Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Poor Time Managment = Money Lost

Poor time management costs you money. Here is a short list of ways I have seen clients lose money because they did not use their time well.

  1. Paying bills late and accruing a late fee because of not scheduling regular times to work on household budget/bill paying
  2. Overdrawing accounts because of not taking time to reconcile bank statements
  3. Paying for missed appointments because of not recording the appointment on the calendar (or not taking time to look at the calendar)
  4. Getting docked pay or risking losing a job because of being late for work
  5. Overbuying and wasting food because of not taking time to plan meals or checking food inventory
  6. Buying clothes impulsively without taking time to figure out if the clothes are really needed or loved more that something already owned
  7. Paying for gym membership that is not used because workout time is not scheduled
  8. Paying for magazines or books that time is not allotted for reading
  9. Wasting gas money and wear and tear on the car because trips/errands are not planned
  10. Paying more for trips/rentals/purchases because time is not scheduled to do a comparison shop
If you are guilty of any of the above, pick the one that causes you to lose the most money and schedule some time to correct the problem. Need help with your time management? Take time to schedule time with me or another professional organizer.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Friday, April 25, 2014

Who's Your DE?

Judith Kolbeg, Fileheads and the Georgia Chapter of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO), gave a great teleclass last week on Information Afterlife and Digital Estate Planning. We all have digital assets that will continue to have an existence after we die. What is going to happen to all this data?

The first step for all of us is to make a list of what we have. Email accounts, social media accounts, and picture files come first to mind. But what about our web sites, our domain names, our blog sites, or our online financial accounts and memberships? The list can get rather lengthy. Where are these assets? how are they accessed?

Next, develop a digital estate plan. This will detail your wishes concerning all of your digital assets. What do you want done with them after you die? It is a good idea to then review your plan with your accountant, lawyer, and anyone else involved in the disposition of your "regular" estate.

Now, enlist a digital executor (DE). This person will work with your executor or could even be the same person. It is important that your DE is digitally knowledgeable and knows what they are taking on. This can be a pretty time intensive job. Your DE will need access to your passwords, user codes, and security questions in order to get into your accounts. They will need to get into all accounts with automatic deposits, withdrawals, transfers, or debits. If you own a business, they will need to access your lists of clients, vendors, and financials. They will need the contact information of your accountant if you use one.

Putting together this plan can look overwhelming. I would consider chunking it into smaller tasks and putting some dates on your calendar to get started on it. We never know when we will need to have this in place.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Organize Your Closet for Spring

Hopefully by this week warm weather will come and stay and it will be safe to swap out winter clothes for summer clothes in our closets. If you are lucky, you may have a second closet in a guest room to use for the swap. If you are in a smaller home or your closets are already fully used, then reposition your seasonal clothes so the current season is easy to access.

As you move your winter items, look carefully at each piece. Is it clean? Is it in good repair? Does it still fit? Do you feel good when you wear it? In fact, did you even wear it last season?

If it is clean and in good repair but no longer fits or you no longer love it, donate it to a charity. If it is torn or stained, throw it away. If it needs a good cleaning or some repair and you still love it, take care of it now before you put it away for the season.

Now, pull out your summer clothes and hang them in the closet. Again, give them a good look over. Is there a spot that won't come out? Is it dated? Was it a bad purchase that you spent a lot of money on but hate to wear? Toss or give away all those items that you don't love to wear.

Seasons go by and we find that we don't wear certain items. We may not even be aware of it. We may have 5 black tops but in reality only really wear 3 of them. A trick I have learned is to hang your new season clothes in the closet with the hanger facing the wrong way. The first time you wear the item, turn the hanger around so that it is hanging correctly. At the end of the season, really look at the clothes in the closet that still have the hangers facing the wrong way. Ask yourself why you didn't wear those items. It might be that it is a really special occasion outfit and that occasion didn't happen this past season. But it also might be that you have items that you prefer to wear. Let go of all items that you don't need and love. Let the remaining ones have room to breathe. You will find it much easier to assemble your outfits if you don't have to dig through all of those unloved pieces.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

How's Your Finacial Literacy?

April has been declared National Financial Literacy Month. In 2013 and 2014 44% of adults said that their stress about personal finance matters is somewhat or very high. Twelve percent said that managing day-to-day expenses was their primary financial concern, followed by medical expenses (10%), retirement (9%), and student loans (9%). The good news is that you can improve your situation following these three steps.

  1. Organize your finances
  • Keep a folder or basket to corral all your current bills and receipts
  • Track where your money goes - set up a budget either in a ledger, excel sheet, or with a personal software program (61% of adults don't have a budget)
  • Reconcile your bank and credit card statements monthly
  • Keep a folder for all your tax information for the year
  • Keep a folder for your recent copy of your credit report and your credit score
  • Maintain a list of all your accounts with account numbers, online IDs, and passwords - let someone you trust know where the list is kept and how to open it
  • Have a list of all retirement accounts, investments, and life insurance policies
  • Let someone know where your will, living will, and durable power of attorney documents are located
2. Set up a good filing system
  • Have a desktop system for current items needing action like bills/receipts
  • Have a hanging file system for other financial records
           a. Receipts held for tax purposes
           b. Bank statements
           c. Insurance documents
           d. Pay stubs
           e. Medical costs
           f. Car finances
           g. Mortgage information
           h. Social Security and retirement information
           i. Investments

3. Organize your time
  • Schedule a regular time to pay bills - put this commitment on your calendar
  • Take time to reconcile bank statements/credit card statements within one week of receiving them
  • Schedule blocks of time to clear out financial clutter
          a. Grocery receipts once recorded in budget
          b. Paycheck stubs once tax year has been completed
          c. Utility bills after recording them
          d. Credit card receipts after reconciliation

Taking time to organize your finances may seem overwhelming, but if you take the time now it will save you time and stress in the future.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Organizing Your Entry Hall

Spring has finally arrived. Many people like to do spring cleaning at this time of year. I prefer to use my zone plan where I chose an area in my home and organize and clean deeply in just that area.

This year I am in a new home and have chosen to work on my back entry hall and one storage wall in my laundry room as my April zone. My vision for the entry area is to create a space where incoming and outgoing items are held. Current outerwear is left here. Cloth grocery bags, when unpacked after a grocery run, are hung here until the next trip to the car. Outgoing mail is laid on the bench until the next trip out the door. I also want this area to make people smile when they enter my home. I have hung and placed whimsical art. The entry hall is right outside my office so I also use the bench to hold some extra office supplies.

The storage wall in my laundry has many purposes. I put an elfa system up to hold a lot of overflow from other areas of the home. This one wall holds entertainment supplies, recycling bins, a cat box, extra litter, cat food, bird seed, tool kits, cleaning products, extra file crates from the office and a hanging rod for clothes taken from the dryer. What a hodgepodge! Surprisingly, this zone is working fairly well. However, as I go through this zone, I will look closely at what is there. I am sure that some of the items can be purged, some reorganized, and eventually some of it many go somewhere else.

At the end of the month, I will reward myself by buying some flowers blooming in a pot to place outside the door.

For more help on organizing your space, order my workbook From Vision to Victory: A Workbook For Finding a Simple Path to an Organized Home. http://timespaceorg.com/order_book.php

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer