Okay so it has been awhile since I last wrote but I do have reasons some valid, some not so much. The holidays were very special here as we were able to share them with family and friends. Anyone who has or knows of a 3 1/2 year old knows that the time is anything but quiet and low key. Still the wonder of a child during the holidays is inspirational.
New Year’s Eve came, and we were fortunate to share with some close friends, watch the ball drop, sip champagne, eat our blackeyed peas with greens and a bit of pork, throw in rice for good measure. I don’t know all of the significance of the various parts of the whole butthen again I was born in the North, raised out West and now and have lived in Florida for over 16 years. No wonder I get confused?!
So my question to you is are you still adhering to your NewYear’s resolutions? Did you make any or did you just say the heck with it. I don’t ever get very far with them and I do write them out because it is a habit. If you are like most folks, it takes 21 days to establish a new habit. Do you realilze that is tomorrow? If you started your resolution on New Year’s Day and are still going strong with that resolution, you have more than a 50% chance of sticking with it. Congratulations! You should be proud of yourself, so give yourself the preverbial pat on the back. If you fell off the wagon, don’t give up. If it is important, there are 345 days left in 2010 to get right back on the wagon train and start your new habit.
January is National Organization month. It is inherent in us, I think from when we are really really little that on New Year’s Day we put all our new stuff away and go through the rest so we can give it to the less fortunate or even toss if it is beyond repair. As adults we still need to do this. We are getting ready for tax day. Do you have all your receipts in a place that you know where to find them? If not it may be time to start gathering unless of course you like P&P. That is panic and pressure which will rear it’s ugly head about April 13 or if you really like to push the envelope the 14th. Even if you file an extension for filing, you still have to have a good guestimate. You just get to put off filing out the forms on line or on paper. You know I just heard that if you efile your income tax, you get your refund sooner. Now that would be incentive, would it not? Now if you aren’t getting a refund this year, I can see putting off the big rush to file. If you owe, I am sorry. The fact is whether it is our receipts for tax purposes, your closet because the layer of clothes on the floor has become an added shelf(does that count as home improvement?), the cabinets that are bursting at the seams and you can’t get them closed anymore. HELLO-it’s time.
I am going to be on the charity bandwagon for just a minute and I promise you I will stick to that. There are so many of our neighbors, friends we haven’t yet met, and folks in our corner of the world, that could really use that old blanket, those clothes that don’t fit anymore for whatever reason. I make no judgement. What about the pots and pans that you don’t use anymore or the dishes? You name it someone could probably use it. If you don’t have a collection at your church or synagogue, donate the items to your favorite charity. More and more charities are using thrift stores to help them make ends meet so that they can meet the needs of your community. Some in the Tampa area are Charlie’s Treasure’s for The Children’s Home, The Spring, Goodwill, Salvation Army, League of Mercy, Kidney Foundation and the list goes on.
We are so fortunate to live where we do, no matter what your political bend, the American people will get it right. But even in our land of abundance there are those that aren’t as fortunate. We have refugees that are now going to be coming in from Hatti. How heart wrenching is that? Folks are going to need our help. Make sure that the organization you choose is legitimate. Go to their website. Just don’t go by an email sent asking for help. This can also be a time of flim flam folks. They will pull at your heart strings and your purse strings, but what you give will not go where you think.
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The sales are gong on it seems every day now. The best prices of the season they shout out. Do you dare to wait until the 23rd or the 24th if that is the case? If and it is a big IF, if you want a specific product or item for the shopping list you may just be better off getting it. If you wait until the 23rd or the 24th, it may not be available or available in the size, color or specifics that you want. Now if you are a gambler and like rolling the dice, you can do what a friend of mine said today-only 16 more days until I go Christmas Shopping! Now granted some of the excitement of the season is going out in the crowds in the last day or so before the holiday to soak up all the ambiance. You can soak up ambiance and get a cup of cocoa, you don’t have to shop. Now if you do find a bargain of a lifetime on those days-go for it. It might be on sale on the 26th for even more off the “original” price but it is a chance that you take.
Let’s say that shopping in the mall or on Main Street is not your thing, you can find so much on the Internet these days. In fact search around and don’t just go to one site. You may just find some bargains out there that you weren’t expecting. There may be limited quantities and watch out for the shipping. The shipping sometimes is more than the article you are purchasing and if you by any stretch of the imagination must return it-yikes it could even be worse. So do your homework. The stores are open 24hours and you can shop from the comfort of your pajamas. Don’t be afraid to look at other sites for your items. You can comparison shop online just as you can in the mall.
Don’t be afraid to go green with your holiday gift giving. Get something that can be planted outside after the season is over or maybe it is a plant that can stay inside with the right light and watering schedule. Do you know that when you have a live green plant in your home it helps produce oxygen? Yep, the plants absorb the CO2 that we exhale and produce O2. Another hint, take your own bag for your purchases!
If you put up a live evergreen tree or even wreaths , after the first of the year, find out where your local area is doing recycling of the trees. They were chop the trees so that they make a fragrant mulch to use in landscaping.
Now let’s say you are a lucky one and received a new flat screen TV 1080p or a new laptop computer, desk computer or even a cell phone. Dont just throw those items away. Your local recycling company will most likely have an electronics recycle day. You can take all your used electronic to the recyle and not pollute the landfills with mercury and other harmful chemicals that are in those screens and monitors. If you received a new phone there are several agencies that would absolutely love to have your old one. Cell Phones for Soldiers,telephones for abused women, men , too. Check out the local agencies including Salvation Army, Goodwill, The Spring, and others. The extra ink cartridges can be recycled as well. Your local Petsmart has mailers for you to use that are postage paid. HP has a recycle your computer program. You can get more information on their website or at your local Starbucks cafe. Speaking of Starbucks, do you know that you can get their used coffee grounds for use in your garden or compost pile? You don’t even have to drink coffee. These are free for the asking.
In the midst of all this, you find yourself unable to get out or have the time to shop like you would enjoy, you can hire a concierge to do it for you. Personal Shopping can be a blessing at this time of year. They can even get your packages gift wrapped either with your own color scheme of paper and ribbon, or have the shops wrap it. Perfect packages in very little time. Now that is a good thing.
The 12th is the first night of Hanukkah. It starts seven days of religious services and gift giving for our Jewish Friends. If you don’t check back until after the 12th-Happy Hanukkah.
Autumn has been officially with us now for a week. For those of us that live in Florida, it doesn’t quite feel that way with our daytime temperatures reaching the high 80’s and low 90’s. It is a reminder though that before we know it the onslaught of various holiday activities will be upon us. It is also a time when our landscaping needs some special attention to prepare it for the winter months ahead.
Let us start out with the landscaping and fall gardening. It is now a good time to plant some fresh tomato plants and your winter vegetables such as broccoli and cabbage. It is also a good time to freshen up the color with some annuals in your yard. Having splashes of color in your landscape is like adding the “wow” to your outfit. It sparks it up and just makes you feel better when you see it. It is also a good time to get the yard ready for the slower growing season. You should fertilize it to keep it healthy. This is like giving a multiple vitamin to your yard. The yard needs nutrients on which to thrive. It is better to spend a little fertilizing now than re sodding later. If you want more information on master gardening, there are classes held at all full service public libraries, Just log in to your county website and go to libraries. There you will find the library closest to you and a calendar of events. You can also go to your local nursery where they will be knowledgeable about the plants, flowers and vegetables that are best for your locale, Just a difference of a couple of miles can make a difference in the best plants for you.
This is also a good time to clean out your closets. What didn’t you wear this summer? What have your children grown out of if they were in one of those growth spurts. If the clothing is in excellent shape , you may want to take it to a local consignment store. There you will find that most will set a price and share it 50/50 with you. Now before you rush out to spend the latest cash bonanza remember that what you paid is not what someone else will pay in consignment. But you say I paid $400 for the outfit and I am only going to end up with $50? Yes that could be so. But remember this is something that you aren’t wearing for whatever reason and don’t think that you will any time in the near future. Besides it is taking up precious closet pace. So just think of it as fashion karma. You are clearing out space for something new and you are helping someone else have a fashion experience that they would not have been able to afford otherwise.
If the clothing , shoes, purses belts etc are not quite of the caliber for a consignment store, consider giving it to a thrift store of the charity of your choice or if you don’t have a particular charity in mind the Salvation Army or Goodwill Thrift store. These items can be a little more worn but should be clean and not torn. Whereas you may not receive cash to put in your pocket for these items, you will get a receipt for a tax deduction when you file your taxes as well as helping someone else have clothes to wear. The thrift stores will most likely accept small appliances,books,furniture that is in good condition, and various other household items. Some will even come to your home to pick these items
The last phase in the cycle are those items that are all but worn out, ripped and torn, have holes in them, missing pieces, cords, etc. These items should be tossed. For the small appliances and even larger items check with your local waste management office as they usually have a fall cleanup day for each area on which they will pick up items that are not normally in your trash can. For that day only which is usually a Saturday, all you have to do is get the items to curbside. If your specific area does not have such a day, you can call the waste management office and schedule a larger item pick up day.
If you need help trying to determine what items go where and quite frankly it is often an overwhelming experience, it is a good time to call in a professional organizer. They can assist with the sorting in a non emotional way. The professional organizers with OH MISS will actually take your things to the charity of your choice and get the receipt for you.
If you want to get your money in a more direct way and clear out your clutter, have a garage sale. A garage sale takes time and planning. You need the time to gather, then price, advertise, setup and have helpers on your sale day. Again this is an area where a professional organizer and someone who is knowledgeable in garage sales can really be of benefit to your bottom line. The professional organizer can assist you in clearing out the clutter and determine the garage sale worthiness and a garage sale professional can assist you in getting the most for your items. As the adage goes, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. There are some items that are very popular at garage sales and the professional garage sale shoppers will be out on the hunt early in the day. There are ways to advertise your garage sale to get the word out to the most people as well. Another idea is to get several of your neighbors together to do a garage sale on the same day. This will attract more visitors to your sale. OH MISS has garage sale specialists and helpers on staff to help you make the most from your garage sale.
As a special anyone that mentions this article when calling OH MISS for an appointment will receive 10% off the fee. See there you have made more money and not even put up a sign. Call 813-636-9700 and set up your appointment today. This offer is good through October 30,2009, after that our elves will be racing to help set up their homes for the holidays.
Now that you have cleaned out your closets,cupboards and shelves, you will be able to enjoy the upcoming holidays much more.