Keep Your Paperwork Organized for Tax Time

As frequent readers of the Organizing Blog know, the key to living a stress-free life is to stay organized — and that is never more true than at tax time. Whether you prepare a return yourself or have a professional do it, Bankrate says, having all of the necessary paperwork in order is crucial to filing the most accurate and favorable tax return. And if you failed to keep all of your receipts and other documentation sorted this year, you already know that this is a great time to get organized, so that next year’s taxes won’t present any unpleasant surprises.

Helping Children Learn Organizational Skills

A sign posted on the entry door to a private school for boys is creating a stir on social media. It states that parents bringing lunches and homework forgotten by their kids should turn around. The school wants the youngsters to learn about self-reliance instead.

As the school suggests, perhaps parents aren’t doing their children any favors by bailing them out, so to speak. It may be best to help youngsters learn how to stay organized, so you can say goodbye to manic mornings and forgotten homework and lunches.

If you want to help children learn to take responsibility, you can start in the kitchen. Even a 3-year-old can clear a plate from the table and set it on the counter. Next steps for little ones could include putting their dirty clothes in a hamper or laundry basket. How about putting apples or containers of yogurt in the refrigerator after their parents go grocery shopping? Older children can easily help do the dishes or load an empty a dishwasher. They can also learn to keep the mess to a minimum in their bedrooms.

Family experts are full of organizational ideas, like these:

  • Create checklists for getting out the door on time each morning.
  • Train your children to select an outfit the night before school. Some experts recommend setting aside time on Sunday evenings to select an outfit for the entire week.
  • Buy your child a kid-friendly and easy-to-use alarm clock.
  • Make sure your child knows where his or her shoes are by putting them away in the same place each day.
  • Let your children know they are responsible for packing their backpack each morning.
  • Keep jackets, shoes, school sports equipment and backpacks in the same location, if possible.
  • For days when you’re running late, keep an emergency pack in the car. It can be filled with hair clips and brushes, a few dollars for school lunches if there was no time to pack them and gum as a last resort if there was no time to brush teeth.
  • Put a reminder on your exit door about lunches, homework, keys, permission slips or whatever your children may need during the day.
  • Set aside specific time for homework. Some parents give their children 30 minutes of free time after school, followed by homework time before dinner.
  • Teach your children to make a simple breakfast, and store those breakfast items in spots they can easily reach.
  • Assign a specific job to each child. For example, one child can feed your pet; another could walk the dog. Or, one child could make toast for the family, while another pours juice.

Simple chores can become routines that help youngsters enjoy staying well organized. And, you’ll be teaching them lessons and habits that will last a lifetime.

How are you helping your kids learn important organizational habits?

Spring Fever Is Upon Us!

Step outside these days and you’ll probably noticed a decided uptick in the weather—spring is almost here! From sunny skies, to warm weather, it truly feels like it’s time to put winter behind use. Another subtle announcement that spring is fast approaching, is that Daylight Saving Time began. Yes, you lost an hour of sleep, but the grumbling about this was probably lost in the excitement over warmer, brighter days just ahead! While some people take their spring fever outside for walks, bike rides, and hiking, there’s one place that’s also ready for spring fever.

Your home.

It may be a little early to truly begin your spring cleaning efforts; however, if you’ve had your windows open lately to get a little fresh air, you might have noticed dust blowing around your home. It’s possible to get a head start on your spring cleaning. In fact, if you’ve been following through on your New Year’s Resolution to keep your home clean throughout the year, you’ve already started!

The first step in pre-spring cleaning is to dust everything. Bookshelves, dressers, window sills, and more. Basically, any surface in your house that can collect dust needs a good cleaning. With the windows open, this dust will float around your home, which taints the air quality and can also agitate any allergies you or your loved ones might have.

Once you’ve dusted, it’s time to tackle your closets. Remember, you should be checking your closets a few times a year to make sure you haven’t collected any unneeded clothing items or accessories. Try on your old spring and summer clothes. Do they still fit? Will you wear them this season? Are they in good shape? If you’ve answered no to any or all of these questions, it’s time to get them out of your closet and into the recycle bin—or the hands of some lucky new owners!

If you will not wear these clothes, but they’re in great shape, don’t throw them away. Donate them to us! Not only will you help someone else prepare for spring with a new wardrobe, but your donation also helps fund veterans programs. Simply visit our website to schedule a time for us to pick-up your gently used clothes, and place them in a box by your mailbox. We’ll pick them up for you!

Otherwise, if you’re planning to save these clothes for your garage sale, fold these items up and put them in a box. This way they’re already organized for your garage sale, and they’re no longer taking up space in your closet or dresser!

What pre-spring cleaning tips do you have? Share them with us!

Eye on the Prize!

Keeping your home organized all year isn’t easy. Creating small incentives as you work toward your goal can help you stay on track. Whether your incentive is to buy a new painting for your living room, or is completely unrelated to your home (maybe it’s buying a new outfit or treating yourself to a nice dinner), you’ll stay motivated to stay organized all year long!