Because I’m cleaning.

Oh, not earlier this week, or last week either. I hardly came out of my office while I worked on my edits. But once I got them off my desk, I had to wade into the no-mans land of paperwork in order to dig up the receipts the accountant needed to file our taxes (up here in Canada, they’re due April 30th, so we have a couple weeks yet.)

Frankly, I thought I’d done that back in March when I gathered all the paperwork I thought he needed (receipts for promotions, the bills for my website and its updates, memberships etc.) I’d made a lovely folder and organized them all, even printed off a nifty reports listing and totaling all the categories. Then I got a call right before I left for that week away.

“You’re a small business now, you can write off a portion of your house/mortgage interest payment/property taxes, heat, hydro, etc. etc.,” he said.

Oh, all right, I’d heard from others that ‘could’ write them off when I was gathering my receipts but when Gizmo Guy worked from home in the early years of this decade, the accountant told us we couldn’t write those things off. Apparently my situation is different and yes, he needed all the receipts for 2009.

Oh Oh.

Gizmo Guy deals with budgets worth millions and keeps his work desk clean and orderly. (Honest, I’ve seen his desk.) And when I was working in an office, I was very organized too. So why is it our personal bills/statements tend to accumulate in a large pile on the dining room table, our two desks, and assorted coffee tables? And from there, when they threaten to fall on the floor (or when company is coming) I shove them in grocery bags, shove them in a corner of the office, and promise to deal with them “soon.” (Most of our bills come out of the bank automatically–it’s not that they’re not getting paid by being shoved away. These are the statements.)

It didn’t turn out to be as bad as I thought it would be. (Except for minor panic when I couldn’t find the gas and hydro bills and realized I get them online, so it was merely a matter of printing out what I needed.) I’ve finally managed to clear out one of the desk drawers GG had filled with paperwork from 2002-2005 which freed up a lot of space for me. I’ve divided this year’s receipts from the previous years and have set up a nice little filing system so I should be able to keep track of the future years’ taxes. I also have a trash bag filled with shredded papers and another large box of papers waiting to be shredded. Not to mention all the paper that can go out for recycling. Best of all? I can see the top of my desks again (yes, that’s right I have two desks–one for writing, one for the business side of things.)

It felt pretty darned good to get rid of all that paper. In fact it inspired me so much I’ve given Guitar Hero and Curly an assignment — to clean out all the junk in the garage/crawl space/basement and hold a garage sale in a couple weeks. They get to keep the proceeds — I’m hoping that inspires them to work harder to find things. Then again it could backfire and they’ll sell stuff I want to keep.

So tell me, do you spring clean? Or do you keep your house uber-clean all year around? (something I just can’t imagine) Do you haunt yard-sales? Find any good stuff at one?

How can I tell it’s spring?
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3 thoughts on “How can I tell it’s spring?

  • April 16, 2010 at 11:05 am

    Hi there!

    Do I spring clean? Am I crazy? Okay, okay. I USED TO spring clean — when we lived in an apartment. We've been in this house for 26 years now. I clean it when I get to it!

    Technically, you might say I actually do spring clean, but I prefer to think of it as spring organizing instead. I organize a street yard sale every year for the first Saturday in May. It's terrible that this year it falls on the day after the income taxes are due in Canada, though, as I usually finish the income taxes on April 29/30 and THEN get around to organizing our yard sale. There are 20 houses on our road, and 6 to 13 of them participate each year at their own homes. My husband drags stuff out of our crawl space that has accumulated (as I chuck stuff in all year round), I price it and organize it into like-with-like piles, and then he takes everything out to the garage to set up (again like-with-like items together) on our closet doors sitting on Sealtest crates, ready to drag out to the road on yard sale morning. Works for me! Anyway, once all that junk is cleared out of our crawl space, THEN I can organize the rest of the crawl space (as my husband just throws things in "wherever", and I have certain areas for certain things).

    I don't actually go to yard sales anymore unless there is something specific I am seeking. Since I'm 50 now, I'm into downsizing. I have enough crap and I don't need more in my house!

    And no, my house is not uber-clean. Hell. It isn't even clean. It's tidy on the main floor (well … mostly). The upstairs is okay. But God help you if you come to my office or the rec room where my son takes apart computers, as I can see 6 empty towers right now from my office, and there's a lot more than that out there. When I worked in an office outside the home, my desk also was tidy throughout the day and empty every night. Not so now that I am self-employed on the computer every day. I have piles everywhere. In fact, I haven't started my income taxes yet, but I have 2007 and 2008 receipts piled up in here where they don't belong. The good news is that a friend gave me a huge legal filing cabinet recently, so I moved all my previous income tax files into it, as they were getting mangled in my existing filing cabinets. I guess that's the first step. Once I have my girlfriends over tomorrow for the day (so I'm getting ready for that today), then I'll work on that dreaded income tax (or so I say). The kids' and husband's taxes take up to 15 minutes each to prepare; mine takes 11 hours or so because of the self-employment. I'm grateful for Quick Tax. It has saved/made me over $1,000 in the past five years.

    Good luck and thanks for sharing!

  • April 16, 2010 at 7:14 pm

    Hi Leah
    We crazy clean when we have company. Otherwise it's just picking up. I always said that if I wasn't a reader my house would never look cluttered. I have piles of books everywhere as well as some magazines. I pile up the newspapers before recycle day.

    Quoting you:So why is it our personal bills/statements tend to accumulate in a large pile on the dining room table, our two desks, and assorted coffee tables? And from there, when they threaten to fall on the floor (or when company is coming) I shove them in grocery bags, shove them in a corner of the office, and promise to deal with them "soon."

    We are twins separated at birth LOL.

  • April 17, 2010 at 6:37 am

    I try to spring clean, but it never turns out that way, because there is always one closet I avoid and that is my closet int he bedroom where got knows what is stored in there..

    But I do try to keep my desk organised, especially now that I have to look after my mothers accounts since she went into the nursing home.. thank god for the paper shredder.. It gets a work out.. So I have files for her and files for me.. I need a filing cabinet.. The little file thingy I have on my desk is bulging now.. I try to copy everhting into my computer and keep the paper to a minimum. Like I said thank got for the paper shredder..

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