When you were young did your mother instruct you to wear clean underwear at all times? Why? You could be hit by a bus and taken to hospital. She’d never be able handle the disgrace being judged a neglectful parent by the medical staff. Emotional scaring aside, this was probably good advice. You can’t be too careful. Life is full of unexpected pitfalls. You may not want to think about it, but we are all going to die sometime. If you have made preparations for the inevitable like drawing up a will, making funeral arrangements and ensuring your life insurance is up to date, you might believe you have nothing to worry about. Our advice is to think again. Most of us will not have the luxury of pinpointing the exact time of our demise. Consequently when the moment arrives we may not have taken the necessary precautions to empty our homes of potentially humiliating material. As organizing professionals with access to the intimate details and personal history of clients lives, we can tell you that everyone has secrets. You may ask why you should be concerned about damaging disclosures once you are gone. Our response is to reflect on the impact of these discoveries on loved ones and family.
Over the years we have stumbled upon vast collections of pornography, sex toys, drug paraphernalia, romance novels, compromising photos, steamy correspondence from former boyfriends and girlfriends, or their modern day equivalent: emails and texts, that did not make it into the recycling bins. Then there are the painful reminders that some clients refuse to ditch including paperwork from failed lawsuits, job dismissals, diary entries, business fiascos, suspicious hotel bills, IRS audits, rejected manuscripts, and even thank you notes that never were sent. Suffice it to say, if you want your reputation to stay intact and spare those close to you the devastating details, you should treat this quest seriously.
Short of taking a sledge hammer to your hard drive, there are steps you can take now to mitigate the collateral damage. We are not for a moment professing that this will be easy. Because of the private nature of what you need to eradicate you probably cannot ask anyone to help. You might not remember where some of these bombshells are even located. Best to start small with desk drawers, file cabinets and night tables or wherever you tend to hide things like cigarette butts when your family thinks you have quit smoking, or your stash of M&Ms when you were allegedly on a diet When you have extra time on your hands and no one is home you can conduct a more thorough search and destroy mission. You will sleep better knowing the no evidence will come back to bite you in the afterlife.