It has always been important to organize your important documents and even more so now because of the global pandemic. These documents must be organized so that they are easy to access when you need them. Many of them contain sensitive and privileged information. You do not want to leave them hanging out in the open. Keep them secure and away from prying eyes.
1. Reduce Stress and Anxiety
Clearly, we are more relaxed when we are not worried, full of stress or anxious. This applies to almost any topic. When there is a crisis the important documents, I am talking about become vital.
I started thinking about this because of the Covid-19 pandemic. What would happen if I got sick and was too sick to talk to the doctors? How would my bills get paid if I had to stay in the hospital for an extended period of time?
Do you ever ask yourself questions like these? If you do, do they make you worry? Answer them to reduce your stress and anxiety.
When someone gets sick, too sick advocate for themselves, a healthcare power of attorney gives someone else the authority to make decisions for that person. The other necessary medical documents may include a Living Will or an Advance Directive. These important documents tell other people your wishes. Without them, they are flying blind.
If you are sick and your loved one is trying to help you navigate your illness, their hands are tied unless they have access to these important documents.
Peace of Mind
You can reduce your stress and anxiety by making sure to organize these important documents and let your partner, spouse, or trusted friend know how to find them. If you do not have a Living Will, get one. That will bring you peace of mind and will also reassure your loved ones that they can be your advocate if necessary.
Quite honestly most of us do not spend time thinking about these important documents until we realize that we need them. Then, it becomes a big worry. Wondering where they are and how to find them. Thinking about how to organize the important documents adds anxiety and stress.
2. Know Which Documents are Important
Other than a Living Will, do you know which documents are important to organize?
There may be some documents that you will want to get. Here is a good checklist. Some of the list may not apply to you. Then again, there may be documents omitted from this list that you will want to include like a complete home inventory.
It is also important to make a photocopy of the cards you carry in your wallet just in case your wallet is misplaced or stolen.
If you do this, copy the cards front and back, then you will have the information from your driver’s license and know which credit card companies to call. You will also have the information from your insurance cards or any other cards you carry regularly.
With the photocopy of the contents of your wallet you give yourself peace of mind that no matter what, you are protected.
3. Help Someone Help You
Create a digest of your accounts and their passwords. Keep this list with your important documents. This will give your trusted person the ability to help you stay current with your accounts.
4. In Case of Disaster or Theft
The best reason to organize your important documents is that they will be together and organized when disaster strikes.
You NEVER know when disaster will strike.
There could be a fire, a flood, a hurricane, an earthquake, or a tornado. Chances are there will be little time to get all the documents together so that you and your family can safely leave your home.
What if someone came into your home and ransacked it? With your important documents organized you will be able to prove what is missing from your home.
5. We Have Time Now
Before our communities open completely, take time to organize your important documents.
Many of us have been organizing closets, cupboards, and other spaces in our home. I am sure you have seen before and after organizing pictures from a variety of friends on FaceBook. Taking time to organize spaces restores order and can help to restore the feeling of calm in our minds.
I heard from one friend that her head was so full of things she was worrying about that she went into an organizing frenzy. In an afternoon she had cleared her back hallway of all clutter. Opening the physical space and using some of that pent-up anxious energy gave my friend space in her mind. Her children commented that there was too much empty space. They wanted their mom to put something back. She told them to let it be. They will grow accustomed to the empty space. It will be OK. Here is an interesting post about becoming comfortable with empty spaces.
Removing clutter makes a space visually calm. This peaceful view helps your mind to relax which in turn allows new ideas to flow freely. Just imagine the possibilities.
Take the next step in reducing stress and anxiety by making sure your important documents are organized.
If you are among those who have organized many of the physical spaces in your home, take time to prepare just in case of disaster and organize your important documents. Should disaster strike or if you become incapacitated, you will be forever thankful you made the effort. It does not matter if you never need them because you will be prepared and the documents will be organized.
Click here for some tips on how to organize your important documents.
Please get in touch with me if you would like some help organizing these documents. I would be happy to help. We can meet in person or virtually.
Diane N. Quintana is a Certified Professional Organizer®, Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization®, Master Trainer and owner of DNQ Solutions, LLC based in Atlanta, Georgia. Diane teaches busy people how to become organized and provides them with strategies and solutions for maintaining order in their lives.
I’d like to add that once you have a living will, it’s important to make sure your loved ones understand your intentions. A couple of years ago my husband had a cardiac arrest and was put on a ventilator. I was freaking out because his living will said he didn’t want artificial life support. Everything turned out okay and he was glad that he was given the opportunity to get better. It would have been different if he wasn’t expected to make a full recovery. If I’d realized that, I’d have had more peace of mind instead of added stress at an already challenging time.
Thank you, Janet. Yes. These documents are helpful but it’s a great idea to talk through your intentions with the people you care for.
This is such a timely post, Diane! I definitely believes it alleviates stress to feel that you have your “ducks in a row” when it comes to important documents. This is an uncertain time, so any order we can put in place is calming. I was just talking about my medical directive wishes again with my husband a few weeks ago, specifically my wishes should I end up in the hospital with COVID. I’ve also been shredding a lot of old paperwork, and that has felt good as well!
Thank you, Seana. The timing felt right to me also.
There is tremendous peace of mind that comes from having your important documents organized and prepared. I remember helping my parents do this before my dad passed away. We collected all the essentials in one fireproof box. Categories got identified and organized. So when my mom got sick, I knew where everything was and could easily step in to help. It made things seamless and way less stressful for my mom and me. My husband and I updated our important docs recently, and that has given us more peace of mind. It’s important to review things to keep them up to date and to make sure that the people who will be in charge if you can’t be, know where things are.
I agree, Linda. Knowing that these important documents are safely organized provides tremendous peace of mind. Thank you for joining the conversation.
Thank you for the checklist of documents to keep. Starting with a list can make setting up a filing system so much easier. It is important to control visual clutter, even if you are a visual person, to help have a sense of control in your space and life.
Thanks, Julie. Yes. I thought that checklist provided a good place to start organizing important documents.
Your calm, reassuring voice is wonderful – I’ve shared this on my FB page because I know my followers will love it too.
Thank you very much, Lucy!
This information is so important to get out, thanks for sharing. I am going to share it. It is one that I have been writing about on my blog and also have been helping clients on gathering these papers together. Having a place to put all the paperwork is essential—some people like fireproof safes, others like a briefcase filing system. Either one needs to have enough room for these documents.
Thank you, Sabrina. Yes. Wherever you keep these important documents has to be big enough to accommodate all of them.
Thank you, Diane this is so comprehensive. You are right about peace of mind, and nothing replaces it! Having all of these documents together is helpful in a crisis when it’s difficult to think straight.
You offered great steps on getting started. This is so important to do.
Thank you, Ronni.