In a society inundated with passwords, policy numbers, and a conglomeration of the digital and the analog, the organization of personal documents has become nearly impossible. Luckily, a new product has entered the market. Created by local organizer, consultant, and entrepreneur Sarah Stitham, there is now a way to keep important private information all in one place.
Stitham’s Get Your Ducks In a Row is a 65 page digital workbook that lists and provides space for documents including birth certificates, house deeds, insurance policies, and wills. The book can be purchased as an Excel file, to be added to digitally, or as a PDF, which can be printed and used as a hard copy.
The idea for the Ducks In a Row project originated over a decade ago, when Stitham was working as a professional organizer. “I realized that so many people did not have the essential pieces of their lives in one place,” she said. Soon after, her mother-in-law fell ill. “She wanted to get her affairs in order for her children,” said Stitham. After selling her business in November of last year, Stitham decided it was time to move on to her next entrepreneurial project. Taking the concepts she’d conceived of nearly ten years before, she assembled the Ducks In a Row workbook.
To Stitham, Get Your Ducks In a Row is more than just a product — it’s a business in and of itself. “I do not trademark any of my products, so I create them so that anyone can take this product, they can rename it, they can sell it, and they can use it as a stand-alone service,” she said. In this way, those who watch her webinar training on the subject can start their own business using Stitham’s model. “My whole point in doing this is really to get it out there into the world and show the general public, the professional community, and entrepreneurs how they can invest in something so reasonably priced and take the opportunity and run with it,” she added.
Additionally, Stitham believes Get Your Ducks In a Row is perfect for estate attorneys and real estate agents to distribute. “I’ve seen the information that estate attorneys give to their clients, and it’s so elementary,” she said.
This endeavor is one of many successful businesses Stitham has run over the course of her 30 year entrepreneurial career. Although she trained at the Culinary Institute of America, her ventures have ranged from professional chef to caterer, and from wedding coordinator to organizer and consultant. “Organization was the key component of everything, in the businesses I’ve created and the work that I’ve done,” she said.
Get Your Ducks In a Row serves as a practical way to keep important documents in place, but is also useful in less tangible ways. “The thing that really amazes me is that most of us, in our everyday lives, want total control over every single thing that we do — how we spend our money, who we spend our time with — but nobody wants to make any decisions about how they want to be buried and where they want their stuff to go,” said Stitham. The “My Wishes” section of the workbook includes a will, as well as burial plans and even a “love letter” to family members.
Getting one’s ducks in a row means more than just being organized; it’s also about being equipped to handle life’s uncertainties. “It’s not about being prepared for if things happen — it’s about being prepared for when things happen,” said Stitham.
To purchase the Get Your Ducks In a Row workbook, see www.sarahstitham.com. Sarah Stitham will be on a panel at SUNY Ulster’s Own It! Entrepreneurial Women’s Conference on Thursday, June 2 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. This event will be held at the SUNY Ulster College Lounge at 491 Cottekill Rd. in Stone Ridge.