9 Ways To Organize Your Home and Save
Everyone has a different relationship to organization; for some it comes naturally and is even an ongoing process. For most people, it’s a chore or a challenge you keep telling yourself you’ll get to when you have the time. However, getting your home organized can do more than just improve the feel of your space–it can save you money. Here experts weigh in with nine tips for organizing your home and saving money in the process.
Organize Your Pantry and Kitchen
A common area for waste is in the kitchen, says Sarah Jameson, marketing director for Green Building Elements. “You may help prevent some of this waste by organizing your kitchen, especially your refrigerator and pantry.” She suggests that by making everything visible and accessible, whether through clear bins or labels, you’ll know what you have, so as not to overbuy, and be less inclined to let food expire. “Any money you save on groceries helps you stretch your monthly budget.”
Additionally, “Keep track of product expiration dates and make meal preparations appropriately,” adds Susan Smith, manager at Velden Engineering.
When your house is cluttered and things are difficult to find, not only does this make life more challenging and uncomfortable in general, it can lead to over purchasing. “By having [places] for every category, you can eliminate buying things you already have,” says Ben Soreff, professional organizer. “Paper towels and laundry detergent aren’t that big a deal…but flashlights, entertaining supplies, and even bins themselves add up. If you live in your space for many years, the annual cost of repurchasing items adds up.”
Once you begin to declutter, you’ll have a number of things that can be donated to places such as The Goodwill or Salvation Army, where you can receive a tax deduction for your donations, says professional home organizer, Amy Bloomer, founder of Let Your Space BLOOM, LLC. Donating can be more effective even than selling, Bloom says. “Generally speaking, most of my clients find the opportunity cost of time involved in selling items outweighs the amount they might get from the sale. Donations are usually the least time consuming and most economical.”
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Once you have decluttered, when it’s time to make decisions about what to get rid of, Bloom recommends you not make individual decisions over single items, but sort them into piles of like items. “If you try to make decisions each time you discover an object, you’ll be forced to make the same decision, over and over again.”
Downsize a Storage Unit
If you rent a storage unit, for which you’re likely paying a monthly fee, decluttering may allow you to move things back into your house and get rid of the storage unit, says Dan Close, founder and CEO of We Buy Houses in Kentucky. Or you may be able to declutter your storage unit and downsize to a smaller one. “Prior to beginning, you must clear away an area in your home. Once you found the incentive to begin removing items, you’ll need to build a space to re-introduced them. Mentally, this will also serve as an incentive system,” Close says, as getting rid of some my older belongings may allow you to bring back in furniture or other items you have in storage.
Add Document Storage
If bills and other paper are piling up, you may be missing important information or racking up late fees by not paying bills on time. “Papers are one of the biggest struggles for people. They get lost easily and can make a room look cluttered with stacks of documents and papers,” says Andra DelMonico, lead interior designer for Trendey. “Add document and paper organizers to your home to keep the papers under control. Doing this will save you money by ensuring you pay your bills on time and make you more productive so you waste less time.”
Buy Organizers in Neutral Colors
If you’re going to invest in organizing items such as bins, shelving, racks, do so in neutral colors, says Michelle Hansen, a cleaning and organizing expert, and owner of Practical Perfection. “Teal might be your favorite color as of now, but realistically, design styles change over time. If you buy organizers in bright colors, you’ll most likely need to buy new organizers down the road when you want to change the look of your space. Neutrals eliminate that extra expense.”
If you do have the time and energy to sell items you’d like to get rid of this can obviously make you money, says Lailani Gachalian, a professional home organizer and owner of Joy & Bliss Organization. “As you declutter, you will decide which items are best discarded, donated, and worth the time to sell. Remember the goal is to get rid of your unwanted items as quickly as possible. If you want to try to sell everything than a yard sale is the fastest way to make money and declutter…”
Once Organized, Stay Organized
If you’ve gotten yourself organized, try to stay organized, says Aya Bradley, home design, indoor plant and DIY editor at The Golden. “Staying organized is a great mental motivator…a clutter-free home makes you feel a lot better. By this process, you won’t be making purchases as you used to, which will help you save a lot of money.”