Getting Organized on a Budget
If you find yourself spending too much time looking for car keys, the right sweater, your cell phone or other necessities, it’s time to get organized. A disorganized home doesn’t just cost you time and stress, it also costs money. Think of the times you couldn’t find something and bought it new, only to discover you already had it if you’d only known where to look. It’s possible to get organized without spending hundreds on a trip to the Container Store. Here’s how:
Make Sure Everything has a Place – Designate a specific place for everything – keys on a hook by the door, for example, or the cell phone charger always plugged into the same outlet. After you use an item, take a minute to put it back where you found it. That minute will save you the time and frustration you might spend searching for it later.
Sell and Donate to Create Space – While you are organizing, take time to set aside any items you no longer need. These unused items are robbing you of precious space and making it harder for you to find the items you do need. Consider offering things you no longer use to family or friends, donating them to a favorite charity or selling them. You can host a garage sale or use sites like eBay.com and Craigslist.org to easily sell gently used items.
Contain the Clutter – Use multi-sized containers and drawer organizers to group smaller items so they don’t get lost or create chaos in your cabinets or on shelves. You can get creative and use shoeboxes, empty tissue or cereal boxes, or plastic tubs or dishes to store items. Additionally, you can find low-cost containers at dollar or discount stores.
Practice the “One In, One Out” Rule – A great way to minimize clutter is following the “one in, one out rule.” This means that when you bring in something new, like a pair of shoes or a new toy, you have to get rid of an item in that same category. It not only helps cut down on clutter, but makes you think twice about what you’re willing to give up to bring in something new.
Organizing on a budget can be fun and rewarding. Get creative and find the tools that work best for you. You can also enlist the help of family and friends, and even generate a little extra cash to put toward your emergency savings or paying down debt.