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Organize + Energize: October is “Organize Your Medical Files” Month

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

 

Is all of your medical information organized?  Can you find something when you’re searching for it or do you waste time, get frustrated and give up? You may have different types of medical information, but if it’s just thrown into one folder labeled medical or thrown into a pile, you’re not operating with an efficient system.

If you want to organize them in files, develop a working filing system going forward. Create files for each category of information that you have. You can keep them in a file drawer or keep them contained in a portable file box. Choose which system fits best for you and your family. Next time you go to search for a receipt or insurance payment, it will be exactly where it’s supposed to be.

If you choose to organize them digitally, follow the same process above, but use digital files and mimic the paper system.

Here are 5 tips to organize this information:

Grab all your medical files and bring them to a cleared flat surface.  Just like any other organizing project, you won’t know what you have unless you take everything out of the file.

Start sorting and categorizing. Think about the categories of information that you have. You may have:

Medical Receipts

Explanation of Benefits

Lab work/Test Results

Insurance Information

Family member’s information

Medication information

Don’t forget your pets

Shred anything that is no longer useful to you. There may be papers that you thought you might have needed just in case, but now you no longer need them.

Create hanging files for each of the categories. If want to break out the categories, you can also create manila folders labeled within the green hanging files. Create a file for each family member.

To locate files quickly, file in alphabetical order.  It will be easier to locate a file if it’s in alphabetical order as opposed to having your eye wander to try and find a folder.

This may seem like a daunting task to some, but you’ll waste more time and mental energy stressing about it. Going forward you’ll be able to know exactly where medical information gets filed when it arrives in the home. The piles won’t form and as soon as it arrives, you can immediately file it. When you need to refer to a piece of medical information, it will be at your fingertips. Remember to declutter these files every year. Mark the date on the calendar to release the mental clutter.

Kristin Carcieri-MacRae, is an organizing & efficiency expert and owner of Organizing in RI. Kristin teaches her clients that living an organized lifestyle will save them time and money, decrease their stress levels and help them become more efficient and productive. Her articles have been published in local and national magazines. She has also given over 70 presentations throughout the state. Watch Kristin LIVE every Thursday at 3pm here on GoLocal LIVE with Molly O’Brien.
 

 

Related Slideshow: 10 Areas You Find Most Challenging to Get Organized

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Paper in any form

This was the most challenging space! 91% of people surveyed stated paper was their biggest headache. Just because we are in this digital age, people think paper is going to disappear. As long as we have mail, and paper at work, kid’s school papers, etc., paper is going to be around for a very long time. We need to develop systems to organize and maintain our paper clutter.

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Closets

 To stay on top of an organized closet, you should be emptying your closet twice a year. Switch your closets in the spring and fall. This will force you to take inventory of the contents of the closet. You’ll never know what’s hiding in the back corners of your closet unless you take everything out.

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Kitchen

When was the last time you emptied your entire food closet down to bare shelves? I asked this question at my last presentation and not one person could remember. Some said the last time their food pantry was empty was when they first moved in and others stated it had been years. Have garbage bags on hand. In every kitchen I organize, we throw out at least three garbage bags of expired food.

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Basement

This is the black hole of the house. If an item doesn’t have a home, it usually gets thrown in the basement on a shelf. You’ll walk into the basement one day and wonder how did it get so bad? The first thing you need to do in the basement is declutter, then categorize items and then decide how you want to function going forward. Measure your space and choose shelving units that will fit what you need to hold. Block off 3 hours and don’t leave the basement during that time. Staying in the room will keep you focused.

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Garage

The garage is an area similar to the basement. The garage tends to be a drop spot for outdoor items and usually there isn’t any organization.  Most tend to regret not organizing the garage when they find they can’t park their cars in the garage in the winter months when it’s snowing. Put this project on your to-do list this fall.

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Office at work

Most will say they don’t have time to tackle this area, but think about the time you are wasting by not being organized. The office can be challenging for some because you have paper, closet space, desk space and bookshelves. Most get overwhelmed and stressed just thinking about tackling this space. They think it’s easier to function this way than to actually tackle the project.

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Kid’s rooms

If your kids are over the age of 6, incorporate them in this process. If you don’t have the skill set to help them get organized, call in a professional to work one-on-one with them. If your kids are craving structure, it’s time for them to get organized.

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Attic

Another one of those black holes like the basement. You rarely venture into the attic and you continue to toss items in there that don’t have a home. The garage, basement and attic are really challenging areas because you don’t spend much time in them. Think about how you want to function in these spaces. Streamline and maximize this space. This room should have a purpose.

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Linen closets

When items are just thrown into this closet without being contained, chaos will ensue. Empty the entire closet, categorize, itemize and then measure the space. Purchase containers to match the space and what you have to hold. It’s all about maximizing space in this closet and being able to put your hand on something without moving five other items out of the way.

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Photos

This is a tough project even for people who are organized. Memorabilia items and photos are a challenge because as you go through them, you tend to reminisce. Save this for the last project on your list of areas to organize. Once you begin, just focus on tossing and keeping and then reminisce when the decluttering process is completed.

 
 

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