Jill Cooper and Tawra Kellam
We live in a society of extremes. With soaring debt, obesity at an all time high and massive clutter, people everywhere are trying to come up with new and better solutions to solve these problems. Unfortunately, not many of their ideas are working.
Instead of focusing on getting out of debt or losing weight, we need to first give more serious thought to becoming organized. Does that sound crazy, almost laughable? Before you start laughing too hard, look at these examples and see if you can relate.
How often do you go out to eat because your kitchen is a mess? If your kitchen is clean, chances are you would not only be more willing to fix dinner at home, but in the morning you would fix breakfast and pack yourself a lunch too.
Here are some of the benefits of getting your kitchen organized:
- Eating just one meal a day out of the house, at a cost of $10, costs you $3600 a year. If you and your spouse eat out each day, you could save $7000 or more by packing your own meals.
- When you are organized you know what you have in your pantry, so don’t buy ingredients that you already have and you don’t throw out food you forgot you have.
- You will be using your leftovers instead of tossing them.
- You might start losing weight because you are preparing regular, well balanced meals instead of eating fast food all the time.
Organizing can save you money in other aspects of your life as well:
- Do you buy new items because you can’t find something? The cost of things like tools, glue, tape, garden tools, kitchen items, light bulbs, batteries, office supplies and other items really adds up.
- How much do you pay each month in late fees on your bills because you can’t find them, your checkbook or even a stamp to mail them?
- How often do you toss a suit jacket on the floor or on the furniture and then later have to have it dry cleaned because it’s wrinkled? Just think what you could save on your dry cleaning bill if you stay a little more organized.
Try something different!
So often we think that the solution to our debt problem is for both spouses to work outside the home. When both spouses work out of the home, who takes care of the house? Frequently, there is a constant battle between them about whose job it is to take care of some element of the housework. Imagine if your boss at work decided to work a second full time job. How would this impact your work place? Who would you ask if you couldn’t find products for your customers? What if you needed help or advice from your boss, but he said, “Not now, I’m too tired from my other job?” How long would that company last? The same thing happens in many homes every day. Would your family be better served if one spouse stayed home? Someone needs to be responsible for the bulk of the care and maintenance of the home and family. Ideally, everyone will share the work, but like in any other business, there has to be a person in charge. If this sounds like your home, you might sit down with your spouse and seriously consider whether one of you might take off of work to try to get your home in order.
If you’re considering staying home, sit down with pen and paper (hopefully you can find one) in hand and figure out the specific numbers. How much are you spending in order to work? And more importantly, how much is being disorganized costing you? Be honest and try to cover even the little things. You might find that the money you are spending dealing with disorganization is equal to or more than one spouse’s take home pay. Or at least enough of the take home pay to reconsider your budget as it relates to one of the spouses jobs.
Regardless of how your family handles it, the work of keeping the home has to get done.
If you feel that you and your spouse must work, then try to come up with other ideas.
- Would spending your vacation organizing things and deep cleaning give you enough of a jump start to help keep things organized? Maybe once you organized everything you could consider hiring someone to clean your house once a week. Before you say you can’t afford it, think about it. Which would cost less- paying someone $75 a week to clean your house or paying for all the things that cost you money because you are not organized?
- Consider whether it would be worth one spouse working part time instead of full time.
- Try one simple thing like hanging up your clothes so you don’t have cleaners expense or getting the whole family to pitch in with cleaning the kitchen at the end of each meal.
Maybe you do have the time, but you just don’t know how to get organized. If that is the case, then learn. Check out books from the library, or better yet, find someone you know who is organized and ask them to help you. Don’t be embarrassed to do this. Most people are more than willing to help others. Remember, those older women (and men) that seem to have it all together now, didn’t start out that way. They’ve had 20 years or more practice and they remember what it was like to not have a clue where to start. Just ask.
Instead of wasting your time and energy on trying to bail the water out of your sinking boat by bailing faster or using a bigger bucket, fix the hole. Clean up the clutter and save.