Let’s Talk with Nancy J Cohen

Decluttering Tasks for January
by Nancy J. Cohen

Spring cleaning in my house starts as early as January. It’s a fresh year, meaning I like to toss out old tax documents and receipts that are no longer needed. This clears space for 2017 files. So what kinds of things does this include? Old financial statements from more than 7 years ago, except for December of each year and confirmations for investments still owned.

  • Old bank statements and cancelled checks except for December statements or for items still in my possession.
  • Receipts for lawn care, pest control, utilities, phone bills, and any other services performed that aren’t necessary to keep after several years.
  • Notes from classes taken or workshops attended that are outdated or irrelevant to my current situation as a writer.
  • Travel brochures for places I’ve been if I don’t need them for research or for nostalgia value; and for places I have no intention of visiting in the near future. This includes last year’s cruise catalogues.
  • Holiday gift catalogues.
  • Greeting cards from years back that I don’t need to keep for sentimental value.
  • Receipts and/or instructional booklets for items long gone, like small electronics and appliances.

I’m probably forgetting some things on my list, but this is what jumps out at me for now. What other suggestions do you have for streamlining your record-keeping, other than to scan the items in and keep them online? Even then, you’ll have to clean out those files on occasion and make sure the formatting is up to date, i.e. converting earlier Word files to the current version. There’s always something to do, isn’t there?