You may be wondering why I am talking about organization and spring cleaning now. Well, if you are Jewish, then you know EXACTLY why cleaning is on my mind. One word: Pesach. Now is the time when I start cleaning for Pesach. I usually try to combine it with a bit of spring cleaning as well.
Some of you may be wondering why I am talking about spring cleaning when I am not a lifestyle blog or a cleaning blog but a personal finance blog. (Maybe I should pivot, though? Anyone? No?)
Time to Spring Clean and Save Money
It all started with eyeliner.
I noticed that I was going through eyeliners at an amazing rate. This is particularly funny since I very rarely wear makeup. I also buy my eyeliners in packs of 2, so it seemed excessive that I was going through so many pens. But so it was. Every time I opened my makeup case, there was just that one almost finished eyeliner even though I could have sworn that I had JUST bought more eyeliners.
However, my cognitive energy was what it is (aka I can’t remember if I ate breakfast, let alone if I completed my shopping list); I assumed that I had just never bought more eyeliner pens. So I went and bought new ones. This repeated itself a few times.
Fast forward to Pesach time when I engaged in a “cleaning out” of my closet, and lo and behold- in a basket on my shelf, I found numerous eyeliner pens. Some still in their packages. I HAD purchased them, but since I just threw them willy-nilly into my closet, I could never find them when I needed them.
I should have put a new pen into my makeup case and then put the rest in a designated area to check before going shopping. That means that I would have to have a fairly clean designated area to put them in.
All this is to say: being messy and disorganized costs you money. Sometimes a lot of money. So being organized is in my wheel-house as it DIRECTLY related to personal finance.
Be Organized and Save Money
Maintaining an organized physical abode usually correlates to an organized mind. You can’t compare the feeling you get when you walk into a clean, organized home and the feeling that you get when you walk into a messy home. Living in messy surroundings causes us to lose time and money. When you are busy finding your shoes and keys, then you can’t focus on other things in your life. When you lose your keys and have to replace them, then that hits your wallet directly. And if you lose your actual wallet? Forget about it. (That can be a story for another time).
Everyone has different definitions of clutter and organization. Some people like stuff. They are comforted it. It makes them feel at home. Some people like the minimalist look. Blank and empty spaces. Other people find that cold and unwelcoming. Both ascetics are fine and not really what I am talking about. I am talking about the ability to find what you need in your house. The ability to have a place for all your stuff. the ability to live happily in your space
How much does your stuff cost?
Excess clutter and stuff is a problem, though besides the fact that stuff costs money. After all, when you have stuff, you have to buy things for our your stuff in.
And more things to store stuff that you don’t use and more stuff to replace the stuff you can’t find because you stuck it into a box labeled “boys winter clothes,” but you honestly can’t find it, and even if you know where it is you certainly can’t reach it without emptying all the other boxes from the crawl space. Hence, you just buy the darn coat even though it is possible you already have one or, even worse, already bought one on clearance last year. Do you get my drift?
And remember that feeling that you get when you come into a messy house? How likely are you to cook a delicious meal in a messy kitchen with dishes piled in a sink? Especially after a long day. It’s too overwhelming.
So take-out it is. And honestly, no-one could blame you because if you make a whole dinner, you probably will want to actually sit at the table and eat it but then you would have to fold the laundry that’s piled there. So it’s better just to buy something so you can eat it on the couch.
Please understand that I am in no way preaching here- the only preaching I am doing is to myself. So Spring Clean. Save Money.
Make it a Habit
Fancy organizing systems don’t work for me. Neither do whole intense de-cluttering systems like Marie Kondo. I can’t take a week off work and empty every closet in my home. It just doesn’t work for me. Not only that, but I give myself maybe until after Pesach until my house slowly starts accumulating junk.
So… systems that are simple and easy.
I don’t need my house to be perfectly clean, but I do need easy systems that I can keep up with all the time. Small behavioral changes work much better than trying to complete an overhaul of my lifestyle in a week or a month.
Get Rid of Stuff
So this month, I am working on GETTING RID OF STUFF. No more buying containers for all my stuff and clothes. No more reworking my closets to fitting things in.
And if I regret throwing or getting rid of something? Then I will rebuy it. After all, I’d rather make one shirt purchase that I love and appreciate than having 10 shirts that don’t really fit and that I hate wearing.
That’s the last thing that I love about cleaning and organizing. That I get to reevaluate my things- my clothes, my kid’s toys, etc. and I can keep what we like and use and either sell or donate or throw out the rest.
I also like putting away toys that we’ve outgrown or getting bored with to make it easier for them to play with the toys they like. Too many toys make it overwhelming for them actually to play. We can always take down the toys when they want them, and it is as if they got something new all over again. (Frugal hack! New playing fun with old toys).