Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Inspired by Sluggy

Inspired by so many of Slugmama's posts about cleaning, decluttering and donating, Hubby and I started off the year by cleaning!

Well, first the big New Year's celebration. I was off on New Year's Eve, so Hubby and I went out for lunch at the Pizza Hut buffet. He loves to go when I have a weekday off and surprisingly, even with all the days off I took last month, we did not go until New Year's Eve. After eating, we went to the grocery store. Yes, I allowed Hubby in the grocery store. LOL! We did our weekly shopping to get it out of the way and Hubby did NOT make us go over my comfortable amount. (I won't call it a budget, since it is rather flexible, but I prefer to keep it around $50 -$60 a week. Note to self: Never go to the grocery store on New Year's Eve. I don't know why so many people were there. They were neither buying party stuff or using up about to expire coupons. They were just shopping.

We relaxed the afternoon away, then went out to eat Mexican Food....our traditional New Year's Eve "out." But afterward, instead of going home, we went to the movies and saw The King's Speech. Excellent movie! We got home around 10:30, but I was wired from drinking "leaded" iced tea at dinner, so I stayed up until about 2am. I got to welcome in the new year at midnight. WooHoo! Sometimes Hubby and I are asleep before then. LOL!

New Year's Day, we planned to just hang out all day. But I decided to start taking down the Christmas tree. I told Hubby that while I was at it, I would go through the 6 boxes of Christmas stuff we had and see if there was anything I could weed out. I ended up with 2 boxes to donate and our decorations are down to 4 boxes. Yeah! (This was what was inspired by Sluggy.)

Sunday, Hubby decided he was inspired to clean out the second bedroom closet. It is just used for storage and it is where the ebay stuff lives. We ended up being pretty ruthless with stuff and bagged up 4 bags of donations. 4 tall white kitchen trash bags, not some little bags. I was impressed with our donate pile!

Usually, we do this kind of thing when we are getting ready to move, but we haven't moved in a while, so I guess it was time. And lest anyone think our timing was bad and we should have donated a couple days earlier for the tax deduction...we don't do that. When we want to get rid of stuff, we don't mess with receipts and lists and stuff. We are just keeping it from the landfills.

Thanks for the year long inspiration, Sluggy1


Annie Jones said...

Since we itemize our taxes anyway (because of mortgage interest and Shane's work-related expenses) we do collect receipts for the donations we make to thrift. But there's only a certain dollar amount you can claim w/o filling out special forms, and we usually exceed that, so toward the end of the year, we don't bother so much about the receipts. We also sometimes just list stuff on craigslist and set it out at the curb for free to whomever wants/needs it.

I'm just beginning my next round of decluttering here, too.

Frances said...

We don't have enough to itemize and that is okay with me. LOL!

We have a LOT of thrift stores in the area, so dropping off donations is easy. If we have something big we don't want to carry downstairs, we list it on Freecycle. We have given away several items that way.

The funny thing is that you can't even tell we got rid of anything unless you go in the closet. LOL! But I guess our apartment isn't that cluttered looking. I think maybe I have watched too many episodes of Hoarders and it makes me want to get rid of stuff.

slugmama said...

Awww, I feel so special that I have inspired you....thanks Frances!

And yah, a round of watching Hoarding shows WILL make you want to declutter....that's why I watch them, for motivation!lolol

We do declare charitable donations, for now.
Since we have no mortgage deduction(like you Frances)plus no work related deductions or excessive medical payments OOP, the ONLY items we can deduct are the charitable(cash & stuff)and the property taxes/state taxes type OOP costs. The standard federal deduction for a married filing jointly for 2010 is $11,400. It is a struggle with just those few categories to itemize and have MORE than the standard deduct.

I figure if you can legally deduct stuff and keep more of your cash, why not do it?lol

It's a win/win really when we itemize deductions.....we keep more of our earnings AND the charities we support see more donations since we have a financial interest in giving to them beyond a certain level.
We do see the intrinsic value as well, don't get me wrong, and we donated before we could itemize and we will continue to donate when we fall below the itemizing threshold.

We also donate food/hba to relatives and supply "Christmas" every year for families through a local non-registered charitable group...there is no financial incentive for us to do so, no tax write-off there. It's just the right thing to do for us.

Personally, I don't have a problem with anyone's motivation to give to it making yourself feel good, getting a tax break, assuaging your guilt over having money, etc. As long as people give. 8-)

Frances said...

Hi, Sluggy. Thanks for coming to see me. I think everyone who can should claim deductions for charitable contributions if they itemize. I actually prepare our taxes both ways, itemized and not and we never come out ahead by itemizing. I agree with you, get all the money back you can. It is yours, after all.

Diane said...

Thanks for all your encouraging words and comments.

Frances said...

Thanks for coming to see me Diane!

McVal said...

Getting rid of Christmas decor??? That's sacrilege!!!
I'll be taking down our tree and decorations on Sunday night. My daughter insists on keeping it up until after her birthday parties are over with.
And that's ok by me...

Frances said...

McVal, I didn't trash Christmas deco. I just deployed some of it to the thrift store so that those less fortunate could buy and enjoy in there homes.

I like the idea of keeping it all up. Unfortunately, my birthday is next November. LOL!

AudreyO said...

I smiled reading your post. We have a pizza buffet place about 45 minutes away. If and when we have a day off during the week, we love to drive down there. You get an all you can eat salad bar and all you can eat pizza for a fairly low price.

Frances said...

Thanks for stopping by, Audrey! Hubby loves the pizza buffet. Well, I like it, too, but he can eat an amazing quantity of pizza and salad.

And he never gains a pound.

I hate him.

Not really.

Valerie @ Frugal Family Fun Blog said...

Sounds like you made some real progress! We're working on de-cluttering around here too. So far upstairs is under control... now to tackle the downstairs! You've inspired me to get it done. :-)

Frances said...

Hi, Valerie! Glad I could inspire you. Good luck with the downstairs.