One day, as I helped a client organize his home office, we came across an envelope with $3500 in cash! He had completely forgotten about this money, which could have been thrown away and lost forever.

You may not have envelopes bulging with cash lying around, but being disorganized does have a cost ... in terms of time, stress, worry, late fees, and more.

Disorganization takes a toll on your life - and your wallet

Emotional costs of disorganization include:
? Medical costs due to stress and worry (80% of our medical expenditures are stress related, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
? Strain on household relationships
? Strain on outside relationships because you're too embarrassed to have visitors

Financial costs include:
? Losing gift cards, checks, and savings bonds
? Missing errors on bank or credit card statements
? Paying bills late, which incurs late fees
? Continuously paying bills late, which impacts your credit rating (this has expensive ramifications when purchasing homes and other big-ticket items)
? Overlooking errors on medical bills
? Paying for a storage unit because you have too much stuff
? Missing out on tax-return deductions because your paperwork is a mess

Get over the inertia! 3 steps to take action ...

1. Select one organizing project - What area of your life, home, or office is most pressing or stressful? This is a great place to start. It could be anything from organizing a cluttered closet to setting up a bill-paying system. Work systematically and don't try to rush through it.

2. Schedule time to address this project - Can you complete your project in an evening? Over a weekend? If necessary, set aside a regular time every week to focus on this project. It's important to stick with this project until you're finished, so you gain a sense of accomplishment and don't get overwhelmed with multiple projects.

3. If you get stuck, find ways to keep moving forward - If you run into something you don't understand, set that piece aside for the time being. For example, if you're filing medical paperwork and you have a question, you can call the insurance company or the provider. If you feel stuck or overwhelmed, get outside help from an objective friend, family member, or From Piles to Smiles. (It may be helpful to know that I'm a CPA.)

Think about how great it will feel to lift this burden from your shoulders - and from your life! Remember, we're just a phone call away if you need help.

Author's Bio: 

Sue Becker,
CPO-CD®, ADD Specialist

Sue Becker is the owner of From Piles to Smiles® professional organizing service. She is a CPA, and spent 20 years in various auditing, accounting, finance, and marketing positions at a variety of companies, including The Quaker Oats Company and SBC. The organization and time management skills that she used in these positions led to numerous accolades, including a prestigious leadership award. She started From Piles to Smiles early in 2000.

As a full-time working professional and parent, Sue knows the positive impact of an organized home and business. Her goal and passion is to help others achieve the peacefulness and joy that comes from feeling in control and having time to enjoy the things that really matter in life. She has helped people from Washington State to Washington, D.C. live more stress-free and harmonious lives by showing them how to reduce clutter, organize paperwork, and prioritize tasks.

Sue is a featured author in the most recent edition of Conversations on Success along with sales legends Tom Hopkins and Danny Cox, and communications expert Dr. John Gray. In addition, Sue has written articles for, and been featured in, numerous local and national newspapers and magazines, including: Real Simple Magazine, The Chicago Tribune, The Daily Herald, West Suburban Living, and The Reporter. Sue has appeared on the national TV show "Starting Over" as an expert on time management and space organizing, and has also appeared on an NBC TV news segment offering practical advice for women who need help getting organized. She is quoted as an organizing expert in the book How to Position Yourself as the Obvious Expert.

Sue received a B.S. degree in accounting from the University of Illinois and a MBA in finance and marketing from Northwestern University's J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management. She is a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers, and is the former Vice President of the Chicago chapter. She is the former treasurer of the National Study Group on Chronic Disorganization, and is the first person in Illinois to earn the title of Certified Professional Organizer - Chronic Disorganization (CPO-CD®). She is also an ADD Specialist, and holds certificates of study in the following areas:

Basic Physical Conditions Affecting the CD Client
Understanding the Needs of the Elderly CD Client
Understanding the Needs of the Student CD Client
Basic Mental Health Conditions and Challenges Affecting the CD Client
Learning Styles and Modalities
Basic Hoarding Issues with the CD Client
Sue serves her community by volunteering with local organizations including DuPage Senior Services, St. Joseph Finance Committee, PADS, and others.