Read Across America Day

by Judy Ozment on March 1, 2019

Today is the 22nd annual Read Across America day. This is a program that I think is fabulous because I loved to read as a child & I still try to get in as much reading as I can.

Read Across America is dedicated to motivating children in all communities to celebrate reading in conjunction with the beloved children’s author Dr. Seuss, whose birthday is tomorrow, March 2nd.  Who doesn’t love Dr. Seuss’ books?!Reading a Book

As a professional organizer, I am urging all of you to round up those books that you no longer read, need, have grown out of and are gathering dust and donate them.

Here is a list of 10 ideas on how to donate or recycle your gently used books.

  1. Better World Books: A global e-retailer that collects and sells used books online with a matching donation for each sale. They have book drop boxes throughout the United States. The books are picked up from the drop box site and transported to one of their sorting facilities and there they determine which books are able to be sold, donated or recycled. Books in good condition are either sold online through their website or one of their 30+ marketplaces or donated to literacy partners. Books that cannot be sold or donated are recycled and converted into pulp for new products such as brown tissue, cardboard, or even new book covers. Not one book will ever see a landfill! Please visit their website to learn more and to find a location near you.
  2. BookCrossing: This is the practice of leaving a book in a public place to be picked up and read by others, who then do likewise.”The term is derived from bookcrossing.com, a free online book club which was founded to encourage the practice, aiming to “make the whole world a library.” If you finish your book while you are sitting in your doctor’s waiting area, leave it for the next person who might enjoy it. Make sure that you don’t leave any personal information in it such as your name, address or the bank receipt you were using as a bookmark.
  3. Book Swaps: You can host a book swap at your home. Invite your friends, family, and neighbors – just make sure they enjoy reading! Ask them to bring along 2-3 used books they no longer need. You could also serve food or better yet have a potluck so you are not stuck doing all of the work! The basic gist is that you all swap books and everyone goes home with a couple of books they have never read before. Your guests can talk about the book they brought and why they loved reading it. You can also make a game of it similar to a white elephant party. Just be aware that it could get quite competitive!  There are a ton of ideas online to inspire and help you have a successful swap.
  4. Internet Search: Google “where to donate books” in your area so you can pass on your books to give a little bit of enjoyment to someone else. There are many places that would be happy to receive your donations.
  5. Little Free Library: This is probably my favorite way to donate books!  Little Free Library is a neighborhood book exchange where anyone can take or leave a book. Use their world map to find a library in your area, then stop by and drop off your books! Some of the libraries people build are so stinking cute! Who knows? Maybe you will want to build your own Little Free Library for your neighborhood!
  6. Local libraries: I recommend calling in advance to see if they are currently accepting book donations. You can visit the library’s website as well. They often have a monthly donation day along with a list of materials they can and cannot accept.
  7. Local Retirement Homes: Please don’t just show up boxes of books to drop off at your local retirement home. I recommend calling the location to discuss what kind of books they are looking for and to make sure they indeed want your used books.
  8. Local schools: I would touch base with the school’s district office to see if they are accepting book donations. My grandson’s high school held a book drive during the month of February to raise money for mental health awareness.
  9. Savers: Savers family of stores is a for-profit, global thrift retailer who will accept your gently used books and more! You can feel good when you donate at a Savers Community Donation Center. They help by keeping 700 million pounds of stuff out of landfills each year!   Please contact your local store for a complete list of acceptable and non-acceptable donations. This list may be changed and/or modified as needed to accommodate business needs. They have locations throughout the United States. You can find a location near you on their website.
  10. Read Indeed: Read Indeed is a charity that has grown out of one girl’s wish to share her love of reading with kids in need. Her charity collects and distributes gently use and new books to children from ages 0-18. She has donated nearly 1.8 million books, equating to more than $5,000,000 in book donations. You are can find more information on their website.

Be Awesome!  Be a Book Nut! ~ Dr. Seuss

Judy.2[1]

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Archiving Your Papers

by Judy Ozment on February 23, 2019

I am constantly being asked, “What should I do with all of my paper?” It is usually the biggest challenge for most people.

Since there is a very good chance you are working on your taxes right now (if you are done – way to go!) I thought this would be a great time to focus on filing. This is an opportune time to get rid of outdated documents by going through your old papers.

I must preface by saying I am an Organizing Expert, I am not an accountant or an attorney. These are systems that have proven useful for my clients and for myself. If in doubt, please contact your accountant or attorney for further professional advice.

Archive files are files that you rarely need to access. These files do not need to be in your office or in close proximity. They could be kept in the garage up in the rafters, in the attic or in the basement. They can be stored in a file cabinet, plastic file boxes, or corrugated bankers boxes. Whatever you decide to use be consistent and use the same kind. Doing this makes it easy for storage purposes and you will utilize your space efficiently.

Go through all of your files once a year. I like to do it at the end of the year, typically the week between Christmas and New Years. The reason to go through your files annually is get rid of the old and make room for the new.

Be very choosey on what you keep and remember most of this stuff will never be used again!

Some examples of what may be considered to include in archive files:

  • Annual tax returns and supporting documentation  – keep 7 years
  • Audit reports – keep forever
  • Year-end financial summary statements – once you have received the year-end statement compare to your quarterly statements. Assuming you approve the statements, shred the quarterly statements.  Keep with your tax records
  • Bank statements – Keep only if needed to prove deductions with your tax records
  • Credit card statements – keep only if needed to prove deductions with your tax records
  • Receipts – keep only if needed to prove deductions with your tax records
  • Loan documentation – can get rid of once the loan is paid off
  • Mortgage documents – as long as you own the home
  • Receipts for home improvement/home repair records – as long as you own the home
  • Receipts and warranties for any big-ticket items  – keep the life of the product
  • Memorabilia – be reasonable here.  This category can get out of control really fast. Assign one bin per family member. When the bin gets full, something has to be removed before something else goes in. Do not have multiple bins per family member!
  • Personal health records – keep indefinitely. Purge as necessary

I will write about other kinds of files in future blogs.

Happy Filing,

 

 

 

 

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I Love, Love, Love What I Do!

February 14, 2019

I absolutely love what I do. I live a pretty great life and I am surrounded by people who love me and support me. I have the opportunity to truly change people’s lives through the work that I do, I absolutely love being a Lifestyle Manager. I am very passionate about helping people live more […]

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February is National Canned Food Month

February 2, 2019

Did you know that the month of February is Canned Food Month? There are so many people in need.  You can help someone less fortunate by donating canned food to your local food bank. There are plenty of places that will gladly accept your non-perishable items.  Your donation will help put a meal on someone’s […]

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Wiping the Slate Clean

January 26, 2019

Well, January is almost over.  How are your New Year’s Resolutions going? Year after year I would have a list of resolutions and the only thing that was consistent was me not keeping them, year after year.  So I don’t do them anymore! I do, however, set goals for myself.  I reach my goals by  […]

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Happy New Year!

January 1, 2019

Happy New Year Everyone! It is hard to believe that another year has come and gone. Thank you for your support in 2018. I am wishing you all an abundant & joyful New Year! Cheers to new beginnings and may 2019 be your best year yet!  

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Merry Christmas!

December 24, 2018

I am wishing all of you a wonderful holiday season! I hope you are spending time with your loved ones!  

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Happy Thanksgiving!

November 22, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! I hope you are spending the day with loved ones and doing all the things that make you happy on this special holiday. Eating good food, watching the Macy Day Parade, listening to Alice’s Restaurant, watching football, or whatever your traditions may be. May your home be filled with laughter and happiness! […]

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Today is National Left Hander’s Day

August 13, 2018

You write with your left hand? I didn’t know you’re a lefty. You are writing with the wrong hand. You are writing upside down. You write weird. Look at the Southpaw. These are just some of the comments I have heard in my life when people see me writing. I personally have never understood what […]

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Baby, It’s Cold Outside!

January 24, 2013

If you live in Minnesota this week and you stepped outside, you probably wanted to go right back in.  We are experiencing some of the coldest weather we have had in quite some time. I asked this question a year ago – “Do you have a winter emergency kit for your vehicle?”  I thought it […]

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