Tips & Inspiration for Organizing a Simpler Life January 2010 – Vol. 9 No. 1
“Great things are accomplished by talented people who believe they will accomplish them.” ~ Warren G. Bennis
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Reduce stress at tax time by keeping good records Tax season is coming, and if you haven’t already done so, it’s time to organize your records. But how?

The IRS advises the following: “You should keep your records in an orderly fashion and in a safe place. Keep them by year and type of income or expense. One method is to keep all records related to a particular item in a designated envelope.” (IRS Publication 552: Recordkeeping for Individuals) Scanning paper to electronic images is also an acceptable means of storing tax records.

Create a holding place for receipts, statements, and other documentation that you will need at the end of the year to prepare your income tax return. One very simple solution is to create and store a hanging file folder or accordion style folder labeled TAXES and the year with one interior folder for Income and one for Expenses. Or purchase a ready-made tax-filing system.

If you are not sure if you need to save a document for tax documentation, err on the safe side and save it in your current year tax file. Previous year tax returns and documentation can be stored in a filing cabinet drawer or in a labeled cardboard file box in a more out-of-the way place such as the upper shelf of a closet.

Tax professionals recommend keeping all of your tax returns forever and keeping supporting documentation for up to six full tax years. Be aware that if you do not file a return or file a fraudulent return, you should hang on to your documentation indefinitely as there is no time limit for the IRS to question those returns.

(Excerpted from A to Z Storage Solutions by Donna Smallin)
Greeting cards wanted for charity If you still have all the holiday cards you received this year, here’s something you can do with them. Send your cards to St. Jude’s Ranch for Children and they will recycle them into new cards.

The children participate in making new cards by removing the front and attaching a new back. The result is a beautiful new card made by the children and volunteers, which is then sold to raise money for their organization.

The benefits are two-fold: customers receive “green” holiday cards and the children receive payment for their work and learn the benefits and importance of “going green.”

Send your used, all-occasion cards now through February 28, 2010. Mail your donations to: St. Jude’s Ranch for Children Recycled Card Program, 100 St. Jude’s Street, Boulder City NV 89005.

Survey Results: Why I want to organize my home

Last month, I asked: What is the #1 reason why you want to organize your home?

49% said: To create a less stressful living environment 1% said: To set a good example for my children 4% said: To create space for things I love to do (ex. cooking, hobbies, exercise, or reading) 5% said: To feel better about myself 5% said: So that we can invite friends and family over 14% said: To make it easier to find things when I need them 22% said: Other (mostly a combination of one or more answers) Learn how you can achieve your organizing goals by registering for my upcoming phone seminar – see below for details!

New Survey: More or less organized

Are you more or less organized now than you were 10-20 years ago?

a. More organized b. Less organized c. About the same

TO RESPOND TO THE SURVEY, send email to editor@unclutter.com with the word “Survey” in the subject line and the letter that corresponds to your answer. Feel free to add comments in the body of your email. I love reading them! As always, I will share the results of this survey in the next issue.

Shameless promotion: Join me for an organizing seminar

You know what the hardest part of getting organized is? Getting started. And there’s no better time to get started than now.

Join me for a phone seminar on January 27 at 4pm ET. The topic is Organized for Life: 90 Minutes to a New Year, New You. I guarantee you’ll get at least one simple idea that you can implement right away and enjoy immediate results.

* Find out how getting your brain in gear is the first step to getting organized.

* Quickly decide what to keep and what to toss by asking yourself one simple question.

* Get tips on how to turn clutter into cash – fast.

* And much more

We’ll have a total of 90 minutes together – 60 minutes of content and 30 minutes for questions and answers.

This is a phone seminar, which means you don’t even have to leave your home to learn the simple strategies I’ll be sharing to help you get organized for life. Just dial the special conference call number, which you will receive when you register. If you miss the call, no problem! I will record the seminar for you so you can listen later – or listen again.

Register now at www.unclutter.com/speaking. The regular price for this 90-minute seminar is $27. But for you, my loyal reader, it’s only $19 when you enter the discount code SAVE8 at checkout. I’ll look forward to meeting you on Wednesday, January 27 at 4 pm Eastern Time.

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