As for me, I am a huge advocate of being organized. Being organized in and of itself can save you money, but you can also do things that don’t cost a thing to help clear the clutter, ease the stress and enable you to find what you need when you need it.
If your goals include getting organized AND sticking to a budget, then read on:
Clear the email. This can be a big item for us bargain hunters, because often deals and steals come with the stipulation that you submit your email account. You can set up a separate email account (for free) to use just for deals, but sometimes I use my personal email – like when I want to get updates on codes for online shopping or need to print something out or a deal is time sensitive.
A few days out of each month, take a second to click on the link to “unsubscribe” from any email lists that you find yourself constantly deleting without reading and that you no longer need. Clearing this clutter pays off in spades for me, because in the following weeks, my email is cut significantly, saving me time and stress. You can usually find this link in small print near the bottom of the email text.
Clean out the refrigerator, freezer or pantry. Donate anything that is perfectly good, but that you realize you are just not going to eat or have too much on hand. Toss the things that have gone bad. Your money spent on these items is gone – let them go on to their just reward. Make a note of the items you find lurking in the back, but are still good.
Plan these found items into your current menu, so you can use them before they go bad (bonus, it is like found money!). Now that these areas are clean and organized, you can see and use what you already have. Try to get in the habit of storing leftovers and soon to perish items near the front of the refrigerator so you are reminded to use them up.
Donate. Donate. Donate. Nothing goes farther towards an organized house as just having less stuff. Period. We have two charities that pick up at our door, usually one every other month. Every time I get the notice and bag from the charity, I set it up in the garage, set a notebook and a pen by it and start putting things in as I come across them. I jot each item down and itemize these items on my taxes.
It sounds tedious, but really does not take much time and each year, our itemization on donations alone is in the thousands of dollars. You will not believe how quickly it adds up. I save on my taxes and have less clutter, plus a local charity benefits. Works for me!
Purge. This is the perfect time of year to toss old records (gas bill, older insurance statements, etc.). Shred any documents with personal or private information on them. If you want to keep something for tax records, then put them with your tax files away from your daily files.
Have seven months of magazines to read? Get real and recycle them or donate them somewhere they can be used. Same with old newspapers. If you are a piler (my husband loves to create little piles around the house), then go through your piles and toss anything that is now obsolete. Consider consolidating a pile. Or two. Or ten.
Please feel free to share any ideas you use in the comments and stay tuned for more ideas on cost effective organizing coming soon in another post.