21:03 – The trial and error of scanning!

day-03Here we are at day three of our 21 day challenge, and I guess it’s time for a quick update on how this is going.

As I have sorted through my papers over and over again the last couple of years, I find that most everything I’ve collected is stuff I need and want to scan, which means there are a lot, a lot of scanning to do 😦

I bought a new printer earlier this year, mostly for the sake of having a proper scanning device.  This particular printer will scan double sided documents as well as single sided ones, and as it has a automatic document feeder it will do bulk scanning.

So how is this printer/scanner working out?

After a bit of trial and error, I have found that I need to be a little careful about putting to many pages in the document feeder at a time. The automatic document feeder can hold 30 pages, but unless the the paper is completely prisine, I have found that everything runs just a little smoother if I don’t fill it to the top of it’s capasity.

I’ve also found that it sometimes, mind you not all the time, but sometimes, is a bit temperamental when it comes to paper quality. Curled corners, tear or two, or mixed sized paper, does not always seem to agree with the scanner. This has resultet in me having to do a few re-scans to get everything right.

I am finally starting to get the hang of it, and I now know a bit more about how to proceed, to get things running more smoothly. Hopefully this will speed up the process, because, until now, it’s been a bit slow going for my pacience :-/

When I scan my documents, I mostly use the scan to PDF function on my printer. I alternate between duplex or single side scanning, all depending on what’s in the document. Now unfortunately I can’t mix the two in one session, so I have to decide up front what I want.

As I do not yet have any good software for editing my pdf files, I have to be a bit “crafty” when I scan my documents.

If there is only one or two double sided page(s), within a large document, I will copy the “second” page, add it to the pile and scan everything as single sided pages. If there are more double sided pages than single sided, I will scan everything as double sided, and just live with the blank pages in the file.

If you guys have any experience with a good, and cheap, PDF editing software. Please let me know, so I can check it out. And if I come accross one, that doen’t cost an arm and a leg, I will off course let you know.

Now that we have talked about the scanner, is there any progress on that pile?

Well as you can see from the picture below, my work-space is a mess (yes, that’s my dining room table 😉 ), the piles are still all over my livingroom floor, and my pile of done and scanned stuff, is only about 6 inches high.. even thought I am working on it, as we speak 😉

2016-11-21-19-57-00

 

My next post 

After a comment from tigerofmyheart, on her already having a bag ready to go, but no shredder in sight. I was thinking about doing a small piece on the importance of shredding your papers. On why, how and where you can have this done for you.

Stay tuned.. that’s what’s next on this page!

 

JOINING IN 

There is a saying “The more the merrier”, and so far there are a few of us who will be attacking the paper piles. And I for one, can’t wait to see what stacks we all will shed!

– Melinda, at PurpleSlobinRecovery, is joining with about 15 minutes a day
– Viv, at GriefHappens, said she needed to be on this “like an over-sugared kid in a bouncy house”, and are joining with 30 minutes a day 🙂
– Jena, at All Round Better me,  is in for 60 minutes a week
– Amy, at More time than money, also joining with 60 minutes a week
– Grace, at The CFO MOM Blog, just told me she is joining, woohoo

Sitting on the fence
– Gilly, at Anything Except Housework is waiting to see if we survive it all 😉
– Jen, at The Hidden Hoarder, is hard at work on her front porch, and haven’t quuuuite decided yet 😉

Anyone else want to jump in? Let me know, and I’ll ad you to the list 🙂

 

 

21:02 – Document KEEP overview!

day-02It’s day two of our 21 day challenge.

Yesterday we talked a bit about what kind of documents we need to keep, should keep and want to keep. I promised I would make you a printable picture of the KEEP overview.

It’s not all fancy but it should work for your needs.

document-keepers-smallClick here to get a printable version

 

What have I been up!

Enough of this talking about what to keep… have you gotten any decluttering done? Is there any progress on your pile? 

Well, yes 🙂 There are some progress, but that will have to wait for tomorrow. I can’t let you inn on everything right away you know 😉 Right now I’d rather tell you about, who all is joining in on this endeavor.

JOINING IN 

There is a saying “The more the merrier”, and so far there are a few of us who will be attacking the paper piles. And I for one, can’t wait to see what stacks we all will shed!

– Melinda, at PurpleSlobinRecovery, is joining with about 15 minutes a day
– Viv, at GriefHappens, said she needed to be on this “like an over-sugared kid in a bouncy house”, and are joining with 30 minutes a day 🙂
– Jena, at All Round Better me,  is in for 60 minutes a week
– Amy, at More time than money, also joining with 60 minutes a week
– Grace, at The CFO MOM Blog, just told me she is joining, woohoo

Sitting on the fence
– Gilly, at Anything Except Housework is waiting to see if we survive it all 😉
– Jen, at The Hidden Hoarder, is hard at work on her front porch, and haven’t quuuuite decided yet 😉

I hope I didn’t miss anyone.. if I did, or if you just decided you want to join. Let me know, and I’ll add you in on the list.

Guess that’s it for today,

see you all around. tomorrow

21:01 – Sorting time!

day-01It’s day one of our 21 day challenge, and the first thing we have to do is gather every scrap of paper that is using real estate in the house. I hunted high and low, and my pile can be found in yesterdays post.

You’re not ready with your pile yet? Right! Everyone, you’ve got 15 minutes to gather it all into a huge pile.

Now! Run…

 

Ready? No.. not yet? You need a little more time? No problem…. (minutes are passing)

OK guys. Everyone have their piles? Yep? Great.

Seems like we are all ready to get down to business 🙂

It’s time to start SORTING the stack!

One, two, three.. ready… NO,no…  hang on a minute! I just thought about something. There is something we need to talk about first!

You might be really tempted to chuck it all right smack in the middle of sorting through your papers (I know I would love that), but you should not do this.

You see! There are some personal files we need to keep, and some we should keep, in addition to the ones you want to keep.

Let’s talk about the these real quick.
My lists below are a compilation of what I have found on the web. Not everything will be applicable for everyone, I might also have missed some documents. Anyways, the lists should work as a general guideline for what we need and should keep. Now, you might not want to hang on to all, I’ll leave that up to your discretion 😉 

Disclaimer! If you own a business, there are specific rules for what you need to keep. My lists are for personal documents only.

NEED TO KEEP  (physical copies and data files if possible) 

  • Will, Power of attorney and living will
  • Birth and death certificates
  • Marriage license, prenups and divorce papers
  • Social security information (US) or other equivalent type of documents (rest of the world)
  • Proof of citizenship
  • Adoption papers
  • Alimony arrangements
  • Child custody agreements
  • Military records
  • IRA information/contributions
  • Retirement/Pension plan documents
  • ID cards and passports
  • Insurance policies (might be OK to have as physical paper in addition to any digital copy’s)
  • Vehicle titles and loan documents
  • House deeds and mortgage documents
  • Any other loan/mortgage documents, this also includes personal loans
  • Business license

In short, you’ll want to keep physical copies of things related to state/federal matters, including certifications, licenses, or deeds. Why?
1. You, might want to have easy access to these, just in case you need them.
2. If you need a physical copy and don’t have one, it’s a pain to have them replaced, since you have to make a direct request to a government agency, and we all know how “fast” they work 😉

SHOULD KEEP (data files and/or as physical copies)

These are documents you should hold on too, for a while. You don’t need to keep them as physical documents, unless you really want to. Scanned files are fine.

  • Tax records and receipts, including the yearly statements you need for the tax return (Norway – IRS can go back 10 years = keep 10 years, US = 7 years – check out Forbes info on this, UK – 22 months )
  • Pay stubs (keep for a year, until you can check it against your yearly statement)
  • Bank statements
  • Social security statements
  • Annual insurance policy statements
  • Retirement plan statements (401(k), 529, IRA, etc)
  • Home purchase, sale, or improvement documents (keep as long as you own the house + at least six/seven years after you sell (for tax purposes))
  • Medical records (should keep as long as they are relevant for your situation)
  • Medical bills (keep at least a year after payment in case of disputes)
  • Warranty documents and receipts (keep as long as you own them)
  • Pictures of expensive items you own, in case you need them for an insurance claim

There are also some documents you probably should keep the most recent version of, for your own piece of mind:

  • Canceled checks and bank deposit slips (until you receive your monthly bank statement)
  • Bills (until you have proof that the payment was received)

I’m sure there are more I have missed, but in general A GOOD RULE OF THUMB can be to think (when deciding what to keep)

How hard is this document to replace? Will I need to hang around a government office, hospital, bank or on a phone for hours to get hold of a copy?” Is the answer a resounding YES, then it’s probably best to hold onto it 🙂 Anything else, can probably be scanned or found as online documents.

WANT TO KEEP

Then we get to the documents/scraps of paper we want to keep. maybe they are ideas, a great article, drawing or sentimental items like old letters. You are the only one who can decide on these items. But to keep that particular pile under control, make sure the paper/document is important to you, inspires you or gives you tremendous joy (like drawing from a kid, letter from a dear one and so on).

NOTE!

As I mentioned before, I shred all documents before they leave the house. You should too! If not, you might risk people rummaging through your trash finding personal information about you, that they can use to empty your bank accounts, buy things on credit cards or even completely steal your identity. If you don’t own a shredder, make sure you at least tear the important stuff.

OTHER

This turned out to be a long list of things to keep in mind when sorting through your papers.

To make it easier for you, I will add a printable picture/file on this tomorrow, in case you would like the overview on hand as you sort through your papers – I know I could need this 😉  Why not add it right away.. well, I haven’t made it yet.. and as it’s 11PM here, I can’t get to bed soon enough 😉

Until tomorrow everyone, until tomorrow 🙂

Nighty nite…

21 Day Paper Challenge!

21-day-logoI mentioned a couple of days ago that it is time for a new 21 day challenge. A paper challenge this time.

I figured that since it’s a challenge, I will need a few rules/goals. How else would you guys know if I’m keeping up my end of this 😉


Rules/goals:

  • I will dedicate at least 60 minutes a day (yes, every day) to sorting out my paper monster.
  • I will update you all on a regular basis, on what I’m up to, and on how much has gone “out-the-door” (read: trash pile) 😉
  • Out-the-door – I’m hoping that about 90% of all my papers will be shredded at the end of it all. Why not a hundred? Since there are some papers that we need to keep physical versions of, I guess I’ll be keeping those. Since I don’t know how many there are of these, I’m going with the “hopefully 90% out-the-door” 😉 As you can see from the piles below.. it’s not easy to say exactly how much will be going out-the-door!

2016-11-16-21-31-22

When do we start? 

Tomorrow is a god a day as any to start, so I’ll see you then?

Melinda, you ready?

Paper and paper clutter!

paper-pile

Now that the great cooktop debacle is over, I want to talk to you about paper.

I’m not talking about things like wrapping paper or nice little pristine notebooks waiting to be filled.

No, I’m talking about all the paper we tend to hold on to. The paper “clutter” that seems to be everywhere.

Stuff like old tax returns, pay slips, bills, manuals, scraps of paper with notes on, receiptsm magazine and newspaper tear outs, insurance papers, financial statements, health info and notebooks filled with random notes.

Off course, some paper we need to keep, but those tend to easily get lost in the pile of paper we really don’t need to hold on to.

Just about everyone I know, have way to much paper floating around. And I for one, want that to be over, once and for all.

It’s time to tackle the paper monster, hanging around in the house.

You might remember I tried this back in May. My intention was to scan all the important ones, and then get rid of it all.

Now as you probably gathered from lack of posts about that particular task, I never succeeded.

I sorted some, and even scanned some, and then I had to tuck it all away because of visitors. And you know how that goes. Out of sight out of mind! Yeah, that particular project never made it out of the cabinets again… until now!

I really do want this stuff gone! So I’m giving it another try, but this time I’m doing it in a way that might help me actually get there.

You might remember my 21 day declutter challenge in September! Which turned out to be a pretty successful project, mostly because of you guys.

I’m thinking maybe a new challenge is the way to go, to get my pile under control, a 21 day paper challenge.

I might try to tackle the project by topic, but topic or not. There are a few steps that will be the same, regardless of what pile I’m attacking.

4-steps-blackpng

SORT
I will sort papers into what I need to keep, should keep, and want to keep. The rest? Goes into the toss pile.

SCAN
All papers in the keep pile will be scanned.
When a piece of paper has been scanned, and checked that it looks OK, a new evaluation is needed.
Do I need to keep this as a physical copy or can it be tossed now that it’s scanned?

FILE
As I scan along, I will end up with a few documents I will need to keep physical copies off, like for example birth-certificates, ID cards, passports, vehicle title, active mortgage documents and so on. There are more, of course, but we will get to that.

The physical keepers, I will categorize and file into binders.

SHRED
As I sort, scan and file my paper, I will end up with quite a lot of paper in the toss pile. All this will be shredded, then tossed.

I’m super careful with anything that might have my name, bank details, credit card details, health information or anything else on, that might say things about me. I do not want to set myself up for identity theft, therefore I shred all personal papers leaving the house.

21 DAYS
21 day, sound like a long time.. will it take you that long? 

I have no idea. My experience from earlier tells me that the scanning part will be what takes the longest. And from a health point of view, I want to spend as little time in front of the computer as I can.

Right now, there are piles and piles of paper to go through. Sadly as most of it has been sorted several times before, and I believe most of the papers I have.. are the scan-able ones… ouch 😦

Will I get it done, in 21 days?

I’m certain I will get it done (cocky I know).. but if I don’t… at least I’m going to be a heck of a lot closer, than I am today 😉

Do you have a pile pile from hell, that needs some work? Why not join me and we can tackle the paper monster together.

Not everyone will be scanning, I’m sure, but there might still be work to be done, with sorting, filing and shredding.

I would love the company 🙂  

Our recycle plant – and a awesome find!

21 DAY declutter challenge logo 70A couple of miles down the road from me, we have a large recycle plant. They will take anything you want/need to get rid off.

One of their best ideas is the “Used goods/Exchange house”.

They have this separate building right before you drive into the recycle plant, where you can bring things like furniture, kitchen items, books, art, sports equipment, music instruments, old sinks… you name it, they will take it, IF it can be useful to other people.

You can not bring trash… if you do, they will direct you to the regular part of the recycle plant, where you can toss your trash for a small fee.

It’s free to leave your stuff at the Exchange house, and it’s free for people to browse all the items they have on display. Should you find something you like! Just stick it in your car.. and drive off.. at no cost to you… all free.

Last week… B and I took a full (as in an overfull) car to the Exchange house, as I figured that some of the items I had been discarding, might be useful to someone else. Last week was my second run, and tomorrow I’m doing it again. That’s three runs just with items from my 21 day declutter challenge 🙂

I love the idea of other people being able to use my old items, the items kinda get a new lease on life 😉

Now.. every time I visit the recycle plant, I always take a peak into the Exchange building, just to see if something useful would pop up, and guess what?

During last week’s trip, I scored big time!!!

I came across a small metal “tub”, which I assume, have most likely been some sort of old drinking trough for horses or something. The tub was pretty grubby looking, but I turned immediately to B and told him “I’m taking this home“.

He looked at me like I was nuts.. and I can’t say I blame him! Here we are, bringing stuff FROM my house to declutter the place… and I want to bring something BACK?

He tried to put up some good arguments, but I was pretty determined. I told him I had the perfect idea for it… HE couldn’t see it.. but it wasn’t really like he had much of a choice.. I was bringing the darn thing home if I had to carry it myself 😉

15 minutes later.. we are at my place, deep knee into cleaning the tub.. scrubbing all the dirt away, getting rid of old attached plasterboard pieces and washing away rust.

And then, I find the perfect spot… and then, I fill it with plants (to check out how it will look, come next spring)… and THEN, he finally gets it 🙂

2016-09-29-20-59-18

What do you think? Not a too shabby idea.. right?

I LOVE it!

It’s perfect in my garden.. and in addition to being a different and cool planter box, it’s gonna be great for my yearly barbecue, as a huge icebox, filled with wine, beer and champagne 🙂

I mean, seriously.. what’s not to like 😉

 

My fellow 21 day declutter challenge bloggers;

Still in the middle of it:
– Melinda, at PurpleSlobinRecovery, on day 11
– Grace, at The CFO MOM Blog, is making some hairy goals for the month of October
– Jen, at The Hidden Hoarder, on day 20, only one more day to go!
– Gilly over at Anything but housework, working on her closet. 11+ bags so far.

done, just like me:
– Barb, at Decluttering The Stuff, 14 days. Total count: 146.
– Liliia at Bring your baby abroad , decluttered her old room, while visiting her mum.

Medication – a shed!

21 DAY declutter challenge logo 70Seems like I still can’t get out of the habit of posting every day…I’m sure I’ll get there eventually, but obviously not today. For right now it feels like I’m still working on my declutter challenge.. even though I am on day 23 😉

Today I want to talk about expired medication!

I have this drawer full of medication, and it’s been a year since I looked through this drawer hunting for any medication that might have expired. September 2015 I wrote about the importance of doing a regular medicine “cabinet” shed.

In that post I talk about why paying attention to medications expiration date, is important.
I touch on the topic of potency, storing and how to dispose of old medication…

Here is an excerpt from my post:
medication-disposal

I tend to do a yearly shed… just to make sure that I have control over what’s in my medicine “cabinet/drawer”. Expiration dates, what I need refills on and what, if any, I need to take down to the chemist for them to dispose of, safely!

As I have tried all sorts of medication to try to cure my shoulder/neck/headache problem, you might say my drawer looks like it belongs in a chemists office, rather than in a regular household. Some of it belongs in the “been there, tried that, didn’t work” category, and it is time to let that stuff go.

And here we are… out-the-door.. they go!

Most of them expired, but also some no longer used (as they didn’t work), ergo no reason to keep them.

21-day-23-expired-meds

20 items
just can’t help but still do the counting 🙂

 

SO! What about you? Have YOU looked through your medicine cabinet lately?

 

As some of my fellow bloggers are still into their 21 day declutter challenge – I will continue to post about their progress:

Still in this challenge is:
– Melinda, at PurpleSlobinRecovery, is on her day 10
– Grace, at The CFO MOM Blog, is making some hairy goals for the month of October
– Jen, at The Hidden Hoarder, is almost there, day 20, one more day to go!
– Gilly over at Anything but housework, have gotten rid of 11++ trash bags from her closet, and are still hard at work on it…

and already done just like me, are:
– Barb, at Decluttering The Stuff, 14 days. Total count: 146.
– Liliia at Bring your baby abroad , decluttered her old room, while visiting her mum.

21 day challenge – A follow up!

21 DAY declutter challenge logo 70Even though I’m done with my 21 day declutter challenge, it seems like I’ve gotten used to doing a daily post.

I was originally planning on taking a few days off, but it seems like I just can’t help myself…  I feel compelled to sit down and write a few words 😉

During these 21 days, I have to admit, I have surprised myself. I thought I would struggle with my goal of 231 items out-the-door. But no! It turned out to be much easier to “loose” the items, even so.. never in my wildest dreams did I think I would end up with around 400 items leaving the house.

It’s been quite a while (last year) since my focus was on decluttering, so you might say I’ve had a bit of a break from it all. And during this year I’ve been  “beating myself up” a little, over the fact I couldn’t ever seem to get back into the groove of it.

Now on the other hand, I think the break has been a good thing.

I have noticed during this challenge, that it’s been easier to shed items that have survived several culling’s before. The items themselves have less “power” over me. I’m firmer in my decisions and I have a clearer vision of how I want things to be.

Decluttering can at times be emotional draining, memories and feelings come popping out of the woodwork, and sometimes a person need a break, a time-out! It’s good to take the time to process… sort of let your heart catch up with your brain.

This is what my break have given me. Time to “heal” so to speak.  And now I’m more focused than ever to get the stuff out of the house.

So if you find yourself at a standstill… it might be time for a break, to let all the impressions sink in and give yourself time to recoup and gather new energy.

My decluttering isn’t going to end with this 21 day challenge… no, I’ve already got plans for more challenges, as they seem to make me more “accountable” 😉

It hasn’t hurt that I have had some great bloggers join me or cheered me on. I have to give credit where credit is due. Without you, my wonderful blogger friends, I’m not sure I could have done this.

THANK YOU ALL!


Still in this challenge is:

– Melinda, at PurpleSlobinRecovery, is still working hard at her place
– Grace, at The CFO MOM Blog, is making some hairy goals for the month of October
– Jen, at The Hidden Hoarder, still going strong on her day 19, Total so far: 698.

and already done are:
– Barb, at Decluttering The Stuff, 14 days. Total count: 146.
– Gilly over at Anything but housework, got rid of 11 trash bags from her closet!
– Liliia at Bring your baby abroad , decluttered her old room, while visiting her mum.

21.22 – The last bits and pieces!

day-22It seems like I’m supposed to be done with my 21 day declutter challenge, as yesterday was my “last” day.

Having said that, there are a couple of items I still would like to count up into my total of items out-the-door for this year.

Earlier this summer, even though I haven’t written about it, I did shed a few items, as a friend and a family member left my house with a couple of extra items in their luggage 😉

In addition to these earlier decluttered items, there are a couple of item that made it out of this house during the 21 day challenge, that I had completely forgotten to add into my former total.

So here we are.. the day after the end of my 21 day declutter challenge, still writing about things that have left or are leaving the house as a result of the challenge.

DAY 22…

37 items out-the-door!

21-day-22-sopihop-bStuff my sister took
Grandmothers jewelry box
1 of grandmothers necklaces
2 of grandfathers shooting prizes (goblets)
10 pieces of clothing
14

21-day-22-sopihop-cStuff my friend took
1 leather jacket
6 makeup/facial items
4 pairs of jeans
25
21-day-22-sopihop-dStuff I forgott to count earlier
1 top
1 black jacket
8 software CD/DVD’s
2 printer manuals
=
37 items

My final count:
– 392 items part of my 21 day challenge
– 417 items out-the-door so far this year 

Told you I wasn’t done yet 😉

OK! But now you are done.. right? 

Uh huh.. sorry.. I just remembered about the pile of discarded medication that is ready to go…  oh.. and the artwork I’ve got in a pile ready for me to take some pictures…  

Guess this means I wasn’t quite as done as I though…  


I’ve been joined in this challenge by:

– Barb, at Decluttering The Stuff, 14 days. Total count: 146.
– Melinda, at PurpleSlobinRecovery, was we heard from her, she had fallen into her filing cabinet
– Grace, at The CFO MOM Blog, has gotten rid of 12-13 bag/boxes of stuff!
– Jen, at The Hidden Hoarder, have shed amazingly 671 items so far.

and
– Gilly over at Anything but housework, got rid of 11 trash bags from her closet!
– Liliia at Bring your baby abroad , decluttered her old room, while visiting her mum.

21.21 – The final cull!

day-21We’re at the final day of my 21 day declutter challenge.

I’m floored with how fast time have flown. It feels like the beginning of September was just a few days ago, and here we are on Sept 25th and at the end off this particular journey.

I set out on my 21 day challenge to try to get back into the decluttering mindset, little did I know that I would end up running amok in my own house. Not only have I passed my 21 days with flying color (I have surpassed the goal of 231 items, and I have decluttered every day) but I still have quite a few items just waiting to leave the house.

I thought it would be hard to find the 231 items, as I have decluttered quite a bit the last few years. But this time around my mind have been more determined than ever, and there are items that have survived all my other culling’s, that have left or will be leaving the house, this time around.

It seems like every time I do another round, I’m harder on my stuff, they have to have more qualities to survive my culling’s. And I’m noticing a trend of wanting less and less, left in my house.

It’s a good trend, as long as I just don’t get to the stage where I “throw the baby out with the bath water”, so to speak. Now.. I believe I can easily do another challenge or two, before I get to that particular stage 😉

So how have I done, on this last day of challenge?

Here we go….

?? items going out-the-door!

21-day-21-c

1 large floor vase
1 bench (to sit on or use as a table)
21 pieces of jewelry
3 watches
1 jewelry pouch
27

21-day-21-b

1 small ironing board
17 Eagle creek and other brands packing cubes/bags
14 pieces of random stuff
59
21-day-21-a1 basket
1 pair of boots
2 kitchen towels
=
63

That’s 21 x 3, baby!!!!

Not bad for the challenges final day, if I may say so myself 😉

How have I done throughout this challenge?

My final count = 380 items out-the-door! 

And you know what? I’m not even done yet 😉


I’ve been joined in this challenge by:

– Barb, at Decluttering The Stuff, 14 days. Total count: 146.
– Melinda, at PurpleSlobinRecovery, is still deep into her filing cabinet
– Grace, at The CFO MOM Blog, has gotten rid of 12-13 bag/boxes of stuff!
– Jen, at The Hidden Hoarder, is taking a day off, she have shed amazingly 671 items so far.

and
– Gilly over at Anything but housework, just got rid of 11 trash bags from her closet!
– Liliia at Bring your baby abroad have been visiting her mum and decluttered her old room.