One of the ways I often suggest getting organized is to simply have less. It drives me nuts how many things we think we need to have that only do one task, often just once a year, or even less. Multiply that by everyone on your street, and it adds up to a lot of stuff just sitting around most of the time. Stuff you have to store, work around, clean around, etc.
Take snow blowers. I live in Minnesota. There are only a few times a year where you need a snow blower, but when you need one, it is really, really nice to have. So we have one. And so do our neighbors to the right. And the left. And across the street. We each have one that we use for about 5 hours a year. Argh! I wish we could all just SHARE one. Wouldn’t that be great?! And make so much more sense?! Same for the riding lawn mower, the weed whip and a ton of other items. Unfortunately, my husband does not get my brilliant plan, and neither do my neighbors. Rats.
Fortunately, though, I AM able to make my plan work in other areas of my life, thanks to my best friends, Missy and Julie. We are all of like mind, so we just borrow stuff between the three of us all the time. One kid needs a white dress shirt for the church concert? Send out an email with a request and one turns up. Need a scoring tool to remove wall paper? Done. While you are at it, can you use the wall paper removing solution I have left too? Great! Books, movies, art supplies, magazines, paint, leaf blower (the one thing I have been able to get my husband to not buy), extra Crock Pot, serving dishes, nail polish, etc., everything is up for grabs.
Now, I realize you need to have a certain kind of friend for this. One that is thrilled to see her stuff utilized and is happy to share. One that lives close or you see regularly is helpful. One that is as respectful of your stuff and you are of hers. But, if you can find that friend, it works out so well.
So, the three of us friends get together most Fridays for lunch. It is a rare Friday that we are not passing all sorts of things back and forth, returning and borrowing things each week, delighted to both be helped and to help each other out. All thrilled that there is one more item we do not have to buy, store and organize at our house. Or, thrilled that the item we did buy, store and organize at our house is being used to its maximum potential.
Now, if I could just get my husband and neighbors on board…
Be sure to check out our other great tips for getting organized on a budget.