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4 Steps to Get Organized: Important Documents and Passwords

Get Organized: Important Documents and Passwords

Whether it’s after you have kids, reach a milestone birthday or get sick, there comes a time when you think, “Well, we better get our affairs in order.” All your important papers should be in a safe place and all your user names and passwords written down (and no, not in a Word document titled “passwords” on your desktop). So, where do you start? Lauren Warner, a professional organizer with NEAT Method, a lifestyle and organization service with representatives in cities across America, offers 4 steps for organizing.

Invest in a water/fire safe space

Buy a box or safe where you can store these documents safely. That’s the first step, Warner says.

Organize with folders

Warner recommends having a folder each for all of the following:

    • Bank account numbers and credit-card account numbers
    • Family members contact information (phone number & address)
    • Financial documents (portfolio information, proof of property titles)
    • Insurance documents (agent contact information and policy numbers health/home/life)
    • Passport
    • Personal wills/birth certificates
    • Personal family documents (family tree, personal letters, pictures, things that are irreplaceable)
    • Social Security Card

Trust Someone

Warner suggests making copies of everything in the safe, as well as a key to the safe, and then give these to a trusted friend or family member who lives outside the home. “No one wants to think about a potential tragedy, but implementing these few easy steps will give you the confidence that you or your loved ones have everything necessary for life’s unexplained events,” she says.

Keep Passwords in One Place

When it comes to user names and passwords, it can get overwhelming. You have different ones for the bank, online shopping, credit cards, email, voicemail, online bill pay (mortgage, electric), ATM pins, investments, insurance and more. Fortunately, there are several online and mobile app services to help you organize this part of life.

    • Norton Identity Safe: A free cloud service that syncs across all browsers and computers so you only have to remember one master password.
    • KeePass: Put all your passwords in one database with one master password.
    • Clipperz: Anything you import here is encrypted so not even Clipperz knows your information.
    • Keeper Password & Data Vault: For both iPhone and Android, this free app organizes your passwords, can share them with family and will auto-fill in your passwords for your favorite websites.
    • SecureSafe: Hey, who better to protect your stuff than the Swiss? SecureSafe offers online storage as well as apps for both Droid and iPhone and “more privacy than a Swiss bank account.”

How Do You Organize?

Do you have any tips or recommendations for organizing important documents or passwords? We’d would like to hear any and all helpful hints. Share them in the comments section below.

About the Author:

Amanda Fretheim Gates is a writer and editor living in Minneapolis.


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2 Replies

  • By Kathi

    Thank you for these tips…this is something I will definitely be “trying” to accomplish. Just recently was hearing more about the “password” keepers…interesting. When you have a child with chronic health conditions and you don’t know if you’ll be in your local hospital or somewhere in another state for treatment the ability to get someone’s hand on necessary forms quickly is a godsend. Thank you again for this great information!

  • By Diane Steckler

    Take a photo of all your important documents and passwords and any other information, download it onto an SD card. I have one that looks like a locket. Mark it with your initials. We have one with all of our photos also. Your not limited to any amount and they don’t take up room in a safety deposit box. You can print them out also, then delete the file.