Eliminate Residential Chaos
Eliminate Residential Chaos




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In This Issue:

Organizing Your Legacy

Over the years, I have had the privilege to organize hundreds of home offices.  Something I’ve noticed in most of these offices is that there are typically “unfinished” projects or projects with the best of intentions that have never been started.

One “unfinished” project common in many homes is a will or estate plan that either needs to be updated or completed.  Until recently, this was a project for me that was also incomplete. 

You might be wondering what this has to do with “organization” – it has a lot to do with it and I encourage you to continue reading. 

I had the good fortune to have a brother who is an attorney and used to practice in the field of Estate Planning.  When Scott originally crafted my Estate Plan, I was a single person, but he provided many reasons why having a will was still important.  As my life changed and I was married, modifications were required.  A couple of years later and divorced, a certain someone needed to be eliminated from the will.  

During the summer of 2009, I decided it was time to once again revisit this project.  Over the past decade, my life has continued to change – I have new additional nieces to include as well as other assets that had been acquired over the years.  Little did I know that about a month after I embarked on this project that I would become engaged and then that changed everything…again.

Needless to say, I took my sweet time (or shall we say procrastinated) on this project for almost two years.  Finally, this summer I got to cross this project off the list as we completed our wills; a gift to each other really – as I got married on 9.10.11!  Let’s face it, it’s not one of the most enjoyable things to think about; however it is one of the best legacies you can leave your family.

 Did you know that “nearly 60% of people will die without a will?” (Puget Sound Business Journal – March 2011) 

So, why am I writing about this subject?  Because I have seen one too many families in the past decade with a very thick file on this subject in their office; only to be filed away – project uncompleted. 

Life is the most precious gift we have and you never know when you’re number is up.  I learned this the hard way at the age of 16 when my mom passed away at the young age of 46.  27 years ago this week, I said good-bye to my mom for the last time.  She did not have a will. 

Once your will and/or estate plan is complete, here are a few things to consider

  1. Ensure your family and extended family knows where your important documents are kept.
  2. Provide your Executor with a hard and/or soft copy of these documents.
  3. Provide adult children or parents with a hard and/or soft copy.  (While I am not the Executor of my parent’s estate, I have a copy of their will in my filing cabinet at home, along with important contact numbers – just in case.)
  4. Keep hardcopies of Wills, Estate Plans, Medical Directive, Power of Attorney documents in one location in your filing system.  In case of emergency, they will be easier to find if they are all stored together.  I recommend a hanging file (labeled appropriately) you can then use manila file folders to separate individual wills, medical directives and POA’s.
  5. Keep medical and life insurance in the same filing location; again appropriately labeled.  I recommend keeping all forms of insurance together so they are easy for anyone to find.  Since this is usually one of the largest categories of paperwork, here is an example of how you might want to label your hanging files:

            Insurance - Auto

            Insurance - Home

            Insurance - Life

            Insurance – Medical 

Organizing your insurance information allows you to group all insurance together and labeled as 
“Insurance” with the specific sub-category for your needs.  At a quick glance, this will make it very easy for someone else to find, should the need arise. 

6.  As life changes, these documents will change with marriage, divorce and births of children – be sure you keep them up-to-date.

Keep at Home – Not in a Safety Deposit Box

  1.  Power of Attorney originals
  2. Will
  3. Living Will or any medical directives

If you have a safety deposit box, determine in advance who has access to it in case of emergency.  Different states have different laws on who can access the box after a death.  Simply giving someone the key to the box doesn’t give permission to access; their name needs to be on the rental agreement as well. 


In the Seattle Area (where I live), there is the Estate Planning Council of Seattle where you can receive educational resources; such as:

  • Guide to Estate Planning
  • The Fiduciary’s Handbook

You may also find a council in your area – where there are free resources and lists of professionals to help. 

Your Legacy

Not only is this one of the best gifts to your family, the more organized your information is and easily accessible will be much appreciated during a difficult and stressful time.


Public Seminar Schedule

Re-Creating Your Space: Maximizing Your Space with Great Style and Function


Date:  September 26, 2011

Time:  5:30 pm

Place: SIP Restaurant – Issaquah, WA (Issaquah Highlands – 1084 NE Park Drive)

Investment: FREE + hors d’oeuvres and no host wine bar

Register:  https://event.pingg.com/ntseminars926

Eliminate Chaos in Your Home and Life


Date: October 9, 2011

Time: 11:30 am - 12:30 pm

Place: Seattle Home Show 2 – CenturyLink Field, Seattle

Investment: Admission to Seattle Home Show

Tickets:  https://seattle-homegardenshow.ticketleap.com/fall-seattle-home-show/

Eliminate the Chaos at Work - 10 Techniques to Increase Your Productivity


Date:  October 28, 2011

Time:  7:30 - 9:00 am

Organization:  Executive Women's Roundtable

Place:  The Rainier Club - 820 4th Avenue, Seattle, WA

Investment:  Private Event - for Members Only

Eliminate the Chaos at Work - 10 Techniques to Increase Your Productivity

Date:  January 17, 2012

Time:  9:00 - 10:30 am

Organization:  Puget Sound Business Journal Business Development Series

Place:  Seattle University - Lemieux Library, Boeing Room 

Investment:  $129 for 9 Seminars - paid to the Puget Sound Business Journal

Organizing Special - Friends Don't Let Friends Have Clutter!

Do you have a friend that needs a bit of help getting organized?  

For a limited time, if you and your friend sign up for a 1/2 day session each, both of you will receive 1 hour FREE!  Or, if you're feeling really ambitious....you and your friend can each book an 8-hour day and receive 2 FREE hours.

This is a 25% savings.

We have a limited number of these sessions available - so be sure to call our office to schedule your time today.  425.670.2551.

The Fine Print:  This special is available for Eliminate Chaos Specialists, except for Laura Leist.  All "friends" sessions must be completed by 10.31.11.  Must provide your friend's name that has booked in order to receive the discount and each friend must purchase the same amount of time.


Best Regards - and Happy Organizing,

Laura Leist

© 2011 Eliminate Chaos | P.O. Box 13043, Mill Creek, WA 98082
  • Business Services
    • Paper Flow and Information Management
    • Workspace Organization and Space Planning
    • Productivity Assessments
    • Microsoft Business Contact Manager
    • Microsoft Exchange Migrations
  • Visit our business services site
  • "I worked with Erin, one of the specialists who works with the Chronically Disorganized (hoarders). In a word, she was fantastic. In four 4-hour sessions, she helped me go through and box up (keep, donate, trash) almost everything that was stacked up in my kitchen, dining room, office, and bonus room. Erin arrived promptly. We went over what I wanted to accomplish that day, then we got to work. She was focused, calm, non-judgmental, and tireless. She faced very dirty circumstances and didn't bat an eyelash. She never once caused me a moment of anxiety; the relief that I felt when we were done was amazing. And Laura Leist, who is the owner of Eliminate Chaos, was lovely. She returned my calls promptly, was kind and understanding, and offered me some options. I would hire this company again in a heartbeat. But right now I'm too busy enjoying all the free space in my house!"  

    -Kimberly O'Neal

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new client special smA great way to try us out and get some organizing done at the same time! For a limited time, we are offering an amazing NEW client organizing special. If you are not an existing client this is a great way for us show you how we can eliminate your chaos.

Call 425-670-2551 and ask us for details.

  • Business Services
    • Paper Flow and Information Management
    • Workspace Organization and Space Planning
    • Productivity Assessments
    • Microsoft Business Contact Manager
    • Microsoft Exchange Migrations
  • Visit our business services site