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  • Out with The Old Junk

    Out with the old junk

    "One of the best ways to clean your slate for the new year is to get rid of clutter" says Cynthia Ivie, whose company, Loose Ends Life and Project Management, helps folks reorganize and take care of their loose ends.

    "Getting rid of clutter is not about getting rid of things that are meaningful to you, it's about letting go of things that no longer contribute to your life," says Ivie, who adds that cleaning out clutter gives people more energy and space for things that are meaningful.

    Make a "To Finish" list

    Set aside 30 minutes each day to take care of your list and chip away at your unfinished business. Reduce clutter. "If you haven't used the wok you got last Christmas, pitch it," says Ivie, who recommends clearing out anything you haven't used, worn or enjoyed in the past year. While closets and basement may be be obvious places to purge, don't forget to check the car trunk, your hall closet, under beds and dressers, and the kitchen catchall drawer -- all notorious for collecting junk. Assemble useless clothes and housewares, make an itemized inventory and donate them to a charity non- cash contribution that can be deducted when you itemize your taxes.

    Organize paperwork

    "I find that people are more attached to paper than anything else in their lives, and paper can always be replaced," says Ivie, who says that 83% of paper that is filed is never reviewed again. Shred old utility bills, credit card statements, canceled checks, and tax documents that are older than 3 years from the date of filing. "The only paper you need are documents for tax deductions," Ivie says. Virtual paperwork also needs to be purged. Delete old e-mail messages, reorganize files before the new year, and then make a final year backup to store in a safe place.

    Clean up loose ends

    Take care of all those small details, chores and errands you've procrastinated on this year. Take a day or two to pay any parking tickets, drop off overdue library books or videos, return items borrowed from a neighbor or co-worker and pick up forgotten dry cleaning. Have you been meaning to call your bank about a charge, switch phone services or cancel a subscription to a cable service? Assemble the phone numbers the night before and block off a morning to make those calls. By SHARON MILLER CINDRICH Special to the Journal Sentinel Sell Your Gadgets for Cash


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