you might have clutter if . . .

xEgg cartons by artur84 2

photo by artur84

You might have clutter if . . . you need to move things to get to what you really want

You might have clutter if . . . you can’t find something you just bought yesterday

You might have clutter if . . . you find multiples of things you didn’t realize you had

You might have clutter if . . . you’re saving things for “someday”

You might have clutter if . . . you have pieces of things you can’t identify

You might have clutter if . . . it takes more time to clear off the countertop than it does to clean the entire bathroom

You might have clutter if . . . your attic, basement and garage are full

You might have clutter if . . . you’re embarrassed to have guests over

If any of these examples sound familiar, think about how you use things, where you store them, and whether you have more than you need.

Start now. Start small. Start somewhere. Get help if you need to. Email me if you want to learn what it’s like to work with a Professional Organizer. You can let go of the clutter that’s holding you back.

Marcie Lovett, Organized by Marcie
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product review – sweater organizer

Sports by everydayplus

photo by by everydayplus

Years ago the Lillian Vernon catalog carried a brightly colored, hanging closet organizer with slots for Monday-Friday. It allowed you to plan out a week’s worth of clothes and eliminated some of the morning chaos. I recommended them to everyone who struggled with getting kids ready for school.

Although I had clients who could benefit from the same idea, it was too juvenile for most adults, and I didn’t see anything that suited a more mature style. Then I found hanging sweater holders. You can find them at Container Store, Bed Beth and Beyond, Target and online stores.

You hang the organizer from your closet bar and it opens to six sections. You can set up six days’ worth of outfits at the beginning of the week. Or arrange five days’ worth and use the bottom section for shoes. Add everything you need, including accessories, and you won’t have to make decisions each morning. That will get you out the door faster. Setting up your clothes once a week also lets you see whether you need to wash something or take it to the cleaner, preventing surprises the night before an important.

If you travel often, you could organize a week’s worth of outfits for your trip. The shelves fold up flat when you’re not using it, so it’s handy for college students who move in and out of dorms, too.

Lillian Vernon doesn’t sell that kids’ organizer anymore, but you can find it online. Along with kids’ school clothes, you also can prepare for the week’s activities – Scouting or sports uniforms, musical instruments, homework, projects, show and tell, etc.

I advise doing what you can to avoid the morning rush; the more you can do ahead of time, the easier your morning will be. Do you plan your clothes ahead of time or do you decide what you’re going to wear when you wake up?

Marcie Lovett, Organized by Marcie
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spam and scams

xLock by Stuart Miles

photo by by stuart miles

This is going to be a little bit of a rant, I’m afraid.

Do you get numerous phone calls a day from unknown callers? It used to be easy to avoid spammy phone calls if you had caller ID – don’t answer any calls from area codes you don’t recognize. I don’t know anyone in Chicago or Indianapolis, so I don’t answer those calls. I do know people in Las Vegas, New York and San Diego, and I’d hate to play phone tag if one of them called. But they didn’t.

Instead, it’s a robocall allegedly from google ads or a credit card offer or some other scam.

You can’t even trust calls that look like they originate near you. Phone scammers spoof the number they’re calling from to make it look like another number.

I’m familiar with the “You’ve won a free vacation” calls, the phishing scams that claim to be from “Windows Rescue Center”, the bogus IRS calls and the fake charity solicitations. Last week, however, brought a new scam: I got a phone message from a robocaller allegedly about pending litigation, saying I needed to get a lawyer and call back.

Because I’m naturally skeptical, I brushed it off. I got the same message, from the same number, around the same time, each of the next three days. It got annoying, so I did what you’re NOT supposed to do – I called back to tell them to leave me alone. The person I talked to tried to frighten me by saying that I need to pay some ridiculous debt or get a lawyer. I told him I’ll get a lawyer since I don’t owe any money. I also told him I was reporting the call to the FTC.

If you really owe money to a company, they don’t hire a debt collector to threaten you with a lawsuit; they send you a letter. If you don’t respond, they send you registered mail. Don’t give financial information to unsolicited callers.

By the way, robocalls are illegal, and the FTC has pursued many companies but they can’t get every one.

Here’s what you can do to protect yourself:

  • DO NOT give personal information to unsolicited callers, even if they threaten legal action.
  • If your phone rings once and then stops, don’t call back if you don’t recognize the number. If you do, you may be connected to an international hotline that can charge a fee, along with per-minute fees if they can keep you on the phone.
  • Add your number to the federal Do Not Call registry. If you continue to get calls, file a complaint with the FTC.
  • Hang up on bogus calls. The FTC recommends that you not press buttons to be taken off their list or to talk to a live person.

I don’t understand how phones became weapons to deceive innocent people. Seniors often are targeted because they don’t realize that the callers aren’t who they say they are. Don’t become like this poor woman in Arizona, who lost thousands of dollars in a phone scam.

Because it’s so easy to pull off these scams, thieves use email to pull people in, too. You’ve probably heard of the Nigerian scheme, where someone pledges to send you a lot of money after you first send money to them. There’s also the vacation mishap scheme, where you get an email from someone you know who says they’re in trouble overseas and need money quickly.

Every day for the last few weeks I’ve received email from someone who allegedly sent me thousands of dollars through Paypal. I could retire with all the money I’ve got in my account! Except there’s nothing there. Don’t click on the provided links. If someone really had deposited money in your account, you would be able to see it by logging in to Paypal.

Spam

my junk email with a message from “Zaya”

Safely using the internet and your phone seem to get harder each day. You have to be vigilant. You wouldn’t open your front door to someone you don’t know; use the same caution with the phone and email.

Thanks for putting up with my indignation. Please protect yourself.

Marcie Lovett, Organized by Marcie
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renovation and revitalization

xArchitect by suphakit73I’m in the process of redesigning my website. Like many renovation projects, it’s exciting, time consuming and involves a lot of decision making.

Since summer is typically slow for the organizing business, this seemed like a good time to make some updates. I’ll be taking a taking a break from blogging while the new site is under development.

Until then, here’s hoping you make time for fun, as well as productivity, this summer.

Marcie Lovett, Organized by MarcieTM
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product review – consumer action handbook

xconsumeraction

photo courtesy usa.gov

The GSA produces a free consumer handbook to help you make educated decisions when you shop.

It offers questions for you to ask when you’re considering buying products and services. It also addresses avoiding identity theft, filing a consumer complaint, and managing someone else’s finances. There are tips for detecting and reporting telephone and email scams, too.

The handbook is available in English or Spanish, and you can download it or ask that it be mailed to you.

Be an educated consumer – understand value before you buy, learn how to safeguard your financial information and avoid fraud.

Have you used the Consumer Action Handbook to find information? Leave a comment, below.

Marcie Lovett, Organized by Marcie
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find financial freedom

xFlag5Do you dread seeing bills or bank statements in the mail?

Do you know how much you spend each month?

Do you have enough money saved for retirement?

July 1st is National Financial Freedom Day. If you panic at the thought of balancing your checkbook or worry about saving for long-term goals, take some time this week to consider your financial situation. Instead of living in fear, do some research. Look at your spending habits and see if you can cut something. Read an article about saving or investing:

  • Michelle Singletary is a finance writer with a syndicated column who gives practical advice and offers solutions to readers. Many of her columns focus on being more intentional about what you do with your money.
  • AARP magazine has a lot to say about finances, including this article by financial advisor Allan Roth on fighting financial clutter.
  • GOBankingRates offers articles about saving and investing. Two of my recent favorites are how to save money this summer and reasons people aren’t saving for retirement.

Earlier this week I wrote about making small changes. As Independence Day approaches, what are some small steps you can take to achieve financial freedom? Leave a comment, below.

Marcie Lovett, Organized by Marcie
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quote: take charge of change

Change by Naypong

photo by Naypong

If you aren’t happy with the way your home or office looks and functions, you can make a change. If you want to make changes to your habits, you can. If you don’t feel challenged at work, you can change that. If you want to change someone else, forget about it.

The first week of July is Take Charge of Change Week. The start of summer is a good time to consider making a change. It’s not a New Year’s resolution; it’s accomplishing something for yourself because you deserve it.

 

Failure isn’t fatal, but failure to change might be – John Wooden

 

Try making a small change and see how it feels. What have you got to lose? If it doesn’t work out, you can try something else. Once you’re comfortable with the new habit/activity/routine, you can introduce another small change. Don’t wait until January to make promises to yourself. You deserve better.

What can you do differently that will make the summer more appealing, more productive or more peaceful? Leave a comment, below.

Marcie Lovett, Organized by Marcie
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