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As much as I love and adore the Christmas season, with every sparkly light and gaily-wrapped gift the time I think of as organizing season comes ever closer. With the end of the year comes W2s, filing, a mess of receipts and never-opened bank statements. How will it all get organized in time?

This year, though, we're starting early. It's not because I got hit by a virtuous bug; no, it's because my five-year-old son has been struggling with behavioral issues in school and his developmental pediatrician has prescribed order. Not only will we have to simplify the playroom, but also my prodigious piles of paper and digital media.

We need help. As luck would have it, this week a friend-of-a-friend decided that it was her destiny to start an organization business. She's a whiz at it, and met with me for an hour yesterday. I thought her philosophy was brilliant, and I'll share it with you.

Laura said that, in order to truly organize your life (and make it stick) you need three things:
  1. A major upheaval. For most people, it's a move, a serious life change (starting a family, sending a child to college, a divorce), or a calamity. For us, it was a crisis of the psychological kind. But silver linings abound, right?
  2. A commitment to the process of change. If you can't bear to get rid of that t-shirt from the 1996 Olympics that you've never worn, not once, it's not going to work.
  3. A good marketing plan. You've got to convince all your stakeholders (a.k.a. your family) why their life is going to be vastly better!
It may take a crisis to get me to put all the toys in bins and open my bank statements when I get the mail each day, but by golly, it will change my life, and it will give my son the tools he needs to survive elementary school. And that's something.

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TurboTax Articles

Essential Tax Forms for the Affordable Care Act

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), also referred to as Obamacare, affects how millions of Americans will prepare their taxes in the new year. The law now includes penalties for all who haven?t obtained health insurance -- and those penalties are expected to be paid at tax time. The ACA also provides tax credits to help people pay for insurance, and you can claim those credits when you file your taxes. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has introduced a number of tax forms to accommodate the ACA.

Are You Exempt From Health Care Coverage?

The Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, is an individual mandate that requires all eligible Americans to have some form of basic health coverage by 2014. Those without insurance will receive a penalty when they file their tax returns ? that is, unless they have an exemption. TurboTax's Exemption Check can help you find out whether or not you qualify for an exemption.

Mortgage Refinance Tax Deductions

When refinancing a mortgage to get a lower interest rate or obtain more favorable loan terms, you're really just taking out a new loan and using the money to pay off your existing home loan. In general, the same tax deductions are available when you're refinancing a mortgage as when you're taking out a mortgage to buy a home.

How to Determine if You Have Minimum Essential Coverage (MEC)

The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, requires most Americans to have health insurance that meets a government standard known as "minimum essential coverage," or MEC. Whether your insurance qualifies as MEC depends not on the plan itself, but on how you obtained your coverage.

Rental Property Deductions You Can Take at Tax Time

Rental property often offers larger deductions and tax benefits than most investments. Many of these are overlooked by landlords at tax time. This can make a difference in making a profit or losing money on your real estate venture. If you own a rental property, the IRS allows you to deduct expenses you pay for the upkeep and maintenance of the property, conserving and managing the property, and other expenses deemed necessary and associated with property rental.

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