Moola Maladies

Are you suffering from Retail Theraposis, Analysis Paralysis, or Money Mania/Dollar Depression? Time to explore financial pathology and diagnose your moola malady.  “Doctor” Kay Dee Cole of Clarity Wealth Development and “Nurse Practitioner” Jackie Shas of Get Organized!, LLC will be on hand to discuss the most prevalent money related disorders, preventative measures, and cures.  Join us for a fun filled hour and take back our financial health.

The truth is most of have more stuff than we need or can use.  This stuff includes clothing, household goods, sports equipment, and gadgets.  Other stuff that we have too much of can include shame, anxiety, and stress.

To cure financial disorders and immunize against them, we focus on reducing the impacts of shame and conventional wisdom through inoculations of awareness and knowledge.

Wed 10/23 

Noon-1:30pm

101 at Big River

Sign up today!

Wishful Recyclers- When going green goes bad/ Jackie’s Top Ten Guide for Going Green Effectively

The First Alternative Coop in Southtown Corvallis quit accepting any plastics at their recycling center.  Turns out China is halting the import of plastics that are melted down to make new plastic stuff because of the negative environmental impact.  Good for you China; looks like we have to start keeping our trash on this side of the ocean again.

I had been religiously saving my soft plastic (films, bags, collapsed packing pillows) and hard plastic that was not accepted in the comingle bin.  All my hard plastic had to go into the trash, filling up our tiny trash can.  But there is hope!

Republic Services here in Corvallis accepts clean stretchy soft plastic at their recycle depot.  They accept all kinds of stuff at the recycle depot including batteries, automotive oil, and electronics.

If you, your company, and/or your employees care about recycling.  Educate yourself so you do not become a Wishful Recycler.  A Wishful Recycler puts everything they hope to be recycled into the recycle bin and wishes that somewhere down the line someone will care enough to make sure it’s recycled.

This does not work.  In fact, by being a Wishful Recycler, you are increasing the trash that heads to the landfill because your trash is mixed in with the good recycling.  Its business folks!  And if too much sorting through trash is necessary to recycle a load, they will trash it instead.  They have to.  Otherwise they would go out of business and nothing would get recycled.

Here is Jackie’s Guide to what you can do to make the world a better place effectively:

1. Let go of the “All or Nothing” mentality.  Mathematically speaking if everyone did a little it would be a lot.

2. Educate yourself and your employees so everyone knows what goes into the recycle bin.

3. Ensure the people doing cleaning in your office actually put the recycling in the right bins.  You would be surprised how often the cleaning people just trash it all.  Give them a reason to care.

4. Go green in other ways.  Here is a guide from the U.S. Small Business Administration to give you ideas.

5. Think about how you can reduce the plastic in your life.  Leave packaging at the store.  Use any bag-like-vessel as a trash bag so you are not buying new plastic to put your trash in.

Pet food bags, kitty litter bags, bags your new stuff comes wrapped in, disposable shopping bags, potato chip bags, anything that can hold stuff.  Instead of putting it in the trash empty – fill it first.  We have not purchased a plastic trash liner at my house in over 3 years.

6. Reuse whenever possible.  Here is the Corvallis Sustainability Coalition Guide.  Google resources like this in your area.

7. Hang a clothes line, walk when it’s close, turn your car off when you are waiting for a train.  The options are virtually endless for ways to have a positive impact.

8. Buy less often because you want it, and more often when you need it.

9. This is a big one… Ensure the children in your life learn about recycling and other green practices.

10.  Do not be a Wishful Recycler.  The sorters are sending you bad vibes and you may cause my carefully sorted stuff to end up in the landfill because it gets associated with your trash.

Go forth and be green (effectively.)

Visit Republic Services for more information about correct recycling.

New Year’s Revolution

This time of year I cannot help but think of my sister. She is part of the management team of one of the most successful health care cooperatives in the country. She owns a big historic house in a small town. The kind of house that has a dining room, sun room, living room, TV room, and family room; lots of rooms. To support the local library, most years her home is on the historic homes holiday tour. She decorates every room right down to the bathrooms in the holiday theme with a 15 foot Christmas tree in the living room. On the day after Thanksgiving, she and her life long friends go Black Friday shopping. These women have fun together whether they are hiking, cooking, or camping but they love to shop.

My sister truly enjoys all the things she does and is very organized. We were raised to be productive and hard working; work for money, work to help, and work for fun. It’s what we do. My sister is also under a great deal of stress. Stress that gets etched in her face and makes me concerned for her health.

Why do we make the decisions to do what we do? Do what stresses us out? One answer is conformity. Researchers have discovered that the closer you are to the fringe of your tribe, the harder it is to go against the norms. People who are part of the inner circle of the tribe are much more likely to rebel without repercussions. We all know this intuitively, just think High School.

Another reason is habit. We go into auto-pilot mode and do what we have always done. We do not stop to think about our motivations. Why am I spending my time or money on this stuff? Is this my stuff? Family and community are good at planting their stuff in your brain. What would happen if I stopped? Where do I want to be spending my resources?

I do not buy Christmas presents any more. I stopped so long ago that I have little thought of it. Instead, I donate to my favorite non-profits in honor of my friends and family. Each year I watch as the people around me become more and more stressed as the holiday approaches. “Need that one last gift for so and so.”

Christmas is a menace when it comes to stuff. Most of us get stuff that we do not want or will not use. The gifts are wrapped in so much emotion that we feel guilty about getting rid of them. So there it sits one more bit of stuff to add to our growing pile. Being surrounded by too much stuff can cause fatigue, stress and depression. Researchers have correlated materialism with darker moods. No wonder Black Friday can be so dangerous!

When folks find out that I do not buy gifts on the holidays, they often say they wish they could do the same. When I ask them why they are stressing themselves out with all the shopping, they say that they have a family member that would ostracize them for not bringing gifts or ‘it’s for the kids’. They say they would prefer not to get gifts but they are stuck in the vicious gift giving cycle.

One of the most vital things in life is to be true to your self. This can be difficult. Studies have shown that conformity is often not a conscious decision. If we do not take the time to reflect on what is important to us, we will not see what we may want to change. Few people would say that they enjoy being stressed out but we put ourselves in stressful situations everyday.

Instead of making one more New Years Resolution, instead of auto-piloting your way through the next holiday season, make a New Years Revolution. Take the time to reflect on where you spend your time and money verses what is truly important to you. What can you do differently so you are spending your resources on what you love?

True habits are hard to break and people with the highest opinion of their self-restraint are the first to fail at attempting change. The key is to make baby steps, to change one small thing, and when it becomes habit, change one more. Know up front that there will be set backs and detours, plan how you will handle them up front.

Marina Krakovsky in the article Secrets of Self-Improvement – Scientific American Mind March/April 2012, explains the importance of mental contrasting. To be successful you must imagine both the successful results and the obstacles. Planning for the ‘what ifs’ up front will increase your chance of success.

I invite you to reflect and think big. Instead of pledging to lose weight, save money or organize your stuff, reflect on what means the most to you and have a News Year’s Revolution. If you want to stay home during the holidays and not travel, announce it in March so there is plenty of time for folks to get over it. Suggest that gatherings be held the weekend before or after Christmas or tell the family that you will be attending every other year. If you want to stop the gift giving cycle, tell folks that you will be purchasing small gifts and donated the rest to a charity. Tell them in May, let it sink in.

You may be like my sister and love everything about the holidays. I bet there is something you would like to change in your life though. Whatever you decide your revolution will be, follow the steps for success. Know its not going to be easy, break the change up into small steps, and do mental contrasting so you picture success while imagining how you will handle set backs. Above all be true to your self. If people don’t like it they were not meant to be part of your tribe anyway.

Embezzlement Alert: Who is processing your payroll?

Many companies outsource payroll processing at some level. You would know right away if your employees did not get paid, they would be lined up at your office door. But how do you know your payroll taxes are being paid? How do you know that your quarterly and annual reports to the government are being submitted?

My clients, I will call them NP, asked me to share their story in hopes that it would not happen to you. NP wanted to outsource payroll. They found a company that offered great rates for non-profits. NP did their due diligence and researched the company, talked to references, and contacted the Better Business Bureau. Green lights all around for this east coast payroll service provider. NP received their payroll report packets each payday, money was deducted from their bank account for taxes and they received copies of quarterly reports.

Unfortunately, each payroll seemed to have an error. NP’s bookkeeper or an employee would catch the error and they would correct it in-house. NP found it virtually impossible to get the service provider to fix errors. They finally decided to bring payroll back in-house and called me. I helped them set up payroll and submit corrected quarterly reports that fixed all the errors the east coast company had created.

Then they got ‘The Letter’. Turns out the payroll provider had never sent in any of their tax payments or the quarterly reports. Instead the east coast company had embezzled tens of thousands of dollars from NP and other clients and the owner of the payroll processing service was now in jail.

NOTE: No matter who processes your payroll, no matter who is responsible for paying the payroll taxes, the employer is liable for all payroll taxes period.

There are many levels of services to help you pay employees:

#1 You process payroll in-house utilizing the help of an advisor like an Accountant or CPA as needed.

#2 Payroll processing is out-sourced but the payroll taxes are paid by you in-house.
NOTE: Ensure you have printed (or pdf) copies of the payment confirmations for each tax payment submitted.

#3 Payroll processing is completely outsourced.
NOTE: Protect Yourself! Ensure you get a confirmation number for each payment submitted on your behalf with a preference for a copy of the actual confirmation page.

#4. If all this sounds daunting you can lease employees. This means you are not the employer and are not liable for payroll taxes. You just need to pay your lease.
NOTE: Treating employees like contractors is one of the hottest topics at the State and Federal level. Attempts to avoid the pains of payroll by using “contactors” could lead to lengthy meetings with BOLI and a few other government agencies. Unless the idea of lengthy meetings with government officials sounds fun, don’t risk it, lease employees instead.

Who can help?

The biggest benefit of using local services is the ability to talk to a human, the same humans, whenever you have payroll questions. Money saved with inexpensive online payroll services is quickly lost when errors arise that monopolize your in-house resources.

Visit the Corvallis Chamber of Commerce
Search for: Accountants and/or Payroll to find local resources for payroll processing.

Barrett Business Services in Albany offers Employee Leasing, visit their site or call them at 541-928-4130.
Tell ‘em Jackie sent you.

Filter on the Fly

One of the best ways to deal with your stuff is to filter on the fly. By doing a bit of prep work up front, purging papers, donating goods, and keeping up on a clutter free life are made easy.

Donation Station: Set aside a place for a donation box at work or home. Ensure that when you fill a box, you add another so there is always a place for new additions. Commit to not taking things out of the donation box.

Shred Box: Don’t let shredding slow you down. Keep a shred box in a convenient location. Place papers that need to be destroyed in the shred box. You can then shred when it is convenient or take the box to a local shredding company when it is full.

How to filter on the Fly
Pay a bit more attention to your surroundings. We tend to block out what we see everyday so our brains are not overloaded with information. If you try a shirt on and go “Yuck!” walk it over the donation station. See coffee cups no one has used in a year, they are out of here. Instead of stock piling office supplies (all those file holders, caddies, and sorters that seemed like a good idea at the time) donate them. See a knick knack, do you love it? If you (and your housemates) answer “No” then to the box it goes.

Don’t pass over those papers.
It can be so easy to move a stack aside again and again without knowing what it contains. Instead of moving it all, commit to doing something with what is on top or the top inch. Aging papers usually need to be recycled, shredded, or filed. If the thought of filing stops you in your tracks, you need to simplify your filing system. In the mean time, create a file, bag or box and label it “2012 To File.” Even if you never make pretty files out of those papers they are in one place and dated (guiding rules 1 and 2 for papers.)

An email a day feels great.
I recently started cleaning out my in box one email at a time. Starting with the oldest email I had saved.
Do I care about this anymore? Is it relevant anymore?
No- delete it
Yes – continue
Do I need to save this as a record or receipt?
Yes- Print it to PDF and file accordingly. Then delete it.
Do I need to follow up on this?
Yes- Do it right then and there.

I have many emails color coded for “blogs” and “Facebook.” These emails include reference information that I want to share.
What do I do?
Option1: Print to PDF blog reference material with the topic as the document name. File it in my “To Write” folder.
Option 2: Forward the email to myself with a subject like “Health care on W’2s.” This allows me to easily see the topic and reason why I have the email saved.
Option 3: Post it right then and there.

Filtering on the fly takes away the need and burden of the Big Purge. It is an exercise in letting go. You will need to meet “I might need that someday” head on. Ask yourself “what is the worst thing in reality that could happen if I need this someday and do not have it?”

People who take “I might need that someday” to heart end up living the “I cannot find it/forgot I had it/bought a new one” life. So they never actually use all they have and spend more money maintaining the “I might need that someday” lifestyle then they would have if they let go of what they did not need or use and bought things as they needed them.

Above all filtering on the fly should be a light hearted event. Have fun letting go!

New Posts in queue

2011 has been a time of change for me. I have transitioned out of my corporate job and into full-time self employment. I have not posted a blog in some time but have no fear, a number of blog outlines are in queue. I hope to be back to writing in the next month.

Until then let’s GO!

Save Gas and GO!

The Oregon Department of Energy released 14 ways to save gas. Let’s review the list and see how be organized helps to reduce the gas you use.

How to get the most from every fill up.
Three factors affect your gas mileage: 1) How fast you drive; 2) What your driving habits are; and 3) How you maintain your vehicle. See if you can apply these ideas, even on a small scale. Every little bit helps!

GO! You will see a common theme to the GO! Advice: You need plan ahead and concentrate on driving to save gas.

1. Is your trip necessary: Could it be postponed and combined with others to nearby destinations? Map out your route to get the most done with the shortest route.

GO! Keep a list of things you need in an easily accessed location like on the fridge at home or posted in your office at work. The exterior of tall metal filing cabinets can be a good place to post your list, you just need a magnet. When its time to run errands, grab the list and plan your route. Plan a loop so you end up at your final destination and do not back track.

GO! Errands on the fly? No problem, just take the time to make a list mentally or on paper of where you need to go in the order of locations, then drive.

GO! Do you really need it today? One thing reminds us of another which can lead to driving in circles. Maybe that errand or purchase can wait until another day when it’s on the way. Just make a note to add it to the next errand list.

2. For each trip consider alternatives, such as carpooling or public transportation, walking or riding a bicycle. Using an alternative commute only one day a week reduces your commute by 20%. Try a new option for easy trips first to see how it goes.

GO! Alternate transport takes planning. Before you decide to bike or ride make sure you have a map of the bike trails or a public transport map and schedule.

GO! If you plan to carpool make sure you have contact information for each participant. In our world of email it can be easy to forget to get a phone number.

10 Tips For Successful Carpooling from Arlington, VA County Department of Environmental Services.
Click Here

3. Ask your employer to consider flexible work options. If the majority of your work can be done on a computer, ask about teleworking one day a week. Or, if you could work four 10-hour days, that’s one less day each week you drive.

GO! You have to be diligent to work from home, especially if your housemates are home during the day. Before you ask to telecommute, make a list of what you will do to ensure you put in a full day of work. How you will stay in touch with coworkers? How will your work be protected off site? Will telecommuting help the company? Fewer cars in the parking lot? Creating an eco-friendly reputation? Reduction in facilities/utility usage?

4. Maintain your car for top fuel efficiency. Dirty air filters, old spark plugs and low fluid levels can impact fuel economy.

GO! Do you have your next oil change on ‘the schedule’? How about your next tire rotation? Keeping your vehicle in good working order means blocking out time to do or have maintenance done before it needs to be done.

5. Check your tire pressure at least once a month. It’s the easiest way to improve your gas mileage by 2 to 3%. You can’t tell the difference between a properly inflated tire and one that’s under-inflated by 30% – or 10 pounds.

GO! An easy item to add to your calendar as a reoccurring event.

6. Obey the speed limit. Every extra mile driven over 55 mph costs about 1% in fuel economy. As the speed increases, wind resistance on the car increases exponentially.

GO! Why do we speed? Running late will be the reply from most. Make sure you leave enough time for those unexpected events: a meeting runs late, you spill tea on your shirt and have to change, or you get an important call from family. Plan for 10-15 minutes of unexpected tasks and if none occur, enjoy 10 minutes of free time in the morning or between meetings.

7. Use cruise control on the highway. Maintaining a constant speed over long distances can save gas.

GO! This works when you are not running late and speeding. Trust me; you can reduce your stress substantially by setting your cruise control and flowing with traffic. Fighting against traffic by constantly changing lanes, passing, and frequently changing your speed does not save you much time if you do the math.

8. In city driving, don’t race ahead just to wait at the next stoplight. Anticipating traffic and applying slow stead acceleration and braking may increase fuel economy by as much as 20%.

GO! My mom always said, coast to the stop light, you never know when your brakes might fail (Thanks Mom!). Accelerating to a red light is like making a dead run for your front door each night, knowing you will need to stop to unlock it. This means you need to be concentrating on driving and not thinking about all the things you need to do. Get those ‘to do’ lists out of your head and onto a list.

9. Warm up your engine by driving. Start off within 30 seconds (or when windows are defrosted). Idling your car for a longer period of time doesn’t make the engine last longer and wastes gas. It is best, however, to not accelerate hard or drive at high speeds until you’ve driven a few miles.

GO! Coming from Wisconsin, I get a good giggle when I see my neighbors idling their vehicles for half an hour during our Willamette winter since I think of cold as -34 degrees F and not 34 degrees F.

GO! Idle for 30 seconds or until your vehicle is defrosted then take it slow. So what about defrosting? Test your car to see how long it takes to defrost that first cold morning. If you do not stay in the car check it through the window every few minutes. Make note of the time it really takes to defrost the windows (under 5 minutes I would expect) then incorporate that amount of time into your morning schedule.

10. Turn your engine off if you have to wait. Ten seconds of idling uses more gas than restarting the engine and an idling engine pollutes more than driving 30 mph. Consider parking and going inside rather than waiting in a long line for drive-through service.

GO! This makes the air at the drive-thru much more pleasant! Again, this means you need to be concentrating on driving and not thinking about all the things you need to do. Corvallis only has 50k people. In some lines, I turn my car off and don’t move up as cars pull ahead since there is no one behind me. Another great place to use this gas saving strategy is at railroad crossings. I turn my car off but make sure my break lights are a-glow until the next person stops behind me.

11. Roof racks, ski racks and car top boxes all hurt your gas mileage by 2 to 3 mpg. Remove these items when they are not being used.

GO! Part of planning a vacation or sports season is planning the finally. Cleaning and storing the gear, cleaning out the car AND removing the racks.

12. Don’t store heavy things in your vehicle. In the spring, remember to remove bricks and sand bags used for winter traction.

GO! Ensure this is at the top of the spring to do list. Don’t buy a heavy item until you know you have a way to unload it and place to put it when you reach your destination.

13. Turn off the air conditioner and defroster when not needed. They put an extra load on the engine, using more fuel. Use the Ventilation or Economy setting to bring in fresh air.

GO! This means you need to be concentrating on driving when you are in the car.

14. Keep windows closed, especially at highway speeds. Open windows decrease fuel economy by as much as 10%.

Of course, the best way to save gas is to buy a fuel-efficient car. Small vehicles with manual transmission usually provide the best fuel economy. Consider a hybrid car, especially if you regularly commute. Oregon residents can qualify for a Residential Energy Tax Credit if they purchase a new hybrid vehicle.

For more gas and energy saving tips visit the following websites:
www.fueleconomy.gov
www.epa.gov/greenvehicles

For more information about the Oregon Department of Energy’s transportation programs and incentives visit their web site: www.oregon.gov/energy
Source: Oregon Department of Energy

Redirecting your Tax Dollars through Giving

Love one government administration, hate the next, and never like where the money is being spent. That sums up many peoples view of tax dollars at work. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could check some boxes on our tax return specifying where we want our money spent?

Since that is not going to happen any time in our foreseeable future, here is the GO! plan for redirecting some of your tax dollars to activities you support…Give.

As part of a commitment to community, each year a portion of GO! profit is donated to organizations including Linn Benton Food Share, United Way/GAP, Oregon HEAT, CARDV and The Heartland Humane Society.

The average U.S. household gives about 2% of their ‘disposable income’ defined as after tax income. Cash donations from individuals make up 83% of donations to non-profits each year. 2008-2009 saw the steepest decline of giving since Giving USA started reporting statistics in 1956.

Small amounts help. Many people feel that if they give, they should give big. Not the case, a few dollars per month to a cause that means the most to you can make a difference. If you gave $5 per month, that’s $60 per year. If a hundred people did the same, that’s $6,000. Most non-profits survive on individual giving.

Giving Cash and Taxes:

As a self employed person, I pay self employment tax which is Social Security and Medicare. Giving has no impact on this tax. In 2010, this amount was 15.3%. In 2011, the tax has been reduced via the 2010 Tax Relief Act to 13.3%. So for every dollar of profit I make in 2011, 13 cents is going to pay Social Security and Medicare Tax.

Enter Giving:

For giving to help at tax time you must choose to itemize your deductions. Your CPA or CTP can advise you if it is in your best interest to choose a standard or itemized deduction.

Each time I give money to an eligible non-profit (Exempt Organization), I am redirecting some of my tax dollars. On average, for every dollar a person gives, 34 cents are saved in taxes. Rephrased, each time I donate a dollar:
9 cents redirected from the State to the non-profit
25 cents redirected from the Feds to the non-profit
66 cents redirected from my pocket to the non-profit.

Ensure you are donating to an eligible non-profit. To be considered an Exempt Organization the organization must not endorse or contribute to political campaigns.

Search for Eligible Exempt Organizations (Publication 78)

Giving Stuff… Simplifying your life, getting organized and staying that way:

Turn that thought of ‘I might need that some day’ to ‘someone probably needs this now.’

You can receive a tax deduction for the retail value of your donated stuff. Thanks to Jack Moran, CPA, GO! has a valuation guide to help clients correctly value in-kind donations. Jack says “Many people under value what they give.” Accurately valuing your donated goods helps to reduce the taxes you owe.
For every dollar in goods I donate:
9 cents redirected from the State to my pocket
25 cents redirected from the Feds to the my pocket
Stuff I will not use and do not need redirected to folks in need.

GO! Practices Repurposing
In-kind donations from clients are donated to local schools, non-profits, Cat’s Meow and Goodwill. GO! takes spare office supplies to local non-profits. Unique items are sent to silent auctions like Heartlands Wine & Whiskers. Unused toiletries can be donated to Community Outreach. Old blankets and towels go to Heartland Humane Society. Got Books? Donate them to the public library.

Don’t let that stuff go to waste! Goods and food expire. Stored and forgotten items are more likely to get damaged by changes in environmental conditions. Even clothing degrades when stored over time.

Move from recreational shopping to recreational giving! You will help create a better community while keeping clutter out of your life.

Mail, Bills, Papers, Receipts, and Ode to the Shredder

What to do with all the Paper? Even if you use e-everything and opt-out-of-it-all you still get mail and receipts. Some of which you need to keep for some period of time. The existence of this Paper can drive an organized person crazy once in a while, so don’t feel bad if you have receipts stuffed in a shoe and papers under the sofa.

If the thought of this topic scares you, skip ahead for now and enjoy the poem Ode to the Shredder. You can work through your Paper phobia another day.

Your recipe for dealing with The Paper is here!

1. Don’t take it if you don’t need it. Brochures, coupons, flyers. Ask yourself, “Am I really going to look at this later?” or “Is it highly likely that I will never see this Paper again?” If you answer (1) No or (2) Yes, stuff that stuff in the recycle bin as soon as you get the office or home.

2. Set up a Paper Station. You will need:

A Place: This should generally be near where the Papers accumulate.

A sorting system: Clipped paper with titles written on the back of binder clips, file folders, boxes, clip boards, magnetic strips or perfectly squared stacks. It’s the system that works for you. I use a plastic Chinese take-out box from the dollar store, the gift box from a friend, to store all my receipts top-up.

An envelope opener: This may be the knife you got in Mengwi or a plastic letter opener you got at a trade show. Just make sure it is stored and stays at the Paper Station.

A recycle bin: Treat yourself; brown bags are only fun for so long. Once you over stuff a few or the cats turn it into a cave and rip it to shreds (they are almost helping), you will be wishing you had a more durable bin.

A shredder: To minimize the chance that your or someone else’s Paper identity is stolen, you may need to buy Paper paraphernalia like a shredder. Some people have shredding companies pick up their Paper; this is efficient for large quantities and higher security. Some people use the Paper for kindling; just make sure it fully burns. I send it back.

When I get an unsolicited credit card application, I put a line through my contact information, write “remove” across the top and stuff it all into the pre-paid envelope. It works and I am spreading the word. It feels good to return the Paper to the source.

Alas, if you have a business, you have Papers that will need to be destroyed. If you have more than a few sheets to shred when you open the mail, you may need a shredding box, treat yourself, use a real box. The box will ensure that the confidential Papers stay in one place until they are destroyed. Keep the box in a secure location. If you end up with more than one full box to shred, take it to a shredding service, it’s worth it.

3. Commit: Whatever system you choose, you will need to maintain it. Put quality energy into your system at a frequency that works for you and ensures you meet commitments like getting the bills paid. I scan my mail for emergencies (and checks) and ‘open the mail’ every few weeks in conjunction with paying the bills. For many of my clients, the mail is opened each day by an employee.

I wish you success in conquering your Paper. Enjoy this poem and contact me if you would like a hand creating your Paper Station.

Ode to the Shredder
By Scott Pinkerton

Once upon a time I had no paper

Needing saved, sorted, cataloged, or layered

Then spaces were cordoned and drawers were bought

Storing piles of leaflets whose import was lost

They said thy son ‘Save those things’

You might need the stack when the gov’t sings

Or this person sues, or the bill’s in dispute

Or the self finds agreement with some ill-repute

When purging the past at the appropriate time

The pages were trashed, and that was fine

But meth-heads and felons united with glee

And gleaned out the bins for the identity of me

So now we have the multi-toothed mulching machine

That rips my history into useless strips of tree

And makes safe the purging of the extinct parts of past

Thus guarding my work from the pirate flagged mast

So Ode to the Shredder, my new pal and friend

May your talons stay sharp from beginning to end

And if you choke on the meal presented this time

I’ll have your back, as you’ve had mine