De-cluttering the Den (and me)!

The new year is approaching and as always, it’s a good time to reflect on the past year while setting new goals for the upcoming year.  My 2011 reflections will be posted each hour for the last eleven hours of this year entitled 11 in ’11.  I hope that you will enjoy some or all of them (depending on when you start bringing in the new year)!

In 2012, my goal is to de-clutter our lives from stuff.  Let me share our little secret with you:  We are “closet” closet hoarders!!  We have a storage closet full of old toys and papers that haven’t been touched in almost three years!

Search and Find in 3D

I’ve visited some web sites that are designed to help get people like us organized.  One area we need to tackle is our pile of documents.  We have boxes upon boxes and bags upon bags of old papers that I’m sure can be shredded and thrown away.  But, to be safe I found a Consumer Reports web site that has guidelines for what to keep and for how long.  So, I thought I’d share what they suggest:

Documents When to toss them
Bank deposit slips After you reconcile your statements
Banking statements After a calendar year; store with tax returns if they will be used to prove deductions
Brokerage, 401(k), IRA, Keogh, and other investment statements Shred monthly and quarterly statements as new ones arrive; hold on to annual statements until you sell the investments
Credit-card bills After you check and pay them, unless you need them to support tax filings
Employer defined-benefit plan communications Never
Household warranties and receipts After you no longer own the household items
Insurance policies After you renew them
Investment purchase confirmations and 1099s Hold until you sell the securities, then keep with your tax records for an additional seven years
Pay stubs After you reconcile them with your W-2
Receipts After you reconcile them with your credit-card or bank statement unless needed for a warranty
Safe-deposit box inventory Never, but review and update annually
Savings bonds Cash them in when they mature
Social Security statements When you get a new statement, then shred the old one
Tax returns and supporting documents After seven years

Regarding the toys that are stacked in the closet, I am planning  to do three categories – “give” away, “keep”, and “throw” away.  The toys will have to be tackled when the cubs are not around because I foresee the biggest pile being the “keep” pile if I ask for their help.  While researching ways to get ourselves organized with our junk stuff, I started thinking about how great it would be to have guidelines for what to do with my own personal clutter issues.  I’m not always sure about when to give away, keep, and throw away the stuff (ideas, activities, people) in my life.  There’s a lot of clutter in my own personal “closet” that needs some cleaning and re-organizing.  That’s what I plan to work on in 2012.  What could you afford to give away, throw away, and keep in your life next year?  This is a great time to start thinking about making some changes.

Peace and Blessings!

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