On the surface, it may not seem like organizing and frugality have very much in common, but I strongly believe they are intimately related. I think they can – and often do – feed off of and encourage one another.
Today, I want to share with you four ways that being organized helps you live frugally as well:
1. Prevent Double Purchases
Let’s face it, when things are unorganized and cluttered, it’s easy to either forget you have something or simply not be able to find it when you need it, resulting in double – or triple or quadruple – purchases of the same item.
I’ve talked before about how an organized pantry prevents this from happening, but the truth is that it’s applicable to virtually every area of our lives, from home improvement projects and school supplies to seasonal gear and toiletries. A lot of people live frugally by stockpiling necessities such as children’s clothing, household products and gifts when there’s a great deal to be had, but if you can’t find things in your stockpile, then you’re actually wasting money and time in the process.
2. Organized Spaces Are Addictive
Although organizing is an ongoing task that you have to approach regularly rather than as a one-time event, having an organized space can actually motivate you to be frugal. Once you organize an area of your home, you’re more likely to think twice before making a purchase as you consider whether you have space for that item and how it will fit into your current system.
Of course, there will be times when you need or want to make a purchase that simply won’t fit with your system, and in those cases you’ll need to reorganize to make space for it. Hopefully the thought of redoing your hard work will make you consider whether it’s truly worth it. Thinking about purchases this way clearly quantifies the money and time that we invest in every purchase we make.
3. See the Results of Impulse Purchases
The first step to getting organized is to declutter and get rid of those items that are simply taking up space without enhancing your life. You will be able to clearly see the result of many of your impulse purchases as you realize that the kitchen gadget or tool or organizing item that you just had to have has been rarely used and often forgotten. This process helps inoculate you against future impulse purchases as you calculate the amount of money you’ve wasted on such purchases.
4. Break the Ties to Stuff
Finally, decluttering is also a valuable exercise in letting go of stuff (and yes, I emphasize the word stuff because I think I think it’s important to realize that a lot of the things in our home are simply that – stuff that wastes time, space and energy because we place more value on it than we should).
Obviously there is value in keeping sentimental items that take you back in time to a memory or a connection with a loved one. However, it’s important to differentiate between the items that truly accomplish this – such as a worn photo of your great grandparents, a toy that your mother played with as a child or the outfit your brought your firstborn child home from the hospital in – and items that you’re simply holding onto in an effort to create those memories – such as a cheap trinket from vacation or all 25 onesies that your firstborn wore as a baby.
I’m not trying to imply that organizing or decluttering are easy tasks or that they’ll automatically lead to a more frugal lifestyle. However, I do believe that purposeful organizing and decluttering will help you accomplish your goals of living more frugally while also helping you to live more simply. I’ve seen it happen in my own life!
Mandi Ehman is the blogger behind Organizing Your Way: A Personalized Approach to Decluttering Your Life and Simple Nest: Where Beauty Meets Simplicity. She believes that living simply makes for a rich and fulfilling life and that time invested in organizing and decluttering pays back exponentially!