Monday, April 25, 2011


I've written before about getting magazines and catalogs under control. I'd like to take this concept one step further and suggest that you unsubscribe from as many of these publications as possible--an easy action that's good both for the environment and your simplification journey!

Last week, I spent less than 10 minutes unsubscribing from four publications. I was expecting long hold times and inefficient customer service, but my experience was exactly the opposite. In most cases, your subscription number appears on the back cover along with the corporate phone number. You simply provide your name and subscription number to the representative, and voila! No more mailings from that company.

I snapped a photo of the four publications in question to illustrate how liberating this task can be.

  • My husband and I started receiving Game Informer after we bought a Playstation 3 from Game Stop in 2009. We never so much as cracked open an issue. 
  • The next three items, catalogs from Lehman's, Oriental Trading, and Paper Source, started appearing in our mailbox during our wedding planning in 2008-2009. We had utilized these great companies for decorations, invitations and so forth, but we've never flipped through the catalogs.
Do you receive magazines, catalogs or other publications that you could easily do without? Do you have 10 minutes this week to unsubscribe?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Getting back into the swing of things

I'm back! Recent questions from my husband, neighbors and friends about the status of my blog encouraged me to resume writing. After several months of hard work at my previous job and making a recent transition to a new job, the time is again ripe to pick up the proverbial pen.

So, I'll ease back into simplification mode with a quick tax-prep related tidbit. Once you've collected all of the paperwork necessary to file your 2010 taxes, consider setting aside some extra time to go through all of your important files and documents. My husband and I did this last weekend. I simply could not believe HOW MUCH paper we were able to get rid of. I'm certainly not an expert as to how long you are supposed to hold onto certain documents, but here are two helpful links:
  1. Bankrate suggests a fairly conservative but flexible approach, noting that while bills should be kept "from one year to permanently," bills can be shredded once the canceled check for the paid bill has been returned--but that bills for big purchases "should be kept in an insurance file for proof of their value in the event of loss or damage." And I love that they provide the information in an easy-to-follow chart. 
  2.  This New York Times article by Jennifer Saranow Schultz keeps it real, offering well-researched information while reminding us that "there are two main reasons to keep financial records. 'It’s either for backup to a tax issue or for proof that you did something like make a payment.'" 
What I have not yet figured out is where to shred the mountain of sensitive documents that we no longer need. A small home shredder would take forever. My next step is to see if a local Staples or Kinko's might have a massive shredder available for pay-per-use. A quick Google search revealed that personal shredding services exist online. Due to the apparent ease of this service, the following find was my favorite:

Express Destruction (best name ever--would you consider it redundant or an oxymoron?) quoted me $34.95 to shred up to 30 pounds of paper. This includes shipping.

Do you have any leads on how/where to shred? How many pounds of unneeded documents do you think you have in your home right now?

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