Updated: Jun 27
How often do you find yourself saying things like "Oh, there it is!" or "Ugh, I didn't realize I had that." when you finally get yourself to straighten up your closet or open that "Subscribe and Save" box from Amazon that has been sitting in the corner of your living room for... well, who knows how long? I can imagine that these words have filled each of our minds at one point or another, but if you are a person who engages in this internal dialogue more often than you would like to, then we need to talk.
Did you know that the struggles we face with organizing may actually lead to us wasting our money? These are the top three ways I see money being wasted in my clients' homes:
Lack of Systems
Want to know if one of these issues is negatively impacting you and your wallet? Let's take a closer look at each.
Money Waster #1: Cluttered Spaces
Clutter is often caused by one or more of the following situations: overbuying (buying more than a space can contain), struggles with letting go, and avoidance. No matter how your home or work station gains its collection of things, the simple fact is that the more cluttered your space becomes, the more difficult it is to locate the items you want or need. Now, how does this affect your spending? When you cannot find the item you are searching for, you are much more likely to buy it again.
Strategies to try:
Use a timer and spend 20-30 minutes straightening up the area in an attempt to find the wanted or needed item before deciding to buy another one.
Ask a family member or friend to be your "body double" (aka accountability partner) in your search for the wanted item.
Money Waster #2: Hidden Storage
Hidden storage in your home may include deep drawers, closed pantries, and unlabeled bins/baskets. Hidden storage spaces exist in every home, and as a person who likes items to be out of sight, I do not have a problem with this in the slightest; however, it is important to be thoughtful about the types of items that are contained in these spaces. Visibility is key. If you cannot see which items you have, you are much more likely to buy more of them.
Strategies to try:
Integrate some clear bin storage options into your home or work space.
Use labels for solid-colored bins and baskets.
Be sure to place food items in spaces where their individual labels can be easily seen.
Keep like items with like items to make them easier to locate and take stock of.
Money Waster #3: Lack of Systems
If someone were to ask you where he or she could find a roll of tape in your home, how many answers would you be able to give? Perhaps the junk drawer... an office drawer... a box in the garage... the holiday storage bin? Having organized systems in place--particularly keeping like items with like items--is one of the best ways to establish order and gain a better understanding of what you have in stock. When items are placed randomly around your home or work space, it 1) becomes more difficult to locate them when you need them and 2) increases the likelihood that you will buy them again when they run out in the most-touched location.
Strategies to try:
Create a primary storage space to keep bulk items in.
Make sure the selected storage space makes sense for you long-term.
Did you notice a trend here? In each of the situations mentioned above, buying the item again came up, didn't it? There is nothing more frustrating than spending the money and time to purchase an item that you feel you lost, only to (much later on) find that it was hiding somewhere in your home.
If you think one or more of these issues may be causing you to lose track of the items you have and, in turn, causing you to spend more money than you need to be, I encourage you to try some of the suggested strategies listed in this post. And if all else fails, reach out for assistance! Sometimes a fresh perspective is all you need!