Clutter Costs Money: How Getting Organized Will Help You Save

Getting Organized Saves Money

Getting organized is right behind getting fit and somehow improving life as a whole this time of year. Realistically, most of us will fail horribly and miserably at one or two of our new resolutions, but that’s kind of what makes them fun, right? I try not to make resolutions, because I feel that they come out of a place of emotional well-being and too much wine during the holiday season. I like a new start, whether it is the beginning of a new year or simply the beginning of a new week, month or hour; it feels like a great time to revamp, refresh and redo whatever it is I might not be happy with at the moment.

For me, getting organized is not one of those problems. For me, getting organized is a way of life. It’s something I’ve been since I was a little girl. Me and organization; we go way back. Call me a Type A personality, call me efficient; I don’t care what you call me, really, but unorganized is not something that will come to your mind. From my spotless and completely organized car to my spotless and completely organized house, I am organized. I’ll even let you in on a little secret; I really dislike myself for it sometimes. I like being organized, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes I take it too far and I’m fairly certain I have a touch of anxiety about it. I’ve been known to run back inside the house while the entire family is in the car, in the garage waiting on me so that I can put a roll of toilet paper on the roll instead of on top of the counter (seriously, why my kids can’t just do that themselves in their own bathrooms is beyond me) because I happened to notice it there as I was running to grab something for a child and I just cannot live with it not being in its correct location.

Getting organized is, when it’s normal, a great thing. I’m a hot mess about so many things, but that’s just me. A little back story for anyone checking us out for the first time; I have four kids. I have a husband. I’ve been married to my high school sweetheart for going on 11 years now, and we’ve been together for 14 years. I’ve always been a very organized person, but I think that it was my engagement that really began teaching me how valuable organization really is.

I was 19 when my husband proposed to me. I was in college, he was in his last year of college. We decided to go through a two year engagement so we could finish, and so we could get things in order in terms of a wedding and where we would live. A year into planning our wedding, we began building our first home. Small and modest it was, but it was our first home together. It was then that I realized how much I really relied on organization. I had a house to build, which is a very intense project, I had a wedding to plan, which is also a very intense project. We were hit by four hurricanes in the span of three months that summer, and our house plans were pushed and pushed and pushed, and permits were pulled a month before our house was supposed to be completed, and we ended up not being done building until the week of our wedding.

I had to get married, go on a honeymoon and move into our brand new house all in the same week. It was stressful; good stressful, but still. I realized at that point in time just how much organization really meant to me. Fast forward 12 years and we now have a 7-year-old and a little girl who will turn 5 in March, as well as twins who will turn 2 in March. I work from home doing what I love, but it’s demanding. My husband’s career is demanding. If I want to get anything done at any point in my life, I have to be organized.

And that’s where I feel as if I can help you also become a more organized and awesome version of yourself. When things in my life are in order, I feel calm and relaxed; something that is not always easy to come by when you have a household like mine.

But really, you don’t care. You don’t; and that’s why I’m going to tell you that being a cluttered mess is actually expensive. That’s right, friends; you’re costing yourself money by living with clutter in your home.

Oh, now I have your attention, don’t I? Listen, no judgment here. Being organized, for me, means being on time, being relaxed and not being crazy. But it also means not wasting money. There are so many ways that being unorganized can cost you, and there is no reason to waste money like that. If another of your New Year’s resolutions is to save money or perhaps cut down the budget, getting organized can actually help you with that more than you might realize.

You see, organization is so much more than just having your ducks in a proverbial row. It’s so much more than simply having your pantry in order or your desk files all pretty and neat. It’s about more than a clean and organized junk drawer. Organization is something we have to have in every aspect of our lives if we want to make the most of our time – and our money. Here are a few ways your lack of organization costs you money. Learn them, change them, live a new life.

Keep Nothing

Fine, fine; I concede. That’s a bit of an overstatement. Except in our house, it’s not. You ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you that if something is missing, it’s likely that I threw it away. They’re all a bunch of jokesters.

Husband to me, “Where is Charlotte?”

My mom when she’s visiting, “You can’t find her? Tiffany probably threw her away since no one was doing anything with her in the past five seconds.”

Ha. Ha.

My name is Tiffany and I throw things away. I hate clutter. I HATE clutter. Stuff; I don’t get the need for stuff. Cleanliness; I get that. So I have a small problem with throwing entire boxes of things away if they’re in a closet or the laundry room or the attic or the garage and they aren’t labeled with a holiday to indicate décor. If I don’t know what’s in it, I won’t miss it, you know?

My craziness aside, getting rid of clutter is actually a good thing. For one, it makes your house look much more elegant and much chicer. Secondly, don’t you just feel better when you’re not inundated with stuff? Finally, stuff to you might be treasure to someone else, so sell it and earn some money in the process.

Overspending at the Supermarket

At this precise moment in time my hand is raised slightly in the air and I sit slouched in my desk chair with an air of shame enveloping me. It is Thursday evening. I have been to Publix (our southern supermarket du jour) four times since Sunday. I went Sunday. I spent $281. I went Tuesday morning with the twins and my oldest daughter. I spent $112. I went again Tuesday afternoon after I picked up my almost 5-year-old from school and we spent $68. I went again this evening after getting the two big girls from school, and I took all four kids by myself; I spent another $60.

Why? Because I don’t meal plan; and it’s even sadder that we will not be home tomorrow evening and we are taking our kids to Disney Saturday so we won’t be home for that. Sunday will roll around and it’ll be a post-church pick up lunch and all the stuff for school lunches trip.

If I were more organized here – my downfall – I would spend so much less money at the supermarket. By not meal planning and making lists, I spend far more time and money than I want at the store every single week. Do you see why this is such an important endeavor?

Paying Late Fees

Paying your bills as they arrive in the mail is my particular method. If it comes in the mail, I will set aside a little time that evening to write a check, stick a stamp on it and I will run it to the mailbox at the post office on my way to take my kids to school the following day. I understand that some people have to wait to pay their bills, though, so that’s where the organization part comes into play. For me, I don’t like the feeling of things being undone, and a bill sitting in my desk drawer feels undone.

One way to ensure you never pay anymore late fees due to your lack of organization is to ensure all your bills go into one location. This can be problematic if you get some via the post and others via email. If you get some of your bills as paperless statements via email, go ahead and immediately schedule that payment – if not for right now, then for the date you can afford to have that payment taken out of your bank account prior to your due date.

I’ve also found that an Excel spreadsheet helps me stay organized as far as expenses are concerned. All of our household expenses are due the first week of the month, so that helps. I input the name of the expense (i.e. mortgage) followed by the due date (the first) followed by the amount and then I add columns for every month of the year, and I check them off as the payment is made so I know that each one was paid. It’s very helpful.

Automatic payments are helpful, reminders in your phone calendar are helpful, reminders on your paper calendar are helpful; we don’t all work the same, so find a solution to your bill pay organization that works for you and makes your job easier all the way around. I promise that it will work for you.

Paying for Expedited Shipping (AKA – Procrastination)

There are always instances in which something comes up last minute and we have no choice. I’ve been there with work meetings out of state that require something new to wear (I’m a woman, so require is literal, okay?) and gifts for last minute parties and events. However, as my husband likes to tell me, I don’t need those new Hunter boots tomorrow after just ordering them today. We live in Florida, for one, and two; it’s 98 degrees. But I’m excited to have red ones to wear with my new blanket scarf, so clearly I have to pay for overnight shipping.

Or…not. When we procrastinate or, in my case, become impatient, we spend too much money and it’s a huge waste. By being more organized, keeping better track of events that are upcoming, we no longer have to pay for expedited shipping on items we need tomorrow or the next day for a party or event. A calendar with early reminders should suffice, but a family schedule on a chalkboard or white board or something in the living room might also prove useful.

Perhaps we all make it a point to set aside a bit of time each month or week or day to check out the calendar for upcoming events, take notes and do those things and we might all be a bit more organized.

Buying Too Many of One Thing

Formerly guilty.

When our oldest daughter began school, I had to learn how to organize for that. For a while, I forgot that I had to include things like lunches for her to take to school in my shopping list. While I have a good idea of what we need around the house (or not, as you read above), I had to remember that suddenly we needed things like sandwich bags for her carrots and lunchables and small bottles of water since she feels a big one is too big for her lunch box. That first few weeks, I think we ended up with 800 sandwich bags and 4 or 5 cases of little bottled water because I simply couldn’t remember if I had enough to get her through the week without a return trip to the store.

When we decided to go ahead and bag and package and prepare everything for her lunch, and now our 5-year-old for her lunches, on Sundays, we became a lot more organized. A shelf in the pantry that’s designated for only school lunch supplies, everything in order on Sundays so it only has to be placed in their boxes on Monday; it works well and now I don’t buy 10 lunchables on Sunday when we already have 10 at home. It saves a lot of money being organized in this department.

Being On Time

When you are organized, you are on time. Well, you’re more likely to be on time. I say that with complete honesty. When you are on time, you are far less likely to have to stop and pick up things you rushed out of the house without every morning. Getting organized really saves me a lot of money in this department. I take time on Sundays to not only get all week’s worth of kid’s lunches ready, but also to go over their school planners and calendars, add events and reminders to mine that correlate with theirs, and I like to go ahead and prepare things that they might need throughout the week.

This means getting all permissions slips ready for the week ahead, getting all forms signed, making sure we have everything they need to do their homework, we set out school clothes for the following day, and we get everything prepared so I’m not rushing in the morning. Since their closets are organized by season and item type (Shirts: long sleeve, short sleeve, tank top, etc.) and their drawers are, too, it takes only a few moments to find them something cute to wear. We have a place for back packs and lunch boxes, they have desks with their supplies for homework and school shoes go in the same place every single afternoon when we get home.

How does that save me money? It means my morning is less hectic, so I have time to make sure I have my protein shake in my Yeti and ready to go in the mornings. I have time for two cups of coffee so I don’t have to stop and pick one up at the only coffee shop near our house, which is awful, and my kids get breakfast so I’m not forced to stop for them, either. We are prepared. There are no surprises.

Peace of Mind

Seriously, getting organized can save you on therapy sessions. I’m mostly joking, but maybe not all that much; it might save you on therapy. When you get to sit around your house at the end of the night (what’s that like?) and know that your life is organized, it makes life easy. It’s called peace of mind, and it saves me more than just money. Not only does being organized mean I’m not late, or unable to pack lunches so that anyone has to buy them (my kids refuse to eat school lunch, which is fine with me) so that we have to stop and spend money, but it also gives me a sense of pride and accomplishment. When I arrive home, my house is clean. When my kids ask for something, we know exactly where it is. When we need something, it’s right there.

Knowing that life is organized and in place makes it much easier to relax and live a happy existence. Additionally, it also saves us a lot of money. When we aren’t constantly buying new socks because we can’t find pairs or paying for repairs on appliances we know have some sort of warranty on, if only we could find that paperwork. We have everything in order so that we are able to live peacefully, and without spending more on things we already have but simply cannot find. It’s a nice piece of knowledge, that peace of mind.

Save on Stress

How to do you unwind and overcome stress? If you’re like me, you spend money. Book a massage, buy a new pair of shoes, call the sitter and plan a date night at a great restaurant with a great bottle of wine and a big bill…when we’re stressed we tend to spend more money. We call the girls and we go out for drinks. We plan a weekend away to escape. But that’s not all that cost-effective. Getting organized can help you feel less stressed. When you’re not late in the mornings, when your house is organized, when you can find what you’re looking for and when you are not inundated with so many things to do and to organize that you feel the world is choking you, you’re less stressed.

When you are less stressed, you don’t feel the need to get out and escape from your home and your lack of organization. It might sound silly to some, but I love the idea that I come home to a clean house, and I love knowing that everything has a place. I like going to bed with everything in its place, organized and ready for the next day. It helps me relax. When things are left undone, I feel out of sorts, stressed and more likely to try and drown my stress sorrows in a weekend away or a new bag or an online shopping spree. Getting organized, my friends, saves a lot of money.

Photos by Getty Images


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