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Minimizing Financial Clutter by Katherine Trezise

     Hope, Confidence & Freedom from Financial Disorganization

Our finances, the paperwork associated with our finances, and the clutter that results from that paperwork are things that keep many of us awake at night. The goal of my Sunday financial blog is to share my thoughts and tips on how we can minimize both the physical and mental clutter that our personal finances often give us.

Latest Posts:

When Getting Started Is Tough

I've had writer's block for a few weeks. I couldn't think of a thing to write about that would help you minimize your financial clutter. I still can't. A few minutes ago, my husband glanced over at my laptop computer and saw that I was playing (yet another) game of solitaire.  He asked me, "Don't you have to write your blog?"  I answered that I did indeed have to write my blog, but that I had writer's block and didn't have anything to write about.  He told me to write my blog anyway to tell you that I can't think of anything profound to tell you.  I told my husband that I thought his idea was pretty ridiculous.    But he had something profound to tell me:  I...


posted on: 4/11/2010 11:30:00 AM  by Katherine Trezise
category: Finances

Tax Organization in 5-1/2 Easy Steps

Only one month left until Tax Day 2009 For many of us, preparing our income tax returns or even gathering the documents and giving them to someone else to prepare is the most postponed of all our household tasks.  We know it's important, but we procrastinate until the last minute (or even beyond the last minute) to get started.  If that is true for you this year, read on.   I am NOT an accountant, and I'm not giving you tax advice.  I am a professional organizer and daily money manager, however, and I have helped many of my clients do what I'm about to explain here.  So, sharpen your pencils and prepare to be rid of this dreaded chore for another year!   Step #1: ...


posted on: 3/14/2010 11:30:00 AM  by Katherine Trezise
category: Finances

Organizing Lessons from an IRS Audit

The very thought of being audited by the IRS sends chills down our spines. Mary McClung, a professional organizer and my friend and colleague, was recently the lucky winner of an audit.  She lived to survive it, and she gave me permission to share her "lessons learned" with you.            Do issue 1099s if you are required to do so.  This year, if you paid $600 or more in compensation for services rendered by a nonemployee to your trade or business, you need to give a 1099 to each of those service providers. This is a major bad thing NOT to do.  If issuing 1099s makes your head hurt, ask your CPA to issue them for you. 1099s to the people you paid were due by January 31. The...


posted on: 3/7/2010 11:30:00 AM  by Katherine Trezise
category: Finances

Hiding Money from Yourself

They sneak up on us - those bills that only come every quarter, or twice a year, or annually. We tend to forget about them until, uh-oh, we find one of those periodic mega-bills in the mailbox.   If you find yourself wishing that you had remembered to save money to pay those bills, here is an easy way to organize your finances so you'll be prepared next time.    Make a list of all of your periodic expenses.  Here's my list:          Car insurance (2 cars, 2x/year)          Homeowner's insurance (1x/year)          Liability umbrella insurance...


posted on: 2/28/2010 11:30:00 AM  by Katherine Trezise
category: Finances

Get Organized for the New Credit Card Law

Perhaps you won't go out celebrating, but this Monday will be a happy occasion for consumers who have credit cards. President Obama signed the Credit Card Act of 2009 into law last year, and most of the provisions become effective on February 22, 2010.    Some of the welcome changes, organizationally-speaking, are:            Standardized due dates for payments.  Your credit card payment will always be due on the same day of the month.  Now it will be much easier for you to establish a regular bill-paying schedule.            Required notification 45 days prior to changes in the terms of your...


posted on: 2/21/2010 11:30:00 AM  by Katherine Trezise
category: Finances

Show Your Love by Sharing Your Knowledge

It's Valentine's Day, and many of you out there in blog-reader-land will be exchanging tokens of affection with your significant other. Flowers, candy, cards, jewelry and the like are wonderful gifts to give and to receive.  In addition to those traditional gifts, however, it is important that you give another kind of gift to the person you love the gift of knowledge about your family's financial picture.  I have worked with many clients mostly women who felt totally unprepared to handle their own routine financial matters when they found themselves suddenly single again.  In misguided attempts to keep their wives from "worrying" about their finances, the husbands "took care of things" like banking, bill...


posted on: 2/14/2010 11:30:00 AM  by Katherine Trezise
category: Finances

My Super Bowl Weight-Loss Plan

The Ravens didn't make it. I'm snowed-in under a blanket of 26 inches of snow, so I can't escape it.  So while I was in the shower this morning, I came up with a way to lose several pounds during the Big Game.   During 2009, I gained some weight.  So did you.  Not that kind of weight.  I'm talking about the weight of paper statements.   Think about all of the weekly, monthly, and quarterly statements you accumulated last year:            Pay stubs          Investment statements          Explanations of benefits from your health...


posted on: 2/7/2010 11:30:00 AM  by Katherine Trezise
category: Finances

BE Ready, So You Don't Have to GET Ready

"BE ready, so you don't have to GET ready." I heard a preacher on the radio utter those words, and they have stuck in my mind.  Now, I know the preacher was talking about being ready for something entirely different, but I couldn't help but think about how that sentence could be applied to organization: BE organized, so you don't have to GET organized. In fact, I uttered those words to my husband as we frantically "got ready" for people to come over during the recent Christmas holidays.  I mused how wonderful it would be to "be" in such a state of reasonable cleanliness and order that we could always be ready to welcome guests into our home without the last-minute vacuuming of dog hair and stashing of...


posted on: 1/24/2010 11:30:00 AM  by Katherine Trezise
category: Finances

Visual Noise

I just returned from seeing The Screwtape Letters, a play based on the book by C.S. Lewis. Screwtape, a.k.a. the devil, gave the audience a multi-sensory experience of what Hell is like.  The glassy-looking walls glowed red to simulate the intense heat we associate with our concept of Hell.  But Screwtape also told the audience that Hell is NOISY full of incessant, loud, unpleasant noise.  The auditorium filled with a cacophony of such sounds, and to an auditorially-sensitive person like me, it WAS hell. The experience reminded me of a client a professional singer/songwriter who once described her cluttered house as being "visually noisy".  The state of disorganization of her things was as unpleasant to...


posted on: 1/17/2010 11:30:00 AM  by Katherine Trezise
category: Finances

GO Get Your Finances Organized!

January has been designated "Get Organized Month", a.k.a. GO Month, by the National Association of Professional Organizers. www.napo.net   When most people think about "getting organized", they think about eliminating their unneeded stuff from their closets, garages and drawers.  We are well aware of the clutter we have in those areas.    Here's how the dictionary defines clutter:          A confused or disordered state or collection; a jumble          To fill or spread over in a disorderly manner          To make disorderly or hard to use...


posted on: 1/10/2010 11:30:00 AM  by Katherine Trezise
category: Finances

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About Katherine:

Katherine Trezise is president of Absolutely Organized, based in Baltimore, MD. She is president-elect of the National Study Group on Chronic Disorganization. Katherine holds a masters degree in business administration, is a Certified Professional Organizer® and a Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization®. Absolutely Organized specializes in helping people organize their homes, paperwork and financial records to make room in their lives for the things, people and activities that are most important to them.

Katherine's Website:


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