Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Clutter Can Cost You

Clutter can be unhealthy and add stress to your life, but did you know it can also cost you money? Consider the following examples, where clutter and disorganization may result in unnecessary expenses:

A bill arrives in the mail. The family member who checks the mailbox drops the stack of unopened mail in the backseat of his car or tosses it on a cluttered table somewhere. By the time the person who pays the bills discovers it, the payment is overdue, and a late charge has been applied.

You buy a pint of fresh, juicy strawberries and then stuff them in the refrigerator behind some other groceries. By the time you wonder what happened to them, they are covered in mold.

You have a discount coupon or a gift card for your favorite restaurant, but you can't remember where you put it. You end up paying full price for your meal. When the coupon finally turns up, it has expired.

You need a black turtleneck to go with a new outfit you plan to wear next week. When you make a place in your closet for your new purchase, you discover another black turtleneck, perhaps the same size and design, with the tags still on it.

You love to shop when you travel, and when you find the perfect holiday or birthday gift for someone on your list, you buy it on the spot, regardless of season. Only problem, when that gift-giving occasion rolls around, you buy something new, because you forgot where you stashed the original present—or even that you had it.

A little organization and clutter reduction can simplify your life, and save you money as well.

For example, automate as many bills as possible or set up email reminders so you don't miss a payment. If you pay your bills by check through the mail, establish a system, such as a special folder or in-basket that is monitored regularly. Know when payments are due, so if a bill gets misplaced or lost in the mail, you can rectify the situation before your account becomes delinquent.

Take inventory of what is in your closet. Get rid of clothing you no longer use, so you can more easily locate the garments you still wear. Set aside a drawer or area of the closet for gift purchases, and check it before planning a shopping trip for a gift-giving occasion.

Designate a spot near the door for keys, lists, coupons, library books, borrowed items, purchases that have to be returned. Think of the time you'll save looking for these things.

Arrange your refrigerator and pantry shelves so perishables are visible, and food items with the oldest date are used first. Do a quick review of what you have on hand and make a list before you go grocery shopping.

And if your efforts to save money through organization lead to a less-cluttered, less stressful life, so much the better!

What tips do you have for reducing clutter? I would love to hear your comments.

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