How to Impress Your Accountant with Your Tax Preparation

organize your taxes


Tax documents have started to arrive and it’s time for us to organize these pieces of paper or digital information. Even though the filing deadline is still a little ways off, and even though taxes are scary, it’s better to start to get organized now.  What do you need to bring to your tax preparer to be ready to file?  There are specific documents that are required and how you organize these can impress your accountant or bookkeeper and save you money in fees.


Gather your documents

As paper statements arrive in the mail, be sure to place these in a Taxes 2021 folder. Organize this information in paper or digital folders as you collect the documents according to Income and Deductions.


Income documents confirm the money you received during the previous year. These include:

  • W-2 forms (Statement from your employer that includes how much you were paid, deductions for medical and social security.)
  • 1099 forms (Form 1099-Misc for contract work, Form1099-INT for interest, Form 1099-DIV for dividends and Form 1099-B for broker-handled transactions.)
  • Next year income from Venmo and Square will be included.


Documents that help reduce your taxes are known as deductions. You will need to gather the information for this documentation, which may take time. Break this into chunks to make it easier to gather this information.

  • Property taxes paid by you or your escrow account
  • Mortgage interest on Form 1098
  • Charitable donations with receipts from those entities
  • Retirement account contributions up to a set limit. Look for these forms with your January statement
  • Educational expenses which are on a form 1098-T
  • Medical bills if they total more than 7.5% of adjusted gross income for most taxpayers
  • State and local taxes and sales tax which the IRS provides tables with average amounts you can claim.

Credits are similar to deductions.  Currently the primary credit is the Child Tax Credit for each child in your family

Keep a record of the estimated taxes paid for this year. Those are quarterly payments made to adjust for additional income throughout the year. As you pay these electronically or by check, record that date and amount paid.


Shortcuts for tax preparation

There are shortcuts to gather this information.

  • You can also gather this information online in your investment, mortgage, and online appraisal district accounts.
  • Use one check book register each year and record the information as you write the check. Highlight in your favorite color to be sure you see these.
  • Keep all tax papers all year long in a folder marked Taxes 20XX in your command center in the office or kitchen.
  • Scan receipts to a digital folder all year long. Keep this folder on your computer.
  • Take a picture with your smart phone and create a photo album of Tax Receipts 20XX
  • Set appointments with yourself the last weekend of January, February and March to set aside time for tax preparation.
  • Ask your doctors and pharmacy for payment records for the entire year.
  • Partner with another family member as you organize your documentation. Your college and adult kids will need this preparation for their own taxes.
  • Use a tax preparation check list.

Now that you have all the data you need, use file folders for each segment of information.

  • Your information, including name, address and social security numbers
  • Income
  • Deductions
  • Credits
  • Estimated taxes


You are ready to go to your accountant or tax preparer with everything you need and you are guaranteed to impress!

Three Small Spots to Organize to Keep You Ahead

keep ahead of the game


Do you think about big organizing goals and not so much about the little spaces that need organizing? Here are three small organizing spots that will make your life more organized and productive, and most importantly help your peace of mind.


Your purse, satchel or man bag

What you carry with you should give you peace of mind to know you have what you need when you need it. Often your bag becomes where everything goes without order to it at all.

  • Divide your bag into useful categories and use organizing products to keep the categories together.  Use a wallet for money, a zipper case for medicine and makeup, and a glass case to protect your glasses. A small Ziploc can hold your receipts until you trash these or move them to your command center.
  • Pare down to essentials in your bag. The less you carry, the less weight on your shoulders. Remember that carrying papers back and forth may not be necessary if you can find that information online.
  • If you are carrying important documents or check books just so as not to lose these, purchase a small safe to keep at home and store these documents.

Once week clear out all the debris, paper and other items to keep your bag organized.


Your contacts in your devices

Communication with home and work is key in this new era of work from home and the uncertainty of daily life.

  • Sync your contacts across all your devices including your computer so that you can access these from anywhere. Being automated saves you time.
  • Determine a consistent approach to entering contacts. That includes entering the contact’s name, the company name, and the work of that business. You can enter multiple data to be sure you can find the information.  An example of that is Ellen Delap,, professional organizer. Or Professional Organizer, Ellen Delap. Choose the easiest way for you to find what you need.
  • Use your device automation to add contacts from email.  It’s the easiest way to add information and it takes just a few minutes.

Spend a few minutes every day entering information as you receive it in email, in text, or from scraps of paper.


Your self care, morning and evening supplies

Getting ready for the day and your night time routine can be much easier when you are organized.  Many times we have too many supplies in these areas to be able to get ready quickly.

  • Gather together what you use every morning and evening. You can store these in a caddy under your sink area or attractive tray on your countertop.
  • Store loose items like cotton balls and qtips in attractive containers for easy access.
  • Have a trash can that is very easy to access.
  • Edit ruthlessly. Toss out items that are six months old and unused. Share your partially used items with friends or colleagues.
  • Save the deep dive into bathroom organizing for a longer session. Keep everything else off the countertop.

Tidying your stuff daily gives you extra time to get ready and get to bed every day.


Each of these small organizing projects should take 15 minutes or less a day. Keep it simple and get it done.

Frequently Asked Questions about Me and

frequently asked questions


Want to learn a little more about me and my business?  I love to share details about my story.


As a former kindergarten teacher, being organized was my superpower. “Teaching” people how to organize with simple strategies could make life easier, less stressful, and more productive so they could do what they love most. In 2000, I read an article in the Houston Chronicle about professional organizing and our national association, the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO). That’s how my business started! In my work with clients, we streamline their time and space and create effective routines for an organized and productive lifestyle.


Giving back to our community is an important way to use my skills. Serving as a volunteer with local philanthropies helps others in our community.  Kingwood Women’s Club, Mothers Against Cancer, FamilyTime Purple Ribbon Luncheon and the Attention Deficit Disorder Association Southern Region are where I have served locally. I am a past president of our national association NAPO.


What do you love best to organize?


My business, is a productivity and organizing practice. As a Certified Professional Organizer, my work varies with each of my clients. Work can range from home organizing a closet or pantry, to office organizing clearing off a desk, to creating routines for a productive day at work.


In owning a business over 20 years, I am most proud of the connection I have with my clients. It’s rewarding to know I can help someone make a difference in their life each day. My non-judgmental, positive, calm approach helps my clients get started and make changes. What sets me apart is my mantra, “keep it simple sweetie!”


What is a day like as a professional organizer?


As a productivity and organizing professional, it’s natural for me to create structure and routines for my work and life. I know that consistency and communication are personal and professional strengths. My morning starts with a walk around our neighborhood, then on to work with my clients. I connect with clients by email, text and phone throughout the day in time blocks. The end of my day wraps up with time with my husband watching a Hallmark movie. For me it is all about meaningful work and spending time with people we love.

Is your home perfect?

There is a place for everything and everything in its place. It’s not perfect but it’s perfect for me!



2022 Word of the Year: Strategic


word of the year strategic


For many year’s now, I have chosen a word of the year as a guide for my intentions and purpose. A word of the year keeps me grounded and committed to a big thought for the year.


Why a word instead of a goal

I am a big fan of SMART goals and tracking data. SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time based. You can accomplish your goals with milestones, accountability with tracking, and time lines to prioritize what to do and when to do it. According to Essentialism’s Greg, Mckeown, if you empower your goals by connecting to your core beliefs, its more likely you will be successful. Tie your “why” to your goals to ensure success.


I chose a different route over the last few years. As my friend Janice Simon says, the word of the year sets an intention rather than a goal. That intention guides you to stay true to your values and focus decision making. Our word of the year influences our mindset at home and at work, keeping us on track. It is a holistic way to shape the year.


How to choose a word of the year

Take time to reflect on what you want more of or less of in your life this year. Some years it is more about my professional rather than personal needs. I typically begin thinking in December of my word and wrap up in early January. Give yourself time to choose your word.

  • Pay attention to what you are paying attention to, says Adam Grant and John Green. What have you been saying to yourself that you need to do more or less of? Where have you been spending time or need to spend time?
  • According to Inc writer Minda Zetlin, ask yourself these questions: What do I need, not want, but need? What’s in my way? What has to go? What needs to be done in me and through me
  • Narrow your list of possibilities that have meaning to you. I usually narrow down to 2 or 3 words, then to my one word.

Once chosen, place your word where you can see it regularly to reflect on it and use it. That might be in your planner, on your bathroom mirror or your computer desktop. Use it in your weekly planning as you review your tasks and week ahead.


For 2022, I chose the word strategic. Strategic is defined as carefully designed or planned to serve a particular purpose or advantage and of great importance within an integrated whole or to a planned effect. This year I want to view my personal and professional life with an advantageous overview.


Previous Word of the Year

2021. Niche. Moving specifically to a tighter focus.

2020. Expand. Expand my horizons.

2019. Shift. A slight shift in direction can bring more opportunities.

2018. Possibilities. What’s possible?

2017. Thrive. Thrive in all ways.

2016. Momentum. Keep going.

2015. Fifteen. Fifteen years in professional organizing and productivity

2014. Flourish. Flourish in life.

2013. Fabulous. Fit, fabulous and fun!


What is your word of the year?  I look forward to hearing from you!