The costs of being disorganized are not always easy to see all at once, but they really add up over time. If your shoes are all scattered on the floor of your closet or under your bed, you may not realize you already own that perfect pair of brown dress shoes that you need. If you were well organized, you could just glance at your shelf of shoes and know exactly what you own. Organization saves you from spending extra money on things you don't really need. Disorganized collections of stuff can also cause things to get crushed or dirty faster, which means that you will have to buy new ones sooner.
The key to staying organized is to create a system that really works for you. If you know that you will never open your closet and put your shoes in a special rack at the end of the day, don't use a closet shoe rack. Find ways to organize your stuff so that it is natural for you to keep everything where it is supposed to be all of the time.
Free Storage Options
You probably throw away excellent storage bins every time you go shopping. Shoe boxes can be used to organize your drawers quickly and easily. Leftover Christmas boxes are great places to keep paperwork or items that you don't need to access every day. Since the boxes have already been put together and are probably reinforced for mailing, they are sturdy and ready to stack in a closet or garage. Be sure to mark the contents clearly on the outside of the box before you put it away.
Many clothing items are packed into lightweight zipper bags at the store. You don't even have to alter them to use them as simple hanging storage for lighter items. Getting things like bins of yarn up off the floor can help keep the yarn safe and make it easier to access the color you need. Of course, hanging zipper bags are also good ways to store off-season clothing. The plastic bag will keep the clothes from collecting dust when you are not wearing them for a few months. It also makes it easy to see right away what your current clothing collection looks like.
A Small Investment Reaps Big Rewards
Not all storage options are available for free. You may need to spend a little money to buy extra bins or other small storage devices to make it easier to get organized. Figure out how you want to arrange your things, then decide if you need them now or if you can wait. Buy what you need right now and put off what you can live without. Chances are you will come across something else just as useful for free at some point in the year. Most of the time, you can live with one divider in a drawer and putting assorted items to the side until another organizer comes your way.
It is worth buying more durable plastic bins for items that will be stored in the garage or the attic. For a relatively small investment, you will keep your belongings from being damaged by rodents, insects, dust, or moisture. The plastic will protect your stored items so that you can use them over and over again rather than having to replace them every year or two. The money you spend on plastic bins will be recovered every time you have a chance to reuse an item that you have stored away.
The Trick to Staying Organized
The trick to staying organized has nothing to do with the precise way in which you organize. As long as you know where to look for any single item you own, you are organized. Of course, if you live with others, a little more thought has to go into it. I'm sure your husband does not expect to find cough syrup in the sock drawer. Logical arrangements make it easier on the whole family to find things that you have tucked away. Be considerate in your arrangements and keeping the organization going will be easy.
Heather Hollingsworth is a single mother raising three teenagers while she attends graduate school. She's always looking for a new way to stretch a dollar as far as it can go!