In these economic times, it’s sometimes difficult to justify getting organized because of the perceived cost involved. Sure, if you can take advantage of some specialized expertise by working with a professional organizer, or if you need to purchase containers for your organizing projects—getting organized will require a financial investment. But the investment made in getting organized pays off more quickly than you may imagine, and in ways you may have never considered. Plus, there are simple ways to stretch your organizing budget. All this adds up to one thing: you’re likely to save money by getting more organized!
Ways Being More Organized Can Save Money
The organizing process involves decluttering—letting go of items you no longer use, need, or love. One side effect of the “letting go” process is that you become aware of what’s leaving your home and what remains with you. This awareness inevitably turns you into a more intentional shopper. You become aware of and intentional about what you bring into your home. For example, when you know you just donated fifteen shirts which had never been worn (and you still have a drawer-full upstairs), the next time you see t-shirts on sale, you’ll let them sit on the store shelves. Intentional shopping saves money.
I see this time and time again, with my clients as well as workshop participants. The process of letting things go changes your relationship with stuff—and in a really healthy way! After decluttering and organizing your home, you’re much more likely to bring into your home only items you will truly use, actually need, and genuinely love—and this saves money, not just once, but on an ongoing basis.
In addition to filtering out impulse purchases, when you have organizing systems in place, you no longer buy extra items because you can’t find the one you know you already have somewhere (or which hasn’t made its way through the laundry cycle yet!). Additionally, when your home is organized, you’re more likely to use shopping lists, both because you have the time to create them, and because you have systems in place that make it simple to do so. Shopping lists help save money. When you stick to your list you buy only that which you need. Plus, lists preclude the need for last-minute trips to the store. The less often you shop, the fewer chances you have to make impulse purchases. With shopping lists, and freed-up storage space in your home, you can also stock up on household necessities when they go on sale.
Aside from saving money after the fact, getting organized can cost a lot less than you may be expecting. Here are some simple ideas for saving money on storage.
Save Money While Getting Organized
Containers represent one of the biggest investments in getting organized. But containers don’t have to be expensive. Use these strategies to save money on containers, while adding a bit of creative flair to your projects.
- Bins and other containers you free up by decluttering. Since the organizing process involves decluttering—letting go of items you no longer use, need, or love, you will inevitably free up storage containers that can be repurposed for your new organizing projects. When working with clients, I commonly find that they discover they don’t need to purchase any containers at all. They have plenty already in their homes, just waiting to be reused! You may also find that some of the items you’re ready to part with would make perfect storage containers, too. Here are some ideas.
- Bowls. If you have extra bowls in the kitchen that you aren’t using for soup or cereal, repurpose them to corral small items. I use colorful ceramic bowls for a variety of purposes like storing cotton balls on my bathroom counter, or organizing my daughter’s hair accessories.
- Plastic cups or coffee mugs. Put surplus plastic cups or coffee mugs to use storing items like pens, pencils, paint brushes or other craft supplies. Plastic cups or coffee mugs are also handy for storing toothbrushes in a deep bathroom drawer.
- Tin cans. Remove the original label and add your own label, using colorful scrapbook paper. Aside from adding a pop of color in your space, paper-covered tin cans help you disguise small items such as buttons or paper clips, yet keep them easily accessible in your craft room or on your desk.
- Ceramic flower pots. Give pens, pencils, or kitchen utensils an inexpensive and stylish home using inexpensive flower pots.
- Glass canning jars, or jars from your recycle bin. Glass jars are terrific for storing everything from ticket stubs to a colorful collection of buttons.
- Baby food jars. Use these to organize anything tiny, from nuts and bolts in the workshop, to paperclips and rubber bands in the home office.
- Your child’s pottery projects. Kids’ art of any kind adds a bright spot to a space. Use a shallow piece of pottery as the designated landing spot for car keys, or use a taller piece for pens and pencils on your desk.
- Ramekins and oil dipping bowls. Repurpose these small vessels for organizing items in a drawer, from safety pins and extra staples, to containers of dental floss or ponytail holders.
- Shoe boxes from your closet and copy paper boxes from the office. Use these containers for corralling paper items like stationery, extra cards, and gift-wrapping supplies.
- Extra food storage containers. Can’t find the lids for some of your food storage containers? No worries. Put these organizing dynamos to use in your pantry, separating packets of seasoning mixes, instant oatmeal, or granola bars.
- Mini galvanized buckets. These organizing gems can often be picked up for just a dollar at Target’s dollar spot and then quickly put to use organizing items in your home. Use them to stow everything from remote controls to sidewalk chalk—just let your imagination run wild.
- Use what you have…and then buy on sale. Using containers you already have on hand can be a permanent solution or a temporary one—it gives you a chance to live with your new organizing system and work out the bugs before shelling out cash for new containers. The process of trying before you buy will help you purchase containers with confidence and stretch your organizing dollar, too!
All in all, getting organized does not have to be an expensive proposition; instead, it can actually save you money. When you know what you have and can easily find it, you avoid overspending on items you already have or don’t really need. Plus, when you get creative with container solutions, it won’t require the upfront investment you may be imagining.