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If you’re like most people, you’ve been procrastinating on getting your taxes done and are feeling the weight of it on your shoulders. If you don’t have any systems in place, the weight is even greater. Here are a couple of tips to make your tax preparation a little more bearable.
Receipts you don’t need to save: If you itemize your medical expenses, you may be trying to keep track of all those pesky prescription drug receipts. An easier way to deal with prescription receipts is to go to your pharmacy and ask for a printout of your 2009 year prescriptions. They can do one of each member of your family and the entire year will be calculated for you. Now you have one less thing to file all year long!
Tracking vehicle mileage: Most people aren’t real motivated to write down their milage every time they travel for a business or charity event. Here are a couple of other options you may find appealing. I write all my appointments down on my calendar (Lord knows I’d never be able to keep track of them all if I didn’t). At the end of the month, I add up my mileage with the assistance of my calendar and GPS. It takes me about 15-20 minutes to add it up for the month. Another option for technology lovers is downloading a mileage app like milebug to your phone. Milebug is available for iphones and costs $3.99.
Self purging folders: Most accountants agree that you need to save documentation and receipts for 7 years in case of an audit. Here’s an easy way to stay on top of that. Buy 7 identical poly expanding wallets . Using a label maker, label each one for 7 years. On the eighth year, pull the label off the first file and shred it’s contents. Replace with a new label and paperwork for the current year. Continue the process year after year.
Thanks to Organized A to Z partner Susan Stewart of Perfectly Placed for contributing this article!
We’ve moved! Our new blog address is http://blog.organizedatoz.com/. All of the previous content, as well as new posts, is available there. Please update your bookmarks and site feeds. Thanks!
“It’s exciting to see our products featured by Better Homes and Gardens,” said Kathy Jenkins, Professional Organizer and Owner of Organized A to Z.com. “This is nationally-recognized magazine that many people use as a resource when redecorating and reorganizing their homes. It’s an honor to have our products in the spotlight.”
The BG&H Kitchen and Bath Ideas Web site (www.kitchenbathideas.com) is featuring Organized A to Z.com’s Vertical Cabinet Dividers, Linus Pulz Turntable, and Recipe Nest. These items are also available at http://www.organizedatoz.com in the Kitchen category.
Organized A to Z.com is an online retailer that represents organizing and storage products to help simplify lives. Based in Richmond, Virginia, Organized A to Z.com offers over 1000 products to help consumers organize any room of their home or office.
Owner Kathy Jenkins is a residential professional organizer with Come To Order® and member of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO), focuses on choosing products that are both stylish and functional. To shop for organizational and storage products to simplify your life, go to Organized A to Z.com at www.organizedatoz.com.
One of Organized A to Z.com’s featured products for February’s “Organize Your Kitchen” month is this ingenious chrome Pull-out Wastebasket Organizer made just for waste baskets. This is a super tool for concealing your trash can, yet making it easily accessible when you need it. The frame glides on a ball bearing design, and it extends fully outside the cabinet for easy basket removal.
Do you recycle? This is a great way to contain the clutter if you have to separate your glass, aluminum, and plastics. The organizer holds 6 gallon (24 qt), 8 gallon (32 qt), or two 8 gallon (32 qt) containers, so you can choose the size appropriate for your needs.
Another great use – composting! This is a super way to hide your composting bucket while still keeping it in a convenient location so you can use it when needed.
We’ve mentioned several uses for the kitchen, but this tool is also handy in the bathroom! Sure, you can use it for your bathroom waste basket, but it also provides a nice way to hide your dirty laundry. Simply place your clothes hamper in the organizer, and you can collect the clothing that needs washed without a cluttered floor.
With all of these great uses, you should probably buy two right away!
However you use it, we’re sure it will be the perfect addition to your organizing arsenal of tools. February is a great month to purchase it – you’ll save 10%! We also have several other types of pull-out cabinet organizers that may help you out. Be sure to check out our 11.5″ Sliding Organizer, Under Sink Sliding Organizer, 14.5″ Sliding Organizer, 20″ Extra Deep Sliding Organizer, and the chrome dividers that fit these organizers for the ultimate in organized kitchen cabinets!
What does an organized kitchen look like? The first step is to take a look at what you have – cull out duplicates, old or broken items, things you don’t use, and tidy out drawers and cabinets. Once you have streamlined the contents of your kitchen, you can better organize what you have. There are so many organizing products on the market today that are specifically intended for kitchen organization.
Consider where you could utilize cabinet pullouts, tiered racks, specialty holders, flatware trays, roll-out or swing-out racks, spring-loaded drawer dividers and other kitchen organizers to help maximize space.
In an efficient kitchen plan, the 3 most heavily used work areas should be laid out so that the lines that connect them form a triangle. Your kitchen may not be laid out this way, but you can still keep the rationale of keep-highly-used-things-nearby in mind. Put things near to where they are used. Cups, glasses, dishes, cutlery should be ideally located in the drawers and cupboards closest to the dishwasher. Pots and pans go beside the stove if possible. Gadgets go in the drawers right below the counter where prep work is done. Obviously it is not always possible to make these things happen based on space, kitchen configuration and storage, but it is worth examining.
Hang things up. Remember that any space you can use to hang something will free up flat space inside a cabinet or drawer. Move knives out of a drawer or a wood block by using a magnetic strip put on the wall to hang them. Get a magnetic sorter box to hang on the side of the fridge for coupons, takeout menus, a notepad and pen, and other papers that tend to accumulate on the countertops.
Another step to maximize kitchen organization is to manage frequently-cluttered areas. To better control freezer clutter, use plastic baskets in the freezer to hold like items such as frozen breakfast items or bagged side dishes and veggies. Reduce your inventory of empty plastic storage containers, and then separate lids from containers. Be realistic as you look at one-use gadgets and appliances – how often do you use them, and should they take up valuable cabinet space on a daily basis?
Remove original packaging whenever possible. Instead, use lidded food storage containers that are square or rectangular in shape (they are more space-efficient than round) for staples such items as flour, sugars, rice, chocolate chips, tea bags, and small bagged snacks for on-the-go. Having uniform, clear containers with labels on the top lid and on the side will make items easier to find. If you do need part of the original label or package, cut out and tape the directions or information onto the outside of the bin.
Keep small packets (i.e. Jell-O, sauces, dip mixes) and miscellaneous baking supplies (cake decorating tubes, muffin cups, food coloring) together in a open plastic basket/bin, where it is easy to pull down the bin and pull out one of its contents.
Thanks to Organized A to Z.com partner Patty McPherson for contributing this article. Patty is the Owner of Orderly Manor® in Plymouth, MA (www.OrderlyManor.com). Orderly Manor provides organizing and redesign services for residential and small business clients. Patty is a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers, the American Society of Home Stagers and Redesigners, and the Real Estate Staging Association.
The kitchen is the hub of family activity and is usually the best place to communicate with each other. It often becomes a dumping ground for mail, kids’ backpacks and accompanying school papers and projects, telephone messages, recipes, and other household junk.
Consider setting up a command central or message station where there is a place for all these various incoming (and outgoing) papers and objects. You can get as fancy or as simple as you like with this. I have two small magnetic baskets on my refrigerator – one holds keys and the other holds ID cards that are shared by family members (such as children’s gym membership and health insurance cards in case one or the other parent is not around at the time of visits to the gym or doctor). A family calendar is magnetically held to the refrigerator, as are resources and references for school and town information.
A desk under the telephone holds phone books, message pad paper, pens and other office supplies needed for leaving notes. A bulletin board holds kids’ artwork.
To cut down on the dirt in the house, there is a shoe rack just inside the door for family members to put their shoes and keep their slippers for a quick change when entering and exiting the house.
Thanks to Organized a to Z partner Amara Willey of Time to Get Organized for contributing this article!