When In Doubt Shred It: Organizing a Home Office

Cleaning out the clutter in your home is always a good idea. Mountains of papers can overwhelm your home office if you don’t deal with these documents. Simply throwing old papers in the trash, on the other hand, is never a good idea. Your trash can become an identity thief’s treasure. MSN reported that identity theft affects 11 million people per year and costs an estimated $54 billion annually. Identities are commonly stolen by snatching a person’s personal information online, which, thanks to the rise of social media, it has made it easier than ever to obtain a person’s personal information.

High-tech methods are not the only tool in the identity thief’s tool box. Dumpster diving is still a common method for identity thieves to find targets for their next scam. Among the key dumpster diving facts reported by CNN is that dumpster diving is the main source for finding personal information in 1 percent of all identity theft cases. It might not sound like a high number, but failing to shred sensitive documents can easily put you at risk of falling into that group.

Where do you begin when it comes to shredding? Here are a few suggestions on organizing a home office and what you can do with documents that contain your personal information:

Save Important Records

Some documents are not meant to ever be shredded. You should hold onto and file away records that offer evidence of important past events. This includes financial statements, medical documents, proof of ownership or purchase on major assets and proof of identity documents.

Tax returns and related documents should be retained for a minimum of three years. Monthly credit card and bank statements need to be stored for at least a year before discarding. Loan statements should be kept until the loan is paid in full. Medical bills need to be saved for a minimum of five years and as many as 10 years. Receipts for major purchases, such as jewelry, should be filed away indefinitely for insurance purposes. Privacy Rights Clearinghouse suggests when in doubt, to keep important records for a minimum of 10 years.

Store Sensitive Information

Putting records containing important personal information, from birth certificates to wills, under lock and key is the best deterrent to potential identity thieves. A good option is to purchase a locking file cabinet or safe and put all of your sensitive documents in one location. You can also scan those documents onto a secured hard drive or flash drive, but retain physical copies of certain records, such as a birth certificate, in a safe place.

Any document that contains personal information, such as bank account numbers, social security numbers, date of birth and your address, should be shredded immediately if you do not need to retain it for your personal records.

Eliminating Electronic Data

Simply moving documents to your computer’s trash folder and emptying it isn’t good enough when it comes time to replace it. A better choice is to wipe your hard drive clean and reinstall your operating system. The best method for erasing data if you plan to recycle a computer or resell it to another party, according to Tech News Daily, is to physically remove and destroy the hard drive itself.

Obsolete mobile devices are a little more tricky. You can use apps designed to wipe your tablet or smartphone and restore it to factory defaults. Still, the best course of action is to physically destroy the mobile device so it is non-functional. If you plan to discard old CDs and flash drives, break them into smaller pieces so they cannot be used.

For more tips visit In Order to Succeed on the web and follow In Order to Succeed  on Facebook and on Twitter.

 

Pinterest: Ten of Our Favorite Professional Organizer Pinners

What is it about Pinterest that is so addicting? Since its inception in the fall of 2011, the social media network has taken the world by storm. Each time we log on to our In Order to Succeed Pinterest account we’re greeted by beautiful pictures of DIY artwork, home décor, organized homes and offices and so much more. It’s easy to spend an hour or two on the site. In the past year, we’ve seen more and more professional organizers on Pinterest. The best pinners have frequent updates, build relationships with other pinners and have visually appealing boards full of useful information.

Here, in no particular order, are ten of our favorite professional organizer pinners:

  1. GetSimplifizedOrganizing
  2. Laura (I’m an Organizing Junkie)
  3. Getting Organized Magazine
  4. ButtonedUp
  5. Lorie Marrero / Clutter Diet
  6. Sensible Organizer
  7. Helena Alkhas
  8. A Bowl Full of Lemons
  9. Chaos To Order
  10. NAPO National

Are you on Pinterest? Follow us and we’ll follow you back. And don’t forget to share your favorite professional organizers on Pinterest in the comments.

Home Is Where the Art Is: Creating a Custom Art Studio

 

Whether you’re an aspiring artist, professional freelancer or expert DIYer, it’s crucial your home has a fully functional space that inspires creativity. The kitchen counter just doesn’t cut it anymore. A well-planned and efficiently designed space devoted to your artwork will take you to the next level. From storage tips and organizational tricks, we’re giving you the rundown on everything you’ll need to create your own custom art space.

Selecting Your Space

Whether it’s a room, loft or small dedicated area, selecting a spot within your home is a critical step in bringing your workspace to life. The square footage of your art space will directly impact what tools and furniture you use. When making your selection, keep in mind your studio desk, filing systems, storage containers, lighting and wall shelving requirements. Visualizing your ideal workspace and sketching its features is an effective planning technique. Houzz.com provides some great craft room design photos to help you plan and envision your art space. Turning your spare room or office into a dynamic studio is a cost-effective way to hone your craft.

Setting and Colors

Ideally, your art space will give you the privacy you need to concentrate on your work. With the proper planning, it will also set the vibe, block competing noise and minimize distractions. The first step in room transformation involves painting. The DIY Network provides detailed step-by-step instructions on washing, priming and painting your room for optimal results. Lighting is also an important consideration and impacts the mood, functionality and ambiance of your space. By selecting the right colors and lighting options, you will create a bastion for your artwork, writing, photo editing or crafting.

Structure and Organization

Selecting the layout of your art space is perhaps the most creative part of the process. Pinterest features some intriguing photos of art spaces and organizational techniques. Do you select the repurposed library card catalog as your new filing system? Or do you add a portable island studio on rollers for artistic flexibility? The possibilities are endless. Come up with inventive and crafty ideas for organizing art spaces by using plastic containers, shelving, decorative placeholders and household objects. Organizing your materials will inspire your best work and help drive your artistic passions.

Materials

You may be losing track of supplies or breaking items without a solid organizational effort. You can move your materials into your art space and save time, money and headaches. Utilizing cork board is quick and easy method for keeping track of clippings, fabrics and sketches, according to Better Homes and Gardens. Some of your materials may have special storage requirements. It is important to take measurements of materials to determine which items will fit into your art space given your spatial limitations.

Bonus: Sell It

Local art shows are full of aspiring artists and crafters. Does your city have a weekly or monthly art walk? Upcoming women’s expo? Marathons or other races? These events are great opportunities to showcase your work. The people who attend them expect to spend money on goodies. Check with your local government or a website like Active.com, which handles the registration for a lot of sporting events. You’ll need a table, display cases, pricing, small bills for change, business cards and the right vehicle to haul it all from your art space to the local fair. An SUV like a 2013 Armada or Escape offers adjustable seating that can accommodate your goods.

For more tips visit In Order to Succeed on the web and follow In Order to Succeed  on Facebook and on Twitter.

10 Professional Organizers to ‘Like’ on Facebook

Quick self-promotion: If you haven’t yet liked In Order to Succeed on Facebook, do it now. You’ll find time management tips, productivity tips and of course organizational tips from In Order to Succeed’s professional organizers and project consultants. Plus, you can ask us all your questions and we’ll do our best to answer them.

O.K., now that the self-promotion is over with, it’s time to talk about some other professional organizers. We love our fellow organizers. They are an inspiration to us and are constantly sharing great advice. Here are 10 professional organizers (in no particular order) we think you should ‘like’ on Facebook.

  1. Julie Morgenstern Enterprises
  2. Blissfully Organized LLC
  3. The Organizing Guru
  4. SoBe Organized
  5. Organizing Goddess, Inc.
  6. IHeart Organizing
  7. Innovatively Organized
  8. Memories Organized LLC
  9. Organized Home
  10. The Organized Mom

In Order to Succeed is a full service Professional Organizing firm providing Home and Business Organizing Solutions, Moving/Relocation Coordination Assistance and Time Management help to people throughout New York (NY) and Connecticut (CT) and across the US.  Our Professional Organizers, Relocation Specialists and Productivity Experts will make your home and office more efficient and attractive.  We can help create a zen-like, less stressful environment giving you the time and calm to focus what you enjoy. For more information visit www.inordertosucceed.com.

10 Professional Organizers to ‘Like’ on Facebook

Quick self-promotion: If you haven’t yet liked In Order to Succeed on Facebook, do it now. You’ll find time management tips, productivity tips, and of course, organizational tips from In Order to Succeed’s professional organizers and project consultants. Plus, you can ask us all your questions and we’ll do our best to answer them.

O.K., now that the self-promotion is over with, it’s time to talk about some other professional organizers. We love our fellow organizers. They are an inspiration to us and are constantly sharing great advice. Here are 10 professional organizers (in no particular order) we think you should like on Facebook.

  1. Julie Morgenstern Enterprises
  2. Blissfully Organized LLC
  3. The Organizing Guru
  4. SoBe Organized
  5. Organizing Goddess, Inc.
  6. IHeart Organizing
  7. Innovatively Organized
  8. Memories Organized LLC
  9. Organized Home
  10. The Organized Mom

In Order to Succeed is a full service Professional Organizing firm providing Home and Business Organizing Solutions, Moving/Relocation Coordination Assistance and Time Management help to people throughout New York (NY) and Connecticut (CT) and across the US.  Our Professional Organizers, Relocation Specialists and Productivity Experts will make your home and office more efficient and attractive.  We can help create a zen-like, less stressful environment giving you the time and calm to focus what you enjoy. For more information visit www.inordertosucceed.com.

10 Professional Organizers To Follow On Twitter

Social media makes it easy to keep up with your favorite shops, restaurants and news organizations all from the comfort of your own home. But what about keeping up with professional organizers? There are a ton of professional organizers on Twitter and they frequently share great tips for staying organized and productive. Here are 10 of In Order to Succeed‘s favorite Twitter  organizers.

The following list is in no particular order.

  1. C. Sgrott Wheedleton
  2. Lorie Marrero
  3. NAPO NY
  4. Julie Morgenstern
  5. Jen Tankersley
  6. The Inspired Office
  7. Lisa Zaslow
  8. Blissfully Organized
  9. Buttoned Up
  10. Organizing Tips

Tell Us: Who are some of you favorite organizers on Twitter?

Don’t forget to follow In Order to Succeed on Facebook and  Twitter

Quick Tip: Stop the Interruptions

When it is time to focus on a project or do something that requires concentration ­ don’t let interruptions get in the way. They slow down the process, are the cause of mistakes and each interruption no matter how brief tends to interfere with one’s ability to be efficient and swift in getting work done.

Let the phone go to voice mail or have someone else get it. Voice mail messages may be changed to inform the caller that you’ll not be checking messages for xx minutes/hours and if needed your assistant or colleague can be contacted instead.

Shut the door if you have an office. Place a brief note explaining that you are there but unavailable (this can be taped either to door or exterior cubicle wall. -Something such as: “I would like to give you my undivided attention shortly however from xxxx AM/PM to xxxx AM/PM I am working on an assignment that is best to complete without interruptions.”

Find more tips from In Order to Succeed when you follow us  on Facebook and  Twitter.

How to Focus Better: Stop the Interruptions

When it is time to focus on a project or do something that requires concentration­ don’t let interruptions get in the way. They slow down the process, are the cause of mistakes and each interruption no matter how brief tends to interfere with one’s ability to be efficient and swift in getting work done. Here’s how to focus better:

Let the phone go to voice mail or have someone else get it. Voice mail messages may be changed to inform the caller that you’ll not be checking messages for xx minutes/hours and if needed your assistant or colleague can be contacted instead.

Shut the door if you have an office. Place a brief note explaining that you are there but unavailable (this can be taped either to door or exterior cubicle wall. – Something such as: I would like to give you my undivided attention shortly however from xxxx AM/PM to xxxx AM/PM I am working on an assignment that is best to complete without interruptions.

Find more tips from In Order to Succeed when you follow us  on Facebook and  Twitter.

How to Choose a Laptop Bag Suitable for You

By Panhong Zhou

As technology develops, nowadays more and more people have their own laptops. When you buy a notebook, the sellers may present you a laptop bag at the same time. Then possibly you will ask me now that we have already had one, why shall I buy another one? Suppose when you are on a business trip, don’t you think it is too difficult for you to get on the train when you take your luggage and laptop bag together among a large crowd? Generally speaking, this problem can be easily solved by choosing the right laptop bag.

Buying a laptop bag is as important as buying a notebook. It can hold important work files and school projects. To some extent, it could be the portal to your private world. You need to know that it is not only for protecting your notebook safely, but also shows your personality. Besides cost, there are several factors to consider when you choose a laptop bag: usage, size, material, style, color and etc.

You should take the following aspects into consideration when you choose a laptop bag.

1.Usage
Apart from protecting your notebook, you should consider your primary needs and where it will be going: travelling, going to work, lectures, commute or shopping on holidays.

2.Size
You must make sure your notebook fits well in the laptop bag you choose and there is enough space for holding other accessories such as computer power, mouse, mouse mat and headset.

3.Material
Depending on the environment in your home and working place, you should carefully choose the material of the laptop bag. It should be sturdy and durable and a water-repellent bag is preferred. What’s more, the pressure the belt exerted on shoulders should be as small as possible.

4.Style
Laptop bags are styled to look and act like most other bags. There are different types of laptop cases: metallic bags, backpacks, messenger bags, totes, briefcases, and sleeves. Choose the right one suitable for your life.

5.Color
Surely there’s a color that will best suit you. Black is popular and goes with almost anything, but you can find bags with color accents or just in different colors. This is completely a personal choice.

6.Other factors
I strongly advise that when you choose a laptop bag, you should check the zippers again and again to make sure they work well. In addition, you should make sure there are no broken zipper teeth and zipper openings are firmly connected with the body of the bag. Protective layer is also an important factor. Check the inner layer to see the thickness of the sponge. Buffering function and moisture proof can be seen from it. The thicker, the better. The stitches are also a factor that will decide the durability of the bag.

The above factors commonly decide the cost of the laptop bag. You don’t have to spend a lot on it but just think more and rank your needs before your purchase.

Information for this article provided by  handbag blog at http://www.llsal.com/ and http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Panhong_Zhou. For more help on organizing your work life contact professional organizing firm In Order to Succeed at info@inorderotsucceed.com, on Facebook and on Twitter.

2013 Tax Tip: Get Prior Year Tax Information From The IRS

The IRS offers several different ways to get tax return information or a copy of your own tax return for prior years. Here are options to help you get the information you need.

  • Tax Return Transcript.  This shows most line items from your tax return as originally filed, along with any forms and schedules from your return.  This transcript does not reflect any changes made to the return after you filed it. Tax return transcripts are free. After the IRS has processed a return, transcripts are available for the current tax year and the past three tax years.
  • Tax Account Transcript. This shows any adjustments made by you or the IRS after filing your return. This transcript shows basic data, like marital status, type of return filed, adjusted gross income and taxable income. Tax account transcripts are free, and are available after the IRS has processed the return for the current tax year and the past three tax years.
  • Order a Transcript. You can request both transcript types online, by phone or by mail. To place your order online, go to IRS.gov and use the “Order a Transcript” tool. <http:///>  Order a transcript by phone at 800-908-9946. A recorded message will guide you through the process. You can also request your tax return transcript by mail by completing Form 4506T-EZ. Use Form 4506T to mail a request for your tax account transcript. You can get both forms online at IRS.gov
  • Tax Return Copies. Actual copies of your tax returns are generally available for the current tax year and as far back as six years. The fee for each copy you order is $57. To request a copy of your tax return, complete Form 4506, available on IRS.gov. Mail your request to the IRS office listed on the form for your area.
  • Delivery Times. The turnaround time for online and phone orders is typically 5 to 10 days from the time the IRS receives the request. Allow 30 calendar days for delivery of a tax account transcript if you order by mail using Form 4506T-EZ or Form 4506T, and allow 60 days when ordering actual copies of your tax return by mail.

The above information was provided in a press release from the Internal Revenue Service. For more help on preparing your taxes and organizing your files contact professional organizing firm In Order to Succeed at info@inorderotsucceed.com, on Facebook and on Twitter.