The one thing that’s more important than your closet
There’s something so nice and comforting about having things—sweaters, jackets, shirts, jewelry, shoes, boots, espadrilles, and you’re probably filling in all the blanks now. But included in our consumeristic lifestyle—fast and easy purchasing and shipping—comes an excess of belongings that get put aside, lost in piles, and forgotten in corners. That’s why shows like Tidying Up with Marie Kondo and Hoarders are becoming so popular—it’s the reality we live in the 21st century. Did you know there are 63 million search results for organizing your closet?! Something about that number says organizing our closets is pretty important to us. But is that really where all the importance should lie? Seems like we are forgetting something.
Why we love our closets so much
I don’t know if we gravitate towards organizing certain things because they are easier (or at least seem easier), or if they are more visually appealing. Our unofficial research says that it seems we like organizing things that have pieces. Organizing small to medium sized items moves faster than some of the more micro items (we’re talking paper or even things that are in our heads). Think about it—if you were to start organizing something right now, what would it be? Your bedroom? Your kitchen? Your garage? Sure the bedroom has hangers, cute folding techniques, and pretty boxes, and it stores things you want to use daily, as does the kitchen. Does this mean we’re just shoving the boring stuff to the side? Why is it that papers always seem to get addressed last when in reality they have some of the most important information on them.
Information chaos is no information at all
It seems like we kind of get it. After all, there are 292 million search results for organizing your information (remember it was just 63 million for organizing your closet?). The fact is: information needs to be organized for it to ever be useful. Without being able to find it it serves absolutely no purpose. And if we have to spend the time to find it, this takes up precious time from our families and adds to our stress levels. There are some things we can do to control our stress levels and there are some things we can’t—so we’re better off taking care of what we can.
The avoidance technique
Maybe we avoid organizing papers because we see these massive stacks or folders of them and have no idea what is hiding in them. You actually have to spend time thinking about or processing each piece in order to do something valuable with it. And that takes time. Granted it’s upfront time that will save us time in the long run, but our “live in the moment” mentality doesn’t help us see that.
Digitizing important household info
There’s the kind of information that’s important in the short term (i.e. bills), but also stuff that needs to have a much longer life and is far more costly if it’s lost, not “lost” but just “I don’t know where it is at this very second”, or irretrievable. These important pieces of information with marked value for your family are marriage licenses, university degrees, passwords, passports, deeds, titles, insurance information, immunization records, the location of accounts and account numbers, just to name a few. They can easily blend into an all-around emergency plan. Now that’s super handy. Imagine having a digital version of all these important things in case of emergency. That way everyone has access to the information they need to restore life to normal—or whatever that new normal is going to look like.
There are some things you can do to make the process light, fun and easy—just like folding clothes in pretty ways.
Divide and Conquer
Figure out the different general categories your papers fit into. You definitely want to be able to find your papers, but you probably want your categories to be clear enough for other important people to be able to find them, as well. Once you’ve decided on your categories start picking up each piece of paper, scanning it briefly and deciding which category it falls into. Everyone in your household should know where the information is that they need, so recruiting family members to help out in the process will familiarize them with where everything is located. It will also take some of the load off of you!
Expect for the best, prepare for the worst
So many great things come out of getting your papers organized. You’re not only making your present living in the moment more livable, you’re making the worst-case scenarios more livable, as well. You’ll be able to access your kids’ immunization records from your phone when the school asks for them. Your husband will also be able to access that information if something happens and you aren’t able to tell him. And you’ll have all your account information for your energy company when you’re on the phone with them and they ask for it. And on the flip side, there will be no question in people’s minds what accounts you have and what needs to be addressed if you pass away.
What happens if the right people don’t know your information and you were to pass away? Not to be morbid, but as an adult and home manager, this needs some real attention. Some of the important things might not even be on paper right now. They’re all in your head. How is that going to help them?
Information is power
So cliché, I know, but so true. All your life’s information gives context to you. It gives you control over your life and helps you make sound decisions. By knowing your information and decisions others can take action with confidence. Giving the right people access to your information is so cheap and can have eternal value. Organizing your information in a choice way and place will save you time and money, thus providing ample emotional benefits.
If you want a place to store your (and your family’s) information digitally for safe keeping and easy access now and in the future, A Life’s Inventory is the app for you. It walks you through all the categories you need to think about and makes it very easy. Here’s to your information being as organized as your closet!