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Category:  Cleaning

Related Links:  | CleaningClutter Control |

Organizing Your Home

By Nikki Willhite

www.allthingsfrugal.com

Organizing your home saves you money

Organizing your home is another money saving tool for the frugal homemaker. When you can't find things, you often end up with the unnecessary expenditure of buying something you already have and don't need.

It can also be very aggravating to spend 30 minutes looking for the scotch tape. In a well organized home, you should be able to put your hands on anything you own in less than a minute. At least, that's the rule at my house (or I am in trouble!)

The trick in saving money in the household budget is to have less, make better use of it. You cannot do this unless you are organized. You will reach for a new piece of aluminum foil unless you know exactly where you have stored the last piece you used and then put aside to use again.

Another example is your clothes. If they aren't organized, you may feel you have nothing to wear. This is certainly the case if you don't keep them clean and mended.

The key to organization is to be logical. You will remember where you have put things if you store them the first place you would think to look for them, which is usually near where they will be used.

Keep everything as compartmentalized as possible, and in clear view. It doesn't take a lot of money to separate things with containers. As was mentioned in Tightwad Tidbits a few weeks ago, empty plastic milk containers make great storage containers. Just cut them off to the appropriate height.

Many other packaging items we bring into our homes can be used for storage, such as cereal boxes, strawberry and other fruit containers, cool whip containers, cottage cheese cartons, egg cartons, and so on.

Be creative in your storage containers. Some of the best ones were not created for that purpose. Ice cube trays make great containers for storing sewing supplies and jewelry. Over-the- door shoe holders can store everything from paperwork to toiletries.

Some people store items in glass jars under shelves (especially in the garage). You just screw the jar lid to the underside of the shelf; fill up the jar, and the screw the jar to the lid. The filled jar now hangs just under the shelf without taking up any counter area.

If you are a pack rat, you will probably never by able to organize your things. What is the purpose of taking up valuable storage space with things you never use? You must first get rid of the clutter.

You are not saving money by accumulating items that you do not use or need. Get rid of them! You will take better care of the things that you do need.

Throwing things away and seeing the waste may also help you avoid unnecessary purchases in the future. It's hard to throw away things that cost money. Next time you are tempted to purchase something you may not really need, you can think back and wonder if this item will end up being thrown away. You may only have to do this once to learn.

When I write about getting rid of items in your home, you do, or course, have several options. You can have a garage sale, give them to friends and family, or donate them to charity. If your children are getting older, you will find they are a great receptacle for your unwanted things!

If you do not have a lot of storage room in your home, put items stored on a long term basis under the bed, on top of cupboards, or other places that don't take up convenient storage areas.

Here are some tips that may help you in organizing your home and removing the clutter

*Set a time limit. If you haven't used something in the time limit you set, get rid of it. If that homemade ice cream maker has been sitting in your closet for 5 years waiting for that special occasion to use it - toss it! It isn't going to happen.

*Be realistic. Don't keep clothes with the hope that you will lose weight. If you do, chances are they will either be out of style, or you will want to reward yourself with new items. Get rid of them, and take better care of the clothes you do have.

When you do go shopping, it will be easier to identify items you need that go with what you are actually wearing and you will save money that way. If you are a good seamstress, you may be able to cut them down and make clothes for your children from the fabric.

*Set goals in your organization. Do one area at a time. If you just do a little bit here and there, you won't feel like you are accomplishing anything, and you may lose motivation. Have a holding area for items you take out of a room and plan to put elsewhere. Get one area done before you move on to the next.

*Don't try and build Rome in a day! Take pride in small accomplishments. Small steps will get you there with a lot less stress and disruption of your schedule. You will be making a lot of decisions, and it can be mentally exhausting.

*Keep focused! Work on the task at hand, and avoid being distracted. My husband couldn't clean a closet if his life depended on it! By the fourth item, he is off on another tangent or going down memory lane.

*You will probably have items that you are unsure about. Have in your holding area several boxes or designated spots. Classify the items you are removing from a room, and put them in these spots. Here are some different groupings you will need:

1. You will need a spot for things that you are unsure of. Sometimes you need a little time to make your decision.

2. Place all sentimental items that you want to keep together. You may have a picture that one of your children has drawn that you need to frame. Set all these items aside, and incorporate them into your home as time and money allows.

3. Another area is needed for items that you would use if they worked. Again, set them aside and fix them as time and money allows.

Here are some ideas to organize specific items

Paperwork: File it! Everyone needs a filing system, whether it is a steel cabinet or an accordion folder.

If you are lucky enough to have a computer with a CD ROM you can write on, and a scanner, you can put things like bank statements and other documents on disk and avoid the paper pileup.

Photos: Scrap booking is a great hobby. If you are not into that, get a box to store your photos in. They are inexpensive and take up less room than albums. You can find photo boxes at stores like JoAnns.

Grocery Bags: Plastic grocery bags can be stuffed in empty paper towel rolls or Kleenex boxes. When you get a bunch of them, put them in one of the plastic bag and store in the garage if you think you will need them. If you don't need them throw them away.

The same things with brown paper sacks. Store a small amount sideways in a cupboard, and keep the extras outside.

Toys: Store in crates or plastic buckets. Make sure they are big enough so that toys can be quickly picked up. This is one area you may want to spend some money to buy an attractive container- if you are keeping them in the living areas of your home.

You may be able to find something at the thrift store. Another option is to purchase milk crates and paint them. Or you could cover cardboard boxes with contact paper.

Dirty Clothes can be stored just as effectively in a duffel bag as a hamper, and it takes up less space. If you washing machine is handy, you can also store them in it until you wash.

And finally... how do you keep your house decluttered? The easiest solution for a busy homemaker is to have a junk drawer- preferably a big one. When you are in a hurry, and don't have time to think where to place something or to put it there, just throw it in the drawer and attend to it later. Just remember to do it, so the junk drawer doesn't become a problem.

 

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