Let’s have a show of hands. Who loves to prepare for disasters and contemplate death?
…We didn’t think so.
Let’s have another show of hands. Who thinks of others and would like to make life easier on family and friends?
Here is a simple project to prepare for the unexpected. Regardless of the state of the rest of your house, these are the documents to keep organized and accessible just in case:
- Life or disability insurance policies and/or agent contact information. Don’t forget to include any coverage offered through your employer and/or auto insurance.
- List of assets and open accounts – you can gather sample statements or create a list of all accounts, loans, lines of credit, etc.. Make sure to include the safe deposit box key and information.
- Trust Document and/or name of your attorney
- Healthcare Directive and Financial POA
- Passwords and log-ins to unlock the phone or computer
- Medical cards and list of doctors/caregivers
- List of prescriptions
- Vital Records: Birth certificates, Social Security cards, marriage certificates, copies of drivers licenses
- If you own a business, who are the key contacts? What is your emergency plan?
- Funeral arrangements
Whether you are partnered or not, identify the person or persons who would be tasked with managing things in your absence and share with them the locations of these documents. It’s ideal to also keep a digital copy of these items and make sure your trusted helper has access to those as well.
Think of how much easier it will be for your loved ones, and better for you, if in the time of crisis they don’t have to dig through various drawers and files looking for information unsure what they may be missing. Creating a simple system for just in case is the kind of gift that provides peace of mind to you and to those who are left to take care of business when you can’t.
Filed under Business Organizing, Decluttering, General Organizing, home organizing, middle-age, organizing, Paper, paper organizing, Perspective, Seniors, Strategies
We’ve all been guilty of it – hanging onto business cards that somehow end up on dresser tops, stashed in drawers, or floating around on counters. We sort of know we probably don’t need them but there’s a nagging sense of importance about them that makes them seem valuable. So, we neaten the pile or shove them back in the drawer and forget about them for a while.
Why are you keeping them?
Managing clutter is all about making conscious choices. The first step to getting a handle on those stacks is to take a clear look at your motivations for hanging onto them:
- You may want to use that person’s services
- Something you want to do someday
- Somebody you want to network with
- Neighborhood services
- Cards of services you use regularly
- Nostalgia – cards of family members, cards of your past careers
- Cards whose designs you like
Figuring out why you’re keeping them helps you get clarity on how relevant the info actually is. That informs whether you really want to continue to keep them and how you store them. Part of what makes business cards a less precious resource than we think is there are so many ways other ways to find services and people – Facebook, Yelp, list serves, LinkedIn, Google… put in bits of information into a search tool and have that person show up.
After you do a serious purge of the stacks its time to decide how to store the keepers.
Store for easy retrieval
Ways to store them
- Electronically – scan or enter into your favorite digital address book tool
- In a mini-file box
- Rubber-banded in a drawer or on a shelf
- In a rolodex
- Binder sleeves designed for business cards
- File in a resource section of your filing system (can attach card to larger piece of paper)
Make them useful
If you are keeping cards, it can also be helpful to jot a few notes of relevant info to help you remember why you have the card. Write on back (have a sharpie close by):
- Next actions/promises you made to them
- Where you met them
- Your follow-up plan
- Interesting fact about the person (their dog’s name, for example)
- What you have in common with them
- Who you both know
- Key words (name and date of event, category of contact)
It’s perfectly fine to hang onto cards you may not actually need or use — so long as the stacks of cards don’t stress you out and don’t impact your usable space. If they impact your peace of mind or are getting in the way – take action to clear the clutter.
When you browse through your business card hoard, what is the wackiest card you find?