“But wait…don’t you organize closets, and kitchens, and offices and such?” Yes, I do…or, at least I did for 15+ years… but my interest in organizing for illness, death, emergencies, keepsakes, downsizing, inventories, family history, photos, and legacies is nothing new.
Here are some resources I’ve gathered for you, in the following categories, to help you navigate this sometimes uncomfortable territory:
- Start a conversation with your family
- Declutter, downsize & organize your (or your loved ones’) stuff
- Preserve your family history
- Organize your photos
- Organize your estate paperwork
- Create a will (or two)
- Plan to age & die with dignity (including obituaries and funerals)
- What to do when someone else dies
- A combination of all of the above topics
Please let me know if you find something here that helps you!
And, if you can’t find what you’re looking for, just ask!
(There’s a search box on my blog.)
Start a conversation with your family
- What’s a Photo Without the Story? How to Create Your Family Legacy — A new book by Hazel Thornton
- Talking about death won’t kill you, LOL!
- A Valentine for Your family: Planning for Your Legacy
- Organizing for Your Legacy — A legacy is anything you leave behind. Tangible or intangible. Good or bad. What will your legacy be?
- Aren’t You Dying to Know?
- Kicking the Bucket List (a short book review)
- Dad’s Kick-the-Bucket Flow Chart – In the years since creating this chart, my Dad moved to Albuquerque (where he died several years later), to be near me and one of my brothers. So, these are outdated instructions. But the message is the same: Let your loved ones know what you want.
Declutter, downsize & organize your (or your loved ones’) stuff
- What’s a Photo Without the Story? How to Create Your Family Legacy — New book by Hazel Thornton (Part 4 — Leave a Legacy, Not a Burden — is all about decluttering, downsizing, telling the stories of your prized possessions, and making decisions now so your loved ones don’t have to later.)
- Downsizing and Keeping Your Family Legacy (VIDEO) — I was invited to participate in this panel discussion at the 2018 Before I Die New Mexico Festival.
- 9 Things to Know About the Next Big Decluttering Craze: Swedish Death Cleaning — Sparefoot.com
- Don’t Toss My Memories in the Trash — book by Vickie Dellaquila
- The Downsizing Decision Matrix + Your Personal Inventory
- Keepsakes: Legacy or Liability? – What are you leaving behind? What have you been left?
- Who’s Afraid of Their Storage Unit?
- What is Your Clutter Costing You?
- Organized Charitable Giving — This is related to dying in that my personal way of honoring loved ones is to donate money to their favorite charity. Charitable giving can also be part of your estate plan.
- Emergency Preparedness Resource Roundup — In this case, the emergency is that you have died and people need to know where to find things.
- The Things Your Kids Might Actually Want to Inherit — Janet Schiesl, Basic Organization
Preserve your family history
- What’s a Photo Without the Story? How to Create Your Family Legacy — A new book by Hazel Thornton (Part 3 — Dig Deeper & Climb Higher — is all about genealogy! It will help you dig deeper roots, and climb higher on your family tree.)
- Top 10 Reasons Why Genealogy is for Everybody!
- Family History Research — Org4life service
- The Gift of an Organized Family Tree — blog article about the Org4life family history research service
- Puzzling Out Your Family History — blog article about the pleasures and pitfalls of doing genealogy research
- The Ancestry Clutter Flow Chart (and companion article)
- How to organize your family tree at any budget
- Family History Lost & Found
- Mother’s Day — Gifts I Got from Mom
- The Basic Genealogy Checklist
- Mom’s Boxes Part 1: The shed — 8-part series (so far) about what I’m doing with the 33 boxes of scrapbooks my mom left me
Organize your photos
- What’s a Photo Without the Story? How to Create Your Family Legacy — New book by Hazel Thornton (Parts 1 & 2 are about adding stories to your photos and adding photos to your stories.)
- Save Your Photos! — This FREE guide will help you find and gather; sort and organize; archive and backup; maintain, celebrate, and share your favorite photos!
- How NOT to Save Your Photos — Org4life blog post
- Have you seen Hazel Thornton’s Photo Clutter Flow Chart? — APPO Endorsement
- The Photo Clutter Flow Chart – 11-page e-workbook module
- The mystery of family resemblances: Who you think you look like?
Organize your estate paperwork
- How to Create, Organize, and Safeguard 5 Essential Legal and Estate Documents — Julie Bestry’s Paper Doll Blog
- Organizing Your Estate Paperwork – blog post by Heather Ahern
- CBDataSystems – paid tool
- Everplans – free trial
- LifeinCase — document organization systems
- The Vital Records PortaVault — paid paper system from securitaonline.com
- Planning Your Estate: Helping Your Family Find Important Documents – free from SafelyFiled.com
- Touching the Future – Guide and Workbook for Estate Planning and Charitable Giving – free from redcrosslegacy.org
- Exit Stage Right – products, services, resources
Create a will (or two)
- Make Your Will: A Quick Checklist – free from nolo.com
- Do You Have a Virtual Will? – Who will check your email (and close your Facebook account) when you die? — Org4life blog post
- Virtual Estate Planning — blog post by Heather Ahern
- Creating Your Digital Estate Plan — PDF by Judith Kolberg
- Your Digital Afterlife — book by Evan Carroll and John Romano
- The Digital Beyond — blog by Evan Carroll and John Romano
Plan to age & die with dignity (including obituaries and funerals)
- Planning my own virtual funeral — who’s with me?
- “We Remember” our loved ones — Org4life blog post
- We Remember — memory pages by Ancestry
- The Conversation Starter Kit – free download from The Conversation Project
- Good to Go: A Guide to Preparing for the End of Life – book by Jo Myers
- Five Wishes — living will from agingwithdignity.org
- POLST (Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment) — program available in many states.
- A Graceful Farewell – book by Maggie Watson
- Reasons to Plan Your Own Funeral or Memorial Service — everplans.com
- The GroundSwell Project – founders of Dying to Know Day in Australia
What to do when someone else dies
- After a Death Occurs: A Checklist – free from legalvoice.org
- What to Do When A Loved One Dies — AARP article
- What to Do When Someone Dies: Estate Administration – free from exitstageright.com
- The Boomer Burden: Dealing with Your Parents’ Lifetime Accumulation of Stuff – book by Julie Hall
- The Executor’s Guide: Settling a Loved One’s Estate or Trust – book by Mary Randolph, J.D.
- You Went to a Funeral and Then You Went Home
- “We Remember” our loved ones —
A combination of all of the previous topics
- Organizing for Your Legacy — February 2018 Professional Organizers Blog Carnival (POBC) – sage advice from many of my colleagues — this edition of POBC was sponsored by Org4life!