Stretching Your Dollar: Organizing to Save

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV)  - New Year inspiring you to save money?  There are some simple things you can do that won't cost a lot of money but could save you in the long run.

I went to the Container Store at South Park Mall to meet with Jen Walls.  She's spent countless hours learning the art of problem solving.

"Once you get started it's easy.  Organization doesn't have to be complicated!" Walls insists.

Walls uses two words to describe and organized system, visible and accessible.  "If you can remember those two things your system is going to work. You're going to save a lot of time and how much money is your time worth?" Walls points out.

For mail she recommends a stacking system, you can purchase one or make one out of gift boxes, either way the goal is to have four slots.

"This is so simple, just keep it right near the door," she says pointing to her stacking system. "We've got pay, we've got review, we've got file, and we've got shred.  And if you walk in the door and you organize those things that you brought in with you at that moment you have already taken the first step and your stress is going to go down just like this because you've already started."

Her next recommendation is carry a small slotted closable envelope for receipts and keep it with you! When you leave a store put the receipt in the mini accordion folder.

If you've got gift cards, it's great to keep track of how much is on them with a system like this as well.  If you purchase something for your home office that might be tax deductible, have a slot for those items as well.

"Then at the end of the month, transfer all those receipts that you'll need for tax purposes to the proper larger filing system." Walls says.

The concept of visible and accessible applies to our closets as well.

"How many times have we gone out and bought a pair of black slacks because we can't find the ones we have?"  Walls says we waste as much as 15 minutes, on average, every day searching for things in our closet.

That's why she recommends clear containers, for things like shoes, or off season clothing.

"Then we're not wasting money as well buying what we already have," Walls says.

Jen Walls, and most organizers will tell you, if your goals are too high, and your system too complicated, you are bound to not have the follow through and success you strive for.

So if saving money is on your list of New Year's resolutions, make a simple plan that is easy to stick to.

And if you miss a week, or fall off the organization wagon so-to-speak, jump back in and start over.  It is better than just throwing in the towel!

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