To prove that I'm not making this up entirely, I've grilled Naisha Patterson, an organizational expert and owner of Brownstones Closets. So, what's the deal?
Q: Is it true? Does being organized save you money?
A: Yes! I can’t tell you how many times, while decluttering, a client has said “I FORGOT I BOUGHT _____!” They’ve just gone out and spent money on two or three of whatever they already had. A neat and tidy space allows you to know what you need and see what you already have. Another example, one that I’m using more often lately is…meal preparation! Having a week's worth of meals prepared keeps you from making fast food runs that can be costly and often not that healthy. I recommend preparing on Sundays large amounts of rice, pasta, etc. for the week ahead. You’re also saving on time and energy with slaving over a stove after a long day at work.
Q: In terms of priority, what should someone organize first to start saving right away?
A: My first thought is…your money! BUDGET! Budgeting is the organization of your money. Knowing what you have and where it’s going; being able to see where you can scale back, etc. is crucial to starting to save. Listen, I organize spaces and I live somewhat a minimalistic lifestyle and budgeting is something that I’m working on. After that I would definitely say the closet, especially for the ladies…sorry y’all! We spend so much money on things that we already own! We buy things and never wear them for various reasons. I’ve heard “I’m saving these jeans for when I lose 10 lbs.” So here is my thing…if you purchased the jeans and didn’t wear them when you could fit them, are you honestly going to “get in them” when you lose the 10 -15 lbs that you’ve gained? Ha! The solution; buying what fits and wear it! For the items that you can no longer wear, sell them! Depop, Poshmark, consignment shop…and save the profits!
Q: We've all got busy careers, busy lives. What strategies do you have for finding the time to stay organized?
A: I set some of my tasks on my phone. Daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly reminders are crucial to an organized lifestyle. We cannot remember everything. Mail, laundry, and running the dishwasher are daily tasks whereas grocery shopping and dry cleaning are weekly. I have a chore chart on my fridge that lists household chores dedicated to each space with either my name or my daughter’s name next to it. Know your space and create a list that fits your schedule and get it done! Also, doing things the night before is just a magical! Getting clothes out for the next day, preparing meals for the next evening…getting creative with leftovers has been fun for us! WRITE IT DOWN! I cannot live without a pen and notepad!
Q: Belides saving buttloads of cash (which one could use for savings, retirement, or, you know, trips to Bhutan), what other benefits does leading an organized life provide?
A: I truly believe that organization is a lifestyle. Having less stuff and creating more memories is the bottom line here. When your space is neat and tidy there is a sense of calm that is such a wonderful thing in this sometimes hectic and crazy world. It’s stress-free living that you can control; people take you more seriously when they see that you are pulled together and have things in order. You save on time! Who doesn’t want more of that? To be able to watch a movie once a week with your family or have a spa night (which we do often in my home) is organized, chic living at its best! We all want to live a good life and being organized makes is possible.
So what are you waiting for? Why not make 2015 your most organized year ever?