Thursday, September 17, 2009

Me and My Stuff

The last 10 days can be summed up in very few words: boxes, trash bags and strapping tape.

We finalized the contract on our home and found a new place to live. While our boys are in school, Keith and I have been busy packing up our belonging and getting ready for moving day.

On Monday, I tackled our storage room. This is an unfinished area in our home that was originally planned to be a home theater. We never got around to actually doing the renovations, so instead we used it to store all of our "stuff".

I've dreaded having to deal with this space more than any other room in our house. I knew it was going to take the most effort so I decided to tackle it head on.

When I opened the doors, boxed stacked almost to the ceiling, greeted me. I immediately felt overwhelmed just by the sight of it all.

Where would I start? How long was this going to take? Who was going to help me?

Christmas decorations, office supplies, old books, baby keepsakes, unused printers, and family photo albums were spewed all over the room. I could see them but couldn't actually get to them because I had furniture and decorating accessories in the way.

Back in April, when we put our home on the market, I went through and did a little staging, in hopes that our house would sell quickly. I went through each room and put away extra candle sticks, silk plants, area rugs, flower arrangements, picture frames and even furniture. Everything went into our storage room. I could just close the door and pretend that they didn't exist. Out of sight, out of mind.

I could no longer pretend anymore. One by one, I went through each box, sorting, organizing and deciding what I would keep or give away. Two hours into the project I was in tears. Even with all my hard work and good intentions, the room didn't look any different. There was still stuff everywhere.

In total frustration, I yelled at the top of my lungs, "I have too much stuff!"

As I looked around the room at all my pretty decorations, I thought about how much fun it was when I bought them. How excited I was to bring them home and proudly display them throughout my house. Oh, how my little decorations brought me so much joy!

Now these same decorations had become a huge burden. Like little nooses around my neck, weighing me down. I didn't want to be bothered with them anymore. They seemed of no use to me. I now resented them. I didn't like my stuff. If fact, at that moment, I wanted to light a match and torch everything.

In all honesty, I've known for a long time, that I have an unhealthy love for shopping. Nothing gets me more pumped up than a early bird sale at Kohl's with an additional 20% off coupon. How about those buy one, get one free specials. Boy, do these deals make my heart race!

I've rationalized buying things because I could get them for less. I'd often tell my husband, "Honey, I only buy what's on sale so it saves us money." His response was always "Don't buy anything and then you'll actually save us money."

As I stood alone in my storage room, with all my stuff, I had one of those ah-ha moments. I realized that my unhealthy love for shopping had grown into a super sized habitual addiction. One that I thought I could control, but in reality, I couldn't and I still can't. There's more to tell you, but not today. This post is too long already.

Can I ask you something though?

Do you have an unhealthy love for shopping too? Are you tempted by those 50% clearance racks? Do you often times find yourself in the clothing department at Super Target when your original plan was to only pick up eggs, milk, and a loaf of bread?

Has shopping become an addiction for you?

Maybe you've had an unhealthy love for shopping in the past but have learned to do without. Maybe you can now say "no" to those want (not need) items. Maybe you can now make a trip to your local TJ Maxx and not feel like you have to buy everything in site.

I'd love to hear how you've been able to say "no" to unhealthy shopping and how it has made a difference in your life.

I'll tell you more about my ah-ha moment tomorrow. But, for now, I've got to get back to packing.

Friday, September 4, 2009

September is Taxing

I'm celebrating this morning. Why? Because I've finally completed my 2008 personal and corporate tax returns.

Honesty, here it is September 2009 and for the past 3 days, I've been fumbling through medical receipts and personal expense forms, that are dated well over a year ago. Is that not insane?

When I posted a comment about this on my face book page, I received several responses. The comments ranged anywhere from "I haven't completed my taxes either!" to "Are you serious? Oh my goodness!"

I'm sure you're wondering why I've waited so long. Well, it's because I loath doing my taxes each year. I could of chosen the word hate to describe how I feel but loath sounds so much more intense. Yes, I loath doing my taxes.

Gathering all that information and putting it into the computer is so tedious and incredibly time consuming. Each year I procrastinate and then find myself in crisis mode trying to get everything finished before the dead line. I absolutely dread it. In fact, I'd go as far to say that I'd rather have a root canal done than file my taxes. Now, that is pretty bad!

I was on the phone yesterday with my C.P.A.. She asked why I didn't just put all of my tax information into a simple excel spread sheet. She told me that the majority of her clients submit their taxes that way and it's completely acceptable. It would take a lot less time and would be so much easier.

I explained to my C.P.A. that I have a Type A personality and everything has to be done just so. Putting my tax figures into my fancy accounting software package and printing out all those nice clean impressive reports looks so much better. It actually makes me even feel better. Weird, huh? Yes, I know.

O.k., I have issues, but you probably know this already. Really, who cares about how the information looks on a sheet of paper. Just as long as the information is correct. That's what matters. Well, I tell myself this but that's not what I end up doing. If you're a Type A personality person, I know you're nodding your head up and down right now and saying "yes, yes, yes!"

Plus, I think it's sort of a generational curse. I can remember going with my dad to drop off his personal tax return when I was a little girl. He also would wait until the very last day to file his return. I remember him driving us to the city and going to the main post office, just to make sure his return would be postmarked correctly. I was around 9 years old, it was dark outside, and I was in my pajamas. He really did wait until the last minute to file his return! He also has one of those Type A personalities. See, I told you it was generations.

The good news is that I've already begun compiling my tax information for 2009 and even started putting some entries into my fancy accounting software package. Obviously, I haven't dealt with my Type A personality issues and still love seeing all my tax figures printed out on those fancy reports.

My goal is to have my 2009 tax returns completed and ready for my C.P.A. by the end February 2010.

We shall see :)