Less Stuff = More Money

Money, Honey! It’s that simple.

How does less stuff equate to more money?

First, know that every time you buy something you do not need or love, you are throwing away your money. Getting control of impulse buying can certainly save you money.

Next, if you have bought things you no longer need or love, don’t pay money to store them just to keep them out of your space. One in ten U.S. households rents a storage unit. It’s the fastest growing real estate segment over the last 35 years.

Last, you may be able to retrieve some money by consigning or selling items. The average woman has 27 pairs of shoes; the average man has 12. Men and women have on average 88 articles of clothing each. Of these clothing items, 25% are typically unworn. Clark Howard in today’s AJC talks about getting rid of stuff that you no longer use and making a profit. For clothing he suggests consignment stores, for furniture he suggests Craig’s list, and for antiques he suggests eBay.

There is an estimated $15 billion in unused tech gadgets in junk drawers worldwide according to IKEA. Clark Howard suggests the following sites for getting rid of electronics.

  • Glyde.com for gadgets and games
  • Gazelle.com for Apple products, plus Android, Blackberry and other phones
  • Gizmogul.com for selling old phones for cash and donating to charity at the same time
  • NewtonsHead.com for Apple products, even damaged iPhones
  • BuyBackWorld.com or BuyMyTronics.com for all electronics
  • NextWorth.com for phones, camera, tablets, and games
  • Swappa.com for Android devices

If you don’t want to go to the bother of selling your items, you can also donate and get a tax write off.

Not only will you make money by getting rid of your excess “stuff”, you will also feel so much lighter. Enjoy that extra space!

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

Refrigerator Organization

Some people might feel that organizing a refrigerator smacks of OCD but in actuality this organizational task will save you time and money. You will know where everything is located. You will maximize your shelf space. It will keep meat juices from running into your saved salad and your cheese from drying into a hard and/or green block.

 An organizational plan:

1. Remove all items from the fridge and group like with like. Have all your cheeses together. Group meats, snacks, fresh fruits, vegetables, and dairy.

2. Purge any item that is past its expiration date, unidentifiable, fuzzy, or has been cross-contaminated ( see meat juices in salad above).

3. Wipe out the fridge. You don’t want to put your good food back into a nasty fridge.

4. Utilize containers. Put snacks in see through containers. This allows you to find food when searching in the fridge and keeps items from being tipped over.

5. Put food in designated drawers, such as vegetables in the crisper and luncheon meat in the deli drawer. One exception to this is eggs. Keep them in their original container for a longer life.

6. Organize foods by how frequently you use them. Put healthy or quickly perishable snacks towards the front.

7. Put taller items in the back. This way a small item doesn’t get hidden.

8.  Place condiments and salad dressing in the door. Do not place items like milk or tube foods in the door as they will spoil more quickly.

9. Monitor monthly for maintenance.

Stand back and enjoy the appearance of your freshly cleaned and organized refrigerator. Celebrate by having one of those fun snacks.

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

The Joy of Money

I have often used a matrix when prioritizing time but I had never thought of using it for money until I read The Joy Dividend by Martha Beck in the latest O magazine. It makes so much sense. Basically you look at the satisfaction or joy you get from your purchases. What you value comes from your unique desires.
Martha’s matrix is a simple two-by-two matrix. There are 4 quadrants labeled 1) Top-Dollar Items: I really NEED it and I really LOVE it. 2) Bottom-Dollar Items: I really NEED it, but I don’t really LOVE it. 3) Remaining-Dollar Items: I don’t really NEED it, but I really LOVE it. 4) No-Dollar Items: I don’t really NEED it, and I don’t really LOVE it.
Start by writing down all the things you spend money on. If an item falls in category 1 or 2, you must budget for it before buying anything extra. Martha suggests you start with category 2 and you buy these items as cheaply as possible. Save all the money you can in this category. Then in category 1 buy the best things you can afford. Don’t listen to others but go with your own gut. If you have any money left over, spend it in category 3- things you love but don’t need. This might be the gourmet coffee you buy as a treat or a piece of art work. Don’t buy items from category 4. Just because your friend buys something and is so pleased by it, doesn’t mean that it is for you. If you don’t need or love it, don’t succumb to the purchase.
So for me, I spend the least I can get by with on electronic gadgetry, a lot on good food and food preparation items like good knives, hope to have money left to buy flowers for my house, and don’t buy antique jewelry or knickknacks.
Bargain for your needs, celebrate your loves, and keep an eye out for the joy factor.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

I gave a presentation today at the Decatur Public Library on Downsizing- a topic near and dear to my heart. Part of the presentation was on the reasons for downsizing. We came up with:
Money, Honey
We’re Not Getting Any Younger
I’d rather be knitting ( or something else besides maintenance work)
I’m tired of all this stuff
I think we need to keep in mind that downsizing is a continual process. It lets us get rid of old, past life items so that we can make room for new things to come into our life.
One idea that really struck a chord with this group was the “marinating” box idea (not my idea and I cannot quote whose original idea it is). The group liked the idea of being able to box up items they were not certain they were ready to part with and label the box and stash it away. If after a year or so they did not miss any of the items, it was safe to get rid of the items in the box. It was a really great group to present to- a lot of participation. I would be interested if anyone else has ideas on good reasons for downsizing.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer


Money, Honey

As I have been working on my presentation on downsizing, I came across an interesting statistic. The average US household contains 52 unused or unnecessary items worth the average of $3,100. At first I though, naah.. But I started looking around and thinking about what was on upper shelves and in the attic. I thought of china I don’t use any more. I thought about many of the homes I have worked in and I think – yes, most homes I have been in have at least that much. I also think of the households (1 in 11) that rent a storage container just to hold stuff they don’t want to keep in the house. At $75 a month- that is $900 a year. And I know that when I go in to help with decluttering an office we often find uncashed checks, unused gift cards, and just plain old money that the client did not remember was there. So, clearing up your clutter and passing on unneeded items is a good way to save money, honey!

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

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New Year Budget

It is a new year and I have spent part of my day reflecting on last year and planning for 2009. Part of this reflection had me reviewing my budget for 2008 and working on one for this coming year. It was a lengthy reflective process. All signs point to having less available money which means that just about every area in my budget needs to be pared down. I have just spent over $500 tuning up my old car so I am sincerely looking forward to it performing well for another year. I am also counting on my health and the health of my cats staying sound for another year. My cooking habits will have to be adjusted and that will mean less expensive foods. No new clothes unless absolutely necessary. Less expensive gifts. It will be a challenge but perhaps not really a bad thing. I am a creative person and I am really looking forward to this new year. Life is good.