The Declutter Diet
This just in: getting organized can save you money. We all knew that having a "place for everything and everything in its place" would likely save time, but it can also keep some extra cash in your pocket. Even if you're organizationally challenged, there are things you can do to keep track of what you own, get rid of the things you don't need, get the most out of the things you do, do more with less and come out ahead.
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Don't underestimate the importance of getting organized in an unstable economy. It may sound silly, but we're talking about more than putting all your boots in neat boxes under the bed. Things like organizing a budget can help save you money in an obvious way and in the long run, time! A few extra minutes to finish that project on deadline, or an hour at the end of the day can go a long way toward job security, personal fulfillment (which is important in stressful times!) and may even directly translate into making more money.
Plus, there are ways to literally make money as you organize. Lorie describes on The Clutter Diet Blog when she helped a client find $5000 in un-deposited checks, and find cash in books and unopened mail. You're probably thinking, "I wish!" Although it is unlikely to come into that kind of undiscovered treasure, the principle still stands. People can overlook unused gift cards and gift certificates. In 2006, according to Lorie, the value of unused items such as these was around $8 billion. Wow! Even just organizing your wallet, purse, or check book could net a few opportunities to save money by spending what you've already been given! I love being able to go to Starbucks and not have it come out of my checking account!
Taking an inventory of what you have, paring down, and making your life more streamlined will enable you to know what you need, and what you don't need. As Lorie says, "We always talk about how visibility should be one of the primary goals of any organizing project. In other words, can you easily see and find what you have?" This is a basic rule of thumb for decluttering and highly helpful when looking to save time and money.
She goes on to say, "If you can gain that visibility, you will save money by actually using what you have. This is especially true in your pantry and refrigerator. If you organize them (and maintain them) for greater visibility, you are less likely to have to throw out stale food later." You'll be able to get the maximum "use" out of food you've already paid for. You'll know if you already have a carton of eggs and therefore won't go buy another one. It's true in your closet too. If you know you have enough exercising clothes, then maybe you should invest in a professional wardrobe next. If you make mental notes, you can prevent unnecessary items from even entering your life and home.