Archive for the ‘over-abundance’ Category

The Clutter Cost of Buying in Bulk

March 23, 2016

Marketplace

Shopping for groceries and other household supplies is expensive. There’s no denying that. The stores entice us with sale notices and the BOGO (Buy One Get One) stickers on certain items. I’m all for getting something for free but is it really free?

When we buy in bulk, buy more than what we can realistically use, there is a cost to us beyond the actual monetary one. It is the cost of clutter.

It’s so tempting to go to a big box store and buy lots of the things we use at a lower price point. It’s a great way to save money. But what is the cost to us when we get home and have no place to put all of the extra supplies?

Some people have big pantry closets where they can store lots of supplies. For these people there may not be any clutter cost because they will be able to put the extras they buy away. They have the shelf or cupboard space to house the extras.

What about those of us with limited storage space? Our cupboards and shelves are small. They already hold our necessary supplies and can only be refilled when our current supply (the one we actually use) runs out. There’s no room to store extras.

We can get creative and use the open space above the cupboards to store things like extra rolls of paper towel and toilet paper. That space can also be used for extra boxes of cereal or power bars. If there is no space above the kitchen cabinets then these supplies typically land on the kitchen counter or on the floor!

I bring this up because recently I was working in a home and the home owner had been shopping at a big box store. The home was a small one. The kitchen was tiny. It was perfectly adequate for this single person’s needs but did not have space available to store extra snack food, paper towels, toilet paper and light bulbs.

These items all landed on the living room floor leaving little room for the home owner and her dog to move around.

We ended up moving many of the paper goods to a spot in a corner of the living room. We put the extra snack food in containers and stacked them in the extra bedroom. These are fine temporary solutions.

My advice to my client was to find a friend to shop with if she wants to continue buy in bulk for the cost savings. The two of them could share the cost of the food and divide the things they bought. A win/win for everyone!

Do you buy groceries in bulk? Do you have a great way of storing the extras? Write me back and let me know!

 

Think Replacement…

January 21, 2015

I often get asked how to organize a closet. Something to remember is that we generally wear 20% of our clothes 80% of the tIme! You know which clothes are your favorites. Since this is true, why are closets so full to over-flowing? My suspicion is that garments are not replaced. By that I mean when shopping for yourself, are you replacing something that is worn or that is either too big or too small or are you shopping because you’d like a new outfit?

If you have children, this is something you do already – I hope. First, you sort through their clothes. As you sort, you determine which clothes are too small and which ones are so well worn that they must be either cut up into rags or tossed. The too small clothes are put into bags or boxes to hand down to a younger child or relative or to donate. Then you go shopping to replace those clothes. If you don’t have children I bet this is something that your mother did for you as a child!

So, if your closet is over-full ask yourself when you go to buy clothes what are you replacing?

As a professional organizer I recommend you remove 2 items for every item you bring in. This adds space to your closet. You’ll be able to see what you have and find what you’re looking for!

Here are some other closet organizing tips:

1. Group your clothes according to type and color. Put short sleeved shirts together, long-sleeved shirts together, slacks, skirts, jackets, and dresses together. Then sort by color within the grouping.

2. Take a hard look at what you have. How many pairs of black pants do you have? How many do you need? How many can you wear at one time?

3. If you have ever put something on, looked in the mirror, and then said to yourself, “this doesn’t look right…”. You take off that garment and then put it back in your closet, right? I suggest that you take off that garment and give it away. If it doesn’t feel right or look right today it will never look right!

4. Keep a donation bag in your closet for those clothes and for any clothes or shoes that you haven’t worn in awhile.

5. Turn the hangers backwards. As you wear an item turn that hanger around. At the end of 6 months revisit your closet and take a look at the hangers that remain backwards. Consider giving those clothes away. The exception to this rule is the clothes that are special event clothes.

If organizing your closet is on your list to do, follow these tips and remember to think replacement!

Culling Collections

February 13, 2013

Do you have lots of collections of things? Maybe there are lots and lots of clothes, toys, bric-a-brac around your home. Do you have so many of these items that none are really put away? Maybe they are out in view in piles around your home? Is this a collection?

In my mind a collection is something you put on display – in a cabinet, on a shelf or two, hanging on a wall. These are things you have sought out and purchased, or have been given, because you really like looking at them.

An over-abundance of items is not a collection in the true sense of the word. Yes, it is like items that are collected together but the over-abundance is not something you want to display. Generally, people are embarassed when they have such an over-abundance. These piles of collected items are not usually lovely to look at. In fact, sometimes it’s hard to tell what the collection is because there’s just so much of it! The homeowner generally becomes over-whelmed at the mere thought of reducing the volume because he/she doesn’t know where to begin. Another thing holding some people back is that they think about the amount of money spent on each individual item. Sometimes, they don’t want to reduce the volume of things by donating some out when they know the cost of each item – it’s all good stuff! Planning a garage sale to recoup some of the money takes organization, time and lots of effort and can be another over-whelming task.

My advice is to start with baby steps.

Begin by tackling one small area at a time. Set up 4 boxes or bags. Label the containers as follows: Keep, donate, toss, sell. When you have finished sorting the items in that one small area take the donate bag and make the donation to a church thrift store, Goodwill, or another organization of your choosing. Toss the items in the toss container. Put aside the items in the sell container and put away the items in the keep box or bag. The tackle the next area in your home. Before you know it you will have sorted and organized the piles and culled your collection of things. Then it’s time to give yourself a reward and admire all you have accomplished! Finally, gather up all the items you have set aside to sell. Take a look at your calendar and schedule a tag sale. Maybe you will ask some of your neighbors if they have things to sell also? The group can help each other set up, price items, and support each other’s efforts. A word of caution: remember you are selling things – not buying! The idea is to reduce the amount of things in your home, not to bring more things in!