There is an old proverb called “For Want of a Nail” that goes like this:
For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
For want of a horse the rider was lost.
For want of a rider the battle was lost.
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
And all for the want of a nail.
I’m sure philosophers can debate endlessly about the applications of this proverb to war, history, culture and more. However, I see very clearly how it applies to the high cost of disorganization in our lives. While my rhyme may not be as eloquent, here’s another way of looking at this:
For want of organization, the car registration was lost.
For want of car registration, the currency was lost.
For want of currency, the tune-up was lost.
For want of a tune-up, the engine was lost.
For want of an engine, the savings were lost.
All for the want of organization.
Does this sound like you at all? What’s scary is that this is all very plausible and can actually happen. How long have you been telling yourself that you will get organized some day? If getting organized is a goal that you have yet to reach, then understanding how much money can be saved – or lost – might be just the motivator you need. And I’m talking about BIG money here.
For example, let’s look at the harm to our productivity a cluttered office can do. Let’s say that one hour of your time as a consultant is worth $50. Figure that by not having protocols in place to keep your email, phone and project time running efficiently, you lose approximately 2 hours a week in productivity. That is $400 a month lost. $4800 a year! Although losing nearly $5000 is a hypothetical figure, between this and the car example in the poem above, it definitely puts disorganization in a whole new light.
Clutter costs you MONEY. How many times have you bought an item you already have because you couldn’t find it when you needed it? How many times have you paid a late fee on a bill you’ve misplaced?
Clutter also costs you TIME, which is another valuable commodity. A 2003 Simple Living survey found that the average American spends almost an hour a day searching for items they have misplaced. Do the math … that means that we spend a full two weeks per year in absolute nonproductive frustration!
Time is one of the most valuable commodities that we have today. And everyone, no matter what job or lifestyle they may have, is looking to have more time. When you are disorganized, you will constantly lose time looking for things you can't find, retracing your steps, and desperately trying to recapture some of that lost time.
As Benjamin Franklin once said, “For every minute spent in organizing, an hour is earned.” Wise words from a wise man. Time is valuable – and working simple effective organizing habits into our lives will not only get us back valuable lost time, but keep our piggy banks happy as well.
Carmen Coker is a professional organizer who helps individuals find the motivation and know-how to get organized and stay organized. To learn how to save money, create more space, and manage your time through organization, register for the "FREE Tip Kit: 10+ Pages of Tips and Tools to Help You Get Organized - Finally!" at http://www.OrganizeClutterbugs.com.