Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Take Action #26: Throw it Away!

Some of us are better at this than others.  I am not a big fan of clutter, but I do tend to hang on to things because I either think I will use them again or I am cheap and don’t want to part with it – especially clothes.   I have a friend who goes through her closet on a regular basis and if she hasn’t worn it in a year, she gives it a way.  OR since she has lost weight, she gets rid of anything that is not her size.  Yikes.  I always think that I might need them again.  It was really sad when I had my 25th high school reunion and I was considering wearing the same blue shirt that I wore for the 20th.  Geez.  I just don’t like shopping so I hang on to things – but really, I need to get over it.
Also, going through your storage room/closet/basement and getting rid of things that you don’t need or that someone else could use is VERY therapeutic – really makes you feel like you accomplished something.  This weekend I finally got rid of an old pillow and an office chair that needed to be reupholstered.  I also went through old files and pitched tons of old paperwork – why was I hanging on to it? 

As Cathy Sexton with The Productivity Experts says, with each piece of paper you need to decide if you should file it, pay it, pitch it or put it in the “to-do”pile.  She helped me get rid of 100 pounds of paper over the years.  One of the things she always asks: “can you find it again on the internet?”  If yes, then pitch it!  Easier said than done.   If you need some help, I would highly recommend one of Cathy’s workshops – or subscribe to her blog to receive free organizing tips.
You can’t take it with you, so decide if you can live without it.
Have fun Taking Action by getting rid of stuff!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Take Action #25: Create an Emergency File

I had a dream the other day that I was out of commission – not sure if I died or just hospitalized.   When I woke up I realized that my kids would never know where any important documents were if they needed them.  Normally we would share this information with our spouse; if you haven’t, then do that today.  However, if you are single and have children or friends, be sure they know where to find those “important documents”.  My suggestion would be to have a single file or folder with copies of items such as life, health, car and property insurance documents.  You should also have a file with birth certificates, social security cards, and other personal documentation for you and your family members.
If you have a Last Will and Testament, you should have instructions in the folder of where to get a copy of the will. (Might not want them to see the will until after you are gone in case you have a favorite kid).  If you have specific medical instructions, that would be helpful also.  Checking account information, passwords, and any retirement/investment information would also be good to put in the file.
I know it’s a morbid thought, but if you have instructions for your funeral that would also help your loved ones.  For example, do you want to be buried, cremated, donate your body to science?  Do you want a private ceremony or everyone you know at your service?  Do you have specific songs or scripture you want read?  Is there a message you want to leave behind?  We are all terminal – some of us get a heads up.  My father knew he was dying and was able to get things in order and share his thoughts and tell us what he wanted and didn’t want.  Some of us won’t have that opportunity. 
So Take Action today and get those important papers in order and show your family where they are, so if there is ever the need, they aren’t scrambling to find them.
Take Care and Take Action!