Monday, August 31, 2009

Ways to Store Craft Supplies

Listed below are some ideas that can help you with storing all your craft supplies.

        • Take a paper towel holder and place your ribbon spools on it

        • Use the containers for storing screws and bolts and use it to hold buttons, stickers, emblems, anything small and that can be easily lost in here

        • A bucket tool organizer can turn in to your scrapbook haven or your art supply center

        • Office organizers are really efficient for holding rulers, pens, markers, scissors, etc.

        • A wall or floor vent can turn in to a place to hold all your stampers

        • Ice cube or muffin trays can hold small items for sewing or other craft ideas

        • Use the small aprons that you see in hardware stores, typically used for tools and use them to stash your paint brushes when painting or on any other craft work

        • Bento boxes, fishing containers, other types of boxes that have several trays or slots are great for sorting out craft items

        • Hampers are great for bigger craft items

        • Children's closet organizers, the kind that are used to store clothes for the week, are also great for some bigger craft items, such as cloth or other textiles
        Hope these are useful. Have a wonderful week!


        Monday, August 24, 2009

        How to Keep Paperwork Organized

        We all have a lot of paper that comes in to our homes through our mailboxes, or brought in from school, work, etc. Here are some ways to reduce the clutter that is inevitable with too much paper.

        • Designate an area of your home, even if it's only a drawer, for filing business papers, bills, letters, and coupons.
        • Have a specific day or make a certain time each day to file away items.
        • Set up a filing system for your important papers and receipts. This can be as simple as an accordion file or a file cabinet that can do double duty as an end table.
        • Use a "Miscellaneous" file for items that don't easily fit into a category, but be sure to go through this file when it fills up.
        • Mail should be kept in one location of your house.
        • Junk mail should be trashed/recycled immediately.
        • Open up and file everything at least once a week.
        • If you can't file papers on a regular basis, use a folder labeled "To File" to temporarily store items.
        • Coupons can be kept in a file folder to be clipped for that week's grocery shopping. You can even keep this in a 3 ring binder, with clear slots to hold the coupons. Keep a clear, zippered pouch to hold scissors when you are ready to cut the coupons.
        • Birthday cards, invitations, and thank you cards can quickly overwhelm your place, keep the ones that really mean something special to you and throw out the others.
        • Put photographs in a frame, in an album, located on a site such as Snapfish, or in a box with clear pockets to view similar pictures sorted by date. If you don't have the time to put pictures in an album but you like this idea, go to Snapfish or another digital picture storage site and pay to have certain pictures put in an album by them; it will save you the hassle and you will feel organized without doing too much effort.

        Children's Items

        • For permission slips and other school documents that need to be looked at, keep in a bin so that they do not get overlooked.
        • For children's paperwork (art work, etc.) that you plan on keeping, put in a box labeled for that child specifically.
        • If you have the room, set up a filing cabinet for your children's report cards, tests, book reports, etc. Some of these items may come in handy for later grades.
        • For younger children’s artwork and papers, put up select items on a bulletin or cork board in a common area. They can then be sorted each week in to piles of what to keep and to throw away. Currently, I keep practically all my children's work in separate bins labeled so I know which grades they were in at the time that art and homework were created.
        • If keeping paper art projects is not feasible, why not take a picture of them and compile it into a framed art project for your walls? If you are in to scrap booking, use a page to embrace their work.

        Home Office

        • If you have a home business, the Neat system is a great way to eliminate paper. You can use this to store your paper digitally and retrieve whenever needed.

        Enjoy your week!!


        Monday, August 17, 2009

        Paper Records - What to Keep, Why, & When to Toss

        We all have many paper items that we don't know how long to keep or where to keep them. I have found the following information on many different web sites to assist you.

        The following items should be kept in a safe deposit box or a fireproof, waterproof, burglar-proof home safe—with a list of the contents of the box in your home filing system.

        Family Records

        Item to keep - Reason for keeping - How long to keep

        • Baptismal and confirmation records - Acceptable evidence of birth date when obtaining a delayed birth certificate; proof of church membership - Keep Indefinitely
        • Copyrights and patents - Proof of ownership rights - Keep Indefinitely
        • Insurance policies: List of policy numbers, name of each insured, beneficiary, company, agent - Reference for kinds and amounts of coverage; provides record of payments and premiums and location of policy; provides record of claims
          - Keep until collected or it expires; or until all claims settled; or when duplicate policies can be easily obtained
        • Passport - Identification required for most international travel - Retain expired passport to satisfy application requirements for a new one, then discard
        • Wills - For reference; essential for settlement of your estate - Keep the original indefinitely in a safe or with an attorney or clerk of district court
        • Abstract for real estate - To prove clear title - Keep until property is sold
        • Automobile title and bill of sale - Proof of ownership - Keep until property is sold
        • Burial lot deed (note number of plots) - Proof of ownership - Keep Indefinitely
        • Deeds and mortgages: Title policy; property insurance policy; mortgage; receipts for payments on mortgage. Record day, month, and year you acquire or sell property; gross sale price; depreciation; legal fees & expense of sale - For income tax and estate tax purposes; keep records of improvement to compute capital gains or losses - Keep until property is sold
        • Household inventory: Appraisals, photos/videos of valuables - Insurance claims - Update these annually. Dispose when you no longer own item
        • Property easements - Proof of use rights - Keep until property is sold

        Financial Records

        Item to keep - Reason for keeping - How long to keep

        • Contracts, notes, debts: Promissory notes, mortgages, liens, installment contracts, and chattels - Evidence of collectible or payable debts; status for estate settlement - Keep until estate is settled
        • Household inventory: Description of article, date purchased, and purchase price - For insurance settlement - Keep up-to-date as you dispose of or add new items
        • Investment certificates: Stocks, bonds, CDs, real estate - Proof of purchase - Keep after redemption amount received and taxes are settled on gain or loss

        Legal Records

        Item to keep - Reason for keeping - How long to keep

        • Birth certificate (certified copy or original) - Proof of birth - Keep Indefinitely
        • Death certificates - Proof of death for Social Security benefits and estate settlement
          - Keep until benefits are secured and estate settled; note cause of death for family health history
        • Marriage records - For proof of marriage to collect insurance, Social Security, and veteran’s federal benefit pension compensations; to settle estate - Keep until all claims are settled, benefits are received, and estate is settled
        • Divorce decree - To clear legal requirements for remarriage - Keep Indefinitely
        • Adoption papers - To prove ages to start to school; for obtaining birth certificates for some jobs; to obtain driver’s license; for marriage license; for registering to vote; to qualify for Social Security benefits; to obtain passports; to determine estate heirs - Keep Indefinitely
        • Military service: Service record; summary of benefits - To qualify for retirement, insurance, medical, education, and other benefits (recommend that county or city clerk create additional official record of discharge certificates) - Keep Indefinitely
        • Citizenship and naturalization papers - To obtain certain types of jobs; to obtain passport; prove eligibility to vote - Keep Indefinitely

        The following records should be kept at home in your home office files.

        Family Records

        Item to keep - Reason for keeping - How long to keep

        • Education records/diplomas - Proof of attendance and degrees - Keep Indefinitely
        • Employment records - To determine retirement benefits or if there is a worker’s compensation claim - Keep last official announcement earned benefits; keep record until all worker’s compensation claims are settled; keep beyond retirement in case you decide to re-enter the workforce
        • Insurance policies: Automobile; personal liability; homeowner’s or renters; life; health; disability - Reference for details of coverage - Keep until property is sold or policy expires and until all claims are settled. Review annually. Until policy expires or is redeemed.
        • Licenses to practice (copy) - To verify credentials - Keep displayed; replace with most recent verification; keep copy in a safe place
        • Family advisers: Names, addresses and telephone numbers - Ready reference when need (medical, legal, etc.) arises - Keep updated when changes are made
        • Medical history: Immunizations, operations, illness, medications, etc. - Reference - Keep Indefinitely on all family members; update often
        • Funeral plan documents - Reference - Keep Indefinitely; update as needed
        • Record of Important Papers - Reference - Keep Indefinitely; update as needed
        • Subscriptions and buying clubs: Titles with order & renewal dates; membership details -
          Reference - Keep until subscription expires; handle complaints or cancellations
        • Organizational memberships - Reference - Keep until membership is dropped
        • Keys (labeled) and safe combination safe-deposit box, car, house, home safe - Access as needed - Keep until property is sold or when safe-deposit box is relinquished

        Property Records

        Item to keep - Reason for keeping - How long to keep

        • Automobile: Certificate of title and bills of sale - Essential for transfer to new owner when car is sold - Keep until car is sold or disposed of
        • Guarantees and warranties - For proof of date of purchase; to determine service and parts guaranteed - Keep until no longer valid
        • Household inventories: Record item, cost and date of purchase or sale - For insurance claims to establish values; net worth statements. Pictures of items are helpful when making claims. - Keep list up-to-date as you dispose of or add household items; make a copy also for safe-deposit box
        • Appliance and other manuals - For reference on use and care - Keep until sold or discarded
        • Pets: Pedigree; health and license records - Identification - Keep until death or sale

        Financial Records

        Item to keep - Reason for keeping - How long to keep

        • Account books: Goals, spending plan, record of income and expenditures - For reference and comparison; used to determine net worth and make changes in income and spending patterns - Keep to show a profit or loss over multiple years
        • Checking accounts: Number, location, and canceled checks or photocopy pages of checks
          List all account numbers with addresses, phone numbers - Save checks needed for income tax deductions and proof of important payments - Keep for a minimum of at least six years of checks
        • Credit card information: Names, addresses and phone numbers of issuing companies; card numbers - Purchase of items on credit; use of card and payment of balances due can give you a good credit rating - If card is not in current use, cancel by writing to company; if lost or stolen, notify company immediately by phone
        • Housing records: Improvement receipts, lease/rental agreement copies, utility deposit receipts, mortgage payments, property tax records - Compute capital gains/losses; income tax basis in residential replacements - Keep records until property is sold
        • Receipts and receipted bills -Proof of payment. For charge accounts— if they are tax deductible; proof of value on insurance claims. - Keep credit card receipts until bill is paid; keep larger item receipts while items are in your possession
        • Safe-deposit box inventory - Information for family members - Revise list annually
        • Financial institution monthly statements and/or savings pass books - Reference for completed transactions: Deposits and withdrawals - Keep account locations and numbers in safe-deposit box for a minimum of a year
        • Income tax returns: Federal and state (if applicable) returns with substantiating records -
          Verification of taxes paid - Keep for 3 years minimum for possible IRS audit; 6 years if 25% of gross income is omitted; unlimited if there has been a fraudulent report
        • Investments: Copies of mutual funds, stocks, bonds, real estate, CDs, etc.
          - Statement of earnings and transactions as reference information - Keep initial and current investment quarterly statements
        • Retirement records: Employee pensions, annuities, Keoghs and IRAs
          - For reference; proof of employer-employee contributions, payments and benefits received or payable - Keep until fund is exhausted

        Legal Records

        Item to keep - Reason for keeping - How long to keep

        • Living will (original with additional copies made) - For reference specifying your end-of-life care; instructions to your doctor and other health care providers (i.e., hospital, nursing facility, hospice, or home health agency; instructions for close family members) - Keep a list of where copies are distributed to be able to provide most recent copy if changes are made; don’t store in a safe-deposit box that may be difficult to access without the patient’s permission
        • Durable power of attorney: Specify the extent of power delegated to one or more persons: generally, for health care, and for financial decisions - Gives others the power to make health care and/or business decisions when you are no longer able to make decisions on your own - Replace by latest version if changes are made
        • Personal representative and guardian appointments - For official notification of agent to settle estate and provide care of children under legal age - Keep until official duties are completed
        • Social Security card - Needed to apply for benefits; identification number needed on many types of applications and records - Keep Indefinitely

        Papers to Carry with You
        (Make a copy of these for your home file)

        Item to carry - Reason for carrying

        • Credit and/or electronic banking cards - Identification and to pay for or charge purchases; to make other transactions
        • Driver's license - Identification and evidence of legal eligibility to drive
        • Auto insurance card - To identify issuer in case of accident
        • Donor card - To donate body organs and to donate body to medical school or training program for use in medical education or research
        • Medical information: Blood type, allergies, diseases (such as diabetes, heart disease, epilepsy) - Emergency treatment.
        • Health insurance card (Medicare and/or other) - Identification to use during hospital admittance
        • Personal identification: Name, address, and phone for yourself and friend or relative contact - Identification, especially in case of emergency
        • Doctor's names - Notification in case of emergency
        • Organization membership cards - Identification and proof of membership

        I hope this comes in handy!


        Monday, August 10, 2009

        Tips for Easier Organization

        Here are ways to make organizing a little easier...
        • Where does clutter gather? Figure out where the most clutter build up is and figure out a way to make that area neater. You can't always get rid of the clutter, so you just have to find a better way to conceal it. Use boxes, baskets, bowls, etc. with interesting or simple designs so that you don't see the clutter that is within it. This way at least things are in one place and not scattered about.

        • De-clutter daily. In order to contain the mess and not let it get out of hand, make sure that you put away things on a daily basis. Make it either the first thing in the morning or the last thing in the evening that you do.

        • Donate. Don't forget the bigger items. Donate clothes, toys, etc. anywhere from quarterly to twice a year to get rid of the bigger items from your home.

        • Recycle. Paper items such as magazines, newspapers, and catalogs should be recycled. If you can't get to read them daily or weekly, set aside some time each week or month to go through them and either toss, give away (your friends might like them), trash or recycle.

        • Do you need it? Always try to make a conscious effort to ask yourself before you buy or bring something home if you really need it. If you do, where would you put it, will you use it all the time or only sometimes, will you have enough room for it? Asking yourself these questions may change your mind on making that purchase.

        Have a blessed week!!


        Monday, August 3, 2009

        Tips for Clutter Proof Organizing

        Here are some tips for clutter proof organizing...

        Home Office

        • Schedule 30 minutes weekly to pay bills (set aside one day for added consistency). You should try not to wait until they’re due, you could be hit with a late fee.

        • Put reminders and invitations immediately on your calendar and toss.

        • Set aside 15-30 minutes daily to go through the mail and sort, toss and/or file. Eliminate it before you store it. Open mail at the trash can and toss junk mail, expired oupons, old greeting cards, invitations to past events. Shred those credit card offers – identity theft is the number one crime in America.


        • Avoid overcrowding cabinets – you don’t need multiple items of the same thing. Chances are you’ll never use them all at the same time.

        • Create long term storage areas – keep seasonal items like the turkey roaster, holiday dishware and linens, summer barbeque equipment – away from primary work centers.

        • Clear off kitchen counter tops. Keep only those items you use regularly like the coffee maker and toaster.


        • Think putting together double tier closet rods.

        • Stock the shelves with clear, labeled, plastic containers for shoes, purses, scarves.

        • Go through every item in your closet and purge anything that has not been worn in two years, or that may never fit you again!

        • Relocate off season clothes to a guest bedroom, attic or basement.

        Enjoy your week!


        Whatever It Takes