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Being organized = saving $ = more freedom

Budgets in middle age
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BY JULIA SORIANO

Rather than evangelize myself, I interviewed professional organizer extraordinaire, Christine Schaffer of Christine* Interiors (cm1voice@aol.com, 513-390-9092). Christine is a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers.

How is organizing related to money?

So many ways! The first step to organizing is noting priorities and daily habits. You’ll spend less just because you’re paying attention. Once you have a system, you can easily find receipts for tax returns, rebates and store returns.  And, if you know what you have, you stop buying the same thing over and over again. (Author’s note:  how many little black dresses do you really need? Great tips for setting priorities can be found at mrmoneymoustache.com. You can use computer/smart phone applications to help you track receipts.)

Do you have stories about finding valuables while organizing and cleaning?

We could be here all day! I’ve found valuables in couches, chairs, even on kitchen shelving. Once, I found a necklace that had been missing for years in a stair crevice. The owner was ecstatic! An elderly client, who owns several properties, had me go through her invoices. One vendor was over-billing her. I was honored that she trusted me so much.

Anything else?

Yes. People almost always find stuff to give away or sell. Between sales and tax deductions, the cash adds up. (Author’s note:  places to sell on-line:  home goods—e-bay or craig’s list, books—half.com, electronics—gazelle.com. If you’re not a computer person, ask someone to help you with a yard sale.)

You say that that organizing and cleaning can improve your relationships.  Can you tell me more about that?

Basically, you have more time for your family.  Kids grow up fast.  Additionally, everyone becomes more appreciative of their nice home.  It’s motivating!  Besides, when your home is in order, you feel better.

I’m sold.  How much time and money will it cost?

Based on priorities and habits, I work out a plan and budget with the client. When the client sees how nice it is, he or she is often willing to give up something (like soda) to make their home nicer.

Are there any baby steps our readers can take?

Make it a habit to watch where you put things. Then, make a list of what is most important. Finally, do a little something. Hang up coats, put away shoes, throw out junk mail, go through one drawer or box while you’re watching TV. Put everything in two boxes:  Keep, trash.

One of Julia Soriano’s favorite compliments ever was, “Julia has been an expert of living well on very little money for decades.” Writer, minister and kitchen enthusiast, Julia lives in Cincinnati with her husband.

 

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