Tips & Inspiration for Organizing a Simpler Life
December 2014 – Vol. 13 No. 9

The secret to getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks and then starting on the first one. ~ Mark Twain

Give yourself the gift of organization

I read a great article the other day on what professional organizers do and how they can help. It’s worth a read if you’re curious about that.

It occurred to me as I was reading the article that when you hire the services of a professional organizer, you give yourself the gift of organization. Now that’s a gift that keeps on giving!

You might think that you can’t afford a professional organizer. And you might be right. Or you might be wrong.

What if getting organized could save you money? That would make the cost to hire a professional organizer money well spent, right? Following are seven ways that disorganization may be costing you more than you think.

1. If you waste even just 15 minutes a day looking for stuff, and you earn $20/hour, you waste the equivalent of $5 a day or $140/month or $1,680 a year.

2. If you misplace bills or don’t have a good bill paying system in place and end up paying bills late, you could get hit with late fees. If your credit card payment is late, the lender may decide to raise your interest rate to 25% or more which will cost you even more money every month from that date forward.

3. If you’re not organized, you might end up paying more money for certain events (charity walks or conferences for example) that have discounts for early registration.

4. Disorganization may cause you to misplace checks or forget to deposit them, which could subject your account to bank overdraft fees.

5. A lot of people end up re-buying stuff only to find the original stuff later. Example: If your closet is disorganized, you might end up buying clothes or shoes that are similar to ones you forgot you had. This happens a lot!

6. When you keep a running list of foodstuffs you need and bring it to the grocery store with you, you are more likely to buy only what you need. Furthermore, you have a well-stocked pantry which means less need to order out because you can’t put dinner on the table with what you’ve got.

7. Having a system for organizing coupons can save you lots of money on everything from groceries to department store items to dinner out.

Ready to get some help? To find a professional organizer near you, visit the web site of the National Association of Professional Organizers. You may find several organizers in your area. Speak with a few to find the one that’s the best fit for you. Ask if they offer any package discounts. You might also look into joining The Clutter Diet, a very affordable, online membership program to help you get organized. Then, if a certain someone wants to know what you want for Christmas this year, you can ask for the gift of organization.

Two ways to get organizing help for free

I know you enjoy the organizing tips I share in this blog, but there are two other ways you can get organizing help from me – for free.

1. Join my Organizing Support Group on Facebook. It’s a closed group, which means that only other members can see your posts. Whether you need help getting started or with a specific project like organizing your craft room, just introduce yourself and tell us what you need. We have a very supportive group of members who encourage and cheer each other on. I also post helpful links and files for group members. Click JOIN to request to be added to the group. One of the group admins will add you within 24 hours – more often within minutes!

2. Use the search icon you’ll find at the top right of every page on my web site to search for help with a particular issue. Your search results will include all blog posts and newsletters in which that phrase appears. For example, if you search for “paper clutter,” you’ll find last week’s Your Questions Answered blog post, plus a super guest blog post from Andrea Brundage on Paper Piles – Delayed Decision Disorder (DDD), another post on 3 Ways to Go Paperless, and more.

72 clutter-free gift ideas

If you are struggling with holiday gift ideas, check out this list of 72 clutter-free gifts from Getting Organized magazine. One thing missing from the list – a gift to Getting Organized magazine! Should you decide to order (or ask for it as a holiday gift!), be sure to use the special coupon code GETORG2014 to get a 15% discount off your first year’s subscription (for new subscribers only).

Favorite organizing products and resources

As a professional organizer for the last 14 years, I’ve used and recommended a lot of organizing products, services and resources. Every month, in this column, I share my favorites.

Last month, I recommended what was the best filing system I’ve ever tried – the freedom_filer-150x147Freedom Filer system. It’s a ready-made system that you can implement immediately using the pre-printed file folder tab labels. It also comes with blank labels so you can customize your system to fit your needs.

What I love about this filing system is that it’s set up to be self-purging with email reminders from the company about what to do at the end of each year. Take a look and see for yourself what you think. Read what others say about it. Check out some of the videos to see it in action. And then maybe, just maybe, you’ll want to purchase Freedom Filer to organize your files in a way that makes it easy to file and retrieve your important papers from today forward. (Look for the Ready-Made Systems.)

scanner-rentalThis month, I want to introduce you to a way you can scan all of your photos without buying a scanner or paying someone to scan them for you. You can rent a photo scanner from EZ Photo Scan and do it yourself, saving yourself a lot of money in the process. They offer 3-day and 7-day rentals. Imagine having all of your photos digitized in a matter of days!

I need to tell you that I have not tried this service, but I am very comfortable recommending EZ Photo Scan after speaking recently with a representative at the company which is, by the way, a corporate member of the National Association of Professional Organizers and also a Better Business Bureau accredited business. Here’s an idea: maybe you can go in with a family member, friend, or group on the cost of the rental.

Shameless promotion: Listen up!

If you’ve got the time (about 47 minutes), you might want to give a listen to this audio podcast  with me being interviewed about how to turn clutter into cash.

That’s all for this month. Until next month, keep it simple.

FULL DISCLOSURE: Some links in this post may be affiliate links, meaning if you make a purchase through one of these links, I may earn a small commission which goes toward the continuation of this complimentary newsletter. Please note that I only recommend products that I would recommend whether I got paid or not.