folders I like to use: Smead Fastener File Folder, 2 Fasteners, Reinforced 1/3-Cut Tab, Letter Size, Manila, 50 Per Box (14537) I prefer the multi-colored folders so I can quickly find the one I want. I just use mailing labels like these: 1 X 30 UP Avery 5160 5260 5520 5810 5960 Compatible Sticker Labels – 100 Sheets

Here is the list I use in alphabetical order:

BANKING

CARS

INSURANCE-CARS

INSURANCE-HEALTH & LIFE

INVESTMENTS-IRA’S

MEDICAL RECORDS

MORTGAGE/RENTAL STATEMENTS

PAYCHECKS

PROPERTY TAX INFO

RECEIPTS-DISPOSABLE: These are what I use for receipts: Smead File Pocket, Straight-Cut Tab, 3-1/2″ Expansion, Letter Size, Assorted Colors, 5 per Pack (73892)

RECEIPTS-LARGE ITEMS: Here is another option for filing receipts: Smead Hanging Pocket with Full-Height Gusset, 3-1/2″ Expansion, Letter Size, Assorted Colors, 4 per Pack (64291)

TAX DEDUCTIBLE RECEIPTS

UTILITIES

TAX RETURNS 2015

TAX RETURNS 2016

TAX RETURNS 2017

TAX RETURNS 2018

TAX RETURNS 2019

Here is my famous two hole punch I use for filing my stuff:

How To Organize Your Bills In One Afternoon

If you order one of these and get some folders and use some mailing labels affixed to your folders you will be ready in one afternoon with all your financial information in one place. Yay! Swingline Comfort Handle 2-Hole Punch, 50% Easier, 1/4″ Hole Size, 28 Sheets (A7074050)
It may seem overwhelming if you have never used a filing system before. Trust me on this one, you will love it when you get this system set in place. You will know where everything is in minutes. Yes, you can organize your bills in one afternoon, I promise.

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