I love to save time….almost as much as I hate wasting time!!
And I love to share the sneaky tricks to saving time and getting organized without realizing it. Easier is always better, at least when it comes to clearing clutter and creating order.
So today’s tips are all about how to #uncomplicate your closet and these will take you than 5 minutes. I promise.
Clear out all of the empty hangers in your closet. I’m talking about the metal hangers from the dry cleaners and the store hangers that held the dress that you bought that you no longer need. Unless there is something specific that lives on that hanger, get rid of it. Put it in another closet or give it away.
Clear out all of the empty boxes. These can be shoe boxes, jewelry boxes, gift boxes, or delivery boxes. I’m looking at you, Amazon! Unless you store something in that box, get rid of it!
Clear out any trash on the floor or shelf. Toss all of the old receipts, packing lists, and tissue paper.
Get rid of excess shopping bags. You probably don’t have as many of these because of online shopping but you can still look through your closet for any remaining.
Throw out and recycle dry cleaners bags. You know how I feel about these. 😩 Because it’s August you probably don’t have a lot of them in your closet but what you do have, you don’t need. They can be recycled at most grocery store chains.
See what I mean? Tossing these items should take you less than 5 minutes unless it’s been a loooong time since you’ve last done it.
Doesn’t your closet look better? And you didn’t have to make any decisions about whether to keep or toss. You just got rid of the stuff you know you don’t need! Yay, you!
Easy and painless is so much better, don’t you think?
Don’t waste your time chasing Leprechauns to the end of the rainbow to *maybe* find your pot of gold and potential 3 wishes. Instead, focus on organizing your money so you can grow your own wealth. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve worked with a client and found money with them, whether in the form of actual cash, gift cards, a credit card, gift certificate, or even change. It all spends the same so I’d call it MONEY!
The first step to securing your pot of gold is to organize your wallet, which should be done regularly.
Take everything out: cash, cards, change, checkbook, etc.
Take out any cash and group together by denomination the same.
Throw away any trash such as old receipts, random pieces of paper, candy wrappers, etc.
Throw away membership cards that are no longer valid such as Blockbuster or the gym you worked out in during college.
Put back the cards, photos, reminders that you need to function on a regular basis.
Doesn’t that feel better (and lighter)?
Another tip is to treat your gift cards like cash and store them in your wallet. If it is for a store where you primarily shop online, I’d recommend storing it in your desk or wherever you tend to do your online shopping. You want to have all methods of payment stored together so you can find it when you need it.
When you know what you have and where to find it is my definition of being organized. It’s essential to know what money you have and where it is. Otherwise it slips through your fingers unnoticed and it’s ‘bye ‘bye pot of gold!
File this one under “using what you have” and “don’t want to go buy a box,” crossed referenced with “saving money.” I had a package that needed to be mailed this week and couldn’t find a right sized box. Some of you may remember from my 30 Day Challenge back in July that I had gotten rid of a lot of cardboard boxes that were littering my closets. While I still stand by my belief that keeping things “just in case” is a bad idea, I still needed to send a package and didn’t have a box the right size.
But before I went out to procure such a box, I decided to take a second look around the house to see if there were anything else I could use to send this package. And then I saw my stash of plastic Container Store boxes that I use all the time to organize for clients. While these are found in the clothing storage section of the store, I use these boxes for EVERYTHING: hair accessories in the bathroom, crafting tools, mailing labels, medical supplies, etc. But I hadn’t used one to ship anything before.
I used some brown craft paper to mask the contents a little and an old dry cleaning back for padding. This was actually a perfect size and it can be reused by the receiver so you could say the package is part of this gift. If this works and arrives undamaged, I will probably twist my elbow patting myself on the back. The box was less than $2, can be reused, is sturdy, and is reasonably attractive. This is enormously appealing to me! I’ll keep you posted next week on how it worked once it arrives at my friend’s house.
Do you remember using paper grocery bags to wrap your text books? In my family we also used them to wrap packages prior to shipping. I think brown craft paper is perfect for gift wrapping, too. It can fit any mood or occasion just by putting on a different bow or ribbon plus you can write or draw on it! It’s available at a dollar store but that paper is not as sturdy.
What multipurpose items do you have around your house? I’d love to hear your suggestions for using what you have.
Here is an organization tip that will have immediate impact on your happiness and well being and allow you to get your life in order in less than 15 minutes: clean out your purse or wallet. You really should do this on a regular basis but today is a great day to start a good habit. The state of your purse is really a reflection of you, just like your clothes, and the wallet provides a micro look at how you view money. Yes, it’s true.
Purse: As I mentioned, the state of your purse is a reflection of you so is it cluttered with trash, half eaten snacks, leaky pens without tops, old grocery lists, etc? Do any of those items scream success, calm, in control? No, I didn’t think so. “But I have to lug stuff around for my kids and they make a mess of everything.” Hey, I love blaming someone else as much as the next person but your purse doesn’t need to be 100% trashed 100% of the time. This is an excellent opportunity to teach others, too, about how possessions should be kept and showing respect for them. Remember Neatsmart’s mantra, too, about letting go of perfection. Everyone gets cluttered and scattered but the goal is to reduce the frequency and intensity of that disorganization.
So take a few minutes at home get your purse, and your life in order. to take everything out of your purse and shake it out over a trash can or sink to let all of the dirt and dust out. If there are spills, now is the time to clean any stains so they don’t get worse. Now, take that pile of stuff that was in your purse and sort out all of the trash and throw it away. It’s amazing how quickly it accumulates. Sort out your makeup, lipstick, gloss, powder, mints, comb, and anything that has to do with your physical body and put it in a separate, small bag. Trust me, you don’t need 5 lipsticks in your purse, either. Only put back the essentials and the rest goes back to your regular makeup place. Mints or gum should be close to your makeup, too, because we are organizing by use here.
From the remaining pile, put all of your money together. Are you the person that throws change in your purse and then spends countless time digging around for that change when you need it? Stop doing that and you’ll save yourself that frustration. Put your money back in its wallet or at least in a pocket in your purse so you’ll know where to find it.
Wallet: what is the state of your money? Are they in order or just haphazardly thrown in there? One of the many things I learned working in restaurants was to keep my money in order by denomination because I had to make change for customers. I also got immense pleasure at the end of my shifts putting my bills in order and then changing out smaller bills to larger ones. When you take care of your money you are showing that you are smart financially and respect what money can do for you. If you are careless with money I’m going to guess that you also probably have financial issues and lose money easily. Just sayin’….
While your wallet is open, go through all of the other cards and pieces of paper that are in there. Do you really need that Starbucks card that has expired or the insurance card from a company where you no longer work? Only keep cards here that you use on a regular basis like medical cards, credit cards, library cards, driver’s license. This is not a place to keep travel cards or shopping rewards cards. Unless they are used frequently, store them separately.
So what else is in that pile of stuff that was in your purse? Do you still need to keep it? Every purse should have a pen and paper to jot inspirational ideas or a grocery list so put those back. Also, you should designate a specific location in your purse for your keys, cell phone, and sunglasses. Avoid the panicked feeling of “do I have it or did I forget it” by always using the same pocket or section to put those items.
Lightening your load will also help your neck and back. There are countless cases of back and neck pain as a result of carrying too heavy purses and briefcases and sitting on a Costanza wallet will also give you hip and back issues.
Once you start to clear out your purse and wallet on a regular basis you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it earlier and you’ll find that you are not losing money or your mind looking for things constantly. This is all part of building an awareness in your life that gives you control because you know where things are. Talk about self empowerment: go you!
Continuing with our topic of how clutter costs you money, we now move to the closet. Look at your closet the same way you look at your pantry: do you know what is in there? Are clothes neatly folded or tossed into piles? Do you know what is clean and what is dirty? Does everything fit? Does anything fit? Do you wear the same things over and over again and skip over other items consistently?
Taking care of the clothes that you have will save you money by not having to replace items constantly. A suit, for example, doesn’t need to be cleaned very often but aired out after wearing. If you leave it on the floor or in a pile it’s going to have to be sent to the cleaners prior to wearing again because it will be wrinkled and smelly. Going to the cleaners costs money in terms of time and the actual expense plus you don’t have that suit for a few days. Frequently people pull something out of their closet to wear only to realize that it needs to be repaired. It goes into a pile or back in the closet thereby remaining un-wearable. They buy another one instead of repairing and add to the general clothing inventory. Wouldn’t it have been better to repair the item? Yes, it would have cost less money and you wouldn’t have multiples of the same item, confusing you as to what is wearable and what isn’t.
Do your clothes fit? Do you save multiple sizes of clothes “just in case…?” Staying a consistent size will save you money by not, again, having multiples of items in different sizes. I’d suggest a size larger and a size smaller is the maximum range you want to hang on to and even then pay attention to what you wear consistently.
Can you see your clothes? Do you have to go through piles to find a particular item? Keeping shirts, trousers, skirts, jackets, etc. on hangers will help keep your clothes not only in order so you can see them but wrinkle free, too. Sweaters, tee shirts, and other knits should be neatly folded so you can see them easily and, again, kept wrinkle free. Shoes should be paired together
Knowing what you have, keeping it wearable, and organized saves you time, the non renewable resource we all want more of, by not having to stress over what to wear each time you get dressed. I know a lot of parents teach their kids to lay out their clothes the night before school so they know what they are going to wear the next day and don’t have to fuss with it in the morning. Adults should take this advice for themselves to eliminate the morning rush, time-wasting-cycle of trying things on, realizing they don’t fit/ are dirty/ need to be fixed/ let’s try something else. The time spent on this cycle of decision-making can be easily eliminated by clearing and organizing your closet. Eliminating situations that can cause anxiety will greatly reduce your (and anyone else’s living in the same home) daily stress level, which means more time for enjoying activities that you want to do, less money and time spent shopping for things you already have, and less time on wasteful, circuitous activities like figuring out what to wear. You have better and more important things to do!
You have to go in your closet every day and how you start your day sets the tone for how it is going to progress. Start it on a positive, clear, and confident step so that they rest of your day is productive, enjoyable, and fulfilling. Remember: neat really is smart.
Our topic of the radio show last week, At Home with Paisley, was discussing and debunking design and organization myths. For both of us, an interior decorator and a professional organizer, there is a myth that only super rich people can afford our services or that it is highly indulgent to hire a decorator or organizer. While I know that hiring a decorator can save you money by helping you put together a design plan to save from costly, extraneous purchases, I want to talk about why disorganization actually costs you money.
This is a topic I have written about before but it seems even more prevalent given that we all will be paying more taxes this year. It is essential to spend more wisely and carefully, not frivolously. So today I’ll focus on the Kitchen and tomorrow I’ll talk about your clothes closet to see where disorganization and clutter may be costing you money.
Kitchen: What does your kitchen and pantry look like? Do you hate going in there because it is a mess? Do you know what you have in your pantry? Refrigerator? Can you see everything clearly? So many people don’t clear out their pantry so they have no idea know what is in there that is edible. They throw away food because it is stale or past its due date so they are essentially throwing money away right there in the trash. Do you eat out a lot because you can’t bear to face the messy kitchen? Do you throw away the leftovers because they’ve gone sour in the refrigerator? Again, there is money you are tossing in the trash along with the moldy moo goo gai pan.
Eating out not only costs more money but your body pays the price as well with added weight, which leads to buying more clothes (we’ll talk about the closet more tomorrow). I know a lot of people are proud to say that they don’t cook but I can tell you taking the time to clear out the pantry and refrigerator and filling them with food that you like and that you can use to create a meal will pay off exponentially. First off, you can accomplish the clearing and cleaning part in a weekend. It may not be your favorite way to spend a weekend (although I would love it!) but it is an investment in yourself and your sanity that will pay off immediately. Second, learning to cook will take a little longer but there are tons of free resources for easy menus that are perfect for novices. Pinterest, Food Network, Chow.com, and Epicurious are great online sources for easy recipes and my friend and chef, Nancy Waldeck, has a Friday Four Ezine that will provide you with a new, healthy recipe to try every Friday. Soups are an especially rewarding menu item to start with and are perfect for winter–one of my favorites!
Messiness and clutter in your kitchen hurt you and your waistline. Clear the clutter and eat at home to save money immediately. Tomorrow, we’ll talk about the cost of clutter in your closet connundrum! J
p.s. Do any of my foodie friends have additional comments about how eating at home can save you money, stress, extra weight, etc?