If You Can…

August 20th, 2014
Dog (200x133)
If you can live without caffeine,
If you can be cheerful, ignoring aches and pains,
If you can resist complaining,
If you can eat the same food every day and be grateful for it,
If you can understand when your loved ones are too busy to give you time,
If you can overlook it when those you love take it out on you,
If you can take criticism and blame without resentment,
If you can ignore a friend’s limited education,
If you can resist treating a rich friend better than a poor friend,
If you can conquer tension without medical help,
If you can relax without liquor,
If you can sleep without the aid of drugs,
If you can honestly say that deep within your heart you have no prejudice
against creed, color, religion, gender preference, or politics,
THEN, you have ALMOST reached the same level of
development as your dog.
                     ~Author Unknown
Contact us at  954-252-7511 or  diane@timesaversusa.com
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SIMPLIFY YOUR LIFE WEEK – AUGUST 3-9, 2014

July 22nd, 2014

SIMPLIFYSince the first week of August is considered Simplify Your Life Week, Time-Savers Organizing and Productivity Services, Inc. offer the following tips to get you started:
Declutter: your desk, your wardrobe, your kitchen drawers, your kids’ rooms, your garage shelves, anything you haven’t decluttered in the past year. The less you have the less there is to clean, keep up with, make room for, find space for new things, etc.

Bank on Line: This is not for everyone. If you are fearful of getting hacked, and don’t have a secure computer for which to use only for banking, you may not go for this one. But if you like the idea of the time it saves, and the simplicity of doing so once you have followed on screen instructions to set up, you will love it. No more trips to the bank for deposits- at least hardly ever. Pay all your bills every two weeks. It takes only seconds online from the bank website. No checks, no envelopes, no stamps, no mailing.

Organize your Errands: Plan out your trips out of the house. Combine them with other errands. No need to run to the store just for one item, or to buy food more than 3 times a week. (And skip the bank now).

Delegate: To whom you say? Exchange chores with friends. You like to iron? They don’t? They like to cook? You don’t? This is just a simple example. Barter, swap, or hire someone. Talk to your friends and neighbors about helping each other out. Car pool.  Have play dates. Get your kids to help with laundry, chores, clearing the table, emptying the dishwasher, cleaning up their own toys before going out to play, or before dinner, or before bedtime. Husbands- this means you too, but I am sure I didn’t have to tell you that. What could you be doing of value instead of cutting the grass? Or cleaning the house? Would it be worth it to you to pay someone to do what you don’t like doing to free up time to do what you like or that is valuable to you, such as playing with your children or seeing clients? Let go of micro-managing and be ok with the job others do for you.

Gifts- Shop on line. For holidays and kids’ birthdays, make sure your friends and family know you prefer gift cards to restaurants, services, and tickets to events such as movies, over “more stuff.”

Distraction: Turn off pings to e-mail notifications on your phone or computer, at work and home. Read your e-mail when you are ready, not when someone else decides to send one. Control impulsivity to check e-mail often or answer every call and you manage your time much better. Make use of caller ID.

Curtail Shopping: Just because something is on sale is not a good reason to buy. ALWAYS ask yourself these 2 questions before making a purchase: What am I going to use it for AND where am I going to put it? If you can’t answer BOTH questions, don’t buy it! Most likely it will end up as clutter!

So there are some things to think about-making small changes to affect large improvements.

And don’t forget, we are here to help. If it’s all too much for you, contact us at 954-252-7511 or diane@timesaversusa.com.

Everyone needs help once in a while.

Happy “Simplify Your Like Week” and Happy Organizing!

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Pandemonium Day Solutions

June 18th, 2014

Did you knoPandemoniumDayw that July 14th is Pandemonium Day?

Pandemonium Day is a day of sheer bedlam, and utter chaos. If ever there was a wild and whacky, unorganized day, this is that day.

Everyone has a day like this once in a while. It’s a day when all sorts of unexpected things occur. It’s a time when everything is happening at the same time, and at a very fast pace.

Celebrate and embrace Pandemonium Day. Don’t let that day, or any other day shake you up. If Pandemonium prevails, just go with the flow in a calm, cool manner. Sanity will return soon enough…..we hope.

Does every day feel like Pandemonium Day for you?

Then read on. We have your solutions.

Whether your days are more like Pandemonium Day most of the time, or rarely, what are you doing to get more organized?

Start small. We challenge you to try organizing one little thing in your home or office, like a drawer, or a shelf by July 14th. See how you feel when done. Think back on the feelings you had while doing it. Were you stressed? Happy?  Encouraged? Indecisive? Concerned that it is just going to get messed up again?

Well, you get your grass cut on a regular basis don’t you? But the grass keeps coming back. Pull weeds in the yard? But they keep coming back. Get your hair cut. And it continues to grow. But this doesn’t stop you from doing it again because you receive benefits for doing so.

It is the same with organizing. If you are using your drawer, shelf, closet, room, desk, etc., it is likely it may get messed up again. However, if you organize on a regular basis, it is never as difficult as the first time you attacked that drawer, or desk, or shelf, closet, etc. The reason is that by organizing, you cleared out a majority of the clutter that had accumulated for years.

And the best news yet is Time-Savers new Maintenance Program. After we have organized any part of your home or office, did you know we are available for maintenance? The more often you schedule us to come, the shorter the appointments as there is less to do. We are available for 1, 2, 3 or 4 hour blocks of time for maintenance appointments. Find out our recommendations for you  whether it is once a month, once a quarter, twice a year or annually.

So call us today and schedule your organizing and or maintenance appointment with one of Time-Savers’ skilled team members. Call us at 954-252-7511 or e-mail us at diane@timesaversusa.com.

We promise you will be happy you did!

Happy Organizing!
Diane Hatcher, CPO®
President/Owner
Time-Savers Professional Organizing Services, Inc

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Virtual Organizing Solution

May 20th, 2014
Virtual Organizing (150x91)
Is it possible you are making excuses, rationalizing, in denial or procrastinating about needing help? 
Those are all valid reasons that stop people from following through.And the solution is… ta-da… drum roll please…Virtual Organizing!
What is Virtual Organizing (VO) you ask? It is a process for getting organized through the use of telephone, e-mail, photographs, video conferencing (Skype, Face Time) or other technology. It can be used as an accompaniment or as an alternative to the traditional organizing format of a live person being in your home or office. (However, it can be most valuable when combined with at least one initial on-site visit). And VO can have the same success and beneficial outcomes as on-site sessions. Skills transfer and long-term cognitive learning can take place.What is your investment?
For on-site visits it can be an average of 4-hours per visit. However, for VO an average session lasts a half to one hour. So in a month, your financial and time investment is only 2-4 hours per month (or half the cost and time of on-site organizing).One caveat. Happy work (AKA when we were in school – homework) is involved and is a critical component for success. Together, collaboratively, you and the organizer will establish goals and agree on what you can accomplish by the next contact. Then review and discussion regarding what worked or conversely what got in the way of progress takes place with the next call. The experienced organizer will provide suggestions, direction, motivation and  encouragement.

Not every professional organizer/productivity specialist is suitable for this skill. They should have 3-5 years’ experience in the field of organizing, have the ability to “see” what one hears, ability to articulate clear instructions, be familiar with learning styles, have patience, and preferably  have training through the Institute of Challenging Disorganization.

With 16 years experience in the field of both residential and corporate organizing with specialties in paperwork and chronic disorganization, combined with being the first Certified Professional Organizer in Southeast Florida 2006, and 3 certificates of study through the ICD, Diane Hatcher of Time-Savers Professional Organizing Services, Inc. meets and surpasses these standards.

Call our office at 954-252-7511 to discuss whether Virtual Organizing is right for you and can help you with your organizing issues. The ideal candidate is self-motivated and intends to follow through with agreed upon goals and assignments. (There is no judgment or penalty for not doing so, only slower growth to accomplish your goals).

Should you prefer hands-on, on-site, side-by-side organizing, our team of experienced organizers stands ready to assist.

We look forward to hearing from you soon! For anyone who calls in the next 14 days, we will offer your first VO session FREE when you pay for three. Give us a call at

954-252-7511.
Time-Savers Professional Organizing Services, Inc.
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Your Organized Desk

April 16th, 2014

CaptureWhat does your office look like?

Are there piles on the floor?

Are there things on your desk that don’t belong on a desk?

Do you have all the supplies you need and are they handy?

If you want to be productive and efficient then these are the areas that need updating. There should be no piles on the floor from day to day, unless temporarily you are doing a project and need more space than your desk allows. A professional organizer friend of mine wrote a book called, “The Floor is not an Option.” That says it all.

Do you have lots of photos spread all over your desk? Bottle of aspirin? Kids’ toys? Other stuff? First thing to do is remove them. Then you can focus on the work and papers on your desk. Make sure you leave it that way.

Last, you will need a stapler, extra staples, a note pad (several different sizes), paper clips, scotch tape, a couple pens, a pencil and eraser. Unless you use them often, most of them should be in a desk drawer.

Your desk space should be cleared for your computer, your phone, an activity center with your papers in it, and a clear space on which to work or open your mail.

And don’t forget your daily to-do list!

If this brief description doesn’t make sense to you or cover all the issues on your desk that interfere with your productivity, give us a call at Time-Savers Professional Organizing Services, Inc., 954-252-7511. We can resolve these issues, plus more, for you, right away!

 

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Eliminate Hazardous Waste Clutter

February 26th, 2014

Hazardous Waste

Attention Broward County Residents

Here is the newest information and dates for eliminating Hazardous Waste Clutter from your homes and garages.

Please mark your calendars for your city and save this announcement.

 

Household Hazardous Waste and Electronics Drop-Off

All events are open to residents of all of the following cities (proof of residency required*):

Cooper City, Dania Beach, Deerfield Beach, Hollywood, Lauderdale-By-The –Sea, Lauderdale Lakes, Margate, Parkland, Pembroke Park, Sea Ranch Lakes, Unincorporated Broward County, West Park, Weston and Wilton Manors.

8 a.m. – 3 p.m.

*Must show proof of residency: photo ID with current address plus a utility bill

March 2 - Deerfield Beach

200 Goolsby Blvd.

March 9 – Lauderdale Lakes

1 block west of S.R. 7 and NW 36 Street

(Parking lot across from Parks & Recreation Sports Complex)

March 23 - COOPER CITY – 10300 Stirling Rd. (Sports Complex)

April 13 - MARGATE – 7055 N.W. 1 St. (Oriole Park)

April 27 – HOLLYWOOD – 2600 Hollywood Blvd. (City Hall)

May 18 – WESTON – 2599 South Post Rd. (Public Works Complex)

Items Accepted for Disposal

Aerosol products*Ammonia*Ammunition*Antifreeze*Auto fluids*Auto batteries*Boat batteries*Boat fluids*Charcoal starter*Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs)*Drain cleaners*Fertilizer*Fire extinguishers*Fireworks*Flares*Fluorescent tubes*Gasoline*Herbicides*Household cleansers *Insecticide*Kerosene*Lawn chemicals*Lighter fluid*Mercury thermometers*Motor oil*Nail polish remover*Paint*Pesticides*Photo chemicals*Pool chemicals*Propane tanks*Rechargeable batteries*Rust remover*Solvents*Spot remover*Tires (limit 4)*Turpentine*Weed killer*Wood stain*Wood stripper

Electronics: *TVs, computers, monitors,keyboards, printers, copiers, and DVD and VCR Players.

Items not Accepted for Disposal

Business-or government-generated waste, explosives, bio-hazardous waste, microwaves, stereos, speakers or appliances.

Containers may not exceed five gallons; limit 25 gallons per visit.

If you need assistance de-cluttering the rest of your office, home or garage, give Time-Savers a call at: 954-252-7511 to arrange a date.

Happy Organizing!
Diane Hatcher, CPO®
President/Owner

 

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Have You Taken Care Of All Your 2013 Financial To-Dos?

December 12th, 2013

financial records and calculatorThis information is brought to you by Diane Hatcher, Certified Professional Organizer and Productivity Specialist, owner of Time-Savers Professional Organizing Services, Inc. in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. The following information is presented in collaboration with Ramona Creel, former owner of OnLineOrganizing.com.

End of Year To-Do’s Checklist

The first of the year is a great time to get your house (and/or your business!) in order — and we’ve put together a checklist of very important but often overlooked year-end “to-do’s.” Run through this checklist and make sure that you’ve taken care of everything from 2013 before you get too far into 2014. Be sure to contact Time-Savers at (954) 252-7511 or go to our website at www.timesaversUSA.com and contact us by e-mail at diane@timesaversUSA.com for professional assistance with any of these activities:

  • Clean out your 2013 financial records (utility bills, credit card and bank statements, etc.) and other outdated documents from your active files — either shredding or archiving as appropriate — making room for your 2014 paperwork. Don’t know what to save and what to shred? We do. Contact us before you toss or shred.
  • Gather all of your tax paperwork for 2013 — business receipts, medical and child care deductions, year-end bank and credit card statements, etc. — and update your accounting program for the year. (Is your accounting program the shoe box type? It needs to be organized for your accountant. We can do that, too)!
  • Discard the supporting tax documents for tax year 2006 (7 years from the date you filed) and earlier except for income related W-2’s and 1099’s (storing the actual tax return in a permanent file) to make room for your 2014 paperwork. Store any tax-related supporting documents for 2013 in your archive files, labeled “SUPPORTING TAX DOCUMENTS 2013 — DESTROY IN 2020” (Note: If fraud is suspected, the IRS has the right to audit you as far back as they choose to go).
  • Update your household and business property inventories to include photos, receipts, and appraisals (if necessary) for any new purchases made in 2013 — and upgrade the replacement value of your homeowner’s or property and casual insurance to cover those items.
  • Update your wills and powers of attorney to take into account any changes in the tax and estate laws in 2013 — or a life change like a move, marriage, divorce, birth of a child, etc.
  • Update your list of account numbers (banks, credit cards, investments, insurance policies, etc.) and your list of important contacts (attorney, investment broker, doctors, CPA, insurance agent, executor of will, etc.) to include any changes in 2013. Advise a close friend or relative as to where to find this info.
  • Make certain that copies of your most important documents (will, power of attorney, list of account numbers, list of important contacts, insurance policies, birth certificates, household inventory, etc.)  are protected in a safe, safe deposit box, on a disk or flash drive.

These suggestions are intended to get you on your way to an organized new year and make your tax filing a bit easier. They are not intended to replace the advice you should get from your personal attorney, financial planner and accountant as they know your situation best. Please check out any of our recommendations with them prior to shredding or tossing any documents about which you are unsure.

Have a wonderful and well-organized 2014! We look forward to hearing from you and assisting you in any way to help simplify your life.

Happy Organizing!

Diane A. Hatcher, CPO®
Time-Savers Professional Organizing Services, Inc.
www.timesaversUSA.com
(954) 252-7511

photo credit: adamthelibrarian via photopin cc

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Kitchen Organizing for the Season

November 12th, 2013

organized kitchen cupboardHoliday season is upon us and for many that means increased time in the kitchen.  When things are organized, they just work better. Organization means functional, efficient use of space and things, with the added bonus of neatness. If your kitchen isn’t arranged just as you like it, and you are unsure of how to fix it, these tips will get your organized kitchen underway. Your newly organized  kitchen will serve you well, so you can serve family and company throughout the holiday season and beyond.

1)    To begin, put items nearest to where they are used, in zones. For instance, pots and pans are best stored near the stove. Plates go in cabinets nearest the dining table or eating area, cutting utensils are best  stored near the cutting board/counter area, which should be near the sink.

2)    Sort food items in areas according to similarity: spices in one cabinet or drawer, baking items together, canned goods on one shelf, pastas together, etc.

3)    If you are short of space, nesting pots and pans (largest ones on bottom) lids separately, saves space. There are various types of lid holders available depending on the size and shape of space you have available.

4)    Excess clutter causes difficulties locating things easily and affording room for the commonly used items. If you are short on kitchen space, seasonal items such as large serving platters and holiday dishes can be stored elsewhere in the house or garage while not in use.

5)    It is common for many of my clients to own an abundance of glassware, taking up valuable cabinet space. A good rule of thumb is to keep only what you need between dishwashings. Donate the remainder or store the excess or specialty glasses, such as crystal in an area not in your prime everyday kitchen space.

6)    How many cookbooks do you need? As with most organizing, you must choose between hanging onto things “just because,” or having more space. Keep only the most used cookbooks in the kitchen. Others can be stored with holiday items, on a bookshelf or given away. With the advent of the Internet, cookbooks could be obsolete. For a fresh repertoire of recipes, check out www.epicurious.com or www.recipes.com. You’ll find a huge variety of recipes, including reader comments. Resist the urge to cut out or print out recipes you may never make.

7)    Many people complain about the lack of counter space in their kitchen. Keep only appliances on your counter that are used often. This also makes for simpler clean up.

8)    Don’t neglect your drawer space. A wide selection of drawer organizers are available that improve accessibility to your often-needed cooking tools while also neatening the drawers. Resist the temptation to own more than one of every utensil, or conversely, to own every gadget ever invented. (Yes, some of my clients do that).

9)    Maintaining an organized kitchen is as easy as going back through each shelf, cabinet and drawer periodically to make sure items are where they belong. Clean out the refrigerator and freezer weekly, on trash day. Get rid of what you aren’t using.

10)  When you see an area getting crowded, tight or overflowing, use that as a visual cue that it is time to repeat tip number 9.

Why not let the upcoming holidays motivate you to get your kitchen more organized in the next few weeks?  As with organizing any space, the time you spend organizing it, will save you time and stress in the future.

Interested in more tips? Check out www.ineedmoretime.com, www.flylady.com, and www.timesaversUSA.com. You can even sign up for our free monthly e-zine including tips on various organizing topics year round. In the meantime, Happy Organizing!

 

Diane Hatcher-CPO® owns Time-Savers Professional Organizing Services, Inc. in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.  She has been organizing paper and clutter in offices and homes since 1998. Diane can be reached at (954) 252-7511, or on the web at www.timesaversUSA.com.

photo credit: Pieter Pieterse via photopin cc

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Halloween Survival Guide

October 15th, 2013

candy cornHalloween is just around the corner – and that’s enough to throw any parent into a fright. What treats to buy? How to limit candy consumption? How to juggle everything?

We just don’t get those crisp, fall temperatures down in South Florida, so your carved pumpkins need an extra bit of TLC. After you buy your pumpkin, store it indoors in the air-conditioning. Refrigerate, if you have the room.

Remember, it’s a piece of dead fruit, so what you’re doing is trying to slow down the decaying process.

Wait to carve your pumpkin until you need it – the day before your party or Halloween. For best results, keep your carved masterpiece in the fridge or in the AC until show time. Then light your candle and enjoy the spooky results.

What are the best treats to buy to not jeopardize my diet or harm my kids?

Start by NOT buying your favorite candies to distribute, said Donna Kinney, a dietician and nutritionist for Gordon Food Service in Miami.

When offering treats yourself, select snacks that provide some nutritional value, such as dried or fresh fruits, fruit Newtons, Newton crisps, popcorn, pretzels or whole grain chips. Mini-size candy like Hershey’s Dark Chocolate Kisses or Special Dark Miniatures have less sugar, plus some fiber, protein and antioxidants.

Researchers have found that children ages 3-14 were just as likely to choose a small toy instead of candy. So think about passing out Halloween temporary tattoos, bouncy balls, bubbles, or other inexpensive items from the party or dollar store.

How do I cram in dinner, costumes and trick-or-treating when Halloween falls on a weeknight?

Here are some tips from Certified Professional Organizer and Productivity Specialist Diane Hatcher, owner of Time-Savers Professional Organizing Services, Inc.:

  • Keep a normal schedule as much as possible. Give kids dinner before they go out trick-or-treating. This way they will not be grouchy and won’t be so hungry for candy (but they will probably want it anyway.:)
  • Start out early so you can end with enough time for your kids to wind down and get to sleep.
  • Set guidelines and boundaries in advance. Let them know that you will trick-or-treat for a certain period of time, or a predetermined number of houses or blocks.
  • Establish in advance how much candy they are allowed to eat that night and possibly each day going forward.
  • Establish in advance that they need to go to bed at the usual time (or thereabouts) to be ready for school in the morning.
  • Have the next day’s school clothes laid out before bedtime. (This is a good idea for every school night).
  • If you expect resistance, strike a bargain. For example, tell them that if they come home and get ready for bed without an argument, offer them a reward. Rewards can be: allowing them to eat their three favorite pieces of candy that night, or take a piece of candy in their lunch box the next day, or have a treat every day after school for a week. (Warning: If they are anything like my grandkids, any sugar at night makes them immediately hyper, so that one would not be my choice!)
  • The most important thing is to allow candy consumption in moderation and be sure to brush and floss kids’ teeth carefully after a night of sugary treats.

How do I get rid of all the leftover candy?

  • Have conversations with your kids about practicing moderation when it comes to collected candy and treats.
  • Talk to kids ahead of time about what to do with all the candy after Halloween
  • Remember: Out of sight, out of mind. One suggestion is to allow them to choose a set amount of candy, three to five fun-size pieces a day, and get the rest out of the house.
  • Talk to your kids about charitable giving, possibly donating some of the collected candy to a local shelter, nursing home or church.
  • Bring it to your office to share the wealth (and the calories) with your co-workers.
  • Unload the goodies through a Halloween Candy Buy Back program. Just go to their website, type in your zip code, and you will be provided with a list of participating dentists in your area. The site recruits area dentists and orthodontists to buy leftover Halloween candy for $1 a pound. The candy goes to Operation Gratitude and other military support organizations, which send the sweets to military troops overseas.

Armed with these tips and a little pre-planning with your kids, this just may be the most fun Halloween ever! (Therefore you may want to keep this article with your Halloween decorations for reference next year).

Happy Organizing!

photo credit: Special via photopin cc

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Organizing Valuable Papers for Emergencies

September 16th, 2013

Ready.gov Prepare. Plan. Informed.September is National Disaster Preparedness Month. This article is intended to provide an overview of ideas so that you are prepared for any unforeseen events.

As of 2005, South Florida had been impacted by 8 hurricanes in 13 months. New Orleans, other parts of Louisiana and Mississippi were literally wiped out by a hurricane. In 2008, Hurricane Wilma hit. Superstorm Sandy ravaged the coast of New Jersey. Earthquakes decimated other parts of the world while brush fires threaten homes in California. Floods are ravaging Colorado as this is being written. Besides the aforementioned, emergencies can include tornadoes, burglary and other unforeseen events.

As with most aspects of life, emergencies can be handled efficiently and effectively when done in an organized manner, in other words, if planned for. Organizing instills confidence and peace of mind avoiding that last minute panic and scramble to assemble necessary papers and supplies.

Checklists and supplies arranged in advanced are key to emergency preparation. Supply preparation is heavily covered by the media prior to a hurricane. The focus of this article is for your valuable papers.

Motivation

Is it worth taking the time to make plans and preparations in case everything you own is destroyed? No doubt that the victims of Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana and Mississippi (or any of us for that matter) ever imagined losing entire homes and neighborhoods. Being caught unprepared only increases the pain and suffering brought on by the crisis.

Insurance statistics show that policyholders who are prepared with an “inventory” and photos of their belongings recover up to 25% more when their claims are settled, than those not prepared. The claims process may go faster, more smoothly and with less stress. (As a familiar commercial indicates, these benefits are “priceless”).

Check with your insurance agent to determine if you have purchased replacement cost coverage on your home and personal property. Some homeowners’ insurance policies only provide coverage for actual cash valueACV”. Your loss will be adjusted on an “ACV-actual cash value” basis, which means the insurance company will depreciate your damaged items, including your house, depending on their age.

The policy limit for “personal property/contents” coverage is customarily one-half (1/2) the value of your home (structure) coverage. The full value of contents coverage is not paid automatically. The insurance company will investigate to determine if the dollar amount of contents you claim is reasonable and provable. You must be prepared to prove to your insurance carrier that you in fact did own certain property if challenged.

Documents and Documentation

It is recommended that you prepare a written inventory of your contents (room by room) and take photographs or videotape to back up the list. Purchase receipts should be maintained for your major belongings to offer this proof and thus help speed the claim process.

  • The front page or “declaration sheet” of your insurance policies, home, flood, health, auto and life, with policy numbers and your agent’s contact information is critical to have available.
  • Other valuable documents and items you could need include: the deed to your home, birth certificates, stock certificates, credit card and bank account numbers, passports, jewelry purchase receipts and of course insurance policies (with policy numbers and company or agency contact information).
  • Should circumstances require evacuation, additionally you may want to bring along items such as jewelry, cell phones, passwords for online accounts, computer back-ups (flash drive, DVD etc.), photographs (especially current ones of your family for identification purposes in case you get separated), personal address book and important memorabilia.
  • If you are forced to relocate, resumes, college transcripts and degrees may be needed. Military records and discharge papers will be useful if applying for military and veteran’s benefits.
  • Immunization records and health records regarding health conditions will be needed for your children to enroll in a new school.
  • Marriage licenses and divorce certificates may be needed to set up bank accounts or establish residency.
  • Instead of carrying bank statements with you, a copy of your credit report contains all your account numbers, names and addresses for all your credit cards and other lenders. You can obtain a free credit report annually at www.annualcreditreport.com.
  • Copies of wills and trusts, power of attorneys and medical directives, in addition to the above documents are safest if kept in a bank vault.
  • Copies of mortgage documents may be necessary as well. Did you know that even if you lose your home, you are still expected to keep up the payments?

Safe Keeping

Inventory the above items on your check list (including location by room) so you can round them up quickly. Even better, all these items, including the inventory list should be kept together in one place, in a zip lock (water proof) bag for easy retrieval, in case of the need to evacuate your home in a hurry. Keep extra copies of each paper in an emergency file in your filing system for easy reference throughout the year.

Since all of this documentation could be too cumbersome to carry along, in case of an emergency, keeping them in a bank vault, or sending them to a trusted relative or friend in another part of the country are viable alternatives. It is suggested to save all this info in advance on a scanner then burned onto a CD or DVD for portability.

Should any of the aforementioned be kept in a safe deposit box (at a bank), no worries. Next best thing is a waterproof, fire proof safe in your home. However, be aware that safes are rated as to degrees of temperature they can withstand from fire and can melt. You will need to remove the contents of the safe to take with you in case of evacuation.

This article is intended to bring your awareness to detailed information and to help you begin the organizing process. Further research or action may be required on your part in order to complete the details necessary to accomplish them. This includes discussion with your insurance agent and Time-Savers Professional Organizing Services to get your business or house ready.

Be sure to take time to “google” emergency preparedness online or go to www.ready.gov or call 1-800-BE-READY and you will be treated to a mass of other articles and lists to use. Some insurance agents provide them or just make your own. Inventory books and lists can also be purchased from several websites. The point is, to quote another familiar commercial, “Just do it!”

Until next month, Happy Organizing! And stay safe.

Diane Hatcher, CPO® is a Certified Professional Organizer and owner of Time-Savers Professional Organizing Services, Inc. in South Florida. Contact her via www.timesaversusa.com or 954.252.7511.

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