How To Get Organized & Declutter This Year


You may have noticed that Home Depot and Lowe’s have a larger supply of storage boxes near the front of their stores right now. It’s to remind us that it’s time to work on reorganizing.

The month of January often inspires organizing and decluttering as we put all of our holiday decorations away

We’re in and out of our closets more at this time of year because we’re putting all of our Christmas gifts away and grabbing our boots and sweaters. We need more space to put our stuff! 

The often overlooked area in the home for winter organizing is our home office and filing cabinets.

Finding the time and energy to organize your office and file your paperwork may seem like a needless chore, but it can be extremely beneficial if you are suddenly hit with a medical emergency—especially if you are over the age of 65. 

Why is this so important? For starters… it will help your family or your designated Power of Attorney (POA) locate necessary medical information, key contact information, or important documents you may need in case of an emergency. 

We recommend that you pay attention to organize these important papers:

  1. Medical information: This should include your current medical providers, medications, a list of medical conditions, and updated insurance cards (including your prescription card). 
  2. Financial information: If you are incapacitated and can’t pay your bills, your POA will be responsible to take over this task. So, it’s important to make it easy for your appointee to locate information about your checking and saving accounts. They may also need access to your credit card information when making arrangements for ambulance transfers to a rehab facility or when purchasing home medical equipment not covered by insurance. 
  3. Key contact information: In this file, you should list the names and contact information for your executor, attorney, financial advisor, life insurance provider, and clergyperson. 
  4. Other important documents: Provide instructions to locate your will, driver’s license, birth certificate, marriage certificate, or death certificate of a spouse. In addition, if you were a veteran during wartime, your POA may need to locate certified military discharge papers. 

If you need to be placed in a nursing home and require Medical Assistance to pay for your care, you’ll need the following paperwork: 

  1. Copies of important cards: This includes your Social Security card, Medicare card, health insurance, drug prescription card, and dental insurance card. 
  2. Power of Attorney and Living Will information: You should include the Healthcare Power of Attorney paperwork. 
  3. Financial Documents: This includes copies of all statements for all accounts in your checking/savings/credit union/stock, bonds, IRAs, 401K, CDs or other investments. You will need to supply each monthly statement for the past 24 months, plus statements from January and June of the prior 3 years. 
  4. Other documents: For Medicaid approval, you need copies of Revocable and Irrevocable Trust documents, real estate deed or reverse mortgage documents, motor vehicle registration, marriage certificate, divorce decree, proof of death of a spouse, and honorable Discharge from Service. 

So are you ready to get started with your winter organizing? We want to remind you that your personal documents deserve equal attention when you’re organizing, especially if you have a medical emergency.

For adult children that are serving as caregivers, finding these documents now can save you a lot of frustration if a medical crisis occurs. 

Severino Health Advisors assists families in times of medical crisis and can make thoughtful referrals to elder law attorneys, financial planners, and other senior providers. Call for a free 15 minute phone consultation to see if we can help.