Brittany B. Moore of B. Moore Organized joins the show. We discuss our solution for eliminating junk mail and some tips for reducing the junk mail clutter in our lives until it's implemented. We talk about the importance of having your important documents both online and offline organized and we also mention the gratitude getting ill provides for how healthy and capable we normally are.
Troy: Welcome back to the Real Estate Insights podcast. I am joined today by Brittany Moore. Be more organized. How's it going today, Brittany?
Brittany: Pretty good. Thanks for having me.
Troy: I know obviously your week's been a little challenging for a handful of different reasons, the show must go on. So here we are getting.
Brittany: Yeah, thanks. Yeah, I was a little sick this week it's amazing how much longer that lingers, the older you get.
Troy: That, and it also is amazing how much you appreciate because hopefully most people are relatively healthy. You take it for granted a little bit when things are rolling pretty well on the health front and then you get sick for just a little bit and you're like, wow, being a hundred percent is really nice.
And so it's if nothing else, it helps reset some of the gratitude that we get for most of the year when we are.
Brittany: It is actually so interesting that you said that because I thought I was like weird. I had that exact conversation I think on Tuesday with a friend. I was saying how. I felt so sick. I was really sick and I was like, wow. I just couldn't help but think of these little kids in the hospital with like cancer and having chemo and I was just thinking about all the people around the world who probably wake up and feel this sick every day cuz of a disease or something.
And I'm like, wow. It really did it, it truly made me think about how grateful I am. Most days I get to wake up and I feel really good outside of like maybe my back's starting to hurt a little bit
Troy: Yeah. Again, there's other things that happened with Old age of wow, that shoulder didn't used to click when I would do stuff or whatever.
Troy: Yeah, some of those things are, just the way the world works and the way aging works and stuff. But yeah, like I say, like the fact that the vast majority of days you get to wake up and you're relatively healthy and as mu as much as there are struggles and challenges with work and everything, the fact that you get to tackle 'em versus being bedridden most of the time.
And the same way like when we had the ice storm a few weeks back too, it's ah, this is frustrating and sucks. But in reality, most of the time, things are, Smoothly. And when you go to Starbucks and suddenly you're, so it takes you a little bit longer to get your coffee or there's a line at the drive-through that's oh, I can get food on demand now and less than a hundred years ago, that wasn't the case at all type of thing.
Brittany: That's the other thing I was really thankful for this week. I was like, oh, CVS DoorDash. Okay, Gator.
Troy: Yeah. Yeah. Being sick, you're like I don't even have to leave the house now to get some stuff done that's has to get done. Yeah it's,
Brittany: It's really sad. Whenever I'm sick, I crave ramen and I don't mean the like expensive, nice kind of ramen, I mean that styrofoam cup from college that costs like 50. That is what my body crave.
Troy: a few years back I saw a social media video, and this is a phenomenal way to start an organizational podcast or a real estate podcast, but I like it. I saw a social media video where someone was taking, so like the the one ramen that comes in, like the square, square cube or whatever, and they as apparently it's a kid, they would take that and break it up and eat it, like chips almost or whatever, and like that.
I was like, , we were not, we were relatively poor growing up, and so ramens super cheap, but we didn't have to eat ramen raw, like we were rich enough to boil water. Like it wasn't that it wasn't so dire that we couldn't boil water. And so I was, but I was like, if, but if you liked it too and throw a little powder on there, it's, the cheesy Doritos before cheesy Doritos.
I don't, you sounds good.
Brittany: I love it. Yeah. I was more of a bean and cheese, like I growing up, that was like our go-to. I was like, I can always at least make beans, cheese, and
Troy: Yeah, exactly. Something simple. That's so good. But so back to the organizational world. With, yeah. One of the things we were talking about off camera, that is, interesting. I think a topic you'd like to discuss today is just paper and trying to get that organized right? Like it's obviously a lot of times, I'm sure when you go into homes and for a lot of people it's, organizing the kitchen, organizing a closet or whatever.
But for a lot of people, organizing just their paper files and the amount of paper that we go through on a daily and yearly basis can be pretty stagger.
Brittany: No, definitely. I would say there's always, in almost every single house, there's always gonna be like stacks of paper, whether it's in the office, in the kitchen in drawers people don't have good filing systems set up. We typically do about four to six sessions per project, like per.
and the very last session is almost always the paper session , where we tackle all the paper, we create the filing systems, we go through old papers, and then we also do memorabilia. And those are peoples, we've found in the years. The reason we save that for last is so there's like this buildup of momentum of okay, we're doing this feels good, and then we save the worst for last so that it's okay, remember, it feels really good
Troy: Remember how those good feelings we have, we still want that here. We gotta keep pushing through.
Brittany: Yeah. As soon as we get through it, it's gonna feel so good. It's a, I know you're really into fitness. It's like doing a really hard workout. There are moments in a really hard workout where you're like, this sucks, this doesn't feel good. My body hurts. I'm tired. I would feel that way if I was running a mile.
Troy: And if it's the last, if it's the last day, they can see the finish line, right? Like it's not tackling Mount Everest on day one and then realizing you still have a long way to go. It's hey, we have this momentum from getting stuff organized, but on top of it, the finish line's in sight like this is, once we get this done, we get to breathe and now enjoy the space that we've gotten.
Brittany: And I think everyone can relate to this, that when you know you can't find your passport or you can't find your, business insurance documents or we do live in such a digital age these days, but there are still certain documents that you have to keep like the title to your house or the title to your car, or they're just, there are documents that are important, your marriage license, whatever.
There's something for everyone. And so when those documents don't have homes and when you can like lay in bed at night and you're like, oh. We're going on a trip in a couple weeks. Where are those passports that is gonna cause you so much stress and like loss of sleep and anxiety of where are those?
They're in one or three or four mountains of paperwork somewhere, . And I'm gonna have to take the time to go through all of that. So having good filing systems like it. Not just having good filing systems, but like regularly decluttering those systems. And I think also knowing what needs to go into a filing system.
I, we have a lot of clients who just default, oh, I have a bill, I'm gonna put it in a file. And it's did you pay it? Is it on autopay? Do we need it? Like most banks, you can access statements online, like you don't need to save. So asking yourself, is this something that I already have access to online in some form or fashion?
And do I actually have to keep it? What's the value? When am I gonna go back and look in this file and utilize this document? And we have a lot of people I think that talk about taxes. I think that is something that we really need a class on in probably high school and college . Really understanding do we need for taxes?
Like what do we write off? Cause I see clients that just. Endless amounts of paperwork thinking, I need it for taxes. It's like you don't
Troy: And on the real estate side, we see that for like I say, talking about classes like on taxes, but like understanding what goes into a mortgage, right? Like you'll, people like, oh here's because you have to include your debts when it comes to a mortgage. Oh, here's my phone bill.
We don't have to include your phone bill. Like your, some of your, some things are worth saving for tax purposes. Some things are needed for real estate purposes, but like having, teaching a. Course on instead of just geometry or algebra, which still can come in handy from time to time, but like on some basic math stuff, that's the stuff that's needed for the equations, right?
Hey, great, we don't need all of this stuff, and so why don't we get rid of it? Obviously, we're also. in an age and in a generation where we're finally having a lot of these things online. And so I think, in 50 years they'll probably be significantly less paper in most people's homes cuz so many people have grown up with doing everything digitally that needing that.
Paper safety net, just in case somehow they can't access their computer or do different things won't be a thing at all for almost anybody. Whereas right now you have some people who are, don't, distrustful of having everything online and really want a paper file cause that's what they grew up with and other people who kind of wanna mix.
And so I'm sure there's, you see a lot of different variations of what people are keeping and how much.
Brittany: Actually this is another interesting segment that goes hand in hand with, tackling paper clutter is also the concept. This is something we talk a lot with clients on the paper day is how are you managing all your passwords? Like where all your bank accounts, do you have a person in your family your executive, your estate is there if you were hit by a bus, How is someone gonna figure out that you have a Chase account or a Wells Fargo account or where you have your investments?
Do you have your life organized cause and I think that's where tackling paper clutter is. It's a branch of that same tree of, okay. Yeah. Do you have your passports organized and your marriage license or your different, licenses and things and those items, but like what softwares are you using to manage those passwords?
My parents are actually leaving for Israel tomorrow, and they're going for a couple of weeks, and we all know that there's a folder and my dad's desk, and now the whole world's gonna. In his desk that has like his master password that gets into this bigger password software system that has every single account and it's all categorized by, these are all of our medical doctors, these are all of this.
This is all of this. These are our estate documents. This is the lawyer that you contact. This is this. My dad is very buttoned up. It's really simple. If they get killed in a plane crash, we know where the money is . But for most people, I don't think they can say that, that, if you are a wealthy enough family, you probably have a a asset manager or family like
Troy: Family office.
Brittany: who probably at a family office who's helping you maybe in some form or fashion with some of these documents.
But I think for the average person, This is a hot mess, , so I think, go ahead.
Troy: no. Say there's a lot of things that the average ish person or middle class person or whatever, income category you're on, can't do. Super wealthy people can't do. But that doesn't mean that you shouldn't potentially take some of the tactics that they do and try to put 'em into place, right?
There's a reason that they put, have a family office have these things organized. It's not by accident. And yeah, you can't maybe hire someone out to do it all for you in some cases. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't have your own system. Have, like your dad has and ha and have.
have everything organized so that way, in the case of a tragedy, your loved ones while going through that part of it don't have to struggle with, figuring out what to do for getting your bills paid. Because if it's not, dining a plane crash, but it's, hey, you're gonna be injured for a while.
Hey, let's make sure bills continue getting paid so that the house doesn't have late payments on it and different things. And so being. But also having, bringing other people into that circle. So that way thing, that the way there are contingencies when things don't go according to plan like getting sick.
That you have ways to manage those situations.
Brittany: So there's a couple things that we actually use that we templates, if you will, that we give clients. One of 'em is a software program called Last Pass and there's lots of programs like this, apps that you can download and a lot of them are pretty inexpensive on an annual cost. And so last pass is really interesting cuz you can have a single plan, a family plan, and it just sits on your computer as an extension on your browser and just auto captures passwords.
And then you can categorize them by, financial institutions, medical institutions, schools. Utilities for your house, anything. So that's a really good, app or just type of app to have that everyone should have in their life to help them manage their passwords. Obviously you could be old school and have just like an Excel spreadsheet or something, or a Google Doc.
Probably wouldn't recommend goo Google, but an Excel spreadsheet of all those passwords. By like company and then password, and then login, and then account type and contact information for those companies as needed. To your point in that event that something happens, what are the contact information for those loved ones, but then also that's another big one.
And so we actually have a template that we give clients. It's a Google doc that we encourage them to copy. drop down into an Excel spreadsheet. I don't recommend keeping passwords in Google on the cloud, but it categorizes things out into a medical tab, a house tab. Cause that's a lot. That's a big thing is so many of our utilities these days are on autodraft and many of them actually require that when you sign up.
and I think a lot of them are pretty good about sign sending like a monthly email. They're like, Hey, your bill was $120 this month and it AutoD drafted on this date, or, but not all of them do. So to your point, to even track that information down and figure out how much you're paying for even your monthly budgets or to just like how to manage that can be really difficult.
So it's really important to, I think, just have a plan in place for how you're gonna organize these things, and especially for someone who. , let's just say even like medical issues or a medical issue. How are you organizing that paperwork? How are you keeping track of. Your annual blood work or your annual blood pressure or whatever that is, to then see over time how those things are changing.
Especially if you're seeing multiple doctors, right? If you just have a pcp, they're probably tracking that specific data in their database, but if you have a neurologist and a foot doctor or something, so anyway, I know we're talking about paper, but like all these things really come into play because all of those things create paper
Troy: Create paper and write. If you have good things set up like LastPass, you can maybe get rid of some paper, right? If you feel com, if you feel confident and comfortable in the digital world and in the things online, that may free some people up to get rid of some of the things that they're saving because they know they'll, they have a way to.
for them to A, get access to it. But then also for other people, you talk about last pass, which is something I do have as well too. Cool thing about is you, they'll actually set up harder passwords for different things than you normally would, but you can act but without you having to always remember what those kind of, those tricky, more kind of encrypted types of passwords are for things and then allows people to.
Potentially access stuff on different different devices, right? It's great if you save all your passwords on your computer, but if someone can't get into your computer, suddenly they don't have access to the information they need.
Brittany: Exactly. No. And last pass has that you assign, and again, this is just one example, there's so many out there, but you assign like a executor or a person, like in an emergency, this person can get access into your account for sure. But on what you were just talking about, There's actually a study that showed what was it?
It was like by going paperless, you can save an average of six minutes per transaction, and if you pay more than 10 bills per month, your utility bill, your credit card bills, et cetera. It can save you 90 minutes per month. And then another really interesting factoid is the average American receives 848 pieces of junk mail per year. It's a lot of paper that's coming into your house. So that's why it's so important to have a plan for how you're gonna tackle all those little things that are walking through your door. That's how clutter starts, right? That's how anxiety and stress and just this massive pile on the kitchen counter starts which we see all the time at client's homes.
And so one of the things we also recommend is wherever you get your mail, keep a little like trash can in, let's just say you enter through the garage. A lot of Americans, I feel like don't enter through their front door. They enter through their garage right when you park your car. And so it's keep a little trash can by the door and before you even walk through your house.
It's pretty easy. Probably what two pieces of mail these days out, the whole bunch is even something important. Drop all of it in the recycle bin and just walk through the door with only the two pieces that even might mean anything.
Troy: Yep. No, it's, I grab the mail at the mailbox, sort and get in the car, take a look at it. Oh, these are the ones that I need. These are the ones that I don't, and so then it's let. Easier to, say, it usually still makes it into the house to make it into the garbage can or recycle bin that way. But but yeah, like that
Brittany: If the government really cared about recycling, we'd probably have recycle bins set up next to mailboxes.
Troy: yeah. As we were talking about, which I think deserves, I think our idea deserves some recognition here about we need to get anyone who's all about the green energy and really into saving
Brittany: voted for no plastic straws, this is for
Troy: Yeah, if you voted for no plastic straws, you need to get legislation that we should just get rid of junk mail.
Like I think that would get very unanimous support on both sides of the aisle. You would save, however many trees, however much time and man hours of people having to deliver stuff. The shipping costs of things all over the place and none of us then we could just not have junk mail like that would be.
I don't like, obviously there are, Yeah, obviously there are some companies out there that wouldn't be happy because they couldn't use that as a way to try to market to us, but there's plenty of other ways for them to, get in front of our eyeballs to market their products. And this way would be
Brittany: be so curious. How many people even check, like I, I never even look at junk
Troy: a lot of it. I don't, no, again, I don't, it's not. Yeah, it's not a very, it's not a very good form of marketing in my opinion, but it obviously has some value or companies wouldn't do it at all, you would think, unless they just are so used to doing it from years and years of when it worked, perhaps.
But yeah, like it could just be. All gotten rid of, right? Like the, what I get, even what I, even the grocery list you get from h e b they could shoot out an email saying, Hey, here's what's for sale this week at h e b and stuff. There's just, all of that stuff could go away. Would be good. All, all around.
Brittany: It would just save all of us so much time, so much energy, and honestly a lot of money. There was actually another interesting study by Brother International Corporation that found that the average American spends one year of their life looking for lost or misplaced items, which results in obviously a ton of lost productivity and can have huge negative financial consequences as well if you're spending that much of your time just looking for things.
And then how much of that time is also just looking. Certain paperwork or your passport or your auto-renewal documents that came in the mail that Oh no. Now I'm getting pulled over cause I haven't, gone to the inspection and, upgraded my car date or whatever. It's
Troy: No. Like you get your inspection noticed like 60 days out or something like that, and then suddenly you're like, oh, shoot, I actually have to do that. Which by the way, mine's been expired for the last two days, so I need to go do that. Very on
Brittany: On your calendar,
Troy: Yeah. Put in a calendar to do tomorrow.
Yeah. No, it's, it is, again, it's ki like when you step back and think about it, like just all the. Decisions and little bits of organizing that we have to do throughout the day that we do an autopilot, right? Like as far as like getting the mail, groceries, bills, all these different kind of things.
There's just a lot more decisions that we have to make every minute it feels like. Then we
Brittany: and there's another, actually, there's another big one that we haven't talked about. Emails. Emails are like the new paperwork and like obviously so much junk mail in
Troy: it's gonna, it's gonna be harder to get, it's gonna be harder to get the people who voted out plastic straws to also vote out junk mail. Cause it doesn't have the same environmental impact that way. But yes, no, like I'm considering like, is it time to change to a new email address so I can just have the important things get forwarded to that email and leave the rest my old emails for all the junk stuff versus trying to clean it up.
Trying to like unsubscribe, unsubscribe from stuff that's not no longer valuable is impossible.
Brittany: one of those people that never unsubscribes to things? I unsubscribe to something every single day. Probably multiple things a day.
Troy: I do sometimes, but it still feels like there's just such, such a mountain of stuff that you get sent that it. . It feels challenging, but it has been a goal of mine to try to do that a few times, at least not every day, to try to, as I'm going through it, if I can set a little bit of time, hey, let's actually unsubscribe from it rather than just deleting it.
So hopefully this doesn't continue to clog up the email inbox.
Brittany: Yep. No, definitely. I think the same way that there's an issue around like paper management, password management it's very similar with email management. I'm someone who manages my in my inbox so that the only things in my inbox are tasks and like things that I need to tackle and things that I need to do.
I delete things, I unsubscribe to things. I file things in folders. And it just helps me have a clear idea of what I actually need to do and not feel so overwhelmed when I look at my inbox. But I have friends who don't delete anything from their inbox and it's, one ways that they do it is anything that has like a.next to it.
Anything they haven't checked is one of their like to-do items and I'm like, that just sounds so overwhelming to me to go to my inbox and see thousands, like 20,000 emails. Oh my
Troy: Mine's closer to that way. Like I'll definitely go back and like on like mark something back as unread. If I re-sign, I'm like, oh, I need to get to that, but I can't do it right now. I'll go back and make sure it's marked unread and keep it in the inbox and then kinda go from there.
But if it's something. . There are some things I will file other places and then plenty of stuff that I delete as well too. But like there, if there's something that gets done, I don't generally take it out of the inbox. I just know that it's, since it's marked as read, that it's not something that I have to consider anymore.
Brittany: Yeah. So I
Troy: probably not the most, I'm sure as an organized per, as a professional organizer, you're like, there's
Brittany: to come check out your inbox,
Troy: so many better ways.
Brittany: I think it's safe to say though, whether we're talking about passwords or paper and junk mail or emails and, junk mail and emails and unsubscribing for things, there is a plethora of information like coming at us these days and there needs to be a way to organize it. And there's so many options out there.
There's no one size fits all solution. I think some easy steps that everyone could take with paperwork at minimum is just don't even allow the junk mail to walk through the door. Like just have a system for getting that straight into the recycling bin every day or however often you check the mail so that you walk through the door only with items that truly need your attention.
And then it's really a good practice to open that mail immediately and then also find out, cause typically even from the mail that you walk through the door. There might only still be one or two items from there that are really important. There could be some more junk mail hiding in there or something that doesn't need action.
And if something needs action, whether you have a special place on your desk, you have a little bulletin board or magnet board somewhere where you pin those things up to make sure they're in your face so that you remember to take care of them that's a good way for at least starting to tackle the paper.
But then as far as the tasks and. Monthly bills and then the passwords, put things on go paperless, put things on autopay and, add those as a calendar invite as well to your calendar so that you have that reminder I have calendar invites that, my.
I don't know. My auto payment drafts on the third every month and it drafts from this account and this much and everything. So like it's still a reminder on your calendar and in your view that this is happening. And then hopefully you also get some kinda email follow up reduce the paperwork that comes into your house.
Go paper. and add a software of, or an Excel spreadsheet or something for managing and tracking those passwords, and then give someone access to that. So some loved one or trusted lawyer or someone so that yes, have have a plan in the event if something happens to you, you're, you are, you're saving your loved ones.
A lot of anxiety and extra grief if those things are properly organized and managed. and then there's so many different ways to tackle it, but have some kinda idea of how you're going to operate your inbox because it's, we're same concept. We are just thrown so much information every single day, and so having the system for how you manage and unsubscribe to things or how you figure out what things are important will really save you a lot of time, energy and.
Troy: Yeah. And there are actually, I'm trying to think. There's a program, I think I wanna say it's called Up roll, I think is what it is that you can subscribe to that specifically does that, it de filters some of your stuff and lets you very easily unsubscribe from email. I wanna say it's up roll.
But there are programs out there that kind of help you to, again, unsubscribe from email, so that way it'll help manage your inbox a little bit more as
Brittany: and I think some email boxes are getting smarter about that. Like I know Apple has it at the very top that, do you wanna unsubscribe to this? Even if it's something that I actually don't wanna unsubscribe to. Like anything that you have a subscription to, like a lot of the mailboxes are getting smarter about that for sure.
Troy: I think that's a good list of tasks to give the audience for getting a little bit more organized before.
Brittany: a lot to do.
Troy: Yes, there's your to-do list, right? Appreciate you taking the time to, to jump on. I know they know your week's been a little hectic and so really appreciate it.
Brittany: Yeah, no, of course. It's always a pleasure, so thank you
Troy: hope everyone has a wonderful day.
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