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
1. Moving is challenging at any age
And it only gets harder the older you get. Having a really organized home dramatically simplifies a move — if you decide that’s what you want.
2. Alleviate hidden stress
You will have many years without the nagging feeling like you “should” be getting organized. Studies show that the volume of possessions can elevate stress hormone levels.
3. Make your own choices before someone has to make them for you
1 in 10 people over 65 and older have Alzheimer’s dementia and almost 2/3 of Americans with Alzheimer’s are women.
4. Expect the unexpected
Sudden illness may strike, leaving you with your pants down. Who do you know who has looked forward to their retirement years to catch up on all those postponed house projects and been caught off guard by a stroke or onset of dementia?
5. Get a fresh start now!
Getting organized is like starting a life chapter. The process of decluttering enables you to take stock of your past and make decisions about what you will bring forward into your future. What do you have from your past you’d like to leave behind?
Start organizing today by tackling one small space…a drawer, a shelf or countertop. And reward yourself for your efforts!
The worst time to try and find something is when you need to have it and have little time to find it. Crises strike in many forms – natural disasters, family deaths, sudden moves, illness, divorce. Hindsight is 20-20 and that’s when we often get total clarity about what could have been done to prepare and alleviate some of the stress of the crisis.
You can be one step ahead by finding and organizing critical documents. Believe it or not, we have found all these for clients hiding among hundreds of other papers in drawers, bags, and boxes…
- Titles for cars
- Deductible receipts and statements for the current year
- Grant deeds for owned property
- Passports, birth certificates and death certificates
- Original stock certificates
- Improvement receipts so homeowner could deduct from purchase cost of house to reduce taxable profit
- Genealogy records
- Open bank and credit accounts that had been forgotten
- Will and trust documents
- Life insurance policies
- Contact info for all companies that insurance you
- Social Security card
- Pension and retirement plan records
- Marriage and divorce documents
Many of these can be replaced if lost but often not without cost and hassle.
If you aren’t ready to create an entire filing system at least make sure to create a dedicated home for these essential documents.
Bonus: keep your important documents in something portable that you can grab in an emergency. If all you have is a cardboard box to collect your important documents, use it. Progress is better than perfection!
If you want to go a step further, there are products available to help you capture your vital documents. A few to consider are: FreedomFiler®, Vital Records PORTAVAULT® or Suze Orman’s Protection Portfolio.
“The Freedom Filer kit is fantastic and was easy to move when I evacuated. Everything I needed was there. I love it!” Kathleen, LA wildfire evacuee
See our prior post about how FreedomFiler® works.
Do you know the 3 actions everyone should be prepared to take?
National Preparedness Month is a good time to enroll in the San Francisco Chapter of the National Association of Professional Organizers ARE YOU READY? Workshop. This 3-hour afternoon class in San Francisco is geared to professional organizers. But if you are the household manager by default, this is a must-do activity to help you prepare your family for any emergency. Getting systems in place to protect your financial life, your person and your home will give you peace of mind when any disaster strikes.
Empower yourself by learning strategies to:
Shelter, Evacuate & Rebuild
…and have fun mingling with forward-thinking and enthusiastic Professional Organizers who are absorbing the newest techniques for helping people in any situation.
This $99 workshop is being offered at the Hotel Kabuki, San Francisco on Friday, October 17th, 2014 from 1:00 to 4:00 PM with a post-workshop reception.
access REGISTRATION FORM by clicking on this graphic: