Wednesday, 2 October 2019
Saving money and getting organized are on everyone's to-do list, but it's not always obvious that the two are intertwined.
Professional organizer Julie Morgenstern, author of the bestselling Organizing from the Inside Out, says that when your space, papers, and desk are in disorder, you're basically leaking money from your budget.
There are five main ways being disorganized becomes expensive:
When you misplace an important invitation or haven't prepared properly for a meeting, it's going to hurt your confidence as well as your professional reputation, Morgenstern says. And when you don't follow up on the networking you've done, you're compounding your losses by losing potential income.
Morgenstern says there are three critical steps to take when you meet someone:
Anything you can't find, you'll pay to replace: tools, clothing, kitchen gear, office supplies—even food.
When it comes to food, if you don't understand what you already have and what you actually need, you'll end up buying too much of the same thing (which will eventually expire) and taking additional trips to the market.
Making a list and sticking to it is essential. "Before you buy anything, you should ask yourself, 'where will I store this? Where in my home is there a place for this, and what will I have to remove to make room for it?'" Morgenstern says.
It pays to plan, because hotel rooms and airline tickets cost more at the last minute. There are emergency situations, of course. "But if you're creating your own last minute-ness where it didn't have to be there, just because you're disorganized, you're going to pay way more," Morgenstern says.
There are ways to avoid these retail "emergencies." If you can't find anything in your closet to wear, or don't have the basics that you'll need for certain occasions, you might have to do some last-minute shopping and buy something at full price. And if you pack correctly for a trip, you won't spend time chasing down the items you've forgotten.
There's no added value from paying fees on bills, parking tickets, and anything else that gets overlooked in that pile on your desk. You can also literally leave money on the table if you've misplaced cash, checks, or gift cards.
The Self Storage Association says that Americans spent more than $24 billion on storage units in 2014. Nine percent of them hold keys to a storage unit, and those charges add up: the average rent for a non-climate controlled 10-foot by 10-foot space is $115 per month. Morgenstern says to do the math and take a look at what you're paying, what you're storing, and how much it would cost to buy again when you need it.
Some people also pay extra for real estate just to have a place to put their things—and that's space that could actually be helping you to make money, Morgenstern says. Possibilities include creating a home office, renting a room out on Airbnb or a similar service, or downsizing to save on property taxes, maintenance and mortgage payments. "You could make your home generate revenue, you could maybe move to a smaller place. There's all kinds of ways that we pay in real estate for our disorganization."
Here are her steps to get started in an organization project:
Interested in hiring a professional organizer? Start your search at the National Association for Professional Organizers, or the Board of Certification for Professional Organizers.
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