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Color of Money

Putting a Method To the Madness

By Michelle Singletary
The Washington Post
Sunday, October 17, 2004; Page F01

I'm so disorganized that I missed the chance to celebrate Get Organized Week.

Get Organized Week, which ran Oct. 3 through 9, was created by the National Association of Professional Organizers to highlight the benefits of getting organized.

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Honestly, if it weren't for my husband I would be a pack-rat paper mess. My filing system is simple: I pile papers up until they fall over. Then I create another stack out of the fallen papers.

I often tell my husband I can lay my hands on anything I want, which is true -- after a day or two of looking.

But my lack of organization has created hours of frustration whenever I have had to find some important financial document. And I know I have company.

In one survey conducted last year for Esselte, an office-supply manufacturer, 48 percent of the people questioned said they don't organize and file their vital financial documents and other important papers, such as birth certificates, marriage licenses and Social Security cards.

Of the people who said they did file their documents, many admitted that if pressed they wouldn't be able to find the papers easily.

Well, I'm getting a jump on Get Organized Month, slated for January 2005. It's the same thing as Get Organized Week but now stretched out for a month. Lord knows some of us need a month (or two) to get organized.

So, want to get an early start?

I'm suggesting that instead of reading a book for the Color of Money book club this month, you pick up "Homefile Financial Planning Organizer Kit" by J. Michael Martin and Mary E. Martin (Homefile Publishing, $24.95).

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