Posted By IOTeam

   September is National Preparedness Month (NPM). It's the time of year when the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reminds us to "be prepared." We say:  "Think about it ... what would YOU grab if you have to dash out the door in a minute's notice?"

   We asked a few people: "What happened with you (mentally & physically) when you experienced a disaster or emergency or catastrophe situation?" 

  • Nancy said her immediate reaction was panic and confusion when she heard the storm warning sirens.
  • Sam shared that he felt dazed and couldn't focus when his wife fell and broke her hip.
  • Paula admitted she was scared and lost control when her neighborhood was engulfed by a blazing fire.

   On the contrary, a calm, automatic reaction for Nancy, Sam and Paula would be to reach for his/her "Grab & Go Bag." In this bag are their Very Important Papers and People (contacts). As professional organizers, we help folks to create this Go Bag in one-on-one sessions and our webinar "Organizing Your Vital Documents." Clients discover that when there's a "system" in place, stress is eliminated. We advise them to include in the Go Bag: Wills, Health Care Proxy, Powers of Attorney, Insurance Policies and more.

   The LifeinCase tote is the perfect document organizing solution! This portable caddy makes a perfect Grab & Go Bag. It's durable, water-resistant, lightweight and holds 500-sheets. With five tabbed folders, there are checklists that suggest 10 vital documents in major categories: Medical, Personal, Financial, Estate & Property. Related information can be added, as well. 

   Far too often, we all see devastating disasters and heartbreaking emergencies reported in the news. "It's better to be safe than sorry" is always the moral of these stories. Are YOU prepared? Avoid confusion and stress by creating a "Grab & Go Bag" along with a Disaster Plan. Do it now, BEFORE you need it. When an emergency occurs, your thoughts and energy can then be focused on taking care of yourself and others around you. When you know what to do, it's much easier to stay calm. Remember practicing fire drills in school? They taught you to be prepared by knowing what to do.

   The principals of Island Organizers are Donna D. McMillan and Karen L. Simon. Their expertise delivers organizing and productivity services to manage time, space, paperwork and digital information. 808-943-2053 & 310-391-7392

Register for Vital Documents Webinar, Products & Services

 


 
Posted By IOTeam

Home management is crucial to the value, safety, health of your home, and ultimately, your family. Your home is oftentimes your largest asset. Its components require care & attention. There are three key areas that help you to manage it properly.

Home Inventory

Tracking possessions you've purchased over the years helps you understand how much you've invested in decorating, improving & adding to your home. The benefits of a home inventory include:

  • Proper Insurance: Your inventory ensures you are fully insured.
  • Claims Reimbursement: When situations arise, it is faster, easier & more accurate when submitting your claim. Complete records can maximize reimbursement.
  • Maintenance & Repairs: Knowing which equipment & appliances you own helps to properly perform necessary maintenance.
  • Moving List: Using an inventory for a moving list helps ensure that possessions arrive at your new home.
  • Estate Planning: Tracking possessions helps you to plan how they will be distributed.

Home Maintenance

Your home's parts require regular maintenance. Home maintenance is tracking & inspecting equipment, replacing consumables, fixing structural issues, and deep cleaning of specific areas. Proper maintenance can:

  • Save Money On Replacement Costs: Proper maintenance can alleviate the need to replace equipment & appliances.
  • Keep your home safe & healthy: Cleaning a dryer vent can prevent fires. Changing air filters maintains good air quality, reduces wear & tear on Heating & A/C units.
  • Reduce Utility Costs: With efficient, well-maintained equipment, utility costs are kept to a minimum.
  • Improve Home Value: Home Values may increase since the home is properly maintained & is documented.

Home Remodeling

Managing home remodeling has a direct impact on the look & feel of your home. Using the proper tools to manage your projects helps to:

  • Manage budgets: Keeping project budgets can directly impact your overall financial portfolio.
  • Manage remodels: Staying focused on the overall process helps you understand the details of your projects.

Knowing how to manage a large asset is crucial to maintaining its value. Managing your home, with its many parts, requires your attention to both maintain AND INCREASE value!

Elizabeth Dodson is co-founder of HomeZada, a cloud-based home improvement & organizational software. HomeZada strives to educate & provide resources for homeowners in all areas of home management: improvements, maintenance, inventory, property information, & property value. 


 
Posted By IOTeam

By Karen Simon, Island Organizers2014 npm

     September is National Preparedness Month. The theme for 2014 is "Resolve To Be Ready." This year, President Obama has declared two days- April 30 & Sept 30- as part of America's Prepare-A-Thon to encourage everyone to take steps to prepare for any type of disaster.

What Is A Disaster?

     In recent months there have been a few devastating disasters: Malaysian Airlines' missing plane & plane crash in Europe, a 6.0 earthquake in California, 3 hurricanes in the Hawaii... the list goes on.  Consider what a disaster is to you. What if you, a family member or close friend were in a major accident? What if your home was ransacked & robbed? What if your neighbor's house caught fire and it spread to yours? Would you consider these events to be disasters?

Being Prepared For Anything

     Recently, a friend told me about his brother-in-law, Joe (name has been changed), who passed away due to a terminal illness. On the day that Joe had an appointment with his attorney to sign his will, he died before the appointment. He is survived by two sons, a grandson and a live-in girlfriend. His major assets are a home with a mortgage and a business with seven employees. Joe's estate is now in Probate.

     Since none of Joe's family was involved in his business, no one is left in charge to manage it during the Probate. What happens to the business in the meantime? About the house, who makes the mortgage payments? We hope that someone can find his life insurance policy. We hope that someone has access to Joe's financials and other funds he may have. We hope that...

Prepare Your Paperwork

     Gathering vital documents & paperwork is a necessary step to being prepared for anything. Leaving behind a legacy like Joe's is not what most want for their heirs. It's not what you want someone to leave to you. Trying to recover documents is not what you'll want to be doing after any type of disaster.

     This September, pledge to prepare your vital documents & information. Scanning and filing them electronically will keep them safest, make for easier access and allow you to share with the VIPs in your life. Do it for yourself and your loved ones - don't delay!

=====

REGISTER for our Vital Documents Webinar on Sept 30, 2015!

A Shortlist of Resources:

Replacing Your Important Papers at FEMA

Document Checklists at SafelyFiled

Organizing, Scanning & Digital Filing at IslandOrganizers


 
Posted By IOTeam

Mint.com logoOrganizing Expert Interview With Donna & Karen
 

       "Disorganization causes people to lose credibility. Their reputation suffers. They lose clients and miss opportunities because of lack of follow-up. They pay penalties due to late payment of bills, and other financial problems such as credit worthiness, etc.," say Karen Simon and Donna McMillan, co-founders of Island Organizers.

       How do you avoid all this? Karen and Donna were featured in an Organizing Expert Interview on Intuit's Mint.com ("online" version of Quicken). In the interview, they discuss:

  • ways to safeguard and backup financial info to prepare for disaster
  • going paperless and online finances
  • tricks for organizing financial information  
  • our favorite organizing tools for paperwork and digital info

‚Äč       Read the article to find out how YOU can be free of the struggles, stresses, and strains of disorganization!

=====

Learn skills and techniques to manage finances, time, digital tools, and more with Online Sessions and Private Appointments


 
Posted By IOTeam

by Donna D. McMillan, Island Organizers

    As a childhood Girl Scout, I learned so many life lessons - such as “Being Prepared.” That motto means to always be in readiness to do your duty.  As a longtime Professional Organizer, I’ve seen via countless client experiences, how valuable it is to be ready for disasters and medical emergencies. They usually happen without warning, anytime and anywhere. 

    "That'll never happen to me," people believe. They just don't want to think about the possibility! In reality, it's better to be prepared and never need it. According to AARP, a medical emergency can be a frightening, all-too-frequent experience that few people are prepared for. Are you??? 

    Recently, a client was unexpectedly told that she was to have surgery in six days. We helped her to get ready by organizing …

     • VIP (very important paperwork): Advance Directive, Power of Attorney, current list of drugs/supplements, allergies, eyeglasses prescription, up-to-date medical history, health insurance card, drivers license and credit card.
     • People: inform key persons of plans, list of personal & professional contacts, phone numbers & email addresses: family, friends, doctors, insurance agents, and ICE (in case of emergency) contacts added to cell phone. Appoint one or two organized individuals to assist and manage: tasks, people, research and paperwork while recovering.
     • Tasks: pay bills in advance and keep list handy, do bank deposits, get cash, backup digital data, ensure business will continue, do laundry and prepare home for absence, pack personal bag & electronic equipment for hospital.
     • Post-Op: grocery list, supplies & home medical equipment list, Home Care services if required, schedule friends/helpers to visit at hospital & home. Set-up a portable file to collect medical paperwork, etc. 

    All vital personal and legal documents should be updated frequently and stored together in a safe, convenient location. Inform loved ones of access to emergency documents. Make copies for special people or use & give access to a web service like SafelyFiled. Create ongoing lists of questions to ask doctors, insurance agents and other professionals who can help and support. 

    Organizing all of this, for some, is time-consuming, overwhelming and emotional. Are you prepared? Got other tips for our readers? Share a Comment.

-------------

Resources:

Hear our Teleclass: Your Disaster Plan Is Not Just A Kit

Get a discount on SafelyFiled & Learn about SafelyMD

Contact Us:  808-943-2053 & 310-391-7392


 


 
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