Blog: Minimizing Financial Clutter
GO Get Your Finances Organized!
January has been designated "Get Organized Month", a.k.a. GO Month, by the National Association of Professional Organizers. www.napo.net When most people think about "getting organized", they think about eliminating their unneeded stuff from their closets, garages and drawers. We are well aware of the clutter we have in those areas.
Here's how the dictionary defines clutter:
· A confused or disordered state or collection; a jumble
· To fill or spread over in a disorderly manner
· To make disorderly or hard to use by filling or covering with objects
I've been thinking about what GO Month means for us in terms of minimizing financial clutter. That's not quite as easy to define. Using the dictionary definition of clutter, here are some areas we can attack during GO Month:
Will you (or your family) be able to easily locate your financial and other vital documents when you need them? If not, it's important to locate the documents, and make sure they reflect your wishes and priorities. Then create an index of the documents you have and where they're located, and give the index to your next-of-kin or personal representative.
Have you collected old financial papers and hung onto them longer than necessary? Do you have piles and boxes full of a jumble of paperwork? It's time to sort and purge those papers! The easiest way to sort disordered paperwork is to by company name or account number: simply file like with like. If you're worried about getting rid of something important, follow the IRS guidelines for paperwork retention: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p552.pdf. If you own a business, contact your accountant or attorney to establish a record retention policy.
Fill or Spread Over in a Disorderly Manner
What do you do when you receive new bills, statements, and other important paperwork? Are they spread out all over your desk because you know you have to "do something "with them? Use GO Month to create a system for paperwork needing action. Pick up one paper at a time and ask yourself what is the very next thing you need to do with it. Sort the papers on your desk according to the next action needed – for example, sort all bills into the same pile, because the next action you need to take on them is to pay them. Finally, place each pile into a stackable desk tray or a folder in a step rack, and schedule regular time to work on each group of action items.
Filling or Covering Your Desk with Objects
Try this exercise to discover how you've been making your desk hard to use because of all of the stuff you keep on it! Remove EVERYTHING from your desk. Dust it off. Replace ONLY the things you use on a daily or weekly basis. Move everything else to adjacent areas: the less frequently you use an object, the farther away from your desk you should store it. If it doesn't support the activities you perform at your desk, eliminate it or move it elsewhere.
GO Month 2010 gives us the opportunity to begin to create or refine organizational systems that will help us achieve our financial goals. So GET GO-ING!
posted on: 1/10/2010 11:30:00 AM by Katherine Trezise
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Minimizing Financial Clutter
by Katherine Trezise
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Katherine Trezise is president of Absolutely Organized, based in Baltimore, MD. She is president-elect of the National Study Group on Chronic Disorganization. Katherine holds a masters degree in business administration, is a Certified Professional Organizer® and a Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization®. Absolutely Organized specializes in helping people organize their homes, paperwork and financial records to make room in their lives for the things, people and activities that are most important to them.