“The Home Edit,” a company started by two enterprising women to blend home organizing and interior styling, seems to have really taken hold, especially during the stay-at-home days of 2020. There is a website and a popular Netflix series showcasing their makeovers. You can find tips and inspiration to get your physical stuff (closets, refrigerator, garage, etc.) under control and looking beautiful.
Once you get started, you may end up “editing” your entire home. In fact, you may end up moving to a smaller home, which is the perfect time to purge all your excess things. Why move something that has not been used in years?
Things that once gave you pleasure may now just clutter up every wall and surface. Things that were important when your children were young may have been stored away in a basement or attic for 30 years. Things that were important to prior generations are not wanted by younger generations. Your prized antiques no longer have value and take up a lot of space.
If you do not go through all your things, who will get that unpleasant chore once you are gone? If you want to pass down certain items to your heirs or donate them to a particular charity, let your wishes be known or do this now. Instead of keeping your prized watch in a safe for years to come, give it to your son or daughter today so they can enjoy it while you are alive.
If this project seems daunting, tackle one room or area at a time. Organize your things into five groups: donate to charity, give to family and friends, sell, throw away or keep for now. As you see the “organization by pile” in front of you, the items you choose to keep may get smaller and smaller. Once you have decided to get rid of something, resist the temptation to bring it back into your house.
Before you fill up your car with things for your friends or family, ask them first. Maybe you really want your daughter to get the sterling silver tea set but she has no interest. Maybe your daughter-in-law has always admired your silver and would be very appreciative. Remember, the objective is to purge your house of things you do not use, and that may mean being flexible.
For items you want to sell, consider the best way to get your money’s worth. Enlist professionals, such as an auction house, or a company that can sell things on the internet. Of course, there’s also always eBay. Your possessions are only worth what someone else will pay, so do not get dismayed if you get less than you had hoped.
Your financial life and files may also need an “edit.” You can attack this project in much the same way. Put papers and files into groups: originals to keep, files to scan and keep on your computer, papers to shred and papers to throw away.
Invest in a good scanner and heavy-duty shredder. Another option is to call a shredding company that will come to your house. You should always back up important files on your computer, preferably daily. Provide copies of relevant documents to those who will oversee managing your affairs.
Editing your things and financial papers can be liberating. If you need help, solicit your children and grandchildren to assist. Make this a fun project and a good way to spend quality time with loved ones. They will appreciate you doing this now, so they do not have to do it later.
This article originally appeared April 1 in the Casper Star-Tribune.
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As a fiduciary and fee-only wealth advisor, Connie wants to understand clients’ goals and wishes to best serve them. Connie uses a team approach to proactively provide comprehensive financial planning tailored to clients’ individual circumstances, one that includes portfolio management, tax strategies, practical wealth transfer considerations, retirement analysis and education planning. She welcomes the chance to help clients work through difficult situations, finding solutions that they may not have thought of and guidance about what to do as life changes occur.
Connie has worked many years as a CPA and in the financial services industry. She is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® and Personal Financial Specialist (PFS) and a NAPFA-registered financial advisor.
Buckingham Strategic Wealth is not engaged in the practice of public accounting and is not registered as a public accounting firm.
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