YUP. There are. In fact, clutter falls into 4 Separate Categories:
1. Physical Clutter is the collection of things you don’t use and don’t care for. This type of clutter is often scattered around your home and office and results in an untidy mess. More often than not, lost and misplaced items are caused from physical clutter.
2. Paper Clutter is one of the most frustrating challenges people encounter. When you have piles of paper, it becomes extremely difficult to locate important documents like bills, medical documents, tax papers, passports, etc. Not to mention the fact that piles of unread papers, newspapers, magazines, catalogs, and other random paper make a home look and feel messy.
3. Digital Clutter is found on computers, cell phones, tablets, and other electronic devices. It often consists of voicemail, email, user names, passwords, social media etc.
4. Emotional Clutter is the clutter we hold within our mind and heart. It’s feelings and emotions people deal with each day, like: negativity, anxiety, worry, stress, frustration, and fear.
For the purposes of this Newsletter, I’d like to address Digital Clutter.
The better organized your digital content is, the better off you’ll be. It will definitely increase your productivity and efficiency and decrease the overwhelming feelings associated with this type of clutter.
Here’s a few suggestions to get your digital clutter under control:
· Unsubscribe from emails you no longer want to receive
· Delete unknown contacts
· Update contacts
· Delete all emails from your devices that are junk, spam, solicitations
· Set up rules so that junk or spam email automatically go into a junk or spam folder
· Go through and either send or delete any unposted drafts from your email account(s)
· Empty recycle bin on your desktop
· Clean up your desktop
· Make sure that your devices are synched so that all of the same information is on all of your devices to avoid having to duplicate your work
· Create files so that emails to and from a client, friend or family member can ultimately get moved to that file. It will be easier to find if/when you ever need them
· Have a personal email and a business email to differentiate between the two
· Check your voicemail and delete any saved messages that have been dealt with
· Consider keeping all of your passwords in one, password protected file
· Remove apps that you never use or are obsolete
· Update the apps you do use
· Delete all photographs that are no longer wanted or needed
· Create files/albums for photographs so that you can retrieve the ones you want when you want without having to scroll through hundreds or thousands of photos
· Make sure to back-up your devices at least once a month
· Take your old devices (hard-drives/towers) to Best Buy and have them destroyed (after you’ve retrieved the information on them of course)
If you or anyone you know needs help with Organizing, Downsizing, Relocations, Estate Sales or Clearing a Property, let them know that we’d love to be of service!
It’s the end of another year. Damn…that went fast! Is it just me or does each year go by faster and faster?
I digress…it’s time to talk about holiday gift giving. While I think it’s wonderful to give and to receive, as a Professional Organizer, I see WAAAAAAAY to much “stuff” this time of year. It’s just all too much!
This holiday season, why not consider giving someone the gift of an experience rather than giving them something they might not want, might not like and/or might not have room for. Give a gift that will create a wonderful memory, “a gift that keeps on giving” so to speak.
The following are some options/suggestions, many of which will help you and your loved ones create memories that will last forever:
a. Get tickets to a movie, show or sporting event
b. Share a meal at a new/different restaurant you’ve been wanting to try
c. Start a new family tradition. This is especially great for newly married couples, new parents and blended families.
a. Theme Park
b. Season Tickets to the Movies/Theatre
c. Health Club/Gym
b. Amazon Prime
c. Spotify (or other music app)
a. Fruit Basket
b. Restaurant Gift Card
c. Homemade Cookies
a. Transfer old VHS tapes on to a hard-drive or disc
b. T-shirt/sweatshirt quilt
c. Photo calendar
7. Health & Wellness:
a. Spa treatment
c. Go on a retreat
c. Professional Organizer (I know, I know…shameless plug)
a. Take a road trip
b. Do something out of your comfort zone (zip lining, race car driving)
c. Go on a hike
a. Plan a one night or weekend get-away
b. Round trip tickets to get out-of-town
c. Day trip locally
Be more mindful of the gifts that you’re giving so they don’t wind up as clutter but, rather, as something that the recipient will truly treasure.
Of course, there’s always a Gift Certificate available for someone you know who wants some help with organizing (sorry, I couldn’t resist).
Wishing you and yours a very Happy Holiday Season!
However, its’ also a time to celebrate. Spend time with family and friends. Take a vacation or staycation. I know we all have to work BUT, we also have to take time to enjoy ourselves. Otherwise, what’s all the hard work for?
I hope that the following tips can help alleviate some of the stress that you may experience in the next couple of months and give you some ideas on how to wind down and take some badly needed and well-deserved time.
1. Say no.
a. You do NOT have to attend every party or event that you’re invited to:
i. Pick wisely. You can always explain that there is a conflict in your schedule or, if you’re like me you can just “tell it like it is”. Say thank you for the invitation and graciously decline.
2. Plan ahead.
a. Make a list of all gifts that you need to buy for others:
b. If you’re ordering on-line, take care of it sooner than later to make sure it gets there on time
c. If you’re out there shopping, map out the stores you want to go to, to save time
d. Go on off hours to avoid the holiday rush
3. Ask for help.
a. If you’re planning on having company over the holidays, make it easier:
i. Hire someone, if you’re having a lot of people over for dinner, to help serve and clean
ii. Order groceries on-line and have them delivered
iii. Have friends and family pitch in
iv. Cook in advance and freeze in portions
4. Budget. The holidays can get expensive. However, there are many ways to cut corners:
a. Use coupons
b. Shop on Black Friday when deals are plentiful
c. Use points to pay (check your credit cards to see which ones offer this option)
d. If you’re creative, make your own gifts
e. Agree with some friends and family to NOT exchange gifts.
i. Perhaps you can suggest time together to celebrate the holidays making memories
5. Take Care of Yourself.
a. Get enough sleep
b. Enjoy some downtime
i. Get up early when everyone is still sleeping
e. Eat properly
a. Do something special for yourself:
b. Get a massage, facial, mani/pedi
c. Make a date with a friend or your significant other for a nice night out
d. Do something you’ve been wanting to do but haven’t had the time (or money)
i. If not now, when? Tomorrow is promised to no-one!
Wishing you and yours a very Happy Holiday Season.
As many of you know, before I started my career as a Professional Organizer, I was a Paralegal/Legal Assistant for 30 years. After all those years in the legal industry, I just want to let y’all know that dealing with paper is something I know about. It’s boring, it’s voluminous, it’s lots of paper cuts but it is IMPORTANT!
It is important to:
1. Know what documents to keep and for how long
2. Know what documents to shred
3. Understand the “important documents” that you need for your protection: Insurance Policies, Wills, Trusts, Marital Agreements, Deeds, etc.
4. Make sure that these documents are up-to-date
5. Ensure that your “important documents” are properly executed.
I can’t tell you how often I see documents that haven’t been signed but should have been. Haven’t been updated, but should have been. Haven’t been notarized but should have been. Haven’t been renewed, but should have been.
The crazy thing is that the people that “should” have made sure that their important documents were current or properly executed are bright, professional, responsible people. Unfortunately, sometimes things slip through the cracks. The problem is that it can and does cause problems and those problems can cost a lot of heartache and a lot of money to rectify.
Examples: Both true stories
Story #1: My friend had an auto insurance policy that was on auto-pay. He liked that he never had to worry because his auto insurance was paid automatically every month. Until it wasn’t. There had been fraud on his credit card and the account had to be closed. The credit card associated with his auto-pay information wasn’t updated. The insurance company didn’t have the updated information and was unable to deduct the payment as the account was closed. Unknowingly, my client didn’t have insurance for 4 months. Unfortunately, the only reason he found out was because he got into a fender bender and called his agent to make a claim. He not only was unable to make a claim but he now needed to find other insurance as it was too late to renew the expired policy. The insurance company claimed that they had sent an email and left messages but my client claims he never received any communications from the insurance company. The end result was that my friend was out-of-pocket for the damage to his car. This could have been catastrophic had the accident been his fault and, worse, if anyone had gotten injured.
Story #2: Many years ago, I had made changes to my Trust and Will. My then husband and I went to the attorney to have the revised documents signed and notarized. He said he would send me the original in the mail as he wanted to make copies for his files. When I received the “original” in the mail I immediately filed it. I didn’t look at it again as I didn’t think there was a need to as we had just been to see the attorney and just signed and notarized the documents. A few months later a family member asked to see the Trust and noticed a HUGE issue. Apparently, the attorney sent me an incorrect copy. I immediately called the attorney but the damage was done. The family member who asked to see the document decided that I, having legal knowledge and experience, knew about the incorrect language and decided to hide it. She questioned my integrity which was hurtful but, more importantly, that relationship was never the same and caused a lot of problems. We ultimately received the correct copy Trust but the damage was already done. Had the family member not looked at the Trust, it could have caused even more damage as our estate would have been distributed incorrectly.
My points are many and are a result of lessons learned. Here are some things you can and should do ASAP to avoid problems:
1. If someone, anyone, even a trusted advisor, gives you a document to sign, READ IT FIRST.
a. It’s your responsibility to understand anything that you are signing.
2. If anyone sends you a copy of an executed document, make sure that the copy is the correct one and reflects the latest updates.
a. Do a comparison to make sure that you have the latest copy with the latest revisions.
3. If you receive a renewal on your insurance policy, compare it to your previous policy to make sure the coverage is correct.
a. Mistakes happen all of the time and situations change. That’s why its important to review your insurance policies every time they renew.
4. If you haven’t seen a bill on auto-pay deducted from your bank, call and find out why.
a. The missed payments will catch up and create a problem so don’t wait thinking they forgot to bill you.
5. If you’ve gotten divorced, had a child or your spouse has passed, update your Trust, Will, Health Care Directives and Power of Attorney.
a. This can avoid legal conflicts down the road.
b. Note: These documents should be updated every 5 years or so as the laws change.
6. Make sure that your beneficiaries on your Insurance Policies, Investment Accounts, etc. are up to date.
a. People come and go in our lives all too often. You don’t want someone you no longer speak to, get money because you forgot to make the necessary changes.
b. Note: These should be reviewed when you get married, divorced or have a child.
7. Think about naming your spouse, significant other or trusted family member on your contact information with insurance companies so that they can be notified if you can’t be reached.
a. This is a great precaution to avoid insurance policies from getting cancelled.
8. If there has been fraud on your accounts/credit cards, make sure that you notify any other institutions that they are connected to and update all of those accounts.
a. Make sure to also notify the three credit bureau’s: Experian, TransUnion and Equifax.
9. Make sure any important documents (see the ones listed above) are signed, dated and, if/when necessary, that they are notarized.
YOU MUST BE YOUR OWN ADVOCATE so “Dot your “I’s” and cross your “T’s”.
Everyone is talking about Global Warming. Whether you believe in it or not, what’s going on with the weather all over the world has been crazy. That’s a fact! Warmer than usual temperatures everywhere. Droughts in some areas. More flooding than ever before in others. Melting Icebergs causing water levels to rise. Yikes!
A Natural Disaster or other emergency situation can happen anywhere, at any time. If and when it does, are you ready?
Watching the news and seeing images of people who lost everything, their houses, cars, clothing, family heirlooms and photographs, in the aftermath of a natural disaster or other type of emergency, has always made me think about how they were going to put their lives back together.
While we can’t prevent or stop these events from happening, we can be prepared so that we can mitigate the damages.
September is National Preparedness Month. Sponsored by FEMA, National Preparedness Month aims to educate and empower Americans to prepare for and respond to all types of emergencies, including natural disasters and potential terrorist attacks.
Natural disasters like earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and/or fires, can have disastrous and far-reaching effects on our lives. Especially if we are not prepared! National Preparedness Month is a great reminder that it’s time to prepare yourself and those in your care for emergencies.
We all know that emergencies can happen unexpectedly and can result power outages that impact communities for days at a time. As commendable as they may be in their profession for assisting those in need, police, fire and rescue may not always be able to reach you quickly in an emergency or disaster. The most important step you can take in helping your local responders is being able to take care of yourself and those in your care for at least a short period of time following an incident. The better you are prepared, the quicker you will recover.
The following information will hopefully motivate you to do something, anything, towards getting you and your loved ones prepared, just in case…:
1. Be informed:
a. Get practical tips on preparing for disaster at ready.gov or fema.gov.
i. There you can find countless articles and detailed information on what may be most important to you and your family. You can also find information tailored to specific needs such as people with disabilities, seniors, assisting children, business readiness and even information for your pets.
2. Be connected:
a. Bookmark weather.gov to stay informed on severe weather.
b. Learn about Wireless Emergency Alerts – messages that will be sent to your phone during an emergency.
3. Be Prepared:
a. Make sure that you and your family are prepared for an emergency. Ensure that you can go for at least three days without electricity, water service, access to a supermarket or other local services.
b. Get a solar charger or generator in case there is an electricity shortage.
4. Create an Emergency Plan:
a. Your family may not be together when a disaster strikes so it is important to plan in advance.
i. Figure out BEFORE an emergency arises, how you will contact one another. If you can’t communicate for whatever reason, agree on a meeting place that everyone knows.
5. Be Proactive:
a. Make sure to have an emergency kit that includes water, flashlights, batteries, necessary medication, a first aid kit and non-perishable food (to name just a few items to have on hand).
i. Have an emergency kit in your car just in case you’re not home when a disaster strikes. If you’re at home you’ll still have access to your car so keeping one in the car is always a good idea.
ii. Make sure the supplies are kept up to date. Medical supplies do expire and old food/water isn’t going to make things any easier when you need them for survival.
6. Keep it together:
a. Make sure that you have all of your important documents together in one place so that you can recover your losses quickly (ie, insurance policies, photos of valuables, emergency contact list)
i. I keep mine in a 3 ring binder that is easily accessible. If you want some detailed information about which documents to put together and how, sign up for my newsletters (if you haven’t already) and get a FREE Emergency File Checklist. (Go to: www.organizingconceptsanddesigns.com)
7. Stay Safe:
a. If your home has been damaged and is no longer safe, go to a designated public shelter. To find the nearest shelter in your area, text “SHELTER + your ZIP code” to 43362 (4FEMA). Make sure you know:
i. Where the gas shut off valve is.
ii. How to turn of the main water supply.
iii. Not to light candles (you’d be surprised and how many people don’t know that!).