Tips & Inspiration for Organizing a Simpler Life April 2012 – Vol. 11 No. 4
They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.
~Andy Warhol

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Cleaning up by clearing out Did I ever tell you this story? It’s a true story as reported in The Northwestern in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. . .

A local woman found three lottery tickets in a purse she had decided to donate to Goodwill. One of the tickets was a winner worth $43,000. And she had only 18 days left to claim her prize winnings. Talk about the rewards of spring cleaning!

Okay, she was pretty lucky. But you could get a little richer by cleaning out your closet. A 2004 AC Nielson survey showed that the average American has more than $2,000 worth of unwanted items that could be donated as a write-off or sold to generate cash.

What’s in your closet? Look at what you’ve got.
Then pull together all the clothes, shoes and accessories you wear regularly. These are keepers.

Now take a good hard look at the rest. Ask yourself these questions: Have I worn this in the past year? Do I love it? If you answered “yes” to either question, add it to your keepers. If your answer is “no” to both, toss it. There’s probably a good reason why you didn’t wear that fuzzy red sweater or those acid-washed jeans last season, which is the same reason you won’t wear those things next year.

Here are three ways to re-coup some of your original investment and cash in on your clutter:

1. Donate to charity. If qualified, you can write off non-cash donations and pay less income tax.
It’s up to you to determine the value of your donation, which is not the retail price or price you paid. It’s the amount that it would sell for today second-hand. Generally, that’s about 20-30% of the original value – more for designer brands, classic styles and newer styles and less for other clothing. Make a list that includes a description of the item and valuation. Be sure to get a receipt from the charity and then staple it to your list of items.

2. Sell online. Designer clothing and acces­­sories, especially handbags, are good sellers on eBay. Click on the Sell tab at the top of the page. You’ll want to take photographs and write descriptions of your items. Do a search to see what same/similar items are selling for. Or, if this isn’t your thing to sell online, you can find an eBay Trading Assistant who will handle everything from taking a photograph of your stuff, listing it and shipping it for a cut of the sale price.

3. Take your clothing to a consignment shop.
Here’s how consignment works: The store “consigns” or accepts items for a period of time – generally 60 or 90 days. If and when your items sell, you get a percentage, typically about 40-60% of the selling price in cash and/or store credit. Right now, this month, is a good time to bring in summer clothes. Items should relatively current or classic, clean with no rips or stains and hung on hangers.
To find consignment stores near you, visit Resaleshopping.com. You can also look up “clothing consignment” in your local yellow pages or search online by typing “consignment YourCity, State.”

What else is just taking up valuable space in your home? For more tips on how to turn clutter into cash, check out my new book How to Declutter and Make Money Now, available in the Amazon Kindle store.

Favorite organizing products and resources As a professional organizer for the last 10 years, I’ve used and recommended a lot of organizing products, services and resources.
Every month, in this column, I share my favorites.

Last month, I introduced you to the AtticMaxx Shelving System. This month, I invite you to check out a tool that I use every day to simplify my life.

Imagine your best friend’s birthday is next week.
You walk into a card store and right there on the shelf you find a birthday card with your best friend’s photo on the cover! On the inside is a photo of the two of you from the last time you got together or a photo from way back when. How much would you pay for that card? $5? $8? What if you could get a card like this for less than $1.50 – or even less than $1?

Let me introduce you to the Netflix of the greeting card industry – the faster, more convenient, and more affordable way to send cards. With SendOutCards, you can create and send real paper greeting cards and gifts – right from your computer.

There’s no need to go to the store or find a stamp or remember to mail your card. Just go online and choose one of 15,000 cards for every occasion or

create your own using your own photos. Write your message, enter the name and address of your recipient, even add a gift card or gift if you wish, and hit send. SendOutCards prints, stuffs, seals, stamps and mails that card for you.

I’ve been using this program for 5½ years. In fact, I liked it so much right from the start that I became a distributor and I make a percentage of all the cards and gifts my customers send (how’s that for being really upfront about it?). But you don’t have to be a distributor. You can enjoy using the system as a customer. There’s no cost to join.
You just pay for your cards and postage.

One benefit of being a distributor is that I have this web site where you can go and send a card on me and see what you think. Be sure to watch the video that explains how the new membership program works. The video is just 3 minutes – short and sweet.
Let me know if you have any questions or need help getting signed up, okay? For a look at more of my organizing favorites, visit www.unclutter.com/favorites

Join the club! I recently partnered with the Top 1% Club where I am honored to be featured as the resident organizing expert.

Not only will you be able to view additional articles from me on this site, you’ll also have the opportunity to learn from the Top 1% Club Mentor, Gail Kasper, one of the nation’s leading professional speakers, a television commentator, and a life and business coach.

Following is an article by Gail Kasper for your reading pleasure!

Prepare for Success and Manage Failure by Gail Kasper, Author and Motivational Speaker

There are two things many people don’t seem quite prepared for: success and failure.
When failure happens, it throws a big wrench into plans. People get completely rattled, even to the point of giving up. Dreams get derailed, and confidence drops. When success is achieved, people don’t always know how to handle it. Unprepared, they squander the opportunity.

To read the rest of this article, go to www.top1percentclub.com and log in or register yourself as a new member. Then click on “Articles” at the left of the page and look under the Personal Development category. There is no charge for membership. And when you join now, you will be eligible to receive a complimentary set of Gail’s new books.

Shameless promotion: New book, special price!

Have you ever wondered what to do with all that stuff you no longer want – stuff that’s just taking up valuable space in your home or garage? Well, I’ve got good news: If you’ve got clutter, you’re richer than you think.

In my latest book – How to Declutter and Make Money Now – you’ll learn many ways to cash in on your clutter. Published just this month and available in the Amazon Kindle store, it’s already the #1 bestseller in the Lifestyle & Home category!

I’ve been working on this book for months and to celebrate its long-awaited release, I wanted to keep the special introductory price long enough for you, my valued subscriber, to get your copy for just $2.99 (fr*e to Amazon Prime Members) for a limited time only.

Don’t have a Kindle? No problem. Just go to my book page: http://amzn.to/HyVW09 and download the Kindle app for your computer or phone first.
Then register it to your Amazon account or create an Amazon account if you don’t have one.

Thanks so much for celebrating with me!

That’s all for this month. Until next month, keep it simple.