Purging Your Wardrobe
Organize Your Children
and Save Your Sanity
An Organized Pantry
The other day I finished my grocery shopping, drove home, put my hand in my pocket, and pulled out a coupon that would have just saved me several dollars on my grocery bill. That's when I realized I had to get organized.
Getting organized helps to save time. It brings peace of mind. And it even helps people save money. Here are some ways that getting organized can save you money.
You can store coupons in stacks with labeled binder clips, envelopes, flex folders, or binders with page protectors (see "How to Organize Coupons" at Couponing101.com for more ideas). Flip through your collection when it's time to order out, or take your grocery coupons with you to the store. Discard the expired coupons as you search for what you need, so that you can keep your collection up-to-date. With your coupons in order, you'll never have to pay full price.
As children grow out of their clothes, pack up your favorites for younger siblings or for a memory box. When younger children grow into the next size up, unpack your boxes instead of buying new wardrobes for each child. If you later decide you don't need the clothes, you'll be ready to pass them along to friends with younger children, or resell them at a consignment store or garage sale.
You can also save money by organizing your own clothes. If you keep similar items together, such as t-shirts, skirts, or shoes, you'll be able to see what you own and what you need. Box up winter coats, maternity clothes, or sports outfits to use the next time you need them.
Organizing clothes will also let you take advantage of sales. Buy clothes at end-of-season sales and then label them and store them for the following year, especially expensive winter gear like thick coats and snowsuits.
I've always stocked up on staples, especially during sales, but finding my purchases in my storeroom was a different matter. Then a professional organizer changed everything. "Like goes with like," she advised, and shelved my food in labeled sections for things like cereal, canned soup, canned fruit, and baking items.
With an organized pantry, you'll always know how much you have of staples you use. You'll know when you're running low on spaghetti sauce, or whether you have extra pasta to donate to an impromptu food drive. If you cycle through your items, placing newly bought items at the back and using up the oldest things first, you can stay ahead of expiration dates. And if you mark your shopping list to replace items as you use them, you'll never run out of the staples you need. You'll take better advantage of sales if you know what you have and what you need. (When I organized, I found enough chocolate chips to keep us in cookies for the next ten years. Time to stop buying on sale!)
You can also organize your extra household items. Whether you've bought extra light bulbs, shoelaces, toothbrushes, or anything in bulk, store them where you can find them again. Label your storage boxes, use a label maker or paper tags to label shelves and always keep like with like. That way, your new mega-pack of batteries or toothbrushes will last you for years, and save you from buying a new mega-pack every time there's a sale.
What Not to Keep
Getting organized means organizing what you'll use and sorting out the rest. Store only what you have room for. Save only the coupons you think you'll actually use. Sell unneeded children's clothes on consignment or Craigslist, donate them to charity for a tax deduction, or pass them along to friends. Don't buy more groceries than you'll ever use, and as expiration dates approach, donate extras to the food bank. Be sure to save your donation receipts for tax purposes, which is another way organization can save you money!
Whether you're organizing your papers, your clothes, your pantry, or anything else in your house, you'll be glad you did. You'll know what you have and what you need. You'll know when to buy on sale, and where to look for the things you've already bought. You'll use coupons to save money on purchases, and you'll clean out the papers you don't need. Most importantly, if you invest a little time to set up your storage system, you'll end up saving yourself hours later on. And, as they say, time is money.
Loralee Leavitt writes about science, children's activities, and ways to save money. She also creates science experiments for her website at CandyExperiments.com, which became easier after she organized her candy! Her book, Candy Experiments, will be published next January.
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