The HAINES System™️ – Household Documents

Posted on March 3, 2017 by Tanya

This second section is for Household Documents. It includes all the paperwork needed for your home – insurance policies, vehicle information, utilities, memberships and so forth. As with the first section, there is a comprehensive form to use listing all the possible documents you may have or need to have access to. There is also space to record other vital details you would like noted. This could be contact information for your insurance agent or property details (primary home, secondary home, vacation home, rentals…).

If you think about it, do you know right off where all of these documents are? Do you have the most current versions? Is your agent still the same person with the same contact information or have they left the business? Do you have an inventory of your household goods, including all of your technology? This worksheet will help ensure you can answer these questions as you need.

The next section will be for Legal Documents.

Calculate YOUR Chaos – What is the Cost?

Posted on August 11, 2014 by Tanya

Paying all Bills

Posted on May 27, 2014 by Tanya

SC - MailBox or InBox?

So we all get mail whether it comes in our mail box outside or our email box inside. As a military kid, I LOVED mail day! Living overseas in the ’80s meant the best communication was every two weeks when our Dad would come home from work and have a stack of mail. It took at least one week for a letter to get from our home in England to a friend’s home in the U.S.A. That was impressive and we just never thought twice about having to wait for a letter or card.

Now that I am an adult with a house, husband, children, cars, and dogs I am not always so excited to get the mail (either version of it) because it is either junk mail or bills. Either way, the experience does not hold the same allure it did when I was a kid.

Recently I received an email from the online account I have been using to schedule all my bill paying, Manilla. At this site, I could log in and see all of my bills that are paid electronically, the balances, when the next bill is due (they send me email reminders before a bill is paid), any documents/notices the companies have sent to me, and a link to go directly to that site to amend any bills. Well, Manilla is closing this summer and they suggest their users download documents and delete the account.

This got me to thinking about all the digital tools I recommend to my readers. How secure are these electronic records? Why not just keep using the paper bills? Well, just like with paper, you must keep your own records in a format that you are comfortable with, makes sense to you, and will allow for any tax implications you may need to address.

As I went through my account, I realized that I was using Manilla as a staging ground, or gathering place to see most of my bills in one place. The reality is that I am already signed up for paperless billing with all the companies and therefore will be just fine without Manilla. Plus, I have reduced the number of accounts we have as a means to better manage our finances. This helped as well.

Now, I can go back to looking forward to getting the mail and know that most of what comes to my house will be something other than bills and maybe, just maybe someone will send me a card!

Ready for Tax Day?

Posted on April 14, 2014 by Tanya

It’s that time again! Yes, April 15th. Tax Day. This is typically NOT a fun process for most people. But, it does not have to be so incredibly painful. There are steps you can take that will minimize the great paper shuffle at the beginning of each year. Here are a few suggestions:

  1. keep a file folder labeled “Taxes 20____” on top of your desk or in your home “command center”
  2. throughout the year, every paper that may have to do with your taxes (property tax, medical receipts, bank papers…) drop in there
  3. every few months, flip through the file and get the papers in a little better order by grouping them (tax payments, medical bills, W-2s, donations…)
  4. for the more adventurous, try using a simple Excel spreadsheet or use your calendar to track your mileage for non-reimbursed expenses, volunteer travel, medical travel out of the area…)

These are not overwhelming tasks, but they can make a huge difference come the new year. This can help you and your tax preparer and lessen the stress with this fateful annual date we all have.

Let me know your ideas. What works for you? Do you have a simple tool or task that makes tax season easier for you? Please share so everyone can benefit!

Money Management – for Elderly & Disabled

Posted on February 18, 2014 by Tanya

I don’t know about you, but I simply LOVE working with elderly folks! They are charming, engaging, insightful, knowledgeable and generally quite fun. And, because of my background in mental health, I also really like working with and being around people with intellectual disabilities and/or mental health issues.

These two groups of neighbors have one thing in common – the likelihood of being taken advantage of. And that hurts my heart and makes me really mad. So, through Structured Chaos I am continuing my help in this way: I provide money management services to the elderly and people who have intellectual disabilities and/or mental illness. My goal is quite simple – prevent loss.

What happens is that people see these folks as easy targets and manipulate or outright take advantage of them and their access to money. With my services, I assist them with sorting through their mail, talking about what mail they receive, explain what is junk mail and needs to be shredded or recycled, what are legitimate bills that need to be paid, and set them up with a personal banker at their financial institution. This way they are learning and retaining control over their life and have someone else they can trust to go to.

If you know of someone who does not have family around to ensure their financial safety, or someone who is independent but needs some basic help with finances, let me know. I work with others in our community who can assist with taxes, financial planning and other more complicated financial issues.

As a social worker by training, it is so important to me that people have access to supports and services that keep them as independent and self-reliant as possible. That is after all what we all want!

Tuesday Tip – Antiquated Security?

Posted on April 9, 2013 by Tanya

When it comes to your personal identifying information, you can never be too protective. As fast as technology is changing, is your system out of date?

Here are a few tips:

  • shred credit card receipts, bank deposit and withdrawal slips, checks, and any unsolicited credit offers
  • switch to online banking – more efficient, easier and does not require receiving paper statements
  • don’t ever share your social security number, credit card numbers or bank account numbers with others

Antique Key

If you find that handling all the paperwork leaves you stressed and want more detailed help, just contact Structured Chaos here.

Why Virtual Assistance?

Posted on April 2, 2013 by Tanya

We are fortunate that not everyone is good at the same things. We need each other to perform duties, share skills and otherwise provide services that we are either not capable of doing or simply not interested in doing.

If you are really good at your job but realize that there are a lot of other things that challenge you, maybe  you need a virtual assistant.

If you are a loving, engaged parent but cannot keep track of appointments, meetings and more than one schedule, maybe you need a virtual assistant.

If you are older and find that tending to every day paperwork is overwhelming, maybe you need a virtual assistant.

If you have missed deadlines or struggled with creating or editing documents, maybe you need a virtual assistant.

Hands on Appointment Book.jpgWith a virtual assistant, a lot of these seemingly “little” things can be handled for you. This allows you to focus on the things you need to while knowing that the other things are handled and in a professional and efficient manner.

Some of the needs you may be interested in “outsourcing locally” are: scheduling appointments; document drafting, editing and review; errands and courier services; setting up and managing online accounts; organize and file recipes;and more.

See the new page Virtual Assistant for more details and if any of these services might help you!

PayPal Now Accepted!

Posted on February 14, 2013 by Tanya

In an effort to become more “techno-savvy” and to more fully understand apps I talk about, Structured Chaos now accepts PayPal when making a purchase in person. This is how it works:

Open a PayPal account:

Screen Shot 2013-02-13 at 1.41.43 PM


Request the PayPal Here free credit card reader:

PayPal Card Reader

Download the PayPal Card Reader App in iTunes:

PayPal Here App Logo

And begin using it! If you are a small business, this is a wonderful way to broaden your reach and accept more than just cash and checks. Plus, this app allows you to itemize purchases, include tax and tips, and send a receipt to your customer via email. This is all part of managing your time – and hopefully increasing your sales.

Let me know your thoughts and if PayPal Here works as well for you as it does for Structured Chaos!

Organizing Your Mail — Snail and Digital

Posted on February 11, 2012 by Tanya

Here is a simple way to make sure you handle your mail as it comes in. In other words, this is how you can stay organized with all that paper that comes into your house every day.

Snail Mail

  • Keep a plastic grocery bag on a door handle where it is easy to fill with recyclables
  • As you come in the house immediately put all junk mail in the recycle bag
  • Open all bills and recycle the envelopes and any inserts
  • Shred any inserts with personal information
  • Put only the bill with the envelope in one stack
  • Put a return address label and stamp on each envelope
  • Write the due date on the envelope next to the stamp


Digital Mail

  • As emails come in, immediately delete any junk emails or chain emails
  • If you know you don’t want to receive any, go ahead and unsubscribe
  • Create mail box folders to store emails you want to keep for reference later
  • Create folders for incoming mail so it is automatically “filed”
  • Answer any emails you can do so quickly and delete from your In box


These processes are easy to do and a must if you are going to get and remain organized. The habit of sorting this way will come in time; soon you will realize how much simpler your bill paying becomes and how much cleaner your counter becomes.

Opt out of mail by registering with:

Direct Marketing Association at or Consumer Credit Report Industry at










Call your card issuers and ask to stop sending junk mail and inserts.

One more step to…

Get your ducks in a row with Structured Chaos






Structured Chaos serves eastern NC and the Raleigh area by appointment. Call 252-665-3424 or send us a message today to schedule your time!