finance · organization

how to stay organized so you can file your taxes hassle-free

Since tax season is coming to an end (you did file your taxes, didn’t you?!), I thought it’d be an appropriate time to do a series on the bane of my existence: paper clutter.

Tax season is a stressful time for everybody. If filing your taxes left you on the verge of an emotional breakdown, drink some calming tea and read on for some of my favorite tips that will make filing your taxes smooth-sailing next year.

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travel

a beginner’s guide: packing a carry-on for any vacation

Last week, I wrote about how packing a carry-on can make your vacation more enjoyable. But how exactly do you go about packing less stuff?

Below I’ve compiled my favorite tips for flying with a carry-on. Whether you’re going on a month-long trip overseas or just taking a weekend getaway, these tips will get you — and your stuff — from Point A to Point B, hassle-free.

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minimalism · travel

how packing a carry-on can enrich your vacation

Years ago, when I was probably 8 or 9, my mom and I were packing for the yearly Girl Scout mother/daughter camp-out held at the campgrounds a few miles outside of town. My mom entered my room to supervise my packing and found me surrounded by about a dozen stuffed animals of varying sizes, all of which I planned to take with me on our trip.

“No,” Mom said. “You can’t take them all. Choose one; that’s it.”

What Mom didn’t understand was that the stuffed animals I left behind would be devastated and deeply offended by my lack of loyalty (I was a child growing up in the Toy Story era, mind you). I ended up smuggling all of my stuffed animals to camp in the bottom of my rolled-up sleeping bag. That night I ate marshmallows around the campfire with my fellow Girl Scouts, impressed by my powers of deception — until it was time for bed.

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declutter · minimalism

the sad truth about nostalgia

The other day, my boyfriend said something that has changed the way I will look at sentimental items forever.

We were talking about the accumulation of stuff that inevitably occurs as we age, and then he turned to me and dropped this truth bomb:

“You know, it seems to me like most nostalgia is rooted in sadness.”

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finance · lifestyle

how to measure the value of your life

A little over a month ago, I quit my job. I left without another position lined up, and even though it was a premeditated decision, it felt akin to leaping out of an airplane at 12,000 feet without a parachute.

It’s been nice to have an open schedule. I’m spending time with my parents, doing some writing, and finally getting enough sleep for the first time since birth. But the intoxicating freedom of my decision has come with an unforeseen drawback: I no longer have any idea how to measure the value of my life.

We spend a lot of our lives at work. It makes sense, then, that either intentionally or by happenstance, we measure our value based on how successful we are at our job — and, as naturally follows, by how much we get paid. After all, our employers are literally paying us for the value we create. The more you make, the more valuable you are, right?

It quickly becomes an easy — and dangerous — way to measure your worth.

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