Planning & Organizing Your Home

I grew up in a world of computers. I had my first computer around the time I was 8 years old, I learned how to type in Elementary school, and the majority of my work experience is based around computers as well.

It should be no surprise that I identify and understand the world through the view of a computer screen. This has some interesting side effects.

For example, if I need to write a list of tasks for the day, I try to write it out in a chronological or priority based way. Most important things go at the top, less important ones go below. If I’m writing this on paper and I forget a task that I need to squeeze in, I have to re-write the entire list because it’s not in the correct order.

If it was on a computer I can simply cut and paste to my heart’s content. If I am smart and leave spaces in between tasks to fit other tasks, I’m still not happy because if I do add a task then the list looks weird and unbalanced, and all I want to do is make the spaces between each task equidistant.

This carries over into my home as well. I like having everything in my home organized in a way that makes the most sense. Things that I use most often I want “shortcuts” to by having them in the most accessible places, I want my DVD collection to be accessible (and alphabetical), and I want all my books to be visible at a glance so that I can find what I’m looking for quickly without having to dig. Naturally this contradicts my wife’s sense of style, and I have learned not to fight that battle.

Planning & Organizing Your HomeThat being said, there is some merit to having an organized home. If your home is organized you will save time and money for yourself. While you may not save a lot of time having your CD collection organized by release date, there are a number of home organization tips that you should follow if you want to stay financially safe.

There’s nothing worse than re-purchasing something simply because you’re not sure if you already own it. You can also generate yourself some income by committing to keeping only what you need in your home, and selling the remainder.

This past summer my wife and I tackled our basement, which had become a dumping ground for everything since we moved into our place. We had put our outdoor furniture, luggage, bits of hardware and building material, golf clubs, canning jars, and everything that didn’t quite “fit” upstairs into our basement over the past half year. It had become an absolute nightmare.

So we spent an entire day pulling everything out, organizing it into “activities”, and putting those into clear plastic bins. Now when we walk into our basement we can visibly see everything that is contained, and we know what we have and what we don’t have.

One thing that I lost during the last couple of moves was a bluetooth adapter for my PC. Its unfortunate because now I will have to repurchase one in order to regain bluetooth functionality for my living room PC. It is frustrating to know what I should have it, somewhere, and knowing my luck it’ll turn up shortly after I bought a new one.

Everything that we went through we decided if we needed to keep it, donate it, or sell it. We made over $200 just selling things that we no longer have any need for, but were worth more than just giving it away. For example, we sold an extra coffee table, some electronics that we had replaced, a door that was left here by the previous owner, and a bar height table/chairs that we have no use for.

Now that we’re in a home that we’ve purchased we don’t feel the need to hang onto things that we don’t need in this house. We probably could have made more money by doing a garage sale and selling all the small things that we ended up just donating, but we were more concerned with getting the basement clear than we were about maximizing our dollar value. It is amazing what you can get by allowing others to purchase from you things that you don’t need any more.

What ways do you keep your home organized?

Written by Alan Schram

Alan Schram writes about personal finance and his encounters with it in his everyday life. Alan is recently married and is looking to save money on expenses and reduce his debts.

5 Responses to Planning & Organizing Your Home

  1. I agree that decluttering is necessary, if only so you don’t repurchase things you don’t actually need. I wouldn’t feel bad though about not taking the time for a garage sale. I had one this past summer and I just don’t think there’s the interest there used to be. When you can hop online and find whatever you’re looking for on eBay or Kijiji, it takes the fun out of a Saturday spent looking through other people’s treasures. What I didn’t sell I ended up listing on eBay, and making twice as much on one item alone than I did an entire morning sitting in my driveway selling my stuff. Again, don’t beat yourself up about it, you did the smart thing in the end.

  2. Huh, computers and programming does change the way you think (sorta the wiring in it), you tend to view most things (and arguments) logically!
    I like my home organized the way I like my code organized, related stuff stays together, boxes and containers are labelled for easy identification (commented code) and I keep things minimal by selling or giving away what I haven’t used in a year, especially clothes and some gadgets and vetting stuff heavily before purchase.

  3. Hi Alan,
    Good for you! How does it feel when you go downstairs into your basement now? As a Life Coach, physical decluttering often comes up (a big part of emotional and mental ‘cleaning up’!) and once things are organized, I hear words like ‘relaxing’, ‘less stressful’ and ‘empowering’. I love your practical side of it all – make some money! Lol!
    Anyhow, you may be interested in a rule we have in our house: when something comes in, something goes. No redundancy and no creating shelves to house ‘dust collectors’ (that’s what a client of mine calls gifts that he receives – heehee!) As a minimalist, most folks know not to buy me gifts – I’d rather receive quality time with a good friend. If they must bring me something, I insist on perishables, preferably enjoyed in their company :-)
    Jo

  4. I honestly think the world would be a much better place if people were more organized in all aspects – their home, their finances, their goals. You can say that everybody is different, or that everybody has their own preferences, but if it takes you 30 minutes to find something to wear because your closet is upside down, what good is it doing to you?

  5. I agree with Alan, by being organized things can be much easier and faster then we think. If we can be more organised and keep things where they belong we can save alot of our time and in that time we can earn more money with that time or spend it having more fun.

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