All Articles Tagged "clutter"

More, More, More! How Much Stuff Can You Stand To Get Rid Of?

April 9th, 2013 - By Tonya Garcia
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Business Insider recently published a column called “Why I’m Getting Rid of Most of My Stuff,” written by James Altucher an active writer on business matters and a guy whose made and lost millions in business, according to his website (his bio on BI says he’s managing partner at Formula Capital). In the column, Altucher says, “I’m sick of most of the things I own.” After boiling down his wardrobe to just a few articles of clothing, he says he and his wife went a measure better and starting staying in places he found on AirBnB. Eventually they would like to stop renting a home all together and just live this way, moving from place to place, finding beds online.

“I’ve mostly replaced my laptop and ipad and phone with the Samsung Note II (and random Kinkos or business centers),” he continues. “I don’t really collect anything. And I don’t need any extra coffee blenders or whatever you call them. Do I work? I like to deliver value. And value makes money.”

As a result of this more spartan life, Altucher says “my stomach hurts less,” he has more friends, “more quiet,” and he’s actually made more money.

Altucher is obviously an extreme case, albeit one you hear about more often. Perhaps we spent so much time during the boom years before the bust of this recession acquiring so much — and convincing ourselves that we needed every bit of it — that now that we’re forced to live with less, we’ve found we can. And that we prefer it.

Look in your closet right now and you probably have a few things with the tags still on them. (Guilty.) How many appliances in your kitchen have never actually touched food? How many jars of lotions and potions sit unused in the bathroom cabinet?  I don’t cook. Can barely scramble an egg. But I used to buy more food than I could actually eat. Mostly because an empty fridge seemed pitiful. Maybe even a little scary. Am I on the path to starvation? Not at all. I’m actually not really much of an eater. I’m that person that an all-you-can-eat affair is wasted on. And each week, I used to go through the ritual of throwing out food that had gone bad because I never got around to eating it. So I decided to stop wasting money on food.

Right now, if you go in my fridge, I’ve got butter, a couple of containers of yogurt, a bottle of wine, some left over pasta sauce (recipe from Shape magazine… I can’t cook but I can read), and one of those tiny single-serving ice creams. That will last through the end of the week with only the addition of maybe a box of crackers and some spaghetti to go with the sauce. I laugh sometimes at the emptiness of the refrigerator. And some people do think it’s a little pitiful.

In Altucher’s case, we’re talking about big things like furniture, gadgets, even a home. I live in a New York City apartment, so we’re forced to be careful with what we gather. But spring cleaning time is upon us and maybe you can take some of that stuff in the corners and extra closets and have a yard sale. You can use that money for something you really need. Or a new hobby, which is more fulfilling than stuff.

If you could right now do away with something to simplify your life, what would it be?

Want A Promotion? Organize Your Workspace

October 12th, 2012 - By Ann Brown
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This office was once voted America’s ugliest. Image: PRNewsFoto/ACCO Brands Corporation via AP Images

Does your workspace look like a tornado swept through it? Not only can the mess make it more difficult for you to do work and give you negative energy, it may also be costing you a promotion, according to Forbes. Having a disorganized desk may be harming your professional image.

So, roll up you sleeves and de-clutter. First envision what you want the space to look like and what purpose it needs to serve. Just as you decorate your house to make the rooms more functional, do so at work as well.

Divide your office or cubicle into zones depending upon the job you do, suggests Forbes. “If your job functions are to research and communicate, for example, you likely require a workspace for your computer, a library area for your books, a storage area for supplies and a filing area for your archives. In just five minutes, you’ve created a functional blueprint for your office space,” notes the article.

You’ve heard the saying, “A place for everything and everything in its place.” This is perfect for organizing your space. Put away all the paperwork you need to file but might not need for a long time. Paperwork that you will need daily and projects you are currently working on—these should be close at hand. Put only the essentials on your desk (though one framed photo doesn’t take much space). Store the rest (along with other office supplies) in a drawer or container not on your desk. Have a place to put your jacket, such as a hook on the door or cubicle wall. Don’t throw your clothes and bag over the back of your chair or on the desk. If you have your gym clothes with you or you went shopping at lunch, stash this stuff away.

Digital clutter, says Forbes, is just as bad. Organize your digital files—even your email. Create folders for emails on different subjects and projects.

But just organizing isn’t enough. You have to maintain the organization. Take a few minutes each day before going home to put things in order. It’s also a good idea, notes the article, to do a quick to-do list for the next day.

Okay now you’re organized. Consider incorporating a few Feng Shui elements into your workspace. Feng Shui is an ancient Chinese method of creating a harmonious environment for a better flow of energy. Those who practice it, believe it makes you more productive and thus more successful. “The best quote on why to use Feng Shui is from Donald Trump: ‘You don’t have to believe in Feng Shui to make it work.  I just know that it brings me money,’” says Feng Shui expert Shelley Sparks, author of Secrets of the Land, Designing Harmonious Gardens With Feng Shui.

Take a few simple Feng Shui  steps at first: “Always keep your desk well-lit to attract good energy to your space,” she tells us. “Keep your space well-organized.  And lastly, if your back has to be to the door or opening to your cubicle, add a mirror so you can see what is coming your way.”

For more info on Feng Shui, visit the About.com website.

Guide to Purging Financial Paperwork

March 15th, 2011 - By TheEditor
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(msn.com) — You may not be ready to go entirely paperless, but chances are good you’re hanging on to a lot more dead trees than you should.  Now is a great time to remedy that. After you’ve filed your tax return, you can get serious about reducing your financial clutter — now and in the future.  Here’s what you need to know:

There’s nothing special about scraps of paper. The Internal Revenue Service accepts electronic records, so you can scan receipts and download documents rather than hanging on to the paper versions. Often, you don’t even need to download, now that many financial institutions offer quick access to statements online. My bank, for example, gives free online access to my statements for the past seven years. My credit card issuers offer the same for six to seven years, while my brokerage offers free access for 10 years. Check with your institutions to see about their policies.

“Seven” is a magic number. That’s how long the IRS typically has to audit your tax return. Your biggest risk is in the first three years after a return is due; the 2010 return that’s due this April can be audited under normal circumstances until April 2014. The IRS can extend that deadline by three years, to April 2017, if it suspects you underreported your income by 25% or more. There’s no deadline if you committed fraud or failed to file a return, but we’ll assume you’re not a crook and have stayed up-to-date. If you write off a bad debt or claim a tax break for worthless securities, you need to keep proof for seven years after filing — or until April 2018, for your 2010 return.

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