If there’s one thing I love more than finances & beer (and women my wife), it’s a clean mind. When that noggin’s empty of worries & clutter it’s the most beautiful thing in the world!
And I can function SO MUCH better too – it really is amazing. It’s like you turn into some “SUPER you,” getting things done in half the time and w/ much more efficiency ;) I love it. And there are financial rewards as well:
You make & save money when you unload your stuff!
The first thing I do when it’s time to start cleaning out closets/rooms/drawers is to grab 3 trash bags and a pen & paper. The bags are divided simply as “stuff to throw away, “stuff to donate,” and “stuff to try and sell” – that last one being saved for another day (although from experience it’s best to knock out after all the cleaning IF you can pull it off. The mood to clean doesn’t extend for a long period of time, so just make sure to pencil in a time to try & sell all the stuff (I usually start with Craigslist, then go to eBay if I have something valuable and it’s worth spending the time – which is usually like never, haha….).
The pad & paper is to write down all the stuff you’re going to give away to The Salvation Army or Goodwill, or wherever. You’ll need this to document what you’re donating, as well as how to tell how much money you’re going to “write off.” Here’s an excellent valuation guideline from Goodwill (pdf). As soon as I drop everything off, and get that receipt (IMPORTANT!!!), I staple this scrap of paper to it and throw it right into my “taxes” folder so it’s all in the same place for the end of the year.
And then I start going at it!I crank up the music, down a crap-load of coffee, and start dividing up all my stuff into the 3 piles. It’s not the funnest thing in the entire world, but it sure does feel good every time you drop off one of those boogers into its new bag-home :) The $hit we accumulate over time is just incredible. If you don’t continually clean it out every now and then, you’ll be trapped like those sad hoarders! Makes for great tv, but a horrible lifestyle (feel so bad for those people :().
If you’re looking for something to do this week, here it is! It’s a perfect time to shed your “stuff” and get pumped up with some tax benefits before 2010 comes to a close… wouldn’t it be HOT starting a new year, with less crap in your house? And mind? Answer: YES. Now let’s roll…
PS: Some of my favorite tools:
|Personal Capital (FREE) -- If you’re looking for a robust financial tracker, Personal Capital is the way to go! They’re like Mint, but on steroids and have much better tools for investment and net worth tracking. // Full review|
|Digit (FREE) -- A super easy (and automated) way to save. Every day Digit analyzes your income and expenses and will push money aside for you any time it sees extra sitting there. I've saved over $4,000 myself using them so far! // Full review|
|Acorns -- Having trouble finding money to invest? Check out Acorns – they round up all your transactions to the nearest $1.00 and drops the difference into an investment portfolio for you. Easy way to start investing! // Full review|