Organize + Energize: 10 Ways You’re Wasting Money Due to Your Disorganization
Tuesday, July 03, 2018
Kristin MacRae, GoLocalWorcester Organizing Expert
Being disorganized will cost you money over time. You may even take the hit immediately if you are searching for missing cash or a large check. I hope this article is an eye-opener for some who are in denial that they aren’t losing or wasting money due to their disorganization.
Here are 10 ways you’re losing money:
Paying unnecessary fees. Missed appointment fees, late fees, bounced check and bank fees. These are all fees that can be avoided just by being organized. Schedule all of your appointments and due dates on a calendar. Have a working organized system to keep track of when your bills are due and stay organized with your checkbook.
Purchasing duplicate items. Do you have 2 pairs of the same shoes floating around your home? You probably bought the second pair because you really loved them, couldn’t find the original pair and went out and purchased another. This happens with small and large ticket items. Once you get organized, you will be able to see everything you have and will know where everything is. You will never waste money on a duplicate item again.
Losing cash and checks. I find money in every home and office I organize. I get so excited for my clients when we find money! It’s new found money, but you know at some point they were tearing the house apart looking for that cash or check.
Expired and too much food. Plan ahead for the supermarket. Make a shopping list from your organized food pantry. Meal plan, prepare and portion your food ahead of time and this will help you save money.
Hiding Gifts. How many of you purchase gifts months before the holidays? You take the gifts home and hide them so nobody will find them. Maybe you stuff them in the back corner of your cluttered closet, under the bed or high on a shelf in the hall closet. The holidays roll around and you completely forget where you hid them. Designate a spot in an organized area for gifts.
Wasting gas. Get organized with the errands you have to tackle and you will save money on gas by not running all over the state.
Missing receipts. You want to return an expensive item, but you can’t find the receipt. You are now stuck with this item or you return it and receive the price it’s selling for now. That price is usually much lower than you originally paid for it. Create a working organized system to contain your receipts.
Renting a storage space. Are you storing some of your belongings in a storage pod or in an off-site storage unit? Take a trip to the storage unit and re-evaluate what you are storing and if it’s worth the extra money you are spending each month.
Impulse purchases. Before you head out shopping, whether it is clothes, furniture or food, always have a list. Be prepared and take inventory of what you own ahead of time so you won’t waste money on impulses purchases.
Time costs money. You have all heard this saying. I’ll end the article on this note. My dad, a successful small business owner, always told me, “Every shot has to count. Everything you do, you can’t waste time and energy. You have to put your nose to the grind and get it done right the first time. Time relates to money. Bottom line, the more time you waste looking for things, it turns into money lost.”
Kristin Carcieri-MacRae, is an organizing & efficiency expert and owner of Organizing in RI. Kristin teaches her clients that living an organized lifestyle will save them time and money, decrease their stress levels and help them become more efficient and productive. Her articles have been published in local and national magazines. She has also given over 80 presentations throughout the state. Kristin has created a one-of-a-kind weekly planner. More info here.
Paper in any form
This was the most challenging space! 91% of people surveyed stated paper was their biggest headache. Just because we are in this digital age, people think paper is going to disappear. As long as we have mail, and paper at work, kid’s school papers, etc., paper is going to be around for a very long time. We need to develop systems to organize and maintain our paper clutter.
To stay on top of an organized closet, you should be emptying your closet twice a year. Switch your closets in the spring and fall. This will force you to take inventory of the contents of the closet. You’ll never know what’s hiding in the back corners of your closet unless you take everything out.
When was the last time you emptied your entire food closet down to bare shelves? I asked this question at my last presentation and not one person could remember. Some said the last time their food pantry was empty was when they first moved in and others stated it had been years. Have garbage bags on hand. In every kitchen I organize, we throw out at least three garbage bags of expired food.
This is the black hole of the house. If an item doesn’t have a home, it usually gets thrown in the basement on a shelf. You’ll walk into the basement one day and wonder how did it get so bad? The first thing you need to do in the basement is declutter, then categorize items and then decide how you want to function going forward. Measure your space and choose shelving units that will fit what you need to hold. Block off 3 hours and don’t leave the basement during that time. Staying in the room will keep you focused.
The garage is an area similar to the basement. The garage tends to be a drop spot for outdoor items and usually there isn’t any organization. Most tend to regret not organizing the garage when they find they can’t park their cars in the garage in the winter months when it’s snowing. Put this project on your to-do list this fall.
Office at work
Most will say they don’t have time to tackle this area, but think about the time you are wasting by not being organized. The office can be challenging for some because you have paper, closet space, desk space and bookshelves. Most get overwhelmed and stressed just thinking about tackling this space. They think it’s easier to function this way than to actually tackle the project.
If your kids are over the age of 6, incorporate them in this process. If you don’t have the skill set to help them get organized, call in a professional to work one-on-one with them. If your kids are craving structure, it’s time for them to get organized.
Another one of those black holes like the basement. You rarely venture into the attic and you continue to toss items in there that don’t have a home. The garage, basement and attic are really challenging areas because you don’t spend much time in them. Think about how you want to function in these spaces. Streamline and maximize this space. This room should have a purpose.
When items are just thrown into this closet without being contained, chaos will ensue. Empty the entire closet, categorize, itemize and then measure the space. Purchase containers to match the space and what you have to hold. It’s all about maximizing space in this closet and being able to put your hand on something without moving five other items out of the way.
This is a tough project even for people who are organized. Memorabilia items and photos are a challenge because as you go through them, you tend to reminisce. Save this for the last project on your list of areas to organize. Once you begin, just focus on tossing and keeping and then reminisce when the decluttering process is completed.