Guest post by Kristen from Different Shades of Green.
Organizing our home has helped us reach financial goals and harmony. We weren’t always organized though!
Here’s how we started…
Before We Got Organized
Our spare bedroom was our office. I could toss papers in and close the door. I avoided that room, and the mess grew. When I needed to find something, I couldn’t. I missed payments and lost important papers. I had no idea how much money we had or owed.
Our office mess was causing a big financial drain. Interest rates rose, fees piled up, and expenses started climbing. This was compounded by the stress the mess caused. Feeling overwhelmed, I shopped to avoid reality, making the problem worse.
First Step Towards Organization
Finally, I got brave. I moved the office to the kitchen. It scared me to face finances every day! I examined every piece of paper, cleaning up piles and cleaning out drawers.
I downsized to a 2-drawer file and storage box. The file cabinet is now in the kitchen with my desk. When mail arrives, items that don’t require action are tossed or filed. Action items go to my inbox. Seeing the box daily means I maintain it, and things aren’t forgotten.
Benefits of Organization
Financially, we are stronger with an organized office. We haven’t had a late payment in years, and we paid off all our credit card debt! I’m motivated to work on our finances, because I have a visual representation of our success by looking at my tidy desk.
We’re also stronger emotionally. We’re more confident, knowing how much we have and how much we need. We spend less now, but enjoy more freedom.
Since that first step, we’ve fine-tuned the organization and expanded:
We keep a folder out labeled ‘monthly budget’. It’s an easy reference point for our goals. We update it monthly, creating harmony in our marriage.
Organizing the entire home helps us save too. Less stuff means less spending, and sometimes more earning. After many military moves, I dislike unpacking junk. We held 7 garage sales in one year, with the profits applied to debt. With less stuff, we can easily manage our belongings.
Organization empowers me. When my husband is deployed, I know where the tools are and can make minor repairs myself to save the cost of a service or handy man. Confidence adds incredible value to savings!
We created ‘stuff rules’. We only keep books we would recommend to friends. We decide on an item’s ‘home’ before we buy. If we can’t think of a home, it doesn’t come home! We have a ‘one in, one out’ rule for closets. Guidelines help us reduce impulse buying.
What matters most is this: with an organized home, I enjoy being home.
And being home saves money!
I don’t need to escape the house to have a good day. Getting organized changed our finances, changed our marriage, and changed our lives. My only regret is that we didn’t do it sooner!
Kristen is the “mom” of two dogs and wife to a sailor. She blogs at Different Shades of Green about the things that matter to her: living green, saving money, supporting American Manufacturing, supporting the Armed Services, teaching and practicing yoga, crafting, and just plain loving life.