clutter http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/7454/all en-US 10 Smart Ways to Keep Your Entire Life Clutter-Free http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-ways-to-keep-your-entire-life-clutter-free <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-smart-ways-to-keep-your-entire-life-clutter-free" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-493440144.jpg" alt="Learning how to keep your entire life clutter-free" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="142" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A preponderance of personal property is an almost universal problem for Americans who have easy access to both credit and cheap goods. Everywhere you turn, there are suggestions and advice on how to declutter, live simply, and embrace minimalism.</p> <p>Often the suggestions start with the idea that you need to be brutal when culling your possessions. If you're not the type to commune with your higher self in an empty room in a mountain cabin, such decluttering advice seems far too extreme. Even if you do hope to achieve Zen mastery of your minimalist home, the cull-it-all type of advice can be wildly optimistic for anyone who has things other than decluttering going on in their lives.</p> <p>That's why it's a good idea to follow the slow-and-steady path to declutter. Here are 10 ways you can declutter your home without actually having to commit acts of wanton purging. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-16-favorite-ways-to-get-rid-of-clutter?ref=seealso" target="_blank">My 16 Favorite Ways to Get Rid of Clutter</a>)</p> <h2>1. Stop Clutter at Its Source</h2> <p>Before your possessions became clutter, they were cute items on retail shelves that you couldn't resist bringing home with you. The easiest way to deal with clutter is to not create it. Commit to only buying items you truly need and learn how to say no to free stuff &mdash; whether it's swag from the company retreat or hand-me-downs that you know won't be used.</p> <h2>2. Get Rid of Things as You Notice Them</h2> <p>Many decluttering experts will give you what amounts to an assignment to declutter &mdash; either commit to getting rid of one item a day or declutter over a weekend. An easy way to divest yourself of things is to get rid of them as you notice them. It's very easy to look at the stack of cough medicine measuring cups in your bathroom drawer and think, <em>I'll get rid of those later.</em> But there is no time like the present. When you notice something that doesn't need to be in your house, get rid of it right away.</p> <h2>3. Keep a Donation Bag by the Door</h2> <p>Part of the reason why it can be so difficult to get rid of perfectly good items is the fact that you don't have enough to make the trip to Goodwill worthwhile. So get in the habit of leaving a bag for donations by the door, so that you can collect the items you plan to donate without allowing them to continue to clutter up your space.</p> <h2>4. Make a Donation Run a Regular Part of Your Errands</h2> <p>I am embarrassed to admit that I have been carrying three bags of clothes and other miscellany in the trunk of my car for over six months. I intend to donate the items to Goodwill, but I am out of the habit of making donations as part of my regular errands. When I regularly go to Goodwill or the Salvation Army on a weekly or twice-a-month basis, it is much easier to commit to decluttering.</p> <p>Find the local donation center for you, and plan on making a stop there every week or every other week on the same day you go grocery shopping. Make donating items a regular habit.</p> <h2>5. Place Items You're Not Sure About in a One-Year Box</h2> <p>This rule will allow you to determine just how often you use things you are afraid to give up. Set up this box in the basement or the garage, and as you clean, place items you don't use but don't want to get rid of into it. Once the box is full, seal it and date it for one year in the future. If you have not used the items in the box within that year, then donate or trash the box without opening it. It's likely you won't even recall its exact contents.</p> <h2>6. Ask Yourself Two Important Questions for Each Item You Find</h2> <p>Dana K. White, who blogs about her journey to cleanliness at <a href="http://www.aslobcomesclean.com/2010/02/my-two-decluttering-questions/" target="_blank">A Slob Comes Clean</a>, learned to ask herself two questions while she decluttered her home:</p> <ul> <ul> <li>If I needed this item, where would I look for it? That will prompt you to put item away in its new, sensible home.</li> </ul> </ul> <ul> <li>If I needed this item, would it <em>ever occur</em> to me that I already have one? If it wouldn't, then you can go ahead and get rid of the item because you'd just buy another one anyway when the need for it arises.</li> </ul> <p>Answering these questions will force you to make a decision about each item you find.</p> <h2>7. Redefine Waste</h2> <p>It can be difficult to part with items you don't need if you spent good money on them. You would hate to waste the hard-earned money you spent by donating or trashing a perfectly good item &mdash; so you plan to either start using it or sell it, neither of which happen.</p> <p>A simple attitude adjustment can help to make this conundrum much simpler. Remember that the money has been wasted already, and is therefore wasted whether or not you keep the item. So you might as well not also waste the space on the item in addition to the money. Why give up both your money <em>and </em>your clean home to something that was a waste?</p> <h2>8. Create a What-Would-You-Replace List</h2> <p>If you are paralyzed by the size of your decision to get rid of some things, try looking at your decluttering in reverse. Start by asking yourself, &quot;What items would I replace if I lost everything in a flood or fire?&quot; You can feel confident that anything you'd be willing to buy again is something worth keeping, whereas the things that you wouldn't replace can go.</p> <h2>9. Give Away Your Possessions as Gifts to People Who Will Appreciate Them</h2> <p>While getting rid of things can be psychologically difficult, giving gifts tends to feel great. So start thinking about decluttering as an opportunity to give your family and friends things they would love. For instance, as you look through your books or DVDs, pull out any that you think a friend or family member would enjoy. If you have a set of fancy china you don't use, give it to a friend who collects china or one who needs a set of dinnerware.</p> <p>To make sure you're not just shifting the clutter to another person, make sure you ask before you give the gifts to your friends and family &mdash; and be willing to take no for an answer.</p> <h2>10. Spend Small Amounts of Down Time Decluttering</h2> <p>You might think that you need an entire weekend, or at least an uninterrupted hour, to declutter your home. But you have more time than you think you do. Take the time while your burrito microwaves to look through the utensil drawer to see if there is anything you can throw away or put in the donation bag. The two minutes you would otherwise be watching your lunch rotate around could be time spent purging items you don't need. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/declutter-your-home-in-10-minutes?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Declutter Your Home in 10 Minutes a Day</a>)</p> <p>Similarly, instead of hitting the Skip Advertisement button on the YouTube video five seconds in, let the commercial play and you can take that time to find the dry pens and stubby pencils that are cluttering up your office drawer.</p> <p>Anytime you are forced to wait is time you could use to find something that no longer belongs in your home.</p> <h2>Decluttering Is a Path, Not a Destination</h2> <p>The thing to remember about finally achieving your decluttered home is you will need to commit to making decluttering a regular habit. Unfortunately, there is no point at which you are done &mdash; but that also means that small actions taken on a regular basis can make a huge difference.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-ways-to-keep-your-entire-life-clutter-free">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-spring-clean-your-whole-life-one-step-at-a-time">How to Spring Clean Your Whole Life — One Step at a Time</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-garage-sale-items-that-sell-like-hotcakes">12 Garage Sale Items That Sell Like Hotcakes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-48-ways-to-master-the-art-of-decluttering-in-time-for-spring">Flashback Friday: 48 Ways to Master the Art of Decluttering in Time for Spring</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-the-82-best-spring-cleaning-hacks-we-ve-ever-shared">Flashback Friday: The 82 Best Spring Cleaning Hacks We’ve Ever Shared</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-you-declutter-and-keep-your-stuff-too">This Is How You Declutter and Keep Your Stuff, Too</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home Organization cleaning tips clear the clutter clutter declutter decluttering organize your life spring cleaning Fri, 10 Mar 2017 10:30:32 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1905171 at http://www.wisebread.com 18 Times in Life When Less Is More http://www.wisebread.com/18-times-in-life-when-less-is-more <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/18-times-in-life-when-less-is-more" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-508377300.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>For people immersed in our consumer culture, it may be hard to imagine, but more of something isn't always better. Surprisingly, even making more money may not be better. Studies show that the salary level for <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/nobel-prize-winners-figured-out-the-perfect-salary-for-happiness-2015-10" target="_blank">peak happiness is $75K</a>; people who make more than this are less happy. So having more money &mdash; and more of the stuff that money can buy &mdash; may not necessarily bring the joy you might expect.</p> <p>Which stuff are you better off having less of? Here are 18 times when living with less is the way to go.</p> <h2>1. Smaller House</h2> <p>A smaller home means smaller expenses. The initial purchase price of a smaller house is generally less than a larger one, property taxes are less, and your utility bills will be lower as well. Some people are even thriving in tiny houses with just 400 square feet or less of living space. How much space do you really need? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mcmansion-to-mccottage-why-smaller-houses-are-smarter?ref=seealso" target="_blank">McMansion to McCottage &mdash; Why Smaller Houses are Smarter</a>)</p> <h2>2. Smaller Car</h2> <p>Some people buy a car to haul cargo or transport a lot of passengers. But it seems like most vehicles carry only the driver most of the time. Smaller cars are cheaper to buy, especially compared with a big SUV or pickup truck. Plus, you'll save money on gas every day.</p> <h2>3. Smaller Portions</h2> <p>In the United States alone, <a href="http://www.worldfooddayusa.org/food_waste_the_facts" target="_blank">30%&ndash;40% of our overall food supply</a> ends up getting tossed. Not only is this a huge waste of resources, but it's a huge waste of money, too. Reduce your contribution to these statistics with smaller, smarter food portions. Make a meal plan and grocery list before you do your shopping, and stick to the essentials. While you're at it, limit your portion sizes to save even more money and stick to a healthier diet.</p> <h2>4. Fewer Channels</h2> <p>In 2016, the average cost of a cable TV package reached a staggering <a href="http://fortune.com/2016/09/23/average-cable-tv-bill/" target="_blank">$103.10 per month</a>. You pay for all those TV channels, but do you really get that much viewing pleasure out of it? With fewer TV channels, your bill will be lower every month. Maybe you could cut the cord altogether, and instead find more time to do other things that are more enjoyable than watching TV.</p> <h2>5. Less Random Stuff</h2> <p>Everything you buy has to go somewhere, whether that means a spot on the shelf, or place in the garage or basement. Instead of spending your money accumulating clutter, why not see if you can <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-16-favorite-ways-to-get-rid-of-clutter?ref=internal" target="_blank">get rid of some stuff</a> instead? Sell it online, have a garage sale, or donate to a good cause.</p> <h2>6. Fewer Books</h2> <p>Books are great, but ebooks are even better since they generally cost less and take up no physical space. You'll spend less money, and reduce clutter, by going digital for your favorite reads.</p> <h2>7. Smaller Yard</h2> <p>Lawn care in America is a <a href="http://theweek.com/articles/483762/blades-glory-americas-love-affair-lawns" target="_blank">$40 billion per year industry</a>. Buying a home with a large yard is a popular goal, but why? Are you really planning on spending that much time in it? Not only will a smaller yard save you time on all the mowing and upkeep, you'll save money on lawn care products, too. Even if you already have a large yard, you can cut back on maintenance by landscaping to reduce the amount of grass you have. This will give you some of the benefits of a smaller yard without moving.</p> <h2>8. Less Exercise Equipment</h2> <p>Let's face it: Most exercise equipment costs a small fortune, gets used a few times (if at all!), and then just takes up space for years. Instead, find a physical activity that you enjoy that doesn't require any clunky, expensive equipment. Maybe you can take up running outside, or check out <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-online-workout-videos-for-free-or-cheap?ref=internal" target="_blank">free workout videos</a> online.</p> <h2>9. Fewer Gadgets<strong> </strong></h2> <p>So many gadgets were rendered obsolete with the rise of the smartphone. If you're still hanging on to items like small digital cameras, GPS devices, alarm clocks, calculators, and MP3 players, then it's time to let go. That little device in your pocket can do it all. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-tools-and-gadgets-your-smartphone-can-replace?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Tools and Gadgets Your Smartphone Can Replace</a>)</p> <h2>10. Less Jewelry</h2> <p>Jewelry is a luxury, and the expense can really add up. How often do you actually wear it? You'll also need somewhere safe to keep it, and possibly insurance to protect it from loss or theft.</p> <h2>11. Fewer Vehicles</h2> <p>If you can get rid of an &quot;extra&quot; vehicle in your household, you can save space, maintenance expenses, and insurance costs. Vehicles almost always depreciate in value, so there is no advantage in owning more than you really need. Carpooling and ride-sharing are a great way to get around without driving yourself. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/becoming-a-one-car-family-5-points-to-consider?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Points to Consider When Becoming a One-Car Family</a>)</p> <h2>12. Less Facebook</h2> <p>On your Facebook feed, you can read all about the expensive new stuff your friends are buying, or check out photos from your relative's latest lavish vacation. Social media has brought keeping up with the Joneses to the digital realm, and it can feel inescapable. It's no wonder studies have shown that more time on Facebook leaves people feeling <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/alltechconsidered/2013/08/19/213568763/researchers-facebook-makes-us-sadder-and-less-satisfied" target="_blank">sad and unfulfilled</a>. There's a simple cure for too much Facebook &mdash; less Facebook.</p> <h2>13. Less Driving</h2> <p>No one enjoys a long commute. Not only do you have to pay for all those extra miles you're driving, but people are <a href="http://www.npr.org/2013/02/18/171926131/how-to-thrive-short-commutes-more-happy-hours" target="_blank">often less happy</a> when they have those long drives to dread. If moving closer to work to reduce your commute is not practical, try to reduce your driving in other ways. Some employers allow workers to work longer days and take an extra day off, or even work from home a few days per week. If you're going out on errands, combine multiple stops on the same trip.</p> <h2>14. Fewer Clothes</h2> <p>With fewer clothes packed into your dresser and closet, it is much easier to find something to wear. Why not sell or donate what you no longer need? If you're having trouble deciding what clothing to get rid of, start with items that require expensive dry cleaning, clothes you haven't worn in over six months, and items that no longer fit. You might be surprised by how much this alone can get rid of. From there, build an <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-essential-pieces-for-your-capsule-wardrobe?ref=internal" target="_blank">affordable capsule wardrobe</a> with timeless pieces that will last you for years.</p> <h2>15. Fewer Cleaning Products</h2> <p>Somehow, I ended up with many bottles of different cleaning products under my kitchen sink and in my closet. I even have a box filled with various floor cleaning chemicals that I am trying to figure out where to store. I think I spend more time sorting, storing, and searching through my excessive supply of cleaning products than I do using them! If you have a surplus of soaps, sprays, and other cleaning supplies, stop buying them! Seek out simple, multiuse cleaners that do the same job. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/30-household-products-vinegar-can-replace?ref=seealso" target="_blank">30 Household Products Vinegar Can Replace</a>)</p> <h2>16. Fewer Toys</h2> <p>When my kids were younger, we would often pick up cheap plastic toys in fast food meals or as small gifts for them from a shopping trip. These toys would get played with once or twice, never get touched again, and then create clutter to the point where it was hard to find anything in the toy room. Yes, we actually ended up with an entire room filled with toys! My advice: Less is more when it comes to toys.</p> <h2>17. Less Stuff in Your Coffee</h2> <p>Do you take your coffee with cream and sugar? If you're loading your morning cup of joe up with sweeteners, maybe you can try cutting back. It is so much cheaper to just drink black coffee. Plus, black coffee has no added calories or fat. And you can actually taste the coffee!</p> <h2>18. Less Stuff on Your Desk</h2> <p>There are all kinds of office supplies and organizers you can buy and put on your desk. They may give the illusion of productivity, but in reality, they're just getting in your way. I have found that <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-smart-ways-to-maximize-desk-space?ref=internal" target="_blank">the less stuff I have on my desk</a>, the more productive I am.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dr-penny-pincher">Dr Penny Pincher</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-times-in-life-when-less-is-more">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-16-favorite-ways-to-get-rid-of-clutter">My 16 Favorite Ways to Get Rid of Clutter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/23-frugal-living-resolutions-anyone-can-master">23 Frugal Living Resolutions Anyone Can Master</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-clutter-keeps-you-poor">8 Ways Clutter Keeps You Poor</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-three-lessons-about-saving-one-husband-learned-in-a-year">My 2016 Budget Challenge: Three Lessons About Saving One Husband Learned in a Year</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-reduce-debt-or-save-for-an-emergency">My 2016 Budget Challenge: Reduce Debt or Save for an Emergency?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living clutter cutting back downsizing less is more minimalism organization saving money Thu, 23 Feb 2017 10:00:19 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 1894901 at http://www.wisebread.com 11 Easy Ways to Earn More on eBay http://www.wisebread.com/11-easy-ways-to-earn-more-on-ebay <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/11-easy-ways-to-earn-more-on-ebay" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-155431059.jpg" alt="make more money selling on ebay" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Selling unwanted items on eBay is a great way to clear away clutter and make some extra money on the side. Use these tips, and you'll start making even more.</p> <h2>1. Take Clear Pictures</h2> <p>Clear, sharp, and well-lit pictures are important. This is the first thing buyers will notice when looking at whatever it is you're selling. While it's a good idea to include the manufacturer's photo of the item, you'll also want to include some of your own so that bidders will know exactly what they're purchasing. They will also be looking at the background in the photos, so make sure to take them in a clean, well-lighted space.</p> <h2>2. Write a Good Description</h2> <p>Write an accurate, thorough description. Make sure to specify the brand, type, size, color, material, and other important keywords for the item you're selling. You will also want to clearly specify the condition of the item. In the description field, highlight the benefits of the product and what makes it different from another seller's listing. Check for misspellings in your description, which can throw off your keywords and make your item more difficult to find.</p> <h2>3. Determine Your Pricing</h2> <p>To set a price, first do some market research to see what identical items in similar condition are selling for, and how it compares to the original asking price. Be sure to also factor in the cost of shipping, packing supplies, and <a href="http://www.fees.ebay.com/feeweb/feecalculator" target="_blank">calculate any fees</a>.</p> <h2>4. Timing Is Everything</h2> <p>You can set the time that your listing will begin and expire on eBay. It's important to take into account that you may have bidders on both the East and West Coast, so you want to set your listing to end at a time that is convenient for both timezones.</p> <p>According to eBay, buyers are most active between 5 p.m. PST and 10 p.m. PST. In most cases, it's wise to end your listing between 6 p.m. PST and 9 p.m. PST. This allows bidders to place their final bid once they are home from work, but before they go to sleep, regardless of which coast they are on. Sunday is generally the best day of the week to end your sale. Weekends see the most traffic on eBay, and Sunday evening is the most active.</p> <h2>5. Set Unsuccessful Listings to Resell</h2> <p>eBay will allow you to relist items that didn't sell up to three times at no extra charge. If you set each listing to seven days and choose the option to resell unsuccessful listings, your item will be up for a total of 21 days at no fee.</p> <h2>6. Bundle Items Together</h2> <p>Whenever possible, bundle items together. This makes it seem like buyers are getting a better deal, and can help make your listing stand out. Best of all, it can save you time and money on shipping. This is especially effective around the holidays when shoppers are looking for gifts.</p> <h2>7. Have Positive Feedback</h2> <p>Bidders will look at your feedback, so it's important that you have some positive reviews. If you haven't sold anything or don't have any reviews yet, consider selling some smaller items first so that you can build up some positive feedback. This will allow buyers to be more confident in you when considering a high priced item.</p> <h2>8. Offer Free Shipping</h2> <p><a href="http://pages.ebay.com/seller-center/shipping/best-practices.html" target="_blank">According to eBay</a>, most buyers are looking for items that offer free shipping. It allows buyers to see the total price easily rather than having to factor in an additional cost. If you don't want to offer free shipping, then offer cheaper shipping.</p> <p>Make sure to ship through your eBay dashboard. This will make it more convenient for you, and results in <a href="http://pages.ebay.com/seller-center/shipping/shipping-basics.html#labels" target="_blank">shipping discounts</a> of up to 24% on Priority Mail and up to 37% on FedEx shipments. It also allows the buyer to automatically track the shipment and can charge your PayPal account for the shipping fees.</p> <h2>9. Ship Items Quickly</h2> <p>By shipping your items quickly, you can get more positive feedback, which is important to future sales. International shipping can be expensive and time-consuming, so you may want to turn international shipping options off when selling your item.</p> <h2>10. Answer Buyers' Questions<strong> </strong></h2> <p>If a potential buyer asks a question about your product, it's important that you respond quickly and accurately. If you take your time answering, the buyer may have moved on to another seller and you'll lose out on a sale.</p> <h2>11. Offer Good Customer Service</h2> <p>If you are frequently selling items, issues are certain to happen from time to time. As the seller, you have the responsibility to make an effort to provide customer satisfaction. This may mean accepting a return even when you feel you were accurate in your description, or providing a partial refund to satisfy a complaint. Do your best to remain respectful and calm, even if you feel the buyer is being unreasonable.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-cannon">Andrea Cannon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-easy-ways-to-earn-more-on-ebay">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-should-always-buy-and-sell-on-ebay">10 Things You Should Always Buy and Sell on eBay</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/effective-ebay-listing-0">Effective eBay Listing</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/clear-out-that-clutter-15-places-to-sell-your-stuff">Clear Out That Clutter: 15 Places to Sell Your Stuff</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-16-favorite-ways-to-get-rid-of-clutter">My 16 Favorite Ways to Get Rid of Clutter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-totally-free-things-you-can-sell-on-ebay">8 Totally Free Things You Can Sell on eBay</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Extra Income bidders clutter customer service eBay making money online auctions sales selling shipping Fri, 27 Jan 2017 10:30:32 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1881631 at http://www.wisebread.com What You Need to Start Flipping Items for Cash Online http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-need-to-start-flipping-items-for-cash-online <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/what-you-need-to-start-flipping-items-for-cash-online" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-628153006.jpg" alt="make money from home flipping your clutter" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Over the past few months, I've shared my love of flipping by sharing <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-easiest-items-to-flip-for-cash?ref=internal" target="_blank">easy items to flip for cash</a> and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-old-knick-knacks-you-can-flip-for-easy-cash?ref=internal" target="_blank">&quot;flippable&quot; knickknacks</a> that can bring in the highest profit. But knowing <em>what </em>to sell is far different from knowing <em>how </em>to sell. With that in mind, let's explore the essentials for getting started in the flipping game. Here are the only nine things you need to make money flipping your stuff.</p> <h2>1. A Smartphone</h2> <p>Even if you're equipped with decades' worth of knowledge about a wide range of items, immediate access to information is crucial. Though I've spent most of my life immersed in the world of antiques, I still rely on my smartphone nearly every time I go picking. Researching recent online sales helps me confirm hunches, learn more about obscure items, decide what's worth buying, and determine the maximum price I can pay. And I can do all of it on the go with my smartphone in hand.</p> <h2>2. A Quality Camera</h2> <p>Though written descriptions are important, great photographs sell products. Invest in a high-quality digital camera and work to develop basic photo-editing skills. Just a few minutes' worth of cropping, adjusting brightness levels, and tweaking contrast ratios can turn so-so snapshots in fabulous photos.</p> <h2>3. An Account With an Online Auction Site</h2> <p>An account or storefront on eBay, Etsy, Amazon, or similar site is the virtual front door of your flipping business &mdash; a door that millions of potential buyers can walk through 24/7. While selling locally on Craigslist is convenient for large items, many people are understandably put off by the risks associated with meeting buyers in person. Also, depending on your area, a Craigslist ad may simply not get the same level of attention as a listing on a major auction or retail site. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-9-secrets-of-highly-successful-craigslist-sellers?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The 9 Secrets of Highly Successful Craigslist Sellers</a>)</p> <h2>4. A PayPal Account</h2> <p>Though there are competing payment methods, PayPal is the standard for most online transactions. As much as you may want to support the underdog or minimize your transaction fees, make your life (and your buyers' lives) easier by setting up a PayPal account and getting verified. Verified status on PayPal boosts your credibility as both a buyer and a seller, allows you to send and receive money as often as you like, and provides certain seller protections.</p> <h2>5. A Dedicated Space</h2> <p>While not a requirement, a dedicated space for inventory can help serious flippers keep track of what needs to be photographed and listed, what's listed but unsold, and what's waiting to be shipped. Find a walk-in closet or basement corner that you can devote to stock, packing supplies, and other business essentials.</p> <h2>6. Packing and Shipping Supplies</h2> <p>If you're selling primarily online, you'll need a steady supply of boxes, Bubble Wrap, and packing peanuts. To keep my overhead low, I try to source most of this material free from local retailers. Department and grocery stores usually restock shelves in the evening and are more than happy to offload empty boxes that would be destined for the dumpster or recycling bin anyway.</p> <h2>7. A Shipping Account</h2> <p>As an active flipper, you'll likely be shipping packages all week long. Avoid schlepping all those parcels to the post office by setting up a USPS account, paying for and printing your postage at home, and having packages picked up at your doorstep. FedEx Ship Manager and UPS Internet Shipping are similar services that allow you to do the same thing. Whatever option you choose, be transparent. Communicate your shipping charges clearly and make sure buyers understand their options and have accurate tracking information.</p> <h2>8. Basic Customer Service Skills</h2> <p>Just as in the brick-and-mortar world, selling successfully online takes a bit of hand-holding. Inevitably, prospective buyers will have questions, request additional details or photos, and try to get a better deal by throwing lowball offers your way. Channel your inner customer service representative and respond to inquiries quickly and respectfully. Your buyers will appreciate it and remember you when it's time to buy again.</p> <h2>9. An Eye for Trends</h2> <p>Since tastes and styles change quickly, flippers need to stay on top of trends. Particularly if you're selling clothing, antiques, or home décor items, become a student of the world around you. What items are people just beginning to appreciate and collect? What clothing trends are fading away? What parts of the resale market are oversaturated? Once you've tuned into evolving trends, you'll begin to anticipate what's next and discover whole new categories of items you can flip for easy cash.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-need-to-start-flipping-items-for-cash-online">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/craigslist-vs-ebay-where-to-sell-10-common-items">Craigslist vs. eBay: Where to Sell 10 Common Items</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/selling-stuff-online-avoid-these-8-flipping-mistakes">Selling Stuff Online? Avoid These 8 Flipping Mistakes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/turn-old-clothes-into-money-with-these-4-tools-and-apps">Turn Old Clothes Into Money With These 4 Tools and Apps</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-sell-your-crap-a-book-review-and-tips">How to Sell Your Crap: A Book Review and Tips</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-awesome-art-of-getting-great-deals-online">The Awesome Art of Getting Great Deals Online</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Extra Income Shopping Technology Amazon clothes clutter craigslist de-clutter eBay etsy flipping flipping items paypal sell your stuff Wed, 11 Jan 2017 11:00:09 +0000 Kentin Waits 1871894 at http://www.wisebread.com My 2016 Budget Challenge: Three Lessons About Saving One Husband Learned in a Year http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-three-lessons-about-saving-one-husband-learned-in-a-year <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/my-2016-budget-challenge-three-lessons-about-saving-one-husband-learned-in-a-year" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_paying_bills_506247566.jpg" alt="Husband learning savings lessons in a year" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>[Editor's Note: This is another episode in Max Wong's journey to find an extra $31,000 this year. Read the whole series </em><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/max-wongs-budget-0" target="_blank"><em>here</em></a><em>.]</em></p> <p>Oh. My. <em>God</em>. Mr. Spendypants has been pretending not to read my Wise Bread articles all this time. How do I know this? It's only recently that he's become suspiciously competitive with me about my monthly savings. &quot;I'm putting $1,000 a month into savings. How much are you saving?&quot; And, just this morning he demanded, &quot;Why isn't my name Mr. Saveypants?&quot;</p> <p>He is so busted.</p> <p>To be fair to my husband, who had no clue what he was signing onto when I told him I was going to publicly out our personal finances to the world for 12 straight months with this series, he's been an excellent student of thrift this year.</p> <p>Here are some of the big lessons that he's learned.</p> <h2>Stock Up on Basics When They Go on Sale</h2> <p>At the beginning of the year, I bought 33 pounds of Plugra, a fancy French butter, on sale. At $2 per pound it was cheaper than buying the generic store brand. Although Mr. Spendypants has been enjoying a superior butter experience all year long, he's feigned annoyance at how much freezer space is taken up by my Plugra stash. He uses this as an example of my minimalist hypocrisy. After all, how can anyone who complains about clutter as much as I do think bulk purchasing is an acceptable idea?</p> <p>But recently, Mr. Spendypants had a change of heart. Earlier this month, we were in Whole Paycheck (our nearest purveyor of bulk dry goods) stocking up on pantry basics, when we discovered a huge sale on fair trade soap. <a href="http://amzn.to/2ielR5x" target="_blank">Alaffia soap</a> normally sells for $7.99 per bar on Amazon. Whole Foods was selling it that weekend for $1 per five-ounce bar. At that price, it was cheaper than buying soap with a coupon at our local grocery store.</p> <p>After a ton of haggling, Mr. Spendypants agreed to buy two cases of soap, or 72 bars, for $72. &quot;Soap doesn't spoil. I think we should buy more,&quot; I insisted as we waited to check out. No dice. I hauled my hard-won two cases, and only two cases, down to the car.</p> <p>We were halfway home when Mr. Spendypants turned the car around. &quot;How many cases of soap do you think we can fit in the house?&quot; he asked. We returned to the store and bought another two cases of soap for a total of 144 bars for $144.</p> <p>Yesterday Mr. Spendypants announced that we use five bars of soap per month. He's been keeping track of our soap usage in his personal calendar. According to his projections, we have 26 more months to find another soap deal.</p> <p>Woah. Tracking soap usage is some next level thriftiness.</p> <h2>Compound Your Savings</h2> <p>Before I forced this experiment on him, my husband had never tracked his luxury spending. Mr. Spendypants considered whatever sum was left over at the end of every month after putting money into the retirement fund and paying the bills to be play money. His financial thinking went something like this: &quot;Save money on butter? Great! Now I can buy more board games!&quot; It was impossible to convince him that banking all the small savings throughout the month could lead to great wealth, even though I am a living success story of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-how-to-buy-a-house-when-you-live-paycheck-to-paycheck" target="_blank">compound savings</a>.</p> <p>In an effort to help me make my goal of finding an extra $31,000, Mr. Spendypants has been dutifully monitoring his spending and has been shocked by the results. Specifically, he's shocked that he hasn't felt any deprivation, even though he's been socking away an extra $1,000 or so each month instead of toy shopping. He's now on my case about compound saving next year so we can afford to take a trip to Easter Island in 16 months for his 50th birthday. Crap. He's already being such a nag about it, too. What have I done?</p> <h2>Out of Time? Losing Things? Perhaps You Have Too Much Stuff</h2> <p>My husband is one of those people who believe that the house would look less cluttered if he could only find the right storage container. I can't tell you how many hours he's wasted rearranging the Island of Misfit Tools A.K.A. our garage.</p> <p>In the meantime, he's constantly misplacing his keys, his wallet, his sunglasses, and his cell phone. You know, all those things you actually need for your life to work smoothly. If only he had the right system in place, then he would never forget his lunch, his keys, his wallet, his phone, or his sunglasses on the kitchen counter.</p> <p>I have the perfect system for never losing the things I need to make my life work. It's called a purse.</p> <p>But back to the 10 pounds of crap in a five-pound bag situation in our house&hellip;</p> <p>I am not sure which lost key/phone/prescription glasses event precipitated the change of heart in Mr. Spendypants, but he finally bought a &quot;satchel&quot; (purse). More importantly, he's started sorting through his things looking for stuff to sell for money.</p> <p>In the last month he's moved 10 boxes of potential merchandise out of his office and into the garage. He can't believe how much more productive he's been since he downsized. Hmmm&hellip;it's almost like taking care of all that extra stuff was taking up tons of time. It's like ownership is a job in itself.</p> <h2>Progress So Far</h2> <p>Mr. Spendypants made an extra $1,000 DJing a party, but we used $745 of that money to fund our Thanksgiving trip home to visit the Spendypants relatives. So he came out $255 ahead.</p> <p>In addition to making $715 from writing gigs, I started selling everything that's not nailed down in our house. I managed to sell $55.76 worth of vintage hardware on Etsy, $122.49 worth of Tupperware (I used to be a Tupperware Lady) at a friend's house party, and $20 in books to my local used bookstore. At the end of this pay period I was able to pay down our home equity line of credit by $913.25.</p> <p><strong>Goal:</strong> $31,000</p> <p><strong>Amount Raised:</strong> $26,387.42</p> <p><strong>Amount Spent:</strong> $13,598.66</p> <p><strong>Amount Left to Go:</strong> $18,211.24</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this artice? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fmy-2016-budget-challenge-three-lessons-about-saving-one-husband-learned-in-a-year&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FMy%202016%20Budget%20Challenge-%20Three%20Lessons%20About%20Saving%20One%20Husband%20Learned%20in%20a%20Year%20(1).jpg&amp;description=My%202016%20Budget%20Challenge%3A%20Three%20Lessons%20About%20Saving%20One%20Husband%20Learned%20in%20a%20Year" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/My%202016%20Budget%20Challenge-%20Three%20Lessons%20About%20Saving%20One%20Husband%20Learned%20in%20a%20Year%20%281%29.jpg" alt="My 2016 Budget Challenge: Three Lessons About Saving One Husband Learned in a Year" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/max-wong">Max Wong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-three-lessons-about-saving-one-husband-learned-in-a-year">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-reduce-debt-or-save-for-an-emergency">My 2016 Budget Challenge: Reduce Debt or Save for an Emergency?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-what-to-do-with-a-totaled-car">My 2016 Budget Challenge: What to Do With a Totaled Car</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-job-creation">My 2016 Budget Challenge: Job Creation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-everything-breaks">My 2016 Budget Challenge: Everything Breaks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-affording-education">My 2016 Budget Challenge: Affording Education</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living budget challenge bulk shopping clutter max wongs budget organizing paying down debt saving money Fri, 30 Dec 2016 10:30:25 +0000 Max Wong 1865097 at http://www.wisebread.com My 2016 Budget Challenge: Reduce Debt or Save for an Emergency? http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-reduce-debt-or-save-for-an-emergency <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/my-2016-budget-challenge-reduce-debt-or-save-for-an-emergency" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-491311400.jpg" alt="should max reduce her debt or build an emergency fund?" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>[Editor's Note: This is another episode in Max Wong's journey to find an extra $31,000 this year. Read the whole series </em><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/max-wongs-budget-0" target="_blank"><em>here</em></a><em>.]</em></p> <p>Uh oh. Mr. Spendypants' contract is up. We anticipated that he might be out of work in mid-October and have been putting money into an emergency fund all year long for just this occurrence. The situation is not completely dire, as his company has paying work until March 2017. We have a very minor reprieve.</p> <p><em>Very</em> minor.</p> <p>As luck would have it I am also under-employed. I got furloughed this week by not one, but two jobs until a date that has yet to be named in 2017. Ugh. Really? I guess it's not just me who is strapped for cash at the end of the year.</p> <p>The big conversation Mr. Spendypants and I have been having all week is this: Should we continue to put money toward the $31,000 Budget Challenge, or should we put that extra money into our emergency fund in the event that Mr. Spendypants is unemployed come March and I am still under-employed?</p> <h2>The Argument Against Staying the Course</h2> <p>Who knows what impact the new administration will have on the economy? We currently have slightly over $13,000 in our emergency fund, enough to live off of for four months. But what if the job market tanks and we can't find jobs for six months or a year? Putting all our money into the emergency fund is obviously the less risky move.</p> <h2>The Argument for Staying the Course</h2> <p>Mr. Spendypants is really good at his job in video games. He's had his choice of companies to work for in the past. Also, the video game industry is fairly recession-proof because games provide cheap entertainment for the out-of-work masses. We do trust that with his talent and his 20 years of connections in the industry that he has a 90% chance of quickly finding another paying job, perhaps even before his current job ends in March.</p> <p>Naturally, the real financial wildcard in this situation is me, Mr. Spendypants' deadbeat wife. If Mr. Spendypants can't find full-time work quickly, will I be able to get a job that pays me enough to cover 100% of our bills? Probably not.</p> <p>That said, if push came to shove, we could definitely cover the mortgage with my current collection of little jobs. I will just have to freelance that much harder, with no weekends or evenings off. And, even if Mr. Spendypants couldn't find a full-time gig, he could also rustle up some part-time freelance work to cover the rest. The worst case scenario: He goes on unemployment and we have to stop putting money in our retirement fund every month.</p> <p>Also, if we continue to aggressively attack our $31,000 debt instead of putting all the extra money into the emergency fund for the next two months, we're potentially saving money in the long run on interest. Our debt load won't be so bad if we find ourselves in a financial pinch four months from now. It's much easier to weather a financial downturn, be it personal or global, if you have a small nut to cover.</p> <h2>How to Hedge Our Bet</h2> <p>After a lot of discussion and number crunching, we have decided to stay the course and continue to put money toward both the emergency fund and the $31,000 budget challenge.</p> <p>This is the riskier choice. To hedge our bet, we've decided to sell off anything in the house we don't totally love to make some extra money. This is a win-win situation for both of us. I get the hated clutter out of my house, and Mr. Spendypants gets more peace of mind.</p> <p>Initially, Mr. Spendypants wasn't sure that we could make enough money selling used housewares to keep us afloat. Unlike me, he hasn't sold a lot of stuff online. When a copy of Kuon, an old video game that I had listed on eBay for $199, was snapped up in under an hour, he was convinced.</p> <p>Although I would love to systematically go through our house Mari Kondo-style, Mr. Spendypants doesn't want to have to look at a giant stack of merchandise in the middle of the living room. As a compromise, we're going to do a series of mini-purges where we only pull the things that we can sell that week into a common area for sorting and packing. Since I will be the one managing our online inventory and sales, this means a lot more hunting and packing for me, but I'm not going to argue about it. I have been trying to get Mr. Spendypants to downsize since we moved into Dinky Manor eight years ago. If a little financial panic is what it takes for him to get rid of belongings that have gone unused for years, I'll take it.</p> <h2>Progress So Far</h2> <p>I had the death flu for most of October. One of the suckiest things about the gig economy is that there are no sick days for people who work from home. If I don't do work, I don't make any money. Because I was sick in bed through the middle of the month, I only made $324 creating a database for my real estate agent and $199 selling Kuon on eBay. I am now, also, two weeks behind on all my work, which is kind of a nightmare. The only positive thing about getting the flu is that I was too sick to go shopping for anything, even food, so we didn't actually spend any money.</p> <p>While I was suffering at home, Mr. Spendypants was suffering at work. His schedule was so crazy, that his bosses ordered dinners in to incentivize him to work late. Between the long hours and the catered meals, he was too busy to go shopping for anything, even food, so he managed to sock away $1,101 from his paycheck.</p> <p><strong>Goal:</strong> $31,000</p> <p><strong>Amount Raised:</strong> $25,219.17</p> <p><strong>Amount Spent:</strong> $12,853.66</p> <p><strong>Amount Left to Go:</strong> $18,634.49</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/max-wong">Max Wong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-reduce-debt-or-save-for-an-emergency">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-three-lessons-about-saving-one-husband-learned-in-a-year">My 2016 Budget Challenge: Three Lessons About Saving One Husband Learned in a Year</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-does-taking-a-regular-day-job-mean-giving-up">My 2016 Budget Challenge: Does Taking a Regular Day Job Mean Giving Up?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-what-to-do-with-a-totaled-car">My 2016 Budget Challenge: What to Do With a Totaled Car</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-job-creation">My 2016 Budget Challenge: Job Creation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-everything-breaks">My 2016 Budget Challenge: Everything Breaks</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Budgeting budget challenge clutter emergency funds employment freelancing max wongs budget saving money selling online Fri, 23 Dec 2016 10:30:31 +0000 Max Wong 1860472 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Gifts That Won't Become Clutter http://www.wisebread.com/9-gifts-that-wont-become-clutter <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-gifts-that-wont-become-clutter" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-498764046.jpg" alt="these minimalist gifts won&#039;t become clutter" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Do you come from a family of minimalists? Do you live under the stairs like Harry Potter? Do you simply want less stuff in your home? Your friends and family may feel the same way. Here's a handy list of gifts that won't gather dust.</p> <h2>1. Anything on the Wish List</h2> <p>People spend a lot of time and thought assembling their gift lists. Respect that. A study by researchers at Southern Methodist University and the University of Texas at Austin found that when buying wedding gifts, the people closest to the bride and groom are the most likely to <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/05/10/why-your-close-friends-always-buy-you-such-crummy-gifts/?utm_term=.40b205cef386" target="_blank">buy gifts off the registry</a> in order to express their close relationship with the recipients. The same study also shows that gift recipients are <em>less </em>happy with unique gifts than if they had just received something from their registry. Why would you ever want to make anyone less happy?</p> <p>If you're one of these people trying to cut down on the clutter, lead by example and set up a gift registry for yourself. By sharing your wish list, you not only limit what comes into your house, but it makes it easy to casually ask what everyone in your life really wants.</p> <p>Years ago, when I was setting up my first apartment, I registered myself for wedding gifts at Williams-Sonoma. Back in the days before the Internet, no one used gift registries for single people. They just didn't exist. I had to use the wedding registry form at the store to create my apartment wish list. When I told my friends and family, most of them were mortified. A gift registry for a single girl? How unseemly! However, it was the first year that I got everything that I wanted for the holidays and my birthday. Moral of the story: Ignore the negsters and stick to your guns about your registry.</p> <h2>2. Cash Money</h2> <p>Don't ask me how I know this, but gift cards are easy to lose in a messy house. I've lost conservatively a bazillion dollars in gift card and store credit value in my life. I have yet to lose one single paper currency gift.</p> <h2>3. A Night (or Day) Out</h2> <p>I can count on one hand the number of people I know who aren't completely overworked. While most people can't afford to give even themselves a needed vacation, a great night out can be just the break that people need to recharge.</p> <p>I love to take my friends out to lunch for their birthdays. Because many of my friends have super busy schedules, it's a great excuse to spend quality time with people I care about.</p> <p>I have friends who share their season tickets as their go-to gift. My friend Ellen buys two season tickets to the Hollywood Bowl each year. She then sends out the concert schedule to all of her friends so they can choose which show they want to see as her guest. My friend Ryan does the same thing with his season tickets to the Dodgers. My friend Andrew takes his friends and family to the Huntington Gardens for tours, museum events, and an occasional high tea. Sharing season tickets involves a lot of scheduling, but it's a gift that you get to enjoy with the recipients. As a bonus, this gift also benefits the organizations that you care about.</p> <p>A memorable day out doesn't have to be costly. Attend a free concert or set up a hiking date.</p> <h2>4. Digital Subscriptions</h2> <p>Digital subscriptions to magazines and entertainment companies like Audible, Steam, and Netflix are great gifts for people who live in small spaces. In addition to taking up no physical space, digital subscriptions can provide hours of entertainment throughout the year.</p> <p>Looking beyond entertainment subscriptions, there are a variety of other services that run on a subscription model. Offer to pay for a year's subscription to reference sites like imdbPro or for digital tools like Adobe Photoshop.</p> <p>I just received a 23andMe DNA testing kit in the mail. It was sent anonymously, with the message &quot;Happy Birthday&quot; noted on the invoice. I texted my adopted sister; she is a big fan of the service. &quot;Did you send me a DNA test?&quot; &quot;Hmmmmm, was it me or another mystery sister?&quot; she texted back. We both agree that we're probably distant cousins on our Neanderthal side.</p> <p>If you can't afford the cost of a gift subscription, there is an excellent, cost-free option: Curate a list of free podcasts. My best friend spends a lot of time in the car for work. She is a rabid fan of podcasts for education and entertainment. This year she asked me if I would listen along with her to <a href="http://ohwitchplease.ca/" target="_blank">Witch, Please</a>, a fortnightly podcast about the Harry Potter universe that is hosted by two potty-mouthed college professors. We spent an entire month listening to the podcasts and then debating important topics like whether the wizards, as described in the books, wear pants under their robes, and if puberty and Voldemort are equally evil forces.</p> <h2>5. Give the Gift of Education</h2> <p>My parents believe that the two lasting gifts you can give your children are love and a good education. I think this is true. Education, like love, might not make you richer, but it will make your life more interesting.</p> <p>The gift can be as large as a college scholarship or as small as a single knitting class at your local craft store. Two of my friends have asked me to teach them how to make homemade sauerkraut as their Christmas present this year.</p> <p>If you take a class with someone you love, it can be a present for you, too. When my best friend and I were 13, we obsessively read every Agatha Christie mystery. We were less into the whodunit than we were the Downton Abbey-esque universe of Hercule Poirot and his friends. The transcontinental train rides, the Mah Jongg games, the constant tea drinking all seemed so glamorous. To celebrate the 20th anniversary of our friendship, we took a Mah Jongg class together, a game we still enjoy playing years later.</p> <p>Don't forget about online classes. Lynda.com has 4000 different courses in business, technology, and creative skills. Audible carries Pimsleur language courses at a discount.</p> <h2>6. Donate to a Charity in Their Name</h2> <p>Donating to charity is a nice way to make friends feel remembered at the holidays and also spread the holiday cheer to people who need help. If you need help choosing a worthy cause, <a href="https://www.charitywatch.org/top-rated-charities" target="_blank">Charity Watch</a> keeps a list of top-rated charities that spans a huge number of categories.</p> <h2>7. Make New Holiday Traditions<strong> </strong></h2> <p>In 2001, to address the Christmas elephant in the room &mdash; an elephant that we can't actually see because it's hidden under a pile of half-completed craft projects and books we intend to read very soon &mdash; my hoarder family took a radical step: We stopped giving Christmas gifts to each other. Even the kids. This is the nuclear option. But for families who can make the psychological jump, a No Gifts Christmas can totally change the way you feel about the holiday&hellip;for the better.</p> <p>For 15 straight years my family's No Gifts Christmas tradition has made the holiday season merrier for my relatives and me. There are countless ways to experience the spirit of the season that don't involve clutter. We have less stress and a lot more fun than when we had to shop for each other. Oh, and money. Did I mention <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-clutter-keeps-you-poor" target="_blank">we have a lot more money</a>? And empty floor space. Empty floor space in my house is priceless.</p> <h2>8. The Gift of Time</h2> <p>No one loves chores. That's why they are called chores instead of hobbies. Give the gift of time by helping your friends complete their own to-do lists.</p> <p>This year for my birthday my friend Señor Amor helped me hang curtains in my dining room. It was an all day ordeal. I can't imagine how long it would have taken me to do the job by myself. Every time I look at those drapes, I have a nice reminder of our friendship.</p> <p>My friend Crickett and I recently discussed our mutual hatred for filing. For our holiday gift to one another, we're going to help each other organize the piles of paperwork taking up precious real estate on our desks. If we have to suffer, at least we don't have to do it alone.</p> <h2>9. Just Ask</h2> <p>Even minimalists have wish lists. If you don't mind ruining the surprise, just ask.</p> <p>Don't get me wrong; surprises are great. But who prefers to be surprised by a gift she doesn't want over something she's been pining to own? You cannot deny there is a certain satisfaction to getting exactly what you want. If your soul requires that every gift contain the element of surprise, then stake out your friends' Amazon wish list, Pinterest page, or Etsy favorites. Or, just be a good listener.</p> <p>My friend Todd, a professional organizer who works with hoarders, is a master at choosing clutter-free gifts. He gives me two gigantic, 36-count packages of toilet paper from Costco every year for my birthday. Back when we were in college, I had mentioned to him that never having to buy toilet paper would be weirdly luxurious.</p> <p>Now, I don't remember saying this, but I do hate spending money on boring things like cleaning supplies. And, even if I never said it, can I tell you? Never buying your own toilet paper is luxurious.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/max-wong">Max Wong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-gifts-that-wont-become-clutter">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-to-monetize-your-unwanted-gifts">How to Get Rid of Your Unwanted Gifts and Make Money Too</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-simple-holiday-budget-anyone-can-follow">The Simple Holiday Budget Anyone Can Follow</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-smart-reasons-to-last-minute-holiday-shop">9 Smart Reasons to Last-Minute Holiday Shop</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-use-miles-and-points-for-holiday-gifts">9 Ways to Use Miles and Points for Holiday Gifts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-wrap-gifts-with-leftovers">How to wrap gifts with leftovers.</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Organization Shopping charities classes clutter gifts Holidays presents subscriptions thoughtful gifts unique gifts wish lists Mon, 19 Dec 2016 11:30:07 +0000 Max Wong 1856079 at http://www.wisebread.com My 16 Favorite Ways to Get Rid of Clutter http://www.wisebread.com/my-16-favorite-ways-to-get-rid-of-clutter <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/my-16-favorite-ways-to-get-rid-of-clutter" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_clothes_clutter_39948832.jpg" alt="Woman finding ways to get rid of clutter" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Ugh. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-clutter-keeps-you-poor">I hate clutter</a>. It actually hurts my brain. However, even if I were Mari Kondo fancy, and could afford to throw away everything in my house that I don't love, my inner-tree-hugger would feel guilty about putting perfectly usable items into the landfill. So, what's an environmentally responsible person to do with their clutter?</p> <p>Here are my top 16 clutter-busters that keep my house from looking like a warehouse:</p> <h2>1. Stop Bringing New Clutter Into Your House</h2> <p>If you have a cluttered house, chances are you already <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/one-simple-thing-you-can-do-today-to-start-living-frugally">have everything you need</a> to survive. If you are like me and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/from-dumpster-diving-to-garage-sales-turning-trash-into-cash">love to trash pick</a> like it's a competitive sport, this means sidelining your treasure-hunting hobby until you have a grip on what you own.</p> <p>But, don't despair my freegan brethren. You can still get the thrill of the hunt; you just have to do it inside your house.</p> <h2>2. Use It Up, Wear It Out, Make It Do, or Do Without</h2> <p>I like to turn this Depression Era proverb into a game. How long can I go without buying groceries? How long will it take for me to eat through my pantry? If you have a hard time staying on the no new clutter wagon, challenge a like-minded friend to a competition to keep yourself accountable. Can you go one year without bringing stuff into your home?</p> <p>By the way, stepping away from the consumer treadmill even for 90 days (or 30, or even 10!) is a great way to save money.</p> <h2>3. Sell Your Stuff Online</h2> <p>Duh. This seems obvious. Typically I make a few thousand dollars every year by selling my old things on eBay, Etsy, and Craigslist.</p> <p>There are different price thresholds for different selling platforms. I can generally get more money by selling vintage items and clothes on Etsy and eBay than I can by selling them on Craigslist. For things like home electronics, buyers in my area will pay more on Craigslist than they will at a garage sale for the exact same item. To maximize your cash do a little research on who is paying a premium for your things.</p> <p>Depending on what you own, you might be able to flip your old things for cash by using specialty sites that focus on one type of merchandise such as <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-sell-your-kids-stuff-at-a-consignment-sale">baby clothes</a>, <a href="https://www.discogs.com/sell/list">vinyl records</a>, and <a href="https://www.1stdibs.com/furniture/">vintage home furnishings</a>.</p> <h2>4. Consign Your Stuff at a Brick and Mortar Store</h2> <p>I personally prefer to sell difficult to ship items like furniture and glassware to a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beyond-goodwill-the-different-types-of-thrift-stores">local second hand store</a> for either store credit or cash. Although stores usually take a 30% to 60% cut of the sale price, sometimes it's better to cash out so you can get those things out of your house before you break them and they become unsellable.</p> <p>There are some second hand stores that will buy goods outright for cash, and some stores that will only give you store credit. If you consign your items at a store, make sure that you are clear about pricing. Some stores will discount your goods to nothing after a set period of time. And some stores will not return items that don't sell to you. If you have a bottom price threshold, this needs to be negotiated in advance and on paper.</p> <p>In addition to bulky vintage items, I also sell back my used books, records, and contemporary clothes to second hand stores for cash.</p> <h2>5. Throw a Garage Sale</h2> <p>I paid for two entire years of my life by trash picking furniture and then selling it back to my neighbors at monthly garage sales. Last year my husband and I paid for our Christmas vacation with money that we'd earned selling stuff at garage sales. And our garage sale inventory wasn't even that amazing. Like, I can't even remember half the things we got rid of! They were that inconsequential to my life.</p> <p>I approach every garage sale as an opportunity to get other people to pay to remove clutter from my house, so most things are priced at one dollar. By taking this grateful-to-my-customer stance, I am always happy with my garage sale earnings, regardless of how paltry.</p> <h2>6. Gift</h2> <p>Shopping for presents is time consuming and expensive. A few years ago I decided to start gifting clothes and things in my house to admiring friends and family members. As in, &quot;Oh, you like that? Here, just take it with you. Happy early birthday.&quot; This on the spot gifting is always a welcome surprise and I don't have to fuss with wrapping.</p> <h2>7. Recycle</h2> <p>I know many people who live in homes that resemble recycling centers because they care about the environment. While it is a good thing to keep resources like glass and paper out of the landfill, you are not actually doing the world any good by turning your house into a mini dump. Companies as diverse as <a href="https://www.terracycle.com/en-US/brigades">Terracycle</a> and <a href="https://www.madewell.com/madewell_feature/DENIMDONATION_sm.jsp">Madewell</a> have recycling programs for hard to recycle items like denim, instrument strings, and Solo Cups.</p> <h2>8. Upcycle</h2> <p>Why pay for new craft supplies when you have clutter? Instead of bringing new, virgin goods into your home, find <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-awesome-practically-free-upcycled-craft-projects?ref=seealso">new uses for your old things</a>. You don't even have to have any creative talent to upcycle. For example, upcycle your old cotton underwear into cleaning rags.</p> <p>My husband and I own two Moroccan poufs. Rather than pay for new stuffing, we filled our poufs with old linens and drop cloths that are too torn or stained to sell or donate.</p> <h2>9. Share</h2> <p>I share a china pattern with my brother-in-law. I only have space in my small kitchen for eight place settings. My brother-in-law has 12 place settings. Whenever we have larger dinner parties, we loan each other dishes. What can you share with your friends and neighbors? I share garden tools with my friend Laura. I share kitchen gadgets with my neighbor Alexandra. I share a set of luggage with my sister. I only have to store those things in my house half the time. More importantly, I don't have to buy every single thing.</p> <h2>10. Check It Out</h2> <p>If you don't have handy friends and neighbors, look for a tool library in your area. I don't own bike repair tools because I live within walking distance of a bike repair cooperative.</p> <p>I am a lifelong library patron. In addition to checking out books, music, and videos, I use my library as an air-conditioned oasis in the summer when my house becomes unbearably hot, and as my personal newsstand. Once a month a have a magazine date with myself and spend an afternoon flipping through glossy pages to my heart's content. I give myself a little reading vacation, and cut the clutter and the cost of owning a personal subscription all in one fell swoop.</p> <h2>11. Catch and Release</h2> <p>I am a minimalist traveler. The only time I buy books is when I'm going on a trip. I buy the cheapest copy of the books I want to read so I have no problem leaving them behind in cafes and airports when I am done with them. Not only do I get cheap, analog entertainment, this book packing method always ensures that I have a little room in my luggage for vacation purchases.</p> <h2>12. Rent</h2> <p>Due to near constant <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-everything-breaks">car trouble this year</a>, I have been experimenting, unintentionally, with living as a one-car household in Los Angeles. I suspect by the end of the year that the math will prove that it is cheaper for us to rent a second car when we need one rather than own three cars outright.</p> <p>I don't love renting because I know that ownership is generally a better deal. But, do I really need to buy a jackhammer to break up my cracked driveway? No, I do not.</p> <p>When deciding when to rent and when to own, be honest: How often will you use this item? Will your daughter wear her Quinceañera dress a second time? Consider the extra cost of renting to be money that you saved on storage fees.</p> <h2>13. Swap</h2> <p>Even our shyest friends love our book exchange party that we host every New Year's Day. The concept is simple: Everyone brings the books they enjoyed reading but are now taking up shelf space, and throws them on the communal pile. Our guests take as many books as they want home, for free. The books that are left behind are donated to the Los Angeles Public Book Drive.</p> <p>Swap parties are fun because it's weirdly satisfying to see people fall in love with your old things. But why stop at books? What about a winter coat swap at your kid's school? How about a kitchen tool or recipe swap party with your neighbors? I offset the cost of my groceries by attending a monthly neighborhood backyard produce swap.</p> <h2>14. Donate Like a True Do-Gooder (Without Getting Audited)</h2> <p>If you want to get stuff out of your house in a hurry, feel like you are helping the less fortunate, and get a tax write off, donate your extra stuff to charity.</p> <p>Charities like The Salvation Army and Goodwill do not set a valuation on your donation. That responsibility is left up to you. But donor beware! Huge tax deductions for donated goods are a red flag to auditors. Use a <a href="https://satruck.org/Home/DonationValueGuide">donation value guide</a> to assess the true market value of your used items. Also, it's a good practice to photograph your donated goods so you have evidence of your good works should you get audited.</p> <p>Ahem, let me get on my soapbox for one moment.</p> <p>Charities spend a huge amount of their budgets on trash collection because so many people use their local shop as a dumping ground for all their old crap. Would you buy a pair of pants with a brown stain across the front? No, you would not. Don't be that guy who trades trash for a tax write-off. That's cheating on taxes and on charity.</p> <p>When it comes to charity donations I am very careful to only donate items that are in selling condition. As in, an item is in such good condition that I would spend money to buy it.</p> <p>(Steps off soapbox.)</p> <p>That said, just like I am always on the hunt for new places to recycle weird stuff, I am always on the lookout for groups that repair expensive, broken goods for charity. For example, I donate my old glasses to the <a href="http://www.lionsclubs.org/EN/how-we-serve/health/sight/eyeglass-recycling.php">Lions Club</a>.</p> <p>The screen of my laptop computer died in January. Although I could sell it on Craigslist for parts, I'm donating it to CRASH Space, my local hackerspace, because I know the makers there will recycle the entire machine responsibly. As a side benefit, I can claim this donation as a tax write-off since CRASH Space is a nonprofit.</p> <h2>15. Curb It</h2> <p>My nightly walk takes me past a wide set of concrete steps that used to lead to an apartment building but now lead to a vacant lot. I few years ago I started leaving items that were in usable condition, but not nice enough to donate or sell for money, on the steps to nowhere. I leave pretty much everything &mdash; stinky shampoo, old clothes, recently expired canned goods, vintage electronics, magazines, pens that I don't like &mdash; on the steps, neatly merchandised for easy shopping. The things that aren't gone by the next night, I know they are truly garbage. I throw the leftovers away without guilt. Usually, the stuff is gone before morning.</p> <p>This personal donation spot has been a fun experiment. I have met some of my late night shoppers and I was happy to hear how they are enjoying my old things. Also, some of my neighbors have started copying me. About once a week I see that someone else has made a donation to the steps.</p> <h2>16. Go Digital</h2> <p>Yes, I am old. I came of age in a world without cloud storage and I have nostalgia for books made from dead trees. So is it any surprise that the bulk of my clutter is paper-based? Between the library and our digital subscriptions to everything from IMDB to Netflix, we're managing our shelf space, but our file cabinet is exploding.</p> <p>Although I have successfully resisted this chore for more than a decade, I am finally getting around to digitizing the hard copies of all my old contracts, patterns, notes, etc. for clutter free, online storage.</p> <p>Does anyone have any tips on digitizing documents and ditching paper clutter? (Oh, please). I could use all the help I can get!</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/max-wong">Max Wong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-16-favorite-ways-to-get-rid-of-clutter">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-money-and-declutter-by-selling-these-5-unlikely-treasures">Make Money and Declutter by Selling These 5 Unlikely Treasures</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-things-to-throw-out-today">25 Things to Throw Out Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-this-one-thing-a-day-to-defeat-clutter-forever">Do This One Thing a Day to Defeat Clutter Forever</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/23-frugal-living-resolutions-anyone-can-master">23 Frugal Living Resolutions Anyone Can Master</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-gifts-that-wont-become-clutter">9 Gifts That Won&#039;t Become Clutter</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Organization charity cleaning clutter craigslist downsizing eBay garage sales mari kondo renting selling waste Tue, 01 Nov 2016 09:30:31 +0000 Max Wong 1824618 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Old Kitchen Tools You Can Flip for Cash http://www.wisebread.com/9-old-kitchen-tools-you-can-flip-for-cash <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-old-kitchen-tools-you-can-flip-for-cash" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_53893396_MEDIUM.jpg" alt="flip these kitchen tools for easy cash" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Looking for some quick cash? Check your kitchen. There may be lots of treasure in there.</p> <p>If you love to cook, you are likely in possession of a lot of equipment &mdash; perhaps too much. Maybe it's time to declutter. What items are sought-after by collectors? Here are nine items that could fetch you some quick cash. Time to clean out the cupboards!</p> <h2>1. Fondue Sets</h2> <p>My mother had two fondue sets, one in gold and the other in a rusty red. Fondue was a 1970s party phenomenon, and my mom led the pack. She would put on meat fondue parties, cheese fondue parties, and top it off with chocolate fondue for dessert. I learned to light a Sterno can at an early age. Fondue parties are still fun, so if you want to dig your mom's set out and convince her to sell, you can probably get $20 to $30 for it.</p> <h2>2. Cookie Cutters</h2> <p>If you have only ever used plastic cookie cutters, you are missing out. Metal cutters are far superior, as they give cookies a more identifiable shape. Some are merely cookie outlines, and some &mdash; like my grandmother's &mdash; have a nifty handle on top. The older they are (the tin will be dark), the more valuable they become as collectibles. Not only are they practical, but they also look great just as decoration in a kitchen. Depending on age and condition of the cutter, you can resell for $3 a piece, and up.</p> <h2>3. Pyrex</h2> <p>I'm a total sucker for Pyrex casserole dishes and bowls, and am willing to fight to the death at a garage sale if I see them. They're so durable, work beautifully, and come in terrific patterns. If you have some, sell them and earn cash, or watch garage sales for popular patterns to resell. Keep an eye out for patterns known as Blue Dot, Gooseberry, Butterprint or Snowflake Blue, as these tend to be more popular.</p> <h2>4. Butcher Blocks</h2> <p>Even if they aren't in the best condition, you may be able to sell a butcher block for big bucks. &quot;Distressed&quot; is a trendy style, and they look great in both farm-style or modern stainless-steel kitchens. You may be able to fetch a fast $50 for a 10x20. Find one in rough shape? You may be able to <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-DHMGQOEnqM">recondition</a> it before you sell it.</p> <h2>5. Crocks</h2> <p>With the resurgence of people making their own fermented food, like kimchi or sauerkraut, Crocks are all the rage. The most valuable are ones with salt-glaze finish (bumpy to the touch), or Crocks with decorations like flowers beneath the glaze, or ones with numbers stencilled on them. These can easily sell for over $100.</p> <h2>6. Cast Iron Skillets</h2> <p>There are actually conventions and meet-ups where people seek quality <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-cast-iron-skillets">cast iron skillets</a> like the Griswold line. Buyer beware, though &mdash; there are reproductions out there. Those are usually rustier, have fainter markings on the bottom, and are heavier than the real deal. These are a good thing to look for at garage sales to later resell. A 3&quot; skillet with a lid can bring in about $150.</p> <h2>7. Tin Products</h2> <p>Look for tin cups, scoops, graters, and containers to sell. While some may have a low resale value ($5), an old coffee tin may earn you about $20. You can put together several tin items and resell in a lot.</p> <h2>8. Dish Sets</h2> <p>Inherit a set of dishes you don't really love? You're not alone. My grandmother's Franciscan &quot;Apple&quot; pattern languishes in our attic. And if you don't want to pass them down to your kids, consider selling the set. Lennox's &quot;Eternal&quot; china will net you about $195, and Spode's old favorite &quot;Christmas Tree&quot; pattern can be found for $150 for a 20-piece set.</p> <h2>9. Mixers</h2> <p>Sunbeam mixers were built to last. And last. In good working condition, you can still sell them for between $30 and $90. I know in 1977 my mother decided hers was just too old-looking, and now it's considered &quot;retro.&quot;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/marla-walters">Marla Walters</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-old-kitchen-tools-you-can-flip-for-cash">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-cast-iron-skillets">The 5 Best Cast Iron Skillets</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-measuring-spoons">The 5 Best Measuring Spoons</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-measuring-cups">The 5 Best Measuring Cups</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-kitchen-dish-towels">The 5 Best Kitchen Dish Towels</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-old-knick-knacks-you-can-flip-for-easy-cash">10 Old Knick-Knacks You Can Flip for Easy Cash</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Extra Income Home Shopping cast iron skillets clutter flip for cash fondue sets home goods kitchen tools pans pots Mon, 19 Sep 2016 09:30:26 +0000 Marla Walters 1794517 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Top Money Lessons to Learn From Ruth Soukup's "Unstuffed" http://www.wisebread.com/4-top-money-lessons-to-learn-from-ruth-soukups-unstuffed <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-top-money-lessons-to-learn-from-ruth-soukups-unstuffed" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/mother_holding_baby_84495417.jpg" alt="Mother learning money lessons from &quot;Unstuffed&quot;" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>What does clutter have to do with your finances? A lot more than you think. It can be easy to write off clutter as just an annoyance that keeps your home from being clean. However, clutter can have a stronger hold on your life. Not only does clutter take up your space, but it also can greatly affect your schedules, relationships, and finances, all while draining you physically and mentally.</p> <p>Blogger and author Ruth Soukup gets to the root issue of clutter in many areas of our lives in her new book, <a href="http://amzn.to/2b18IIo">Unstuffed</a>. When I read it, I was surprised to find that this was not just a home organization book. There are also very important financial lessons strewn throughout, and when applied to your life, they could drastically change your clutter and financial issues. Here are some of the biggest money take-aways from the book.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-clutter-keeps-you-poor?ref=seealso">8 Ways Clutter Keeps You Poor</a></p> <h2>Clutter Keeps Kids From Learning Important Financial Lessons</h2> <p>Many parents will probably agree that the biggest source of stuff in their homes comes from their children. As a parent, it is hard to not buy your children things, especially when you want to show them love. However, it is important to realize that the more stuff they have, the more spoiled and dissatisfied they can become. Many times, parents will buy items for their kids to solve their child's boredom or to remedy parental guilt.</p> <p>This is just setting up our children for failure, since it does not properly teach your child to respect money or stuff. &quot;Additionally,&quot; Soukup says, &quot;fighting the battle of stuff alongside our kids, rather than only for them, will also help them learn virtually life lessons about the value of money, the reality of hard work (which includes caring for stuff!), and the responsibility of stewarding our resources wisely.&quot;</p> <h2>Learn to Give Your Presence, Not Your Presents</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/51p%2BiVuIC6L._SX326_BO1%2C204%2C203%2C200_.jpg" width="328" height="499" alt="" /></p> <p>Soukup talks a lot about her aunt that loved to lavish her young girls with gifts for every major holiday. Finally, Soukup told the aunt it would be more important for her to spend quality time with the girls than to just get them stuff. Her aunt listened, and did a lot of fun things with them instead. A few years later, she passed away from cancer. Soukup was thankful that her girls had memories of her as a person, and not just the stuff she had given them.</p> <p>Let this be encouragement for you personally to bless people with your time, not just your gifts. Memories will always have a bigger impact on relationships, and this applies to all relationships. You can never replace the quality of time with the quantity of stuff.</p> <h2>How to Deal With Family Members Who Love to Give</h2> <p>It can be hard to turn down well-meaning family members who love to buy you gifts for every holiday. However, sometimes well-meaning family members can make clutter situations worse. It might not be easy, but it is necessary to have a heart-to-heart talk with your family.</p> <p>Tell them how important they are to you and that you love how thoughtful and generous they are. Share your struggles with clutter, and honestly say that you are trying to cut down on the amount of stuff and gifts that enter your home. Encourage them to give gifts of time instead. For example, if your mom loves to buy things for your daughter, suggest spending that money on special &quot;Grandma-Granddaughter Dates&quot; instead. When family members ask for gift suggestions, instead of saying &quot;nothing,&quot; encourage them to take your children on a special trip to get ice cream or to buy family passes to a zoo or museum.</p> <p>Talking with loved ones can be hard, and changes might not be immediate. It is important to remember to continue to love them and encourage them gently to gift their time rather than just stuff.</p> <h2>Don't Let High Value Keep You From Decluttering</h2> <p>Don't withhold from decluttering because of how much a particular item cost you. Many times people will hang onto an item because there is too much guilt attached to discarding it. They paid too much for that item, so they feel as if they are wasting money by getting rid of it.</p> <p>If you're not using it and it is taking up space in your home, then it is doing you more of a disservice. &quot;Better to sell it and recoup some of the loss than to keep it and gain nothing out of it,&quot; Soukup writes.</p> <p>Soukup's book was packed with decluttering wisdom, as well as thoughtful tips on how to have better relationships and how to better use our time. Decluttering your life does not just mean getting rid of a lot of stuff in your home. Instead, it is important to free yourself from the negativity of having too much stuff, buying too much stuff, and having stuff clutter your calendar, relationships, and soul.</p> <p><em>How do you deal with the clutter in your life?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-top-money-lessons-to-learn-from-ruth-soukups-unstuffed">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-best-sites-to-help-your-kids-learn-about-money">8 Best Sites to Help Your Kids Learn About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-season-give-your-child-the-gift-of-fiscal-responsibility">This Season, Give Your Child the Gift of Fiscal Responsibility</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-stocks-your-kids-would-love-to-own">5 Stocks Your Kids Would Love to Own</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-to-add-your-teen-as-an-authorized-user-on-your-credit-card">4 Reasons to Add Your Teen as an Authorized User on Your Credit Card</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-frugal-living-skills-i-wish-my-parents-would-have-taught-me">8 Frugal Living Skills I Wish My Parents Would Have Taught Me</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Family books clutter gifts kids money lessons quality quantity ruth soukup Thu, 18 Aug 2016 09:30:37 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1774332 at http://www.wisebread.com 13 Money Goals You Can Still Reach by 2017 http://www.wisebread.com/13-money-goals-you-can-still-reach-by-2017 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/13-money-goals-you-can-still-reach-by-2017" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/money_2016_78370695.jpg" alt="Finding money goals you can still reach by 2017" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We've passed the halfway point of 2016, and maybe you're down on yourself because you haven't achieved some of your annual financial goals. Life can sometimes derail our money-saving plans &mdash; and that can make you feel like a failure. But the year isn't over yet. So chin up, buttercup! It's never too late to give your money a makeover, like with these 13 money goals that are still attainable by 2017.</p> <h2>1. Increase Your Emergency Fund</h2> <p>Whether you want to increase your fund by $500 or $1,000, there's still time to build your bank account.</p> <p>Ideally, you should have about three to six months' of income in reserves. If you're not in a position to save this much, aim for an emergency fund sufficient to help you get through most unexpected expenses, like a home or car repair. You'll have to make a few sacrifices, such as spending less on entertainment or shopping less, but with five months left in the year, you can hit this goal by saving $100 to $200 a month.</p> <h2>2. Start Planning for Retirement</h2> <p>Your retirement account isn't going to grow itself. The older we get, the more important it is to plan for the future. If you haven't started saving for retirement yet, now's the time to get serious. Talk to your employer about enrolling in the company's 401K plan. If this isn't an option, open an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) through your bank or with the help of a financial adviser.</p> <h2>3. Increase Retirement Contributions</h2> <p>Then again, maybe you're already saving for retirement, but feel now's the time to increase your contribution. Whether you're currently contributing 2% or 5% of your income to a retirement account, set a goal of increasing your contribution by at least 1% before the end of the year.</p> <h2>4. Reduce Expenses</h2> <p>It's easier to attain money goals when you reduce expenses and free up cash. For the next four to five months, eliminate or reduce at least one expense a month. This can include downgrading your cable package or getting rid of cable altogether (it's a common trend these days), using coupons to lower your grocery bill, or riding your bike or carpooling to work a few days a week to save on transportation costs. The savings add up quickly, and before you know it you'll have a bigger bank account.</p> <h2>5. Create a Second Income Stream</h2> <p>Our income isn't always enough to meet our money goals. Rather than complain about your situation, think creatively about ways to increase your income. Working a side hustle a few days a week can generate money to build your savings account, pay off debt, or start saving for retirement.</p> <p>If you're an expert in your field, offer consulting on the side. Or if you have excellent writing skills, look into <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/22-websites-that-will-pay-you-to-write-for-them?ref=internal">freelance writing opportunities</a> and share your knowledge. Don't think your second income stream has to be glamorous, either. If you don't mind odd jobs or getting your hands dirty, you can make extra money around the neighborhood cleaning houses, doing handyman work, or cutting grass.</p> <h2>6. Give Up a Costly Habit</h2> <p>Bad habits are expensive.</p> <p>Before the end of the year, make a concerted effort to eliminate at least one bad habit. This includes things like drinking too much alcohol and smoking, as well as habits that aren't as dangerous to your health but detrimental to your finances. Do you have a routine of stopping for coffee and breakfast every morning on the way to work? If you can eliminate this $5 daily purchase from your budget, you'll save about $25 a week, or $100 a month.</p> <h2>7. Simplify Your Life</h2> <p>Less can be more. If you're tired of clutter or feel the stuff you own takes too much of your time and energy, set a goal to simplify and unload a few possessions. Selling off items can put extra cash in your pocket, plus you can save money on storage fees and free up space in your house, garage, attic, or basement.</p> <h2>8. Give to Charity</h2> <p>It's not too late to make a charitable donation and give back. While you're simplifying and decluttering your life, consider donating a few items to your favorite organization. You'll not only help someone in need, you can write off charitable donations on your tax return and lower your tax bill.</p> <h2>9. Purchase Life Insurance</h2> <p>Life insurance is necessary for everyone, but especially for people with children and other dependents who rely on their income. A policy can cover the cost of a funeral and burial, plus pay off any expenses you leave behind, such as a mortgage and credit cards.</p> <p>There are no hard-and-fast rules regarding the amount of coverage to purchase, but some money experts recommend a policy that's eight to 10 times your income. If you already have a policy, review your coverage to make sure it's adequate for your needs. If you don't have a policy, it's time to get one.</p> <h2>10. Budget Your Money</h2> <p>If you overspend every month and can't get ahead, the problem could be poor budgeting. The truth is, attaining many of your money goals by 2017 will require an airtight budget. You have to know what's coming in and what's going out before you can come up with a plan for your personal finances. Now's the time to put pen to paper and review your income and expenses to determine a reasonable amount to spend in various spending categories, such as food, transportation, entertainment, shopping, etc.</p> <h2>11. Say No to Credit Card Debt</h2> <p>Credit cards are simple and convenient, but they're also a source of pain and suffering if you let balances grow out of control. Before the end of the year, come up with a plan to pay off or pay down at least one credit card. Don't stop until you're debt free. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-to-do-a-balance-transfer-to-pay-off-credit-card-debt?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=seealso&amp;utm_campaign=seealso">How to Get Rid of Interest on Your Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <p>You can achieve this goal by paying more than your minimums every month. Or negotiate a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-low-interest-rate-credit-cards?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=article">lower interest rate</a> with your creditors so that more of monthly payments go toward reducing the principal. Since the amounts we owe make up 30% of our credit scores, paying off credit cards also <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-credit-cards-to-improve-your-credit-score?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=article">increases your credit score</a>.</p> <h2>12. Automate Your Finances</h2> <p>Paying bills on time also contributes to a higher credit score. Forgetting a due date and paying late can result in late fees, and when bills arrive 30 or more days past due, your credit score suffers. To avoid these situations, automate your finances. Set up automatic bill payments between your bank and creditors and you'll never miss another due date.</p> <h2>13. Check Your Credit Report</h2> <p>Everyone should check their credit reports at least once a year and dispute erroneous information. If it's been more than 12 months since you last reviewed your reports, visit&nbsp;<a href="http://annualcreditreport.com">AnnualCreditReport.com</a> today and get a free copy of your reports from each of the three bureaus. Credit report mistakes and fraudulent activity can drive down your FICO score and trigger credit rejections and higher interest rates on loans and credit cards &mdash; and when you're charged higher interest rates, you pay more for credit.</p> <p><em>What are some of your money goals that you'd like to reach by the end of the year? How do you plan to meet those goals? Let's discuss in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-money-goals-you-can-still-reach-by-2017">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/its-never-too-late-to-fix-these-5-money-mistakes-from-your-past">It&#039;s Never Too Late to Fix These 5 Money Mistakes From Your Past</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-financial-decisions-youll-never-regret">8 Financial Decisions You&#039;ll Never Regret</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-financial-gifts-to-give-yourself-this-holiday-season">13 Financial Gifts to Give Yourself This Holiday Season</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-moments-that-should-be-on-everyones-bucket-list">8 Money Moments That Should Be On Everyone&#039;s Bucket List</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-personal-finance-resolutions-anyone-can-master">8 Personal Finance Resolutions Anyone Can Master</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance 2016 2017 bad habits clutter credit reports donating emergency funds goals investments nest egg retirement savings simplifying Fri, 12 Aug 2016 09:00:08 +0000 Mikey Rox 1770701 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Clear Out Financial Clutter http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-clear-out-financial-clutter <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-clear-out-financial-clutter" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_85246829_LARGE.jpg" alt="clearing out financial clutter" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Clearing clutter out of your home can make you instantly more organized and can simplify your life. Clearing away any unnecessary items can also help you find happiness. The same concept goes for your finances. By clearing out financial clutter, you can decrease financial stress in your life, save time during tax season, and get a better grip on your personal finances.</p> <h2>What to Keep</h2> <p>The first step in clearing away paper clutter is deciding what to keep and what to toss.</p> <h3>Tax Records</h3> <p>It is crucial that you keep any tax records for seven years, as the IRS can audit you up to seven years later. This is especially important if you are self-employed. If you are ever hit with an IRS audit, you may need to produce physical documents, so it's a good idea to keep the records together in a large envelope or folder for each tax year. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/to-shred-or-not-to-shred-how-long-to-keep-your-tax-records?ref=seealso">To Shred or Not to Shred: How Long to Keep Your Tax Records</a>)</p> <p>According to LearnVest, you'll want to <a href="https://www.learnvest.com/2014/08/how-to-organize-your-finances/2/">keep the following for tax purposes</a>:</p> <ul> <ul> <li>Previous income tax returns</li> <li>Pay stubs</li> <li>Financial statements for investment accounts</li> <li>Bank statements</li> <li>Credit card statements that have a record of tax-deductible items you purchased</li> </ul> </ul> <p>If any of the above items can be pulled up online and printed, then you won't need to keep a paper copy.</p> <h3>Important Personal Documents</h3> <p>Certain items should never be thrown away, such as a marriage license, birth certificate, will, life insurance policies, and record of paid mortgage. You want to keep these in a secure place, like a filing cabinet or safety deposit box. It's also a good idea to keep medical bills and canceled insurance policies for at least three years.</p> <p>Anything related to your home, such as repair bills and the bill of sale, should be kept for as long as you own the home. The same rule applies to your vehicles.</p> <p>You will also want to keep contracts, insurance documents, and retirement plan records for as long as they are still valid. You may also want to keep receipts for major purchases, like expensive furniture, in case you need to file an insurance claim in the future.</p> <h3>Warranties</h3> <p>It is important that you keep any warranties or guarantees for as long as they are valid. If the warranty requires you to send the original UPC code, simply staple the warranty, scan code, and receipt together. Write the warranty expiration date on the front so that you can go through your warranties and toss any expired ones at the end of the year.</p> <h3>The One-Year Rule</h3> <p>In most cases, you can dispose of the following items after one year, once they've been reconciled with your W-2 and annual statement:</p> <ul> <ul> <li>Paycheck stubs</li> <li>Bank records</li> <li>Cancelled checks</li> <li>Quarterly investment statements</li> </ul> </ul> <p>If you need any of these items for tax purposes, then it's best to keep them for at least three years.</p> <h2>What to Toss</h2> <p>According to the National Association of Professional Organizers, <a href="http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/contact-us/community/TIPS-FROM-THE-NATIONAL-ASSOCIATION-OF-PROFESSIONAL-ORGANIZERS-278382951.html">80% of what we file</a> never gets looked at again, so it's time to start tossing unnecessary files and paperwork.</p> <h3>Monthly Statements</h3> <p>In most cases, any utility, phone, credit card, and loan statements can be pulled up online, so there's no reason to keep a paper copy for your records. Some financial institutions will even offer a discount to customers if you choose to receive your statements online or via email. You can also call and request statements later, if needed. If you like keeping financial statements around, consider just keeping the year-end statement for your records. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-finally-make-your-finances-paperless?ref=seealso">5 Ways to Finally Make Your Finances Paperless</a>)</p> <h3>Receipts and ATM Slips</h3> <p>Unless you will need the receipt for tax purposes, in most cases, it's a good idea to throw the receipt away. If you think you may need to return the item at some point, then keep the receipt until the return period has expired. Once you balance your checkbook, you can also dispose of any ATM deposit slips.</p> <h3>Mutual Fund Prospectuses</h3> <p>Mutual fund prospectuses can pile up rather quickly. Instead of keeping the financial clutter around your home, simply look through the prospectus for important changes or information and then chuck it. You can always pull up the prospectus online if you need it.</p> <h3>Close Accounts You Don't Need</h3> <p>Once you've gotten a handle on your bills and which accounts you have, you may find that you have accounts open that you don't need. For instance, if you have more than one bank account, it may be a good idea to close the ones with the highest service fees. Having fewer accounts makes tracking, monitoring, and balancing your budget easier.</p> <p>If you have various investment accounts or retirement accounts from former employers, you may want to roll over your old accounts to your new employer's plan so that you won't have to worry about managing investments all over the place. This can also save you money on investment account fees. If you're planning on selling stocks or investments, then you'll want to keep the records for at least three years as documentation for capital gains taxes.</p> <h2>What You'll Need to Buy</h2> <p>For especially important documents, such as stock certificates and government savings bonds, you may want to consider investing in a safety deposit box. This will ensure that you know where the documents are at all times and that they are safe from harm. A quality <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-paper-shredders">paper shredder</a> can also help you securely shred and dispose of documents, so you won't have to worry as much about identity theft.</p> <p>To make organizing more fun, you may also want to invest in colorful folders or organizational tools that you like. This will also help keep you organized in the future, so you'll never have an unpaid bill hiding under a mess of paperwork again.</p> <h2>Make It Fun</h2> <p>Organizing your financial life doesn't need to be something you dread. Play some good music or have a glass of wine while you organize. You may also want to treat yourself at the end of a large decluttering session with a good meal or movie.</p> <h2>What to Do Next</h2> <p>Once you've cleared out the clutter, consider organizing your accounts in a spreadsheet or updated budget. The more your budget and finances are organized, the less paperwork you'll need going forward.</p> <p>Cleaning out your financial clutter can lead to less risk of identity theft, more organized records, and better financial planning. So the sooner you get started, the sooner you can enjoy these valuable benefits. It can also help you get a better idea of what your financial assets and debts are, so you can create a better budget for your life.</p> <h2>It's Not a Sprint &mdash; It's a Marathon</h2> <p>Organizing your financial clutter is means for celebration. However, this doesn't mean that the work is done. It's important to continue organizing your financial documents consistently so that they don't become overwhelming again. Try organizing all of your financial documents and spend 15-30 minutes per week going through your bills, financial statements, and other important documents that require your attention. This will ensure that you are not dealing with another mess of papers again in the near future.</p> <p><em>Do you have other tips for clearing out financial clutter? Please share your thoughts in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-cannon">Andrea Cannon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-clear-out-financial-clutter">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-ways-to-keep-your-entire-life-clutter-free">10 Smart Ways to Keep Your Entire Life Clutter-Free</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-you-declutter-and-keep-your-stuff-too">This Is How You Declutter and Keep Your Stuff, Too</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-things-you-wont-ever-use-again-and-should-throw-out-today">12 Things You Won&#039;t Ever Use Again and Should Throw Out Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-should-your-kids-know-about-your-finances">How Much Should Your Kids Know About Your Finances?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-things-in-your-kitchen-you-should-throw-out-today">15 Things in Your Kitchen You Should Throw Out Today</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Organization clutter declutter finances financial clutter managing money money Tue, 09 Aug 2016 10:30:09 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1768493 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Ways to Reuse Clothes That No Longer Fit http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-reuse-clothes-that-no-longer-fit <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-ways-to-reuse-clothes-that-no-longer-fit" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_30762826_MEDIUM.jpg" alt="repurposing clothes that no longer fit" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A recent Marie Kondo-inspired purge of my closet revealed the awful truth that I hadn't wanted to admit to myself: I own a lot of clothes that do not fit me.</p> <p>These ill-fitting clothes found their way into my closet and dresser through a variety of paths. There are the wishful thinking clothes that I'm sure I'll be able to fit back into once I get down to my pre-pregnancy weight (even though the &quot;babies&quot; are currently five and two years old). There are the gifts I received that never quite fit, but I felt guilty disposing of. And then there are the &quot;insurance&quot; clothes that are too big but I hold onto just in case.</p> <p>It's time to get rid of these clothes that are doing nothing more than making my closet look like it's about to pop. Rather than trash or donate my old duds, though, I'm going to reuse them. Here are seven clever ways you can reuse old clothes. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-high-cost-of-cheap-clothes?ref=seealso">The High Cost of Cheap Clothes</a>)</p> <h2>1. The T-Shirt Quilt</h2> <p>If you have a vast collection of concert, vacation, or superhero T-shirts, making a T-shirt quilt can be a great way to keep the shirts you no longer wear but can't bear to part with.</p> <p>Creating the quilt top is simple. Determine the size you want each T-shirt square to be, and cut out a cardboard template in the correct size. Once you have a pile of T-shirt squares, lay them out to figure out what order you want them in, and start sewing them together. If you have access to a sewing machine and can sew a straight line, you will have no trouble putting together the quilt top. You can finish the edges as is (turn under the edges of the quilt and sew them to prevent fraying), or you can add batting and backing to make it a true &quot;quilt.&quot;</p> <p>If all of this sounds like too much DIY sewing to you, there are several inexpensive <a href="http://www.projectrepat.com">T-shirt quilt companies</a> that will take your ill-fitting shirts and make you a beautiful quilt for a reasonable price.</p> <h2>2. No-Sew Braided Rag Rug</h2> <p>Braided rugs used to be an old-fashioned way of adding decoration to a home without spending any money. They are still a fun way to repurpose old clothes into something new and beautiful.</p> <p>For this craft, you will need a variety of jersey cotton shirts or tanks and scissors. You'll cut the clothes into 1.5 inch-long strips along the width of the shirt, making sure to cut one end so you have a pile of strips rather than loops of fabric.</p> <p>Start with three strips, tie a knot, and begin braiding the strips together. Once you have braided about four inches, start coiling the braid into a circle, and loop the closest strand through the already-braided section. This is what will keep your braided rug together.</p> <p>You continue braiding (adding new strands using the no-sew method outlined <a href="http://www.thewonderforest.com/2015/01/how-to-make-no-sew-round-braided-rug.html?m=1">here</a>) until the rug is as big as you'd like it. You can finish your rug with iron-on fusible interfacing, polycrylic spray, or spray-on starch.</p> <h2>3. Make a T-Shirt Pillowcase or Pillow</h2> <p>Using a T-shirt as a pillowcase is an old trick I learned back when I was in college with a long-distance boyfriend, but it's still a great way to reuse an old T-shirt. You could do what I did as a lovesick young freshman and just throw your pillow in the tee as is &mdash; or you could actually cut off the sleeves and sew them and the collar closed in order to make a more traditional looking pillow case.</p> <p>You can also take the T-shirt pillow idea one step further and make a pillow from the old shirt. Cut off the sleeves, fill the tee with pillow stuffing and sew up the bottom, collar, and sleeves for an instant pillow.</p> <h2>4. Turn a Tank Top Into a Shopping Bag</h2> <p>Tank tops are already shopping-bag shaped &mdash; they just need to have the bottom sewn shut. It's a reusable shopping tote that looks far more stylish than any shopping bag you can buy.</p> <h2>5. Use Old Jeans to Patch Up Your Favorite Pairs</h2> <p>It is a truth universally acknowledged that your favorite pair of jeans will eventually wear out and holes will form. That's when you whip out the jeans that don't fit and cannibalize some denim as a patch for your favorite pair.</p> <p>Patching denim might be beyond the skill set of the average DIY crafter &mdash; as denim is thick and tough to work with. However, hiring a tailor to patch your favorites should not be expensive, and it will keep your jeans looking great.</p> <h2>6. Make Mittens Out of an Old Sweater</h2> <p>Old wool sweaters are the perfect material for creating a new pair of mittens. The simple method for making repurposed mittens is to widely trace your hands on the bottom of the sweater so that your wrists hang off the bottom edge of the original shirt. When you cut out the traced shapes, you will have four mitten shaped pieces which you'll sew together to make a pair.</p> <p>If you'd like your repurposed mittens to be a little heartier (with a little more range of thumb movement), <a href="http://lifehacker.com/5714457/turn-your-ugly-christmas-sweaters-into-warm-winter-mittens">this tutorial</a> will show you how to make fleece-lined, cuffed, and perfectly shaped mittens out of some old sweaters.</p> <h2>7. Cover a Corkboard With an Old Blouse</h2> <p>Fabric-covered corkboards are all the rage, but you don't need to buy one pre-made. With some cork squares, an old item of clothing with a fun pattern, and a hot-glue gun, you can <a href="http://sewmuchsunshine.blogspot.com/2011/10/ikea-hack-fabric-covered-cork-board.html">create one of your own</a> on the cheap.</p> <p>All you need to do is trace the cork square on your fabric, leaving about an inch of room all the way around. Once you've cut your fabric, you'll spread a strip of hot glue all along the edge of the cork and start pulling up the fabric and pushing it into the glue until it sets. Attach your beautiful new corkboard to your wall, and enjoy the envy of all your office mates.</p> <p><em>How do you salvage clothes that no longer fit? Share with us!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-reuse-clothes-that-no-longer-fit">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-things-in-your-closet-you-can-throw-out-today">15 Things in Your Closet You Can Throw Out Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-denim-expert-reveals-why-you-only-need-3-pairs-of-jeans">A Denim Expert Reveals Why You Only Need 3 Pairs of Jeans</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-this-one-thing-a-day-to-defeat-clutter-forever">Do This One Thing a Day to Defeat Clutter Forever</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-128-creative-ways-to-upcycle-your-trash">Flashback Friday: 128 Creative Ways to Upcycle Your Trash</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-ways-to-organize-a-messy-closet">14 Ways to Organize a Messy Closet</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Organization Style closet clothes clothes that don't fit clutter de-clutter DIY organization recycling reuse reuse clothes upcycle Fri, 29 Jul 2016 10:00:17 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1761378 at http://www.wisebread.com Get Your Closet Ready for Summer With These 5 Hacks http://www.wisebread.com/get-your-closet-ready-for-summer-with-these-5-hacks <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/get-your-closet-ready-for-summer-with-these-5-hacks" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000060441368_Large.jpg" alt="getting her closet ready for summer" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Summer is on the horizon. But before you escape to the lake, you'll need to swap out your wooly hats and fleece vests for light knits and breathable cotton. The wardrobe shuffle from winter to summer clothing can be a nuisance, but it also presents an opportunity to start out the new season in unwrinkled fashion &mdash; literally. Here's are the most efficient ways to get your closet fit and summer-ready.</p> <h2>1. Cleanse Your Closet of Undesirables</h2> <p>Time to get rid of what you don't wear. If you didn't wear it this season, there's no need to carry it over into next year. Sure, there's a <em>chance </em>that three years from now you'll find an occasion that's absolutely made for that ribbed turtleneck sweater. But get rid of it anyway. (It's been three years!)</p> <p>Now that you've sorted out your wardrobe rejects, consider how to make best use of them. Here are some ideas: Gift them to friends who appreciate your style, sell them through an online consignment shop, such as <a href="https://www.thredup.com/p/cleanout">thredUP</a>, or donate them to a charitable organization near you, such as Goodwill or The Salvation Army. Don't forget that you can claim any charitable giving on your taxes, so be sure to keep records of any donations.</p> <h2>2. Store Unseasonable Apparel</h2> <p>Now that you've purged the unwanteds, gather and neatly fold all your out-of-season clothing &mdash; corduroy, sweaters, boots, wool scarves, long johns, etc. &mdash; and place them in whatever storage space you have available. That space might be in the attic or a trunk at the foot of your bed. Or maybe your closet is equipped with ample shelving for storage. If you're coming up short on space, consider lofting your bed or raising it on risers and then using this created <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003UHYTZ2/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B003UHYTZ2&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=6WAEXHZVOOP4VFRW">under-the-bed space</a> to store clothing in <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002BA5F52/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B002BA5F52&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=OOICHMW4P337HU4Z">sealed containers</a>.</p> <h2>3. Create Extra Hanging Space</h2> <p>Affix hooks and hanging rods on the inside of your closet door as well as your closet's back and side walls. In addition to clothing, these extra hanging spaces will make nice homes for your giant straw hats and beach bags. Hang your most-used items on those hooks and rods that are most easily accessible. Save the once-in-a-blue-moon wears for the hidden hangers in hard-to-reach places.</p> <h2>4. Double Your Real Estate</h2> <p>If the few extra hooks and rods you've added just aren't cutting it, consider investing in an <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004ZVN75U/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B004ZVN75U&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=ESGMWZ7C5OIWRMRR">adjustable extender rod</a>. Not only will it double your hanging space, but it will also give you an easy way to separate tops and bottoms &mdash; helping to keep your threads organized.</p> <h2>5. Invest in Shelf Dividers</h2> <p>Tis the season of t-shirts and tank tops &mdash; items that are notorious for gobbling up hanging space. But the thing is, these easy, breezy summer wears don't need to be hung. You can keep most tanks and tees wrinkle-free by storing them in neatly folded stacks. To keep these stacks organized, you're going to need a set of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0189MNK3Y/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B0189MNK3Y&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=M2UUZXDFGS7B4M3W">shelf dividers</a>. Store your least-used tops at the bottom of each pile. Place your go-to gear on top.</p> <p><em>What are some other ways to get your closet in tip-top shape? Share with us!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-your-closet-ready-for-summer-with-these-5-hacks">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-ways-to-keep-your-entire-life-clutter-free">10 Smart Ways to Keep Your Entire Life Clutter-Free</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-things-in-your-closet-you-can-throw-out-today">15 Things in Your Closet You Can Throw Out Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-prepare-for-spring-cleaning">7 Ways to Prepare for Spring Cleaning</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-garage-sale-items-that-sell-like-hotcakes">12 Garage Sale Items That Sell Like Hotcakes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-spring-clean-your-whole-life-one-step-at-a-time">How to Spring Clean Your Whole Life — One Step at a Time</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home Organization clean closet cleaning hacks closet clutter organization hacks spring cleaning Fri, 20 May 2016 09:00:04 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1713535 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Smart Ways to Use Garage Space http://www.wisebread.com/6-smart-ways-to-use-garage-space <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-smart-ways-to-use-garage-space" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_happy_tool_shed_000075068057.jpg" alt="Man finding smart ways to use garage space" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>My husband and I spent our spring break this year clearing out and cleaning our garage. It had been filled with remnants from our move (nearly two years ago), random junk, and even&hellip; garbage. Now? The space is nearly empty, all 600 glorious square feet of it. And I'm wondering what we can do with all this added square footage, since we don't necessarily need to shelter our vehicles from the elements year 'round. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-in-your-garage-that-have-serious-re-sale-value?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Things in Your Garage That Have Serious Re-Sale Value</a>)</p> <h2>Mudroom</h2> <p>Don't have much closet space indoors? Try&nbsp;<a href="http://sypsie.com/2015/11/11/one-room-challenge-week-6-garage-reveal/">making a mudroom</a> out of a portion of your garage to keep your stuff organized and tidy. All you really need to finish this project are some hooks for coats and bags, a bench for sitting, and maybe storage cubes for shoes and outdoor accessories. The rest is up to your budget and creativity.</p> <p>We turned a wall in our garage into a mudroom of sorts and decided to highlight the area by painting it an accent color. We then laid a rag rug down to cozy up the floor and protect feet from getting cold while getting shoes out of bins. I'd like to paint the door leading out there a funky color to make it even more fun. This project took us maybe an hour and cost just $50 for all supplies (we used what we had on hand).</p> <h2>Play Space</h2> <p>Or maybe you need more room for your kids and their toys to sprawl out. We've considered dedicating an area of the garage to play, especially since our backyard gets so much sun on hot summer afternoons. This&nbsp;<a href="http://s3-media4.fl.yelpcdn.com/bphoto/5MR-QnUFmhdPVb-_-H9EHA/o.jpg">garage-to-playroom conversion</a> is pretty basic, but it gets the job done.</p> <p>Try installing a few toddler swings to a solid support beam. Place a picnic table or two around for a drawing surface or just eating lunch. Since you're in the garage, you can even experiment with messier toys, like a DIY sandbox or rice sensory bin that won't collect as many bugs as it would outdoors. To soften the concrete flooring, head to your local carpet outlet and purchase a large remnant piece.</p> <h2>Office or Studio</h2> <p>Need a place to work from home? Try converting your garage to a studio or office. This unique&nbsp;<a href="http://www.designsponge.com/2015/04/before-after-a-garage-becomes-a-beautiful-studio-space.html">before and after</a> will get you dreaming up the many possibilities. For example, there's so much paint can do to freshen up a dingy area and make it come alive and inspire. Simple white is a solid choice if you want a neutral backdrop and maximum light.</p> <p>At the same time, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Concrete floors can be as practical as they are easy to maintain. And exposed beams add architectural interest, so don't bother trying to cover them. Once you get the bones looking good, the rest will depend on the kind of work you do. Artists may like keeping the garage door open for extra light during work hours. A sturdy table may work well as a desk and meeting space. It's up to you!</p> <h2>Home Gym</h2> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/-kStZFjlQi8" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>Some friends of mine recently took over one half of their garage to make an&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-kStZFjlQi8">at-home gym</a> because they were frustrated with monthly membership rates. Their hard work paid off &mdash; big time. You can get fancy and do flooring and walls, etc. Or you can stick with what matters most: Clear out clutter and replace with weights, mats, and motivation posters.</p> <p>What you stock your gym with depends on the activities you do. To get a good variety of equipment (and mirrors, etc.) on the cheap, consider checking Facebook yard sale groups, Craigslist, and even making a call out to friends. We actually scored a cheap treadmill from our neighbors that had been collecting dust in their basement for a few years. All we had to do was ask.</p> <h2>Hybrid Room</h2> <p>Maybe you have multiple needs. In that case, try planning out your garage to meet them all. Carla at Small + Friendly divided her garage into&nbsp;<a href="http://www.smallfriendly.com/small-friendly/2015/10/epic-garage-transformation.html">four different zones</a>. There's a crafting/sewing station, a play wall, a laundry nook, and then some smart storage/mudroom area. Everyone in the house has someplace to spread out.</p> <p>I like this family's use of vertical storage to maximize how much stuff they could contain in each zone. It's full, but very well organized. Additionally, if your budget doesn't allow for flooring, make use of interlocking foam tiles anywhere kids might be playing on the ground for added comfort. Carla's husband even uses the tiles as a makeshift yoga mat for morning workouts.</p> <h2>Bedroom and Beyond</h2> <p>My jaw dropped when I came across this incredible&nbsp;<a href="http://www.today.com/home/see-dingy-garage-transform-coolest-bedroom-ever-t20836">garage-to-bedroom transformation</a>. For just $900, Brooke Frederick was able to totally clean out the space, give it a nice coat of bright paint, exterminate pests, and then furnish to her specifications. And if you don't have a hefty budget, that's all you really need to do to make a room out of your garage.</p> <p>Of course, this kind of frugal flip won't work for everyone. Moving your sleeping or living quarters to the garage is probably more appealing if your garage has plenty of windows. Also, Frederick notes there's no insulation in her new bedroom, so this idea works best if you live in a more moderate climate.</p> <h2>Things to Think About</h2> <ul> <li>If you do intend to use your space year-round, you'll want to insulate and drywall to keep the heat and cold out. Same goes for your garage door.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Adding a few windows can also help provide the area with natural light, but aren't a requirement if you budget doesn't allow.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>You may need to enlist an experienced electrician to wire some outlets to your new room to get the power flowing if you plan to use computers, televisions, and other electronics.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>That all being said, major improvements may require a permit. Check with your local municipality for the rules that apply in your area.</li> </ul> <p><em>Do you use your garage for something other than parking cars? Tell us about it!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-smart-ways-to-use-garage-space">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-14"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-really-easy-ways-to-unclog-drains">10 Really Easy Ways to Unclog Drains</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-effective-grease-and-oil-stain-removal-tips">14 Effective Grease and Oil Stain Removal Tips</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-unexpected-uses-for-laundry-detergent">10 Unexpected Uses for Laundry Detergent</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cleaning-the-oil-stove">Cleaning the Oil Stove</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-some-cash-with-these-6-clever-cleaning-hacks">Save Some Cash With These 6 Clever Cleaning Hacks</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY Home cleaning clutter extra space garage home gym home office remodeling reusing Wed, 04 May 2016 09:30:23 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1699778 at http://www.wisebread.com