Over the weekend, I needed to purchase a lock for our side gate. I looked all over the house, and after searching for a few minutes, figured that we didn’t have one. I fired up the car, drove to the hardware store, spent $5.38 on a new lock, and came home. Yesterday, while looking in a kitchen drawer, I found a lock…
Lesson learned? Had I put everything away in an organized manner, I would have saved myself $5.38!
This got me thinking, what are some other areas that I could save money in by being organized?
Being Organized – Save Money
First, I decided to tackle something easy: my laundry room. Do I have a spot that I keep the paper towels, detergent, etc? How many times have I gone to Costco and bought the huge pack of paper towels only to find that I already had some at home? I decided that I needed to keep everything in one specific spot. Each cabinet was now designated as the holder of TP, or paper towels, or clothes washing stuff. Estimated savings – around $20 a month in no longer purchasing unneeded items.
Second, I decided that my closet needed a little work. When you can’t see something, you may think you need it and go out to buy it without thinking twice. I organized all of my work shirts into one section, my “dressy” stuff in another, and finally my casual around town stuff together. This made it a lot easier to see what I had, and now I know I don’t need anymore white button down shirts (although, can you really have enough?). Estimated savings – probably around $100 a year.
Finally, I decided to tackle my computer. My desktop used to look something like the example to the right…a giant mess of icons. About every 30 days, this little box would pop up in the bottom right hand corner and tell me “There are unused icons on your desktop, would you like to clean them up?” I would always click “NO” and go about my business. I decided to organize all of my files and documents in “My Documents”, and keep that as the only thing on my desktop. I kept the internet, My Computer, and Steam (gotta have that!), and put the Recycle Bin in the bottom right corner. Now, I’m proud to say that my desktop looks like this:
Now, what is my potential savings? Well, its hard to judge, but it sure feels so much cleaner, and I am probably a lot more productive when on the computer.
The odd thing is I have always been extremely organized when it has come to my finances. I use Quicken and Mint, and I have a HomeFile System for all my files. I just never bothered to be very organized about much else. However, I have realized that it can really start to add up in actual dollars by not being organized.
Does anyone else have any organization stories to share? What do you do to keep organized?
Robert Farrington is America’s Millennial Money Expert® and America’s Student Loan Debt Expert™, and the founder of The College Investor, a personal finance site dedicated to helping millennials escape student loan debt to start investing and building wealth for the future. You can learn more about him here and here.
He regularly writes about investing, student loan debt, and general personal finance topics geared towards anyone wanting to earn more, get out of debt, and start building wealth for the future.
He has been quoted in major publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, Fox, ABC, NBC, and more. He is also a regular contributor to Forbes.