Get organized

One In, One Out

While affluence is a terrific thing, compared to poverty, it does have its downside: too much stuff. “Too much” can mean not being able to find what you need, because all the extras are in the way. “Too much” can mean additional expenses: storage fees, bigger rent for a larger home, buying things you know you have but can’t find, medical costs from tripping over the excess. . . .

Once you have enough clothes, enough dishes, enough canned goods, enough pots and pans, the next step is to limit the proliferation. “Enough” means different things to different people. Decide what your enough is, then stick to it with the one-in-one-out system. Tempted by that new shirt? So, is it really better than the shirt you’d have to give away if you bought a new one? If so, great. If not, you just saved the cost of a new shirt and saved yourself from a closet so crowded it’s hard to find anything.

One advantage of this system is that it makes us stop and realize how great the stuff we already have is. That contributes to peace of mind and positive mood, besides saving money.





My cell phone only handles countdowns up to one hour, and the standard kitchen timer has the same limitation.

I wanted to set a timer for three and a half hours. My computer does everything else, so I Googled how to set a timer in Windows 10. And there it was, I can set multiple timers for up to twenty-three hours, fifty-nine minutes and fifty-nine seconds. Yay!

Click the Windows symbol in the bottom left corner, click Alarms and Clock, select Timer from the top, and click the plus sign at the bottom, then choose the number of hours, minutes and seconds you want. Other versions of Windows may have something similar. To find out, Google “how to set timers in Windows <version>.

Prepping – For Taxes That Is

When Federal income tax was first instituted in 1913 the form was three pages long, the instructions only required one page, and that’s all there was to it. Ah, the good old days. Last year I filed a tax return that was 22 pages long.That was my own silly fault for having so many different tiny streams of income, each requiring its own page or pages. Lucky for me I actually enjoy keeping records and since I got bifocals I don’t have a problem filling out forms. If you itemized deductions or if you have a business with deductible expenses, you kind of have to keep records even if you don’t enjoy it.

The first thing I did was get in the habit of saving all paperwork and receipts that I would, or even might, need for taxes. I have a file folder for it and just drop them in all year long. When tax time comes I have a messy stack of papers, but I have them all and I know where they are. Failing to prepare for an unpleasant task doesn’t make the task go away, it just makes it harder. If it’s too late for this idea to benefit you this year, act today to make next year better. Designate a spot for any and all tax-related paperwork. A file, a box, a drawer, wherever it will be easy for you to put the papers as they come in.

Recently I made Excel spreadsheets that mimic the tax forms that I use. I can enter income as it comes in and deductions as they happen. At any moment I have a snapshot of what my tax situation is shaping up to. This is helpful for making decisions that effect one’s taxes. It tells me if I need to start saving up to pay self-employment taxes. When it’s time to fill out the forms, I just move the numbers from my spreadsheets to the forms.

Plan ahead and act on the plan.

Wonderful review

I am so moved by this review. “Tightwad Gazette of the 21st Century” is exactly what I wanted people to think about it:

“Great book!, February 18, 2014

By Lita McRiley “Sorlina”See all my reviews

Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)

This review is from: Frugal Living for the 21st Century: Adventures in Using Your Money Wisely (Kindle Edition)

This book is jam-packed with tips, ideas, and strategies for saving money. It’s the Tightwad Gazette of the 21st century… internet addresses for DIY help, encouragement for readers, personal anecdotes, this book has it all. To top it off, it’s delivered in a light, easy to read style that isn’t preachy or judgmental. A very helpful, and enjoyable, read!”

The Tightwad Gazette has been the “bible” of thrifty living. My hope was to make it the ‘old testament’ and mine the ‘new testament’, and it seems I have succeeded.


Who Knew? Stored Batteries Can Start a Fire in Your House

This video about a house fire initiated by stored batteries showed up in my Facebook feed the other day:

Uh-oh, there’s a lot of batteries just thrown together in a cardboard tomato container in one of my kitchen drawers. So I looked into it further. As I understand it if anything metal/conductive makes a connection between positive and negative terminals there will be a spark. If there is anything flammable within range of the spark, it will catch fire.

It’s especially easy to do this with 9 volt batteries because the terminals are right next to each other. All it takes is something like a nail, some steel wool, or the scissors that used to lie among the batteries in my kitchen drawer to lie across both terminals at once and there’s a spark.

The batteries from things like cordless drills and dust busters can to this too: They say to put a piece of electrical tape across the terminals to prevent sparking. This author says not to use adhesive tape because the residue may stay on the terminal and interfere with the function of the thing the battery powers. Another possibility is to store batteries in the original plastic container they came in.

It isn’t only batteries with both terminals at one end that can start a fire. In fact you can start your campfire with batteries on purpose if you want:

This right here is why I love the internet. I’ve been paying attention all my life and until now I just never knew about this, and I still wouldn’t if not for the internet.