After participating in a 30 day Declutter Challenge recently, participants had this to say about what they learned:
12 Things Realized About Decluttering
1. Making your bed every day is not so much about the bed as it is about the habit.
2. Clutter is delayed decisions.
3. Take large tasks and break them down into smaller tasks that can be handled in short time periods; you don’t need to work like a Trojan in order to accomplish your decluttering goals.
4. You don’t have to keep as many papers (or things) as you thought you did.
5. Ask the question – “Does this item bring joy to my life?”
6. Take things step by step and don’t give up. It’s worth it in the end.
7. It takes a positive attitude to start decluttering.
8. Make a plan and commit to doing it, even if just for 15 minutes a day. You can get things done even when life is chaotic or distracting.
9. New phases in our lives require us to organize differently. Organize for where you’re at in life now.
10. Perfection is over rated! Progress is a good thing and a little each day can make a big difference.
11. You are able to help others by donating items you don’t use or need.
12. The maintenance part of decluttering is very important.
Decluttering , organizing, straightening up – or whatever you want to call it – is about so much more than things looking nice and pretty. In fact, nice and pretty weren’t used in any of the 12 statements above. Over the next 12 months, we will dig deeper into each of these statements. If you want to be motivated to make changes that will become habits in 2015, then stay tuned. There will be plenty to comment about as there will be guest bloggers weighing in on these topics too.
In the meantime, which statement already resonates with you? We’d love to have you leave a comment and tell us!
A dear friend of mine lost her husband unexpectedly 3 days before Christmas. It was devastating, of course. After taking care of the arrangements and getting through his service, my friend was faced with the realization that she knew nothing of their lives, financially speaking. She told me that her husband (a CPA) had always told her that she would be financially stable if something were to ever happen to him. She was relieved to know this….. BUT
Now she was in that place and realized that while those words had always been a comfort to her, she had no idea what they really meant.
She did not know the log-in and passwords to her online banking.
She did not know where to find the life insurance policy.
She did not know how much liquid cash was available to her.
She did not know which accounts were being paid online and which were being paid by check.
Bottom line – You don’t know what you don’t know! Life is busy, I get it; but we must get our financial lives in order AND we must tell others how it is set up. Here are 3 things to do immediately:
Make a list. Make a list of all your bank accounts, household bills, investment accounts, life insurance policies, and anything else financially related. Next to the name of each account, put the account number, website, agent and applicable phone numbers. Update this list every year. I recommend you put the list in your Household Binder or in a red folder in the front of your filing cabinet. Tell family members (especially your spouse) where it can be found in the event it is needed.
- Have all your passwords in one location. Please do not use the same password for all of your websites! It’s not safe and is an all around bad idea. You may want to make a list of your passwords and keep them in your home’s safe. I highly recommend LastPass.com. It’s in the cloud, has bank level security, and is very easy to use. LastPass is free. It is the only password you ever need to remember because all the rest of your passwords and user ID’s are stored there. Make your spouse, or significant other, aware of your LastPass account and how they can access it in an emergency.
- Have up to date Advanced Directives/Power of Attorneys in place. Advance directives are legal documents that allow you to spell out your decisions about end-of-life care ahead of time. Seek the advice of your estate attorney to set up these important documents or you can draw them up yourself and have them notarized. I found a website that lets you download the Advance Directive forms based on the state in which you live. You may also want a durable Power of Attorney for your finances. Be sure to name an alternate in these documents in case the person you have selected pre-deceases you. Put a copy of these documents in the same red folder that holds your account list. Also provide copies to those named in your documents and to your doctors.
It’s important to back up the data and photos you have on your computer. We all have so much data on our home computers today, especially if you have started scanning paperwork. One of the ways to back up your data is in “the cloud”. Many of my clients are not sure what ‘the Cloud’ is and if it’s a secure place to store their data.
This is a short and simple explanation of backing up to the cloud from The Today Show:
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- You can store data off site, on the internet.
- You can store documents, pictures and other data (not programs).
- Not everything on your computer needs to be backed up.
- You can access your data on other equipment – your phone, your tablet and other places that have an internet connection.
- You won’t get 100% safety on the internet, even on the most secure sites. Encrypt your data and use strong passwords.
- Having multiple back-ups is a good idea. For example, using an external hard drive in addition to the cloud services.
Providers of cloud services:
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Having back up is part of maintaining the organization of your photos, paperwork and documents. Create your back up plan and start to implement it today. We all hate to lose our data because there is never a good time to lose data! Do you use other cloud services? I’d love to hear about them.