This month's focus: Things we don't like to think about (disasters, bugs, and taxes)
Event of the Month
The Department of Homeland Security has declared that September is National Preparedness Month. No matter what your politics and your opinion of Homeland Security, why not take some time this month to evaluate if you are prepared for things like:
- natural disasters (earthquakes, hurricanes and other storms, etc.)
- medical emergencies
A few of the many things to consider:
1. Have a home inventory so you can prove what you've lost in the event of a fire, theft, etc. Inventories can include written lists, pictures, and/or videotapes; personally, I have a list and photos - plus receipts for major purchases. Information on home inventories can be found from:
2. Consider carrying an emergency kit in your car. Make your own, or buy one already made. (If you think you should just make your own, but you find yourself procrastinating, then maybe buying a kit is the way to go.) Some organizations you can buy from include:
3. Make sure that key medical information is readily available to those who may need to assist you. My mom had two emergency hospitalizations lately (she's fine now) - and I was sure glad we had a grab-and-go packet that included emergency contact information, an up-to-date list of her medications, her Advance Health Care Directive, etc. Here are some resources that might help if you want to do more in this area:
4. Make sure you have included your pets in your emergency planning. See the information provided by The Partnership for Animal Welfare.
Tip of the Month
If it's worth keeping, it's worth storing it properly. It's always sad to go through someone's boxes of stuff and find that precious items have been attacked by bugs or rodents. Here are some steps you can take to prevent such problems.
1. Clothing and Moths: Clean your clothes before putting them into storage. Clothes moths aren't attracted to clean clothes, but rather to the clothes which are soiled by food, perspiration, etc. And then consider using products which repel moths and beetles, such as cedar and lavender products. (Moth balls are highly toxic.) For much more information regarding clothes storage, see
2. Rats and mice can cause serious damage to property, and spread disease - so it makes sense to take precautions to keep them away from your home by removing their food, water, and shelter. Please be extremely careful cleaning up after them; consider getting professional help. For specific information on controlling rodents (and cleaning up after them), see:
And a bonus tip (for United States taxpayers)
As we let go of things we no longer need, many of us donate them to charities. But did you know that the tax rules regarding items donated to charities just changed? (Oddly enough, this change was part of the Pension Protection Act signed into law on August 17.) Donated items, such as clothing and household goods, must be in "good condition" or no deduction is allowed.
However, the law doesn't define "good condition" and it's too early for the Treasury Department and the IRS to have guidelines in place. Most of the advice I'm seeing talks about keeping more detailed records, and maybe taking pictures of donated items. Check with your own tax advisor if this change might be important to you.
Statistic of the Month
OK, let's leave the bugs, taxes, and disasters behind. This statistic is scary enough: A study by U.S. News and World Report found the average American spends one year of his/her life looking for lost or misplaced items in the office.
Quote of the Month
Clutter clearing . . . can open the space for magic and miracles to come into your life.
-- Michelle Passoff
Products of the Month: Organizing Business Cards
I haven't seen this business card binder in person, but it sure looks nice on the web: Kit Business Card Holder Binder from Russell+Hazel.
Another product I haven't seen but which looks good is the mini file cabinet.