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DISCLAIMER: This post is sponsored by H&R Block Online. All reviews and opinions expressed in this post are based on my personal view. I am not a tax professional and you should always consult a tax professional for all your tax questions and concerns.

Getting a jump on tax planning and preparation will save you time and money in the long run. The current tax filing extension due to COVID-19 allows us to get the most out of our tax preparation. Although the tax filing deadline has been extended, it’s best to still file and get your refund faster, as most people need the money now more than ever. However, if you’re not ready to file just yet, rather than waiting until the last moment, missing out on opportunities for using specific strategies, and stressing out about the process, start organizing and preparing your taxes now (but don’t delay you need a refund now). But first, let me share my tips on how to make organizing and completing your taxes easy, affordable and a total DIY.

TIP ONE: KEEP ALL TAX DOCUMENTS IN ONE PLACE

One thing that can cause you to dread filing your taxes is having to filter through all of your paper clutter to find the documents needed to file. This is such an easy problem to resolve:

  • Have one binder or folder for all tax documents. I keep a binder for each tax year. As materials arrive that I need in preparation to file my taxes, I place them in binder. Using a folder can work just as well. It is essential to make sure that your tax binder is easily accessible.
  • Within your binder keep all your documents sorted by category. Example, all w2’s together, 1099’s together etc.
  • Place your previous years tax return in your current years tax binder. This makes for a great reference tool.
  • Keep a tax log. A tax log is a great way to ensure that you received all of the documents needed to file your taxes. Place this log in the front of your tax binder.

TIP TWO: DO-IT-YOURSELF

My office is located next to an accountant’s office. During this time of year they are usually busy. Of course that is not the case this year with the need for everyone to stay socially distant. This makes for the perfect opportunity to do-it-yourself. The cost-effective way to do this is by using H&R Block Online. It allows you to easily file your taxes from your smartphone or a computer.

As a professional organizer, in my mission of living a beautiful life and helping others do the same, I am always on the hunt for four key things to start:

  • Order
  • Function
  • Money savers
  • Time savers

By focusing on these four things it makes many of my decisions a simple process. When H&R Block Online approached me about working with them, I went straight to my list.

ORDER & FUNCTION

Their website is very user-friendly. I was not intimidated one bit! As soon as I hit the site, it was clean and straightforward. I also respect the fact that they are very transparent. Right from the start, you see pricing, options, and customer reviews for each solution under their DIY service. There are no frustrating pop-ups or ads. Descriptions for each service were concise and made it easy to select the appropriate filing service.

MONEY & TIME SAVER

This was huge for me. As a small business owner (and during such difficult times) I found that H&R Block Online is at least $10 less than TurboTax. I also found that H&R Block Online offers excellent value in tax preparation. One thing that I love is that they have online assistance (from actual human beings) for anyone who is needing a little help as they complete their filing. Instead of getting a help menu that is often not helpful and a time-wasting effort, they have on-demand chat service with highly trained tax experts available for DIY filers.

TIP # 3: DON’T FORGET YOUR PETS

No, that is not a typo. You know how much I love my two pups Bentley and Albert, so of course I am going to take this opportunity to include them in my tips. But seriously, May is National Pet Month and I thought it would be the perfect time to share tax some pet-qualifying tax deductions:

  • Moving a pet. Moving expenses that involve a pet can be deducted in some instances. The move has to be work-related, and there has to be at least 50 miles between the new job and your old home.
  • Guard animals. If a dog is used as a guard animal for your business, then some expenses can be deducted. Expenses related to caring for the animal are deductible, and it’s important to save all receipts to show how much they cost. The IRS will allow a percentage of the cost of care to be deducted, depending on how much time the animal spends on guard duty.
  • Pets related to work. Jobs that involve animals are eligible for some tax deductions. Are you a professional dog breeder? Do you love to race horses? Are you a dog walker who purchases supplies to care for the animals you watch? Depending on your job, you can deduct some expenses.
  • Service dogs. Households with service dogs used for therapeutic purposes may be eligible for tax deductions. Guide dogs and service dogs fall into this category. The IRS requires careful documentation, so save all your receipts, bills, and veterinarian notices. These deductions go on the medical expenses form. Food and leashes are some of the common items that can be written off. Trips to the vet and training are also frequent deductions. The actual cost of buying the service dog or guide dog is also included.

Here are two bonus tips:

  • Fostering an animal for a charity allows households to take the cost of caring for the animal off their income. The charity has to be a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and registered with the Internal Revenue Service. The animal shelter can provide paperwork proving that your household is fostering animals. Items like pet beds, food, leashes, medication, vet visits, and others are eligible for deductions. The IRS may ask to see receipts, so it’s important to save all of them and keep them separate from other pet-related files to avoid confusion.
  • Sales taxes. States with sales taxes can play a part in writing off some of the cost of caring for a pet. According to the IRS, filing Schedule A and deducting state sales taxes can help some pet owners. The sales taxes include the cost of pet food, supplies and other items purchased throughout the year. Local sales taxes, which differ from state versions, also qualify for Schedule A. Saving your receipts is essential, but the IRS allows you to use Schedule A without them. The optional general sales tax tables let you calculate the deduction on a worksheet. In addition, the IRS has an online sales tax deduction calculator.

Friends, I hope that you found this information helpful and a money-saver for you this tax season. Be sure to take advantage of my 25% discount on all H&R Block Online solutions. This is the perfect time before we get back to our day to day hustle to get a major item off of your to-do list. Hugs and Love, Nikki

As a professional organizer I love working with realtors to help bring salable organizations to their clients homes. There are several strategies available to make your house more appealing to potential buyers. These quick fixes don’t cost much money and can improve the value of your home. An easy way increase your home’s salability is to remove excess furniture and items and de-clutter.
You’ve all seen the house that has too much stuff in it. The sight of clutter can bring negative feelings to potential buyers who are touring your home.
Try these suggestions to improve your home’s salability by de-cluttering:

Start with the front door

Start with the front view of your home from the street. Are there too many items in the yard or on the front porch? The first impression of your home is how it looks on the outside. If you de-clutter your front yard or doorstep area, you’re most likely helping potential buyers to experience a more positive first impression of your house.

Establish a good first impression

In my book “Beautifully Organized” A guide to function and style in your home I call your entryway the first impressions space because it is that space that tends to seal the deal on someone’s perception of your home. As you step inside your front door and enter the foyer, living room or great room area ask your self these questions:

  • How does it look to you?
  • Can you see open spaces between furniture where you see the trim board?
  • Have you tastefully hung one or two art items on each wall?

Look at the surfaces of all your furniture, like the dining table, the entertainment center, end tables, cocktail table, and even the kitchen countertops if they’re within your view. If the furniture surfaces are overloaded, removing some of the items will help the buyer see the space you have without getting distracted by all the items you display.Simplifying what your visitors will see makes it easier for them to look beyond your personal items and see what your home actually has to offer.

Complete a home sweep

Put away most small items. A quick and handy method to clear out the “small item” clutter is to grab a large laundry basket or cardboard box and walk through each room, plucking up items that don’t need to be there. Deposit them in your basket or box. Then, put them all away.

If you do this activity periodically, you’ll find that surfaces won’t get cluttered as quickly as they used to.

Furthermore, this is a great technique to use once your home is actually up for sale. Just before your home will be shown, you can do a quick “sweep” of each room to improve the look of your home to potential buyers.

Seriously consider whether you must display the personal items that are cluttering your living areas. Improving your home’s salability means you’re helping potential buyers to see themselves living in the home. Too many of your personal items tend to hamper that vision.

If you’re looking for an inexpensive way to improve the salability of your house, use a discerning eye to see if you have an excess of clutter. Ridding your yard and home of unnecessary items will make your home shine for prospective buyers.

If you are a realtor in the Summerville, South Carolina area and you would like to learn more about how my services can help you get your client’s homes sale ready please contact me. I also work with agents worldwide as I have virtual organizing services available.

-Nikki

One of my favorite places in my home is my office. It is not only my office, but it is also that space that motivates me to be creative and to pursue all those ideas that love living in my brain. My office is not only my working space but it is my woman cave, my little get-a-way to work on projects, read or kick back and watch Netflix. Not that I’m not comfortable enough, I have even taken some time to look at this website in the hopes of getting a gaming chair for my office, as they are said to be very relaxing and help improve your posture, which is what I need to do a lot of the time.

Basically, my happy space. Big or small, we all need that space in our home that we can call our own. My home office was in need of a refresh and re-evaluation. I always believe you should have your home spaces function for your current lifestyle and my home office was functioning for my lifestyle three years ago. It was time to reorganize this space and what perfect time as The Laundress® launched it’s home organizing products! Their beautiful white storage solutions spoke to my organizing heart and I am so happy that they are the sponsors of this blog post.

One thing that is essential for me when organizing any space in my home is that everything has a place and that it is simple to access. I like to open a cabinet and easily be able to identify where things are placed. I don’t necessarily like to see all of my things which make The Laundress® organizers my perfect office solution.

When organizing your home office be aware of what you visually see in the space. In my office I am very selective in what I conceal and what is visually displayed. It goes back to my desire to visually see things that inspire me and make me happy and hide those items that I need but visually are not appealing to see. It is no secret that I love a beautiful bag. I love merely displaying my work bags visually in my cabinet so that they are easy to access and they also bring me joy each time I open my cabinet and see my beautiful bags neatly displayed. For convenience, I have all the workbag cases and accessories concealed in The Laundress® storage cubes above the bags.

I love beautiful stationery, but one thing that can be a clutter buddy is paper, so I have to give myself limitations. A friend of mine recommended I checked out sites like FilecenterDMS.com, as this could offer me a potential solution when it comes to managing my paperwork a lot better than before. One minute your office is clean and the next, there’s paper everywhere! Hopefully, I won’t have to deal with that any time soon.

I gave myself one bin to store all of my beautiful stationery. The Laundress® small storage cube was perfect to hold my stationery. It is compact but provided the perfect amount of space to maintain more than enough beautiful paper, stickers, and cards. The Laundress® also has a Medium and Larger storage boxes which makes organizing a multitude of items simple.

Taking time first to purge all of the items that I no longer use in my office and then incorporating beautiful function as made me fall back in love with my office all over again. The most straightforward change can have such a significant impact on your everyday life.
As a professional organizer, I go through a lot or receipts and invoices which, before too long can become cluttered and out of order. Recently, a friend of mine has tried to persuade me to be more digital and to scan my receipts and invoices so that I can access them quickly and efficiently. She recommended I take a look at Top 10 Best Receipt Scanner & Organizer – Reviews – HereOn.biz for some inspiration on condensing my paperwork. Having done some browsing of the reviews, I’m definitely tempted to give scanning a go in the future.

There was one final touch to my office cabinet refresh. I restocked my office cleaning tray with The Laundress® cleaning products. Now my cabinet does not only look beautifully organized it smells wonderful! My space is now refreshed and has me motivated to tackle the world or a latte or two.

Photography credit (first photo of office cabinets): ChristopherShane.com

We all should have a place in our home that we consider our happy place. It is a place that you can escape to relax, create or to do anything that makes you happy. This space may be a bedroom, kitchen or even a closet that you transformed into your unique space. For me, this space is my home office which I call my woman cave. When entering my woman cave, I am just inspired. Not only does my space inspire me with ideas for my professional organizing business, but also for my home, and life. Because our happy spaces are so crucial to our well-being, it is essential to keep this space clean, refreshed and free of clutter. I want to share with you some tips on how I keep my happy space organized, which inspires and make me happy every day.

BE SELECTIVE

When choosing items for your happy space use caution to only keep things that serve a purpose and rid yourself of clutter producing items. You might want to check out skip hire if you have a particularly large amount of clutter too. However, if you still want to hold on to your possessions, but simply want them out of your house, you could invest in a self storage unit. A self storage unit can be an excellent solution for bulkier items such as furniture that can take up valuable room in your home. For more information about self storage, go to canningvalestorageunits.com.au. In my space, I love incorporating acrylic when it comes to many of my organizing containers as it brings me a sense of visual airiness, style, and function. It allows those beautiful items that make me happy to shine such as my gold scissors or the legs of my table. I recently released my stackable acrylic organizers which are fantastic for organizing a multitude of items efficiently and beautifully. Some of the things you can organize with my stackable trays are:

OFFICE SUPPLIES: You can organize a variety of office supplies and store either on top of your desk or in a drawer. Because they are stackable, they are great space savers. If you’re looking to get some office supplies, you may want to check out an Online Office Supply Store, OfficeCrave.com as an example.

TEAS & COFFEE: Organize all of your teas and coffee accessories in your kitchen coffee station. Not only at home but at work also.

COSMETICS: These organizers are the perfect size to organize a variety of make-up products. They are easy to wipe clean which is a must for any make-up storage.

JEWELRY: Having a reflective bottom these organizers will store your jewelry beautifully. I also love that it allows you to sort your jewelry by color or by what you are wearing for the days of the week to help save time in the morning.


CREATE AN EXPERIENCE

When in your happy space are you creating a beautiful experience, a beautiful memory? This is something that I am always striving for not only in my happy space but in my entire home. Start by asking yourself one key question:

AM I CATERING TO MY FIVE SENSES IN MY SPACE?

Just imagine walking into your space and having all of your senses of sight, smell, sound, taste and touch catered to in a wonderful way.

SIGHT

Declutter your space. The only experience that you will have in your space is frustration. Before you start to declutter the area, close your eyes and imagine your happy space. Tour the space in your mind. When you open your eyes start removing the items were not in your vision for your space. Some important things to incorporate into your space are colors that are beautiful and inspiring to you and great lighting that creates your ideal ambiance.

The things we see each day impact us significantly. This is why I like to surround myself with positive visuals such as inspirational art or by placing inspirational cards in my desk area. When creating my candle I wanted to have an inspirational word on each candle that could bring a positive visual experience to your area. I knew the candle would eventually burn out, but this would allow the container to be used as a beautiful accessory in any space to store a variety of items.

SMELL

Aroma is that unseen element that can create such a mood in a space. It can give you energy or make you relax, depending on the scent. It can be an excellent way to be welcomed into your area. My candle, which comes in my NStyle subscription box along with a linen spray and a home organizing or decor item is my new favorite. It is a twelve-ounce soy candle that sets the tone in my happy space every day.

SOUND

After a long day in this crazy world, you may come home to your happy space and tell yourself that you do not want to hear a sound. I get it, and that is perfectly ok! The important thing is that you incorporate sounds (or no sounds) that bring you joy in the space. This may be by adding a sound machine in the space or playing your favorite jazz tunes. Coming home and turning on the news in your happy space may not be the best thing to do. You need to give yourself a moment to rejuvenate from the world so that you can go out and give your best each day.

TASTE

I am known for hiding a delicious piece of chocolate in my happy space to enjoy each day. I deserve it after a long day of working, running errands and taking care of my home and family. Find a way to make those taste buds happy in your space even as simple as grabbing your cup of tea before you head to your happy space for the evening.

TOUCH

There are so many ways to incorporate the sense of touch in your space such as a beautiful rug that allows you to bring comfort to your feet after a long day. Having decorative pillows in a variety of textures are also a great way to enhance the sense of touch in your space. Even as simple as the texture of my planner makes me happy.

Your happy place can also be mobile. Create a little bag containing some unique items to help enhance your day. This could be a small bottle of linen spray an inspirational card or a pack of your favorite tea. The options to create a happy space on-the-go are endless.

I created my Limited Edition NStyle box as an inspiration and reminder to always incorporate the beauty in your life and to create beautiful experiences for yourself. I am excited for you to receive your next box and for anyone who would like to order the previous box or any future boxes you can here. Have a beautiful week friend! -Nikki

photo credit: katiecharlottephotography.com (planner photo), christophershane.com (office photo)

It’s no secret that I love organizing. I love making lists. I love anything that promises to make my life easier and more efficient.

That’s why, within minutes of receiving this stylish, multi-functional enamel caddy from Grove Collaborative, I’d already thought of a reason to order two more!

LAST CHANCE….TODAY ONLY!

It’s also why I’m so excited to be a Grove Collaborative affiliate and share this free offer with you: When you place your first order of $20 from Grove Collaborative using my affiliate link http://influencer-tracking.grove.co/SF2gQ , you’ll get this free caddy filled with Mrs. Meyer’s dish soap, hand soap, and lotion – plus free shipping! Last day is TODAY!

Caddies are perfect for neatly storing and carrying just about anything around your home.

Of course, you could go the traditional route and fill it with multi-purpose spray, microfibers, a wand duster, Mrs. Meyer’s dish soap, and so on. But why stop there?

Here are five creative ways to use your Grove Collaborative caddy:

1.Mini herb or succulent garden

I love the idea of a kitchen herb garden in an unconventional planter. Add a few inches of gravel or pebbles for drainage, then a layer of potting soil, and your plants. My favorite herbs to grow are basil, cilantro, and rosemary. Another benefit of the caddy: The handle makes it easy to carry your plants to the sink for watering!

  1. Garden tool organizer

Here’s a gardening hack for all my green thumb friends: Turn your Grove caddy into a garden tool organizer! Fill it with a cute pair of gloves, trowel, pruning shears, hand rake, and kneeling board. Easily carry your garden tools around the yard instead of running back and forth to the shed, or even install the caddy on the side of the shed for those tools in near-constant use. Putting them on the side of an EasyShed Garden Shed would make them easy to get and handy to use, and you could even get a few more to have a matching set to store your seeds, fertilizers, and weed repellants in. It’d be a fantastic organising tool to help declutter that shed!

Speaking of a garden shed, when it comes to storing larger items, of course they won’t fit in this caddy, which is why knowing that there are 400 garden sheds for sale through sites like GardenSite is something worth knowing. If this doesn’t convince you to get a shed, then I don’t know what would!

When you’re done gardening, Meyer’s hand soap and lotion are perfect for pampering hardworking hands.

  1. Hair tool organizer

Low on storage space under the bathroom sink? Create a styling station with your hair dryer, brush, flat iron or curling iron, and products all within reach.

  1. Dog toy holder

Your furry best friend will love this trick: Turn the caddy into a dog toy bin that matches your decor. Fill the caddy with tennis balls, stuffed animals, and other toys. Your pup can reach his own toys, and you won’t have to worry about stepping on a squeaky toy in the middle of the stairs!

  1. Ice chest

Raise your hand if you’re ready for patio season! This caddy is just the right size to hold ice and a few bottles of wine or lemonade. It’s easy to carry outside, and so much cuter than a plastic cooler. I also recommend adding Murphy’s Naturals mosquito repellent candles to your Grove order to keep summer pests away from your party! Pests can be a real pain during the summer, especially if you want to enjoy time in your garden. Moreover, garden pests can be difficult to avoid completely, however, if your yard seems to be overrun, you might want to consider reaching out to a pest control service in order to find a solution. For more information about combatting pests, go to https://www.pestcontrolexperts.com/.

Tell me, how will you use your Grove cleaning caddy? Don’t forget to grab your free set while supplies last. Here’s how:

  1. Sign up for Grove Collaborative here http://influencer-tracking.grove.co/SF2gQ . You will receive the Mrs. Meyers hand soap, Mrs. Meyers hand lotion, Mrs. Myers dish soap and white cleaning caddy for free when you sign up!
  2. To receive this offer, your order needs to be a minimum of $20. Choose the combination of products and scents you love and receive your first box within a few days.
  3. You made it! Click Finish & Pay and place your order.

Tip to save: Once you have submitted your Grove order, you will be signed up for the free 60 day VIP trial. For 60 days, save even more with free shipping, free gifts, price matching, exclusive sales and personal service.

Have a beautiful day! Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram, let’s keep the team going strong guys! You may also get free instagram followers along your way!

-Nikki

If you live or work in a small place, I am sure you will agree that there are two things that are a sure thing when it comes to small spaces. One, every corner, of a small space is valuable real estate and two; it takes no time for small areas to become a mess. A perfect example is my coffee/kitchen station in my office. I think I’ve got the Best Coffee Maker on the market (from the ones I’ve tried) and it makes a great cup of coffee; the only issue is that it makes a mess too if you don’t keep on top of it! I wanted to do a mini makeover on our coffee station to give it a much needed deep cleaning and to have it function more like a breakfast station for myself and my team. I’ve been looking for coffee equipment reviews for a while now and I was going to buy a new coffee machine until I realised how easy they are to clean. The coffee machine we’re using at the minute is perfect, and it looks even better now it’s cleaned! When I told my friend I was looking at buying a coffee machine, she told me to check out this review to help me decide but I’m quite glad I don’t have to buy another. We have all been so busy that we have been doing a rush cleaning job at the end of the day. Because this is a highly utilized area the coffee stains, my make-up markings and dust were taking over! It was time to do a deep cleaning and quickly!

I am excited to announce that this blog post is sponsored by Mr. Clean.

As always Mr. Clean was right on time as I started this mini makeover journey. I am so excited to share with you how fantastic the new Mr. Clean Magic Eraser with Durafoam works in tackling the impossible household stains. It is the featherweight cleaning champ! The size alone is a selling point for me. I do not have much space in my office kitchen area, and I love how light and compact this powerful multi-tasker is. It is my must-have all around my home and office especially in those hard to clean spaces such as the kitchen and bathroom. Whether a burnt-on stove top mess or bathtub filled with scum the Magic Eraser with Durafoam has my back!

Now that I had my cleaning buddy in hand I was ready to tackle our coffee bar area. One of the spots that I could not wait to handle was our coffee maker. It was disgusting! It gets dirty so quickly, and luckily it took me all of 15 seconds to get it clean with my Mr. Clean Magic Eraser with Durafoam! I love that once I cleaned the coffee maker, I could rinse off the Magic Eraser and keep going.

Next, it was time to hit our drawer which became a catch-all for coffee items. I cleared all of the things and transformed it into our oatmeal drawer. Now we have a place to come and prepare a quick breakfast instead of running to McDonald’s every morning.

You always can find where I have been if you follow my make-up stain trail. My make-up markings were all over the cabinets, and this can look awful. I now secretly keep a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser with Durafoam tucked away to rub away these markings quickly.

Now that I had the coffee area cleaned to perfection, it was time to implement a few new touches for a complete refresh. I started by adding some beautiful white bowls in a basket so that the team could quickly prepare their oatmeal in the morning. Plus, we do not have much storage place, so the basket provides a beautiful way to display the bowls and coffee cups. When setting up space, I wanted to make sure that all items were easy to grab so that it saved everyone time in the morning and made it extremely convenient. We now have a water unit in the lobby that provides hot water which is perfect!

I removed the canisters that were on the counter and simplified things by purchasing little white sugar holders which saves space and makes it easier to grab a packet of sugar when needed.

We now have the perfect morning go-to here at the office. It is inviting now that I have deep cleaned and tweaked it to function as both a place to get that must-have coffee in the morning and a place where my team has the ability to grab breakfast at the office. I also make sure that I descale my coffee maker every once in a while, just to make sure it’s as clean as possible. There are lots of online articles such as ‘How Do You Descale a Keurig Coffee Maker‘, that can help you out if you’re unsure of how to clean it properly. There is always help available when it comes to cleaning tips!!

You can find the all-new Mr. Clean Magic Eraser with Durafoam at grocery, retail, home improvement, e-commerce, club and mass merchandise stores nationwide. Click here to learn more about this cleaning must-have.

Have a beautiful day! -Nikki

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