Are you organized?

For the most part I’m fairly organized … in that I know where things are and what they’re for but these last few months, I’ve realized that if something were to happen to me, Keith would be lost. Besides the fact that he has no idea what is in my sewing room and what I would want to happen to it all, he doesn’t have access to our accounts and wouldn’t have a clue which bills (most of them are ebills) are due or how to pay them.  He certainly  wouldn’t know how to post a note on the blog or who would need to be contacted if something happened.

The night before my last surgery I wrote up and printed some quick notes but knew that I needed to sit down and write up something more formal … that was in June and nope, haven’t done it yet. And our wills are out of date too … another thing we keep putting off updating.

I was reading Judy’s blog today and saw her using these name tags to organize her knitting projects … I have a few projects in bags that could benefit from a label and more importantly, if I labeled all the finished tops in my closet, I’d be sure that Keith would know what to do with them if something happened. I have tops that belong to Mom, tops for donation, and tops that are meant to be gifted to a family member or quilted and kept.


I know some people have quilting friends that would take care of their sewing room but how about the rest? Are you the one in your family that handles all the finances? Do you have it all organized and ready for someone else to take over? Are your wills up to date?


  1. Yes, I am the one that handles everything in my house! I have written out a lot of stuff for my daughter – including the passcode to my laptop. I have a lot of quilter friends, but I don’t want to dump everything on them – we make quilts for charity — so all my fabric will go to our church group. But, I have no idea what to do with my Statler. As far as wills, mine needs to be updated too — was just thinking about that. However, tomorrow I will be having an abdominal aortic aneurysm repair — a serious surgery. Today I will be writing a note for my daughter in case I don’t make it to the lawyer’s office next week. Good idea labeling quilts though.

  2. We have wills. But I take care of everything and I mean everything. Hubby would lean on friends and my niece for help. I just figure things will get done. My niece is very precise and so is my CPA friend.

  3. Mary, when I had my heart attack last Oct. and am very lucky to be here today – we went thru this very thing. There are only a few bills that are not automatically paid on the computer and that we do by hand (the pool man, the gardener, and the housekeeper that is a gift from our son. He puts $$ in our act and I write her a check). But, dh needed to learn how to do bills if needed, where the checks were put away, how an where to access these accounts etc, or paying off the credit cards in full each month. He had to learn how to run the washer and dryer (he had not done load of laundry in over 50 years). How to load and run the dishwasher. How to grocery shop. He can cook a little bit but is limited. He cleaned the house. He always mopped the floors because I hate the tile he put down and I told him I refused to take care of it if he put it down. He also started doing his own ironing when he retired as I kept on working and he still irons what he wants pressed which is not much anymore. Our trust is in good order.

    We are trying to clean out and donate or dispose of things we no longer use or need. We have been in this house for over 50 years…..the boys will come in and keep what little they want and the rest will get donated or tossed into a dumpster. We need to sell some very antique items – silver/china/crystal that are very valuable that neither of them want. Just get things in better order for them. DH has so much (he is a packrat) with stuff put away that has not been used in 40 years. Having never moved – there is lots of it.

    I need to make sure that he should sell my longarm if I go first and how/where to go about it.

    This is a great topic and I would love to know how others deal with all this stuff. Lots to think about! We have prepaid for cremation etc so that is all taken care of.

  4. Mary, Thanks for reminding everyone of all the important items in your post. Plus we all must remember to update wills, medical powers of attorney, etc after 10 years so they will be fresh and up to date as things change for all of us as we age. When you move to another state it’s important to update as their estate laws are different. It is for our protection when the time comes.

  5. Yikes – what a wake-up call for me. Made me realize that my husband wouldn’t have all the info he needs about bills, my quilting stuff, and lots more. And I don’t have the info I would need to take care of the house and lawn. Example: I don’t even have a phone number for the guy who takes care of our sprinkler system. Obviously we need to take the time to write some of this down.

  6. Paul pays all the bills, but I have access to all the accounts. I know the amounts that come into each account every month, but our will is a mess. The lawyer that created it misled us and we know that but have done nothing in the last 5 years.

  7. We have talked about writing up a will, but haven’t done it yet. With 4 children it’s scary not knowing what would happen to them if hubby and I happened to go together in an accident. I would prefer the children go to our friends over family, since my kids don’t even know their aunt or uncles.
    If my hubby left me alone, I’d be lost when it comes to the bills for sure. With online billing, it’s not like I could just wait for the statements to come in the mail to get organized.
    I prefer not worrying about these things, but that’s really irresponsible.

  8. I have a 3-page excel document in the center of my laptop, labeled ICE (In Case of Emergency). The first page lists important documents and where they’re found. It also lists where to find my untitled spreadsheet of ALL my passwords and our online accounts.

    The second page specifies the location and disposition of everything that belongs (or would be of greater interest) to others, complete with contact information. This gets updated as projects are finished or things given back/away.

    The 3rd page is titled WTF and lists the odd collection of stuff and why. For example, under the guest bathroom sink is a cookie tin full of take-out sacks. (WTF? I use them when I scoop out kitty litter.) I don’t want the ones I leave behind to think I was even crazier than they thought. This also gets updated because … life.

    One evening when my oldest was over for a visit, I handed him my laptop and said, “Okay, here’s a possible situation: something terrible just happened to your father and me. Find our important information.” It was interesting watching his search method (did he see that document RIGHT IN THE CENTER first? No!) and pointed up the fact that what seemed obvious to me wasn’t all that obvious to others.

    This is a great thread!

  9. Hmm, I need to write some directions for my niece on some of these topics (ebills, blog, etc.) My will and Trust are regularly updated and the Estate book keeps me organized. I do need to update my personal effects since I’ve moved. That might be a good winter project.

  10. My husband traveled during his entire career so I took care of the bills, etc. When he retired about 10 years ago, he just sorta took it over which was fine with me since I had done it for about 35 years. He keeps me informed of all the info and where all our records are located on his laptop. He also keeps our 2 sons informed of all our info and where everything is kept. We just had new wills done a few months ago as well as Durable Power of Attorney and our medical legal documents. He even had copies of our wills and those documents made and given to each of the boys. He has tried to cover everything possible! I am comfortable with being able to find whatever is needed if he goes before me and obviously he would be. And we’ve tried to keep our boys informed so they will not have hurdles if/when the time comes. We do have a large home and it’s full and we have started to do a bit of cleaning out, tho do not plan to downsize anytime soon as when everyone is home, we need the space. I’m not worried about when the time comes for the boys to clean out what they don’t want. They have told us they will get what they want, turn the key over to an estate sale company and let them have that job. So far I have not put any instructions on what to do with any of my personal things including a large sewing studio, lots of quilts, sewing machines, fabric, etc. I think my 2 daughter-in-laws and 5 grandchildren will be able to pick and choose what they want. They all love my quilts and I want each grandchild to have a stack for their homes when that time comes.

  11. I just lost my husband last week. We played on Friday, Saturday morning he was gone. We had had the talk a few times about the things he did, and what I did. Now as I am working thru the issues, I am doing ok, or so it seems. My kids go home tomorrow, we will move ahead from there. I needed an account number that I could not find. Told the child what I was looking for, he handed me the husband’s checkbook! So now I’m making an emergency list that has account numbers, etc. for that same kid. It will be ok, just not all ends tied up yet.

  12. We store the important files in shared cloud storage and all the bill reminders come to a shared email address. We also both use Last Pass, so we only had to share the one password for all our accounts, plus the PC and phone passwords. He’s been doing the bills for a couple years while I went back to school, but I’m still involved with the budget and knowing what’s in which account. I think that either of us could take over and not lose the house or something, but I don’t know what Don would do with the quilting room. I don’t want to know. I also don’t know what I would do with the fishing stuff or the model trains, so we’re probably even. I think we’re like a lot of people in that we’ve had conversations with each other about this stuff, but we haven’t followed through with getting it all written down and notifying the kids about where to look for it if something happened.

  13. I have been interested in this thread as we have needed to update our will for a long time and keep putting it off. My kids remind me often that they have no idea what to do with all of my “stuff”. I try to donate or give away most of my quilts to keep the numbers down but there is all of that fabric. I have told my husband to call someone in my quilt guild and they will know what to do with it.

  14. Quicken WillMaker software has an excellent document for all of your electronic records, financial accounts, location of passwords, etc. We filled this out for our executor, but have to remember to keep updating it every year or so. It did a great job of covering all the bases, and would be worthwhile even if you did not use the software to create your will. Seems like most lawyers that do wills would now have a similar document or form to help you in this process.

  15. I take care of everything outside of hubby’s work. He is a major workaholic. I have always thought his lack of knowledge is irresponsible and I always tried to get him to listen. I was not happy when he keep me up the night before my high risk surgery asking questions, I was trying NOT to think of dying. He started with this…what is the name of our banks. I did not put up with it long. I told him that our youngest (an accountant and our executor) had come over two days before and said mom, we need to go over things. I told hubby to relax..most of what he had questions about was written down..and had been for years. I told him to simply call,our son..5 blocks away ….for any questions.

    My brother was our executor. When he died in 2010 unexpectedly, I started agitating for new wills. Our youngest was not even specifically named in our will…and he was 30! No luck. Ironically 4 months before the unplanned surgery he had two months off while his contract was being renewed. Immediately I said your only excuse has been that you are too busy. I got him in for new wills and the attorney was wonderful. Patiently and without judgment answered mainly really stupid questions and explained everything.

    I had asked about a revocable living trust. We do not need it while we are both alive as the house, bank accounts etc automatically go to each other. She asked if we wanted it set up right away or when one of us died. Now! There is nothing in it but husband..and son… know that the very first thing to be done is to transfer our assets into it to save our kids taxes and many probate things. We had power of attorney and the medical directives done at the same time. I was SO proud of hubby when he brought those documents to the hospital on his own! I had brought them in when I pre checked in but no matter. They complimented him too which was appreciated by us both

    Because of the decades I had not been able to do household things, he knew everything to be done here. He got to know the gardener during his time off. He is a limited cook but has no fear of tackling what he wants to eat. My called! are now written down. That was actually his second question after what are our banks! Men!

    When my brother died I got serious about decluttering the house. But it was done one room or closet etc at a time in about 30-60 minutes a week….and not every week. I was not pressed for time and I think I made better decisions because of it. I do NOT want to leave my kids problems. As time has passed and I had my own stage 4 cancer, I have decluttered more..but it has been just occasionally and just a few things at a time. My son helped with the basement and the garage..both of which need fine tuning but husband and son know what to do with everything. The house is ready

    My son demanded a list of who my quilty things go to when we did our estate planning. I do need to,update that which I will do today as people have died. He tactfully said the big issue would be the stash. He is a new father now and wants to make just one trip with a small trailer he has for his car to one or maybe two places. Therein lies my issue. No one in the family quilts, the guild has no place to store, hubby will NOT tolerate strangers in the house especially while grieving. Hubby would put everything out for the trash and if people help themselves great, if not…oh well.

    So that is my task. Downsize the stash. I have been but my son sees no difference. I kind of do. All the stash would have to be put on a dolly and taken out of the basement, up our hill,of a yard and across the front lawn to a car. In fact this would have to be done just to put it out in the trash. My son asked not to be burdened with more than one trailer load. I want him to just be able to use the SUV

    Please, please do not procrastinate with wills etc another day!! None of us are promised tomorrow and I have more than a dozen friends who have suffered because of no will. For instance, my step mother and her first husband did not have one. By law she got half of the estate and her kids got the other half. Her kids claimed the money. One wanted to buy a house and the other wanted to tour Europe for a year. They got what they wanted. My step mother did not protest or stand up to them. She couldn’t was the law. Do you know the law for dying without a will?

  16. We all need to be reminded of all of the things you talked about in your post. No matter how young or old we are, none of us are promised tomorrow! Think of your spouse, children and other family and prepare!

  17. Great discussion! In answer to your question of being organized, my answer would have to be yes and no. We have wills, though there are changes I’d like to make to my will and to my medical directive. What is written would work for now, but it would be better to update it. My husband has an understanding of the banking and bills, though that is my responsibility. As my husband approached retirement and was concerned about not feeling useful, I encouraged him to learn to cook. He gradually learned and was cooking each weekend before he retired. Now that he’s retired, he is happy to say he cooks so I have more time to quilt! He also does the grocery shopping. We do need to write things down for the kids as they are truly clueless about our system. As for my sewing stuff, I guess that would be a good project to work on as I have written down very little. We did downsize because of a recent move but I need to figure out how to downsize my fabric stash and still be a happy quilter.

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