FACT: Being disorganized is costing you money.
Let me say that again. Being disorganized is costing you money. You may not have personally experienced that single large loss that properly hammered the point home, but I can guarantee you've felt some of the smaller losses. The smaller losses add up over time and make a big impact on your wallet and earning potential.
No judgment here. The struggle to get organized and maintain it is universal. It looks different in every home and in every business, and the root causes of disorganization can be just as varied. We can all benefit from a quick look around our home and our lives to see how we are losing money by being disorganized and what we can do to change it.
This list is by no means exhaustive, and some of the examples can easily fit into more than one category. I just want you to see how getting organized and finding the systems and strategies that work best for you, your family, and your business can help greatly reduce the cost you're currently paying.
Individual tubes of mascara and bottles of foundation don't take up much room, but collectively all the beauty products and cosmetics we’re saving can take a toll – both on available storage space and on our health. At best, cosmetics past their prime just won’t work as well. At worst, they can cause irritation and infection.
Well-formulated cosmetics can remain stable for a couple of years if stored unopened at room temperature. When they're opened and air comes into contact with the product, certain ingredients start to oxidize and degrade.
Every time you touch these products, germs are transferred onto them and, in turn, onto your face and skin. Heat and humidity promote the growth of mold, yeast, bacteria, and fungi, making the bathroom a poor choice for cosmetic storage. (Full disclosure: mine are in the bathroom, but after researching this, I’m planning to make a change.)
So, how do you know how long is too long to keep and use your beauty products? Beyond the obvious signs (mascara drying out, liquids separating), it can be difficult to tell. Plus, U.S. labeling regulations don’t require an expiration date.
By far, sentimental items are the most difficult category of things to declutter, and of those, inherited items are the most challenging. Your great grandmother's china. A grandfather’s war medals. Mom’s linens. Dad’s fishing gear.
First of all, if you’re starting your organization journey by decluttering sentimental items, STOP. Step away from this category and focus on areas less likely to stir intense emotions, like a hall closet or one of the junk drawers in your kitchen. Sentimental items are for later in the process, after you’ve decluttered other spaces and have had time to build up momentum and practice.
The biggest challenge when sorting and decluttering inherited items is facing and dealing with the emotions and memories that they trigger. I recently had a client with a large clown collection she had inherited from her grandmother. She wanted to fill her hutch with vintage bakeware, dishes, and glassware, but so much of it was taken up by clowns that what she wanted to display simply wouldn't fit.
I'm always reading and learning more about organization, whether it's new tips and tricks or the psychology behind clutter. Regardless of the subject, sometimes I come across a gem that I must share. I read this two days ago, and I can't stop thinking about it. It's simple and completely accurate. I definitely identify with several of these laws, and I bet many of you will feel the same. I'll reproduce it here in its entirety. Anything I add will be minimal and in brackets. (See below for the source.)
Basic Laws of Stuff
Law 1: Stuff breeds. The more you have, the more you need.
Well, okay, if you leave two objects in a dark corner, they don't actually reproduce, but sometimes it sure seems that way. Let's suppose you buy a new computer system. This basic system consists of a keyboard, a mouse, the CPU, and a monitor. Oh, and of course there are all those manuals and cables. And let's not forget a printer. Oh, and extra printer cartridges. You should probably have an external hard drive to back up your files. Of course you'lll need new software and maybe an Internet router so you can go wireless. Plus there are various gadgets and cleaning solutions to keep your computer in tip-top shape. And so on, and so on.
A quick and effective solution for tangled and unmanaged cords in the bathroom is a floating box shelf. It gets items off the countertop and hides tangled cords. In the pictures below, the outlet itself was also covered by the shelf, but if this is your only outlet in the space, you may want to consider placing the shelf beside the outlet instead of over it so that you have access to the outlet without removing the shelf.
Closets are one of my favorite spaces to organize. They're tiny, contained microcosms of our lives. The possibilities are endless: coats, umbrellas, shoes, off-season clothes, holiday decorations, toys, memorabilia, kid's clothes, general storage, books, office supplies - any number of things remembered and forgotten.
C.S. is a mother of three girls with chronic pancreatitis, a progressive condition that prevents their bodies from properly absorbing nutrition through the food they eat. The youngest drinks prescribed nutrition shakes to supplement her diet. The other two receive the bulk of their nutrition through feeding tubes. They receive shipments every three weeks of nutrition shakes, formula, bags, and a variety of other medical supplies. This mountain of supplies needs to be stored in a way that allows daily access, a quick view of the inventory when the call comes in to reorder, and an easy rotation of stock when shipments arrive.
I'm Jen, a professional organizer ready to help you take charge of your space, free up your time, and lead a more organized life! (Read more about me here)