2016: The Year of Taking Control

On my blog at Echo’s Gardens, you may have been reading about 2015 – The Year of Renovation and Renewal. I obtained a home equity line of credit and set out to renovate my gardens and improve my home. I made a lot of mistakes but had a lot of successes as well.

I Need to Take Control!

One thing the mistakes – and other events – taught me is that I need to take control of many aspects of my life. For example, in spite of being determined not to buy new plants until I had corrected the problems in the existing gardens surrounding my house, I purchased at least 200 – most of which were never planted, and now sit in my garage waiting for spring.

I Need to Control Spending

A far worse problem is that one key to making the whole project work was to pay back as much of the principal as possible on the home equity line over the winter. Instead, I have continued to spend, often impulsively, and my credit card bill continues to be in the thousands of dollars each month. I’m furious with myself – and yet I can’t stop. I want this. I need that. Oh, that would be SO helpful to have. And believe it or not, I have about 8 Amazon wish lists where I save items I want but am not ready to buy for one reason or another.

It’s like a drug.

I have bipolar disorder, and heedless spending is a symptom generally associated with mania (which I’ve never experienced) and hypomania, the two “up” phases of the illness. Continue reading

How To Create a Slick Filing System – Quick Reference


Storage – What Goes Where

In the file cabinet:

  • Make box-bottom hanging files for broad categories, putting category names on their tabs
  • Make manila folders for sub-categories (e.g., in the Insurance hanging file, you’d have Homeowners/Renters and Auto folders at the least. (If you rent and don’t have Renters insurance, get it!)
  • Make individual folders for manuals and put them in box-bottom hanging files by category.
  • Items you’ll file directly into the cabinet when received would be, for example, auto purchase and maintenance records, receipts received irregularly that you want to keep, and updated insurance policies (while still keeping the original if it has riders), and manuals.

Continue reading

How To Create a Slick Filing System – Steps 8, 9 and 10


Step 8: Financials (And Other Current Paperwork)

This is the brilliant part!

You should have file folders for the previous three years’ worth of financial records already labeled and separated by year. Make three new hanging files and make the tabs Annual Archives 1, 2 and 3. Put the dated files from three years ago in #3, from two years ago in #2, and from last year in #1. Don’t date the hanging files.

Now we’ve reached the critical step that makes the whole filing system work for me. Remember the step-up/tiered file sorter that was listed in “What You’ll Need”? Time to put it to good use. Continue reading