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Four years ago, as that damn oil well gushed into the Gulf of Mexico, I began the process to have solar panels installed at the family home. At that time, there was one big company here in California pioneering the leasing of solar systems to homeowners, thereby dropping the initial out of pocket cost to zero.

Yep, we got a massive solar array installed for no money up-front. Best decision we made in that house.

Of course, the catch was that we leased the system instead of owning it. And there was a huge amount of paperwork. Since the company was headquartered in the San Francisco area and our house is 700 miles south in San Diego, most of the communication was done via email.

I had dozens, if not hundreds, of emails with them. At some point in 2010, I created an email folder and spent a few minutes transferring everything related to the array into the “Solar” folder.

So last week when the escrow company requested the solar lease for the buyers to review, it was a simple process to locate and email the lease. Easy-peasy, no more than three minutes time.

I’m no technological marvel, but this is a place where the difference between Voldemort and me is stark. He had three email folders: inbox, save, and trash. I have more than a dozen, now including divorce and real estate. It’s the difference between a no stress, three minute response and an entire weekend hunting for something that might have been trashed four years ago.  Or not.  Who knows?

The practical takeaway from this is: If you’re going through a divorce, make a separate email folder right away and save all divorce-related emails in it religiously. You’ll know exactly where to look when something comes up (and something will come up. Guaranteed.) If your divorce includes a custody fight, you might even want to make two folders, one for divorce and one for custody.

The other takeaway is to do things in small batches so you don’t get overwhelmed and frustrated.

Love, Mom