Friday, July 18, 2014

How to Set Up a New Budget

Basic information to consider when making a new budget.

If you're trying to create a new budget - chances are you have already had a budget and it didn't work out. Whether you are creating a new budget, or a first budget, however, is not the important part. The important part is that you find a way to balance your finances so you can live well.

To get started setting up a budget that works, you need to begin by understanding your finances. While gathering the basic information you need to set up the new budget - take a moment to think about why the old budget didn't work. Maybe the failed budget didn't leave any room for emergencies or for a favorite entertainment activity. Maybe the income was simply not enough to cover all of the debt.

Expect Emergencies and Budget for Them
Emergencies always happen and if there is no contingency plan in a budget - an emergency can crush a budget. Emergencies may be small like a broken pipe or a forgotten birthday or something so big it's hard to even imagine. A budget will be the most successful if the person making - and using it - is honest with themselves about who they are and what their needs are.

Remember the Small but Important Details

Don't Forget to Keep Money Aside for Simple Pleasures. Someone who loves to rent movies or eat out (or whatever the luxury of preference is) is not going to be happy living on a budget that doesn't allow for those treats. Don't put the luxury before paying the rent or electric bill, but make sure you fit it in.

If small details are not included in a budget it is really easy to set up a budget that is doomed to fail because the income simply won't cover all of the debt. It is easy to overlook things like school lunches and gas for the car but these things have to paid regardless and they will break a budget if they are left out.

A budget will be the most successful if it includes an emergency fund of some sort as well as a fund for the things that make life worth living - what that means has to be decided by each person.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Who Needs to Purchase Renter's Insurance?

Basic tips on finding and selecting a renter's insurance company and coverage.

What to Look for as a Renter Who Needs Insurance Coverage

Renter's insurance cannot protect you from the unpleasant and painful things that happen in life, but having the money to replace lost or stolen items will make it easier to get on with things. Bad things happen to good people, it isn't fair, but there is no way to escape all risk.

Many renters mistakenly assume that the landlord's insurance will cover the replacement of the renter's property - or will pay for damages if their dog bites someone. This is not the case. If the home burns down or their dog bites someone, the tenant is - in most states - responsible for taking care of their own damages.

Renter's insurance is easy to get - you can fill out and pay for the coverage online or you can go into an insurance agent's office and discuss your coverage needs with them. You will need a basic inventory of the items in your home, from large items to small, including antiques, furniture, electronics, and clothing.

Most credible online companies will offer some kind of calculator to help you figure out how much coverage you need. You simply enter the basic information about your property and whether you want replacement value or a more basic coverage. Also, make sure you are covered for the types of damage normally seen in the area of your home.

Take the time to do a little bit of background checking on the insurance company. This applies whether you are buying the policy online or in a face to face setting; because there are some scam insurance companies. It will save you money in the long run if you check it out first. It is hard enough to go through an experience like being robbed, surviving a fire, or a natural disaster, without finding out later that your insurer was a fraud.

Some policies exclude things like flood damage or hurricanes - whatever the circumstances in your area - make sure your needs will be protected. If the insurer you are considering does not offer the coverage you need - based on the location of your home - talk to another insurance company.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Spider Lamp Shades, Harps, and Finials

The most common type of lamp shade assembly, the spider, harp, and finial, is easy to identify and to change.

Spider Lamp Shades

The phrase spider lamp shade conjures images of spooky lamp shades with spider designs all over them. A spider lamp shade is really just a lamp shade that has a certain type of fitting assembly. A spider fitting resembles a spider's body and at least three spider legs. Spider lamp shades are easy to remove for cleaning or replacing - and easy to put back afterwards.

The legs of a spider fitting go from the center piece - that compares to the spider's body - out to the shade. The spider fitting then attaches to another fitting that is attached to the lamp. A harp is the most common support fitting used with a spider lamp fitting though an Uno fitting (with stabilizer clips) that attaches near the light bulb base is also seen with spider fittings.


A harp for a spider lamp is shaped like an outline of a light bulb. The harp attaches to the lamp at the base of the light bulb assembly. It has a screw attached at the top. The center pierce of the spider lamp sits on top of the harp and a finial is then screwed on to hold the shade in place.


Finials are both practical and decorative. Finials provide a finishing touch that completes the appearance of the lamp. A finial for an early American style lamp, for example, would be shaped like an eagle. Glass prisms and globes are attached to some fancy finials - and some finials are smooth to provide an appearance of simple elegance.

Finials make it very easy to remove a spider lamp shade for cleaning or replacing.
  • Make sure the lamp is turned off and cool because finials can get quite warm.
  • Turn the finial counter-clockwise to unscrew it from the harp.
  • Then the lamp shade can simple be lifted off of the lamp's harp fitting.
  • After the shade has been either cleaned or replaced, set the lamp shade back on the harp.
  • The center of the spider fitting - the part mentioned above that resembles the body of a spider - should be centered over the screw of the harp.
  • Put the finial back on the harp by turning it onto the harp screw and turning clockwise.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Hi, Can't Believe June Is Here Already

I really am amazed by how time flies. Organized or not - it just goes by too stinking quick.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Get Organized in 30 Days Without Tearing Your Hair Out

Would you tell me I am out of my mind if I tell you that you can get organized in 30 days, even if your house is really cluttered and chaotic?

I'm not going to tell you it'll be easy if the clutter is really deep and out of hand, but I will say it's probably going to be easier than you expect. But, you have to have faith and be persistent. This method works, but results are not immediately visible.

When I tried this approach - which is really a "cleaning and organizing chart-based plan" - in a really chaotic house trailer, a case of clutter hoarding actually, it was about the third week before it really started to show, but once it started to show, it showed a lot - with daily improvement visible after that point.

Steps to Get Organized in 30 Days
  1. Make a list: This can be the hardest part... Either grab a notebook or use a computer program such as Excel, whichever you prefer. Make a page for each room in your home - don't forget closets, basement, garage, and the attic - any space you use needs to be recorded in this step. Now record every cleaning step you need to do in each room. For example: vacuuming, dusting, washing dishes, laundry, changing linen, shining mirrors, cleaning over door trim - you get the idea - list everything - even the smallest details.
  2. Make a plan: Look at your first page. Pick the easiest thing to do. Mark it down as a Monday task. Go to the next page - pick the hardest thing to do. (In some rooms the hardest task might be only a two or three minute task - so don't worry that this will take all day to do - it only takes about half an hour to an hour a day - and then - only until the clutter is under control - then it's mere minutes a day.) Mark it as a Monday task. Go to your third page, pick the easiest task and mark it as a Monday task. Go through the rest of your pages, alternating between the hardest and easiest tasks - mark them all as Monday tasks. Start through the rooms list again, in the same order - this time starting with the hardest task and marking it as a Tuesday task. Alternate between easiest and hardest until you finish the last room. Now every single one of your hardest tasks are out of the way before Wednesday without doing them all on one day. Fill in the rest of the tasks on the remaining week days. It's up to you if you want to spend your weekends on this too.
  3. Put your plan in action: Go to your plan for whatever day of the week it is and do the cleaning and organizing chores listed for that day. You can start on any day of the week because you have a plan for every day. You can do extra if you want - but this organizing plan is about making daily progress without getting burnt out on the cleaning and organizing process.
  4. Congratulate yourself: You just made progress in every room in your house. Does it show? probably not, but that's ok, because it will soon. I don't recommend telling anyone in your real life about what you are doing just yet. Here's why... if you were getting the understanding and support you need in life from them, you probably wouldn't be here looking for organizing help at the Get Organized Club, though I'm glad you are. That doesn't mean they are the problem... it just means - wait... let yourself feel good because you just accomplished something. Share your success in the comments here if you like - because we get it. We wouldn't be here if we didn't.
  5. Repeat, repeat, repeat: Go through your checklist each day - week after week... Add things you might have missed in your original planning session as needed. You will quickly learn which days are the easiest for you and how long your daily cleaning and organizing chores take.
One other advantage of this checklist method: if one of your family members steps in to help with cleaning and organizing, they don't have to ask what to do - they can just look at that day's checklist and choose a chore. It makes it easy for you, and easy for your family.

After a month, as long as you stick with this, expect to look around at a cleaner, more organized home that is EASY to maintain in a short amount of time each day by following your daily checklist.

Hopefully, you'll say, "Wow, I really did get organized in 30 days without tearing my hair out!"

Let me now how it goes and feel free to ask questions about any unclear parts, as I now this is kind of long and wordy.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Getting Organized at Work vs Hiding Under a Clutter Covered Desk

Sure, you could just throw in the towel and hide under your clutter covered desk until - well - until someone notices you're missing.

However, getting organized at work is a much more logical solution, plus, you'll get to feel great about your tidy new work space, your increased efficiency, and lower stress levels once you're enjoying your clean, organized work space.

My Favorite Work Space Organizing Tip

This is experience speaking here, because if there were a prize for being the most disorganized, I'm pretty sure I would be in the running for first place. I mean, you can normally see spots of my desktop between the piles.

Anyway, I used my three bin organizing system to clean off my desktop, and I picked up some cheap baskets (Seriously, they are 9 cents a piece at the local thrift shop here) and I put the things I need most in baskets where they are close at hand and can stay reasonably organized.

What's even better... if I need to look even more organized when someone is coming in - all I have to do is stick my baskets in my desk drawers or in the hall cupboard. Then, when I'm ready to get back to my regular work, I can just get out my (still organized) baskets and put them back where they belong.

I would love to hear if you try this and it works for you - or if you have suggestions on making it even better for other Get Organized Club members.

What are your favorite tips for tidying your work space? You are welcome to share... if you want to.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Please! Help Me Organize My House! I Can't Find My Dog!

Ok... Most people can still find their pets, even in a chaotic, disorganized house. Sometimes, though, disorganization can feel so out of hand that you might feel like you just need to throw open the window and scream something, anything, that gets someone's attention so they'll help you get organized.

And here's the thing... even if you did that... chances are no one would take you seriously and come help. That's where the Get Organized Club steps in. We may not be able to physically come to your house, but we are here, offering emotional support and understanding, with no judgment.

If you're here, emotionally screaming, "Please, someone, help me organize my house!" Then let's talk some more.
  • Where do you feel comfortable starting?
  • Are you willing to commit to this as along-term project with lasting results? (This is what I truly believe will make you feel best about your life and your home - but hey - I don't know you personally - so it's up to you to choose what approach works for you.)
  • Do you just want someone to come in and speed clean your house?
  • What do you want to talk about? \
  • What tips and help do you need?

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