By Cass Grange, Senior Advisor Associate & Director of Business Development

Why are we having a moving expert and organizational guru come to talk to our clients and friends? What on earth does this have to do with what we do?

Because everywhere we look, clutter takes a toll on our mental, physical and financial health. It keeps us from moving forward and from getting the life we want. It keeps us feeling stuck, overwhelmed, drained of energy and unable to chart a clear direction forward. Look around you and tell me it isn’t so…2015 February Flower

We see it every day with people’s finances. They are inundated with mail, statements and files full of paper. They’ve got accounts spread out everywhere – multiple 401(k) plans from past jobs, insurance products they bought based on this or that event that occurred years ago, and checking accounts and CDs sprinkled around town. They have IRAs, Roth IRAs and investment accounts at multiple custodians, plus credit cards, loans and mortgages at multiple banks…and all of these bring with them statements, tax documents and uncomfortable decisions to be made.

The decision to keep or toss becomes overwhelming, and the anxiety about throwing out something we may need someday becomes paralyzing. Then the guilt and shame of feeling so disorganized creeps in, and the only instinctive response that makes sense is denial – avoid it, shut it away…”maybe if I ignore it, it will disappear.” Tell me you’ve never had those feelings!

The same thing is true in our physical environment. The garage is so full of boxes and accumulated “stuff” that there is no place to park the car any more – so we park in the driveway and walk through a maze of boxes to get inside. Our closets are jumbled and full of things we haven’t used in years – but which we cannot bring ourselves to throw away. There are multiple “miscellaneous drawers” around the house where the one tool you need right now always goes to hide. The attic is filling up too – with “gimme caps”, old high-school yearbooks, drawings and art projects the kids did years ago, and all kinds of collections, emotional touchstones and keepsakes. Often they have little positive value – either financially or emotionally – but we’re unable to part with them.

People are often unrealistic about the financial value of their possessions. They keep the antiques because they think if they are old, they are worth money. I had a friend tell me that her grandmother assured her that her Hummel collection would pay for college. Sadly, it didn’t – but the friend still has the box of Hummels in her garage. They’re hardly worth anything, so she can’t sell them, but she feels deep guilt about donating them to someone else or throwing them away – so that 30 lb box not only still occupies precious physical space, it consumes massive amounts of psychic energy and space that could be used so much more productively elsewhere. Is it any wonder that we have difficulty making meaningful choices about how to spend our time or money if we feel defeated before we walk inside?

Sometimes having someone else help you is the key to getting started. They can often provide you with organizational tools and methods. More importantly, hiring an organizer can prompt you to make decisions, and to be accountable to what you most want to have happen – because physical, emotional and financial clutter is really a form of procrastination.

We help clients to simplify, clarify, and gain control of their financial and investing lives. We help open statements, organize financial records, consolidate accounts wherever possible, and create order out of chaos. We help clients develop clear ideas about what they’d most like to accomplish, and to decide what their money is really for. We then provide clear processes to make sure important things get done.

Organizers like Barry Izsak do the same thing for people’s physical lives. They help you make thoughtful decisions about what to keep, what to sell, and what to give away – or just throw away! They can help you assess the true value of collections, antiques and keepsakes – and then decide how best to utilize them or convert them to cash, gifts or donations. So clear your calendar and come to our Fireside Chat on February 19th and listen to Barry Izsak’s ideas for making the life you want. We promise not to ask what is in your garage.

To receive our monthly Enewsletters in your inbox, click here