Feng Shui Expert Erica Sofrina Talks About Lockboxer

We spent time with Feng Shui expert Erica Sofrina to hear more about the practice of Feng Shui and what she likes about Lockboxer.

What are the principles of Feng Shui that you teach?

We can learn invaluable lessons by looking at our physical surroundings (i.e., our homes and the things that are in our homes). It can powerfully illuminate what and what isn’t serving us in our environment. You should ask yourself these questions about your things: Do you love it? Does it uplift you? Is it useful? Does it reflect who you are now in your life?

What do you like about Lockboxer?

I’m always talking about getting rid of stuff that is considered clutter and am a proponent of the reduce, reuse, and recycle philosophy. I also teach a lot of professional organizers for their own practice on how to reduce clutter for their clients. Lockboxer is just the perfect vehicle for this. Figuratively, it’s one-stop shopping, in a way. You have all of your stuff and you can assess it, find out what it’s worth, and then sell it. We might have gotten something that we liked at one point and it’s really not in our taste anymore. It would benefit us to get rid of it and Lockboxer helps us do it. Anybody who is working through their stuff will find Lockboxer useful.

What is so powerful about clearing out the clutter?

If we like something, we’re energetically connected to it. That item translates into positive energy in our lives. But I talk a lot about moving things out of your life that are no longer useful. Lockboxer assists people in doing just that. When you move something out of your life that isn’t useful, like clutter, then you actually open up places in your life for new things to come in. After all, small changes have a big impact on us.

Have people been more or less focused on accumulating things in our culture?

There has been a whole paradigm about getting more in our culture and our society, but we’re moving out of it. The whole economy is shifting dramatically. People are starting to wake up and change.

Erica Sofrina is a teacher, author, and speaker who focuses on creating inspiring environments using the principles of Feng Shui. Sofrina is the founder of the West Coast Academy of Feng Shui and wrote a book, Small Changes, Dynamic Results – Feng Shui for the Western World.

Feel Good and Clear the Clutter by Donating to Goodwill

By Kylie Gilbert

One of the best features of Lockboxer is the option to donate your items.  It not only lets you clear clutter so that you can use your space more productively, but you know that you’re helping someone else that can actually put your things to good use.

Lockboxer gives you average donation prices so that you have an easy and organized way of keeping track of how much you’ve donated throughout the year when it comes time for tax season.

One of the places you can easily donate to with Lockboxer is Goodwill. Once you’ve made a Lockboxer account, you can automatically find the Goodwill location nearest you, making the donation process even more convenient. By donating your items, you can join the over 74 million donors who helped their cause last year.

According to employees at several Goodwill stores and donation centers, the items most consistently brought in are clothes, shoes, household items, and electronics, particularly old televisions and phones. Some Goodwill locations also allow you to donate computer equipment and vehicles. The general rule of thumb according to the Goodwill website is if you would give your item to a relative or friend, your item is in good condition and appropriate to donate.

Before you donate your stuff, make sure to wash and dry any pieces of clothing, test electrical items to make sure they still work, and check with your local Goodwill to determine standards for donating computers and vehicles. Don’t donate any broken or dirty items, and be sure that all of your items meet current safety standards.

While you do get a receipt listing the items you’ve donated, this list of items has no dollar amount attached, making Lockboxer an easy way to fill in the blanks and help you with the daunting task of taxes.

By donating your items to Goodwill, you’re not only freeing up space in your home, but you’re also contributing to a greater cause.  In 2010 alone, more than 2.4 million people were served through employment and training programs, and over 20 million workforce development services were provided.  Over 170,000 people earned a job with the help of Goodwill. The total revenue generated by Goodwill organizations totaled $4 billion.

In addition to their retail stores, shopgoodwill.com is the first Internet auction site created, owned and operated by a nonprofit organization.  Participating Goodwill stores from across the country are able to offer a wide variety of goods for auction on the side based on what they receive for donation.

So, the next time you think you want to throw your old stuff in the trash, think again.  You could be making a bigger difference than you think.

What do you think of Lockboxer? Interview with tech writer Jay Torres

Interview with Jay Torres of TechZulu

Jay Torres, an engineer and writer on the tech scene, was kind enough to take a look at Lockboxer. We wanted to hear his thoughts so we asked him a few questions about what he thought of Lockboxer.

What types of items are you interested in getting a price for and why?

I’d be interested in pricing all of my gadgets and doing a full inventory of items in my apartment. My insurance policy requires this for items I’d like covered and I have never run into a web service that supports this. Also, I have amassed a decent collection of gadgets over the years and I feel Lockboxer does a good job of showing you what you currently own and the value of your gadgets.

How do you think Lockboxer would be most useful to you?

Lockboxer would be most useful to me as place to inventory all of my things. As a renter, my insurance policy will only cover items that I’ve recorded through an inventory. Taking pictures of the rooms in my apartment is how most insurance companies recommend taking inventory of the things in your apartment and Lockboxer actually supports this. And since I’m never in one apartment permanently, taking an inventory of a new place is very simple.

Would you recommend Lockboxer to your friends?

I would definitely recommend Lockboxer to my friends. I think it’s relevant for people whether they would like to find the current market price for things they are trying to sell or taking an inventory of items in their apartment. Lockboxer is effective for selling things on eBay, Craigslist, or even a garage sale. I feel Lockboxer provides a simple way to find the value of things that you own and an easy way to organize this information.

Jay Torres, according to his blog, is an engineer, gym rat, Apple fanboy, and foodie. Read more articles by Jay on TechZulu.

Fantastic Personal Finance Tips from Money Crashers

By Kylie Gilbert

If you haven’t heard of Money Crashers, check it out. This how-to blog is the perfect place to go for all things related to personal finance.  The site is easy to navigate and you can instantly choose the area that interests you.  Whether you’re interested in money management, credit and debt, investing, small business, and economy and policy, there are a variety of bloggers giving you the latest tips and information.

The best part about Money Crashers is that whether you’re financially savvy or clueless (like me) it gives you detailed tips and step-by-step instructions for whatever stage of life you’re at and whatever you’re trying to accomplish.

One of the aspects of the site I found most useful were their tips on spending and saving . If you’re looking to make a new purchase or sell stuff you don’t want, this site makes it easy to organize and plan ahead for all of your big decisions. For example, articles such as 12 Steps for How to Make a Budget and Should You Feel Guilty About Spending Money? are perfect if you’re in need of help with personal budgeting, whether you’re just branching out on your own or already established. From there, you can use Lockboxer’s sell, donate, or wish list features to further help you get organized.

One of the most interesting articles I came across was 10 Things You should Always Buy Used Secondhand.  It describes items such as designer clothing, books, CDs, and furniture that you can easily find in pawnshops, thrift shops, or online stores like eBay and Amazon that can prevent you from throwing your money in the garbage when you buy them new.  I’m not saying I’m a complete convert (department store shopping will always be close to my heart), but for certain items, like books or DVDs, (where I’d honestly never really know or mind if someone else had them before me) this article explains how you can save money without sacrificing quality.  Going hand in hand with this was 8 Things That Lose Value as Soon as You Buy Them, which is not only useful if you’re about to make a new purchase, but also if you just want to have an inventory at hand to detail the value of your stuff.

If you’re at all interested in buying or selling on Craigslist, check out the super detailed blogs Money Crashers offers on how to successfully sell your stuff on Craigslist.  This article goes through important tips to help you plan and research, price the item, take photos, and write a detailed headline and description. Other articles such as How to Sell Your Car on Craigslist go into more specific instructions for particular items you may want to sell. How To Stay Safe And Avoid Getting Ripped Off On Craigslist and 7 Types of Common Craigslist Scams to Watch Out for are also must-reads and cover basic and not-so-basic tips for how to protect yourself from even the most sophisticated Craigslist scammers. You’ll be able to sell your items with ease knowing all of the home and apartment rental scams, ticket scams, job scams, and phony Craigslist websites and guarantees that exist.

Everyone’s in need of a little extra help sometimes when it comes to his or her personal finance.  Whether its figuring out what you can afford, how you can save, how you can go about purchasing big ticket times, or even how to sell your stuff, Money Crashers is a great tool to give you all the information you need.

Create Your Organizational Vision

By Marcie Lovett, Professional Organizer and Productivity Consultant

As a professional organizer, I encourage people to keep an inventory of their belongings.  Whether you have to place a claim with your insurance company or you’re thinking of moving or renovating, you need to know what you have.

Most people are surprised by the amount of stuff they own, once they start paying attention.  Like the practice of writing down everything you eat, writing down everything you own can cause you to question your behavior.  How did you end up with multiples of gadgets you almost never use?  What were you thinking when you bought that equipment from a late-night infomercial?  Analyzing shopping mistakes can be painful, but it’s important to recognize what you need and what you can let go.

Once you start to evaluate what you have, think about how you want to live.  Peter Walsh, author and professional organizer, says

Visualize the life you want, and then ask, ‘Does this item enhance that vision or get in the way of it?’

What is the vision you want for your life?  You might be starting a new career or adding to your family.  Maybe you’re getting ready to retire and you want to spend more time pursuing hobbies.  You could be preparing to take on a new challenge that you’ve always dreamed of.

You’ll need to include some – but probably not all – of your possessions to create your vision.  Give yourself permission to let go of things that don’t add value to your life.  Be ruthless when considering if you will ever use an item again.  If you don’t love it or use it, let go of it and allow someone else to benefit from it.

Before you bring anything new into your home, no matter how attractive or useful it is, ask yourself if it meets the criteria you set for your vision.  Don’t let price influence your decision; it doesn’t matter what a “bargain” something is if it gets in the way of achieving your goal.

If you are having trouble deciding whether to keep something, consider Peter Walsh’s advice.  You don’t have to throw everything out and start all over.  Go slowly and think carefully about what you keep.  Let it be a reflection of what you value.

Do the things you own fit in with your vision?  Leave a comment, below, and tell us how.

 

Marcie Lovett, Professional Organizer and Productivity Consultant, is the author of The Clutter Book: When You Can’t Let Go, available at Create Space and on Amazon.

Organize Your Life in 10 Short Days

By Kristl Story, The Budget Diet

Making a home inventory fits in with a lot of items on your organization to-do lists. So we turned to expert Kristl Story for some tips to organize your life. Her recommendations are neatly fit into ten days to organize your life. Enjoy!

Day 1:

Family Notebook:  Create a notebook with a divider for each school or organization that your children are involved in.  This is a great “one stop shop” for phone lists, schedules and rosters for those many activities!  Use the back pocket to keep invitations or flyers for upcoming events.  Use the front pocket for school directories.   Keep the notebook in the drawer with your phone books and make sure your family knows where this important “resource” is!

Day 2:

Calendar Clutch:  Keep a calendar or planner with you at all times and make sure your children know where it is, so they can check it!   This will save you the time of having to tell someone, “I’ll check my calendar and get back with you.”  I’m an old-fashioned paper calendar in the purse person, but electronic calendars are great.  Use what works for you, but the important part is:  use it!

Day 3:

Mail Mess:  When mail or school papers arrive use this rule and avoid piles:  do it, dump it or delegate it.  Example: bills go in the bill paying file, write down dates from school flyers on your calendar, put the junk mail in the recycler.

Day 4:

E-Junk:  Speaking of junk mail, in this internet era we are always giving out our e-mail address which seems to generate more and more junk in our inbox.  Solution:  get a free hotmail, g-mail or y-mail account and use this one exclusively for giving out to stores, etc. You’ll only need to check this e-mail for purchase confirmations or an e-coupon they may send.

Day 5:

De-clutter & be green!

– Stop junk mail (free):  DMAchoice.org

– Stop credit card offers (free):  OptOutPrescreen.com

– Stop catalogs (free):  CatalogChoice.org

Day 6:

Medical Forms:  Get your child’s physical done every year around their birthday instead of rushing to make an appointment right before the school or camp form is due.  As long as a child has had a physical within the year, you can drop off any form, and the doctor will sign it.

Day 7:

Plan ahead:  It’s the beginning of the month, time to check the calendar for birthdays, anniversaries or other events that you might need to buy a gift for.

Day 8:

Great Ideas:  Start idea files, and whenever you see a great idea…to the file it goes!  Then when you’re ready to start a project you’ll have an instant resource.  Suggested files:

– Decorating

– Halloween

– Christmas

– Birthday Party Ideas

– Gift Ideas

Day 9:

Artwork overload:  look for inexpensive frames on sale at Michael’s (usually $5) and decorate a hallway or a laundry room with your child’s artwork.  Of course, this will be a gallery with rotating artwork!

Day 10:

Clean Out:  Make a plan to tackle one room, closet or bookshelf each month (or week) and make 4 piles:  throw out, recycle, donate, sell.  Remember, if you haven’t used it or worn it in the past year…it’s time to get rid of it!  Get the entire family involved and use the money you make for a family vacation!  Places to sell:  garage sale, ebay.com,  consignment shop, craigslist.com,  Half Price books, freecycle.org

Remember: Time is money, so organize your life to save both.

Kristl is the CEO of her family and also the maid, the cook, the coupon queen and yes, the bargain shopper.  She’s not a financial planner or an accountant, just a mom that knows how to live the good life on a budget.  Kristl’s tips have been featured in publications like Consumer Reports, All You Magazine and Good Housekeeping. Discover more frugal living tips at TheBudgetDiet.com