How Much Is Disorganization Costing You?

by Ramona Creel

Calculate The Financial Cost

Disorganization is an insidious but often unnoticed drain on your wallet. The money leaks start as dribbles, but over time, become a flood that sweeps you away. You can't find your electric bill to pay it until a week after the due date — 20% finance charge. You throw your mail in a pile, unopened on the desk, and an early conference registration deadline passes you by — $50 late fee. You misplace a gift card from your birthday and don't find it until it has expired — $25 you could have saved. You shove your bank statements in a drawer without looking at them and overlook an error in your last deposit — $100 lost. It's a simple equation — the more organized you are, the more money you save.

Reclaim Your Wasted Space

How often do you acquire something that you really didn't want,  need, or care about? Could be a magazine, a brochure, a free giveaway at the store — you accepted it unconsciously, now it's taking up valuable space that could be used for some better purpose. The piles are squeezing us out of home and office, and without a good system for staying on top of it all (read that as “throwing away the 90% that is junk and keeping the 10% that matters”), we quickly find ourselves buried in clutter. It's become so bad that many people buy homes larger than they need to store stuff they've never even looked at — and pay the storage industry thousands of dollars a year to babysit unopened boxes of who-knows-what. This is a serious epidemic!

Plug Any Drains In Your Time

Clutter can also be found in your schedule — this type of disorganization is particularly irritating and frustrating, because it's eating up precious minutes of your life that you can never regain. You know you're experiencing time clutter when you seem to always be running late, no matter how hard you try to get out of the house on time — when you go 90 miles an hour every day, but can't manage to get caught up — when “time wasters” like procrastination and interruptions keep you from ever completing a project — when you're always putting out fires, functioning in “reactive” mode instead of “proactive” mode — and when you can't focus on your real priorities because your to-do list is always full of busy work. It's time to get off the treadmill!

Stop Wasting Emotional Energy

How often has the stress in your life been related to disorganization? Your mood is greatly affected by how smoothly your day goes — have you ever had your entire day spin out of control because spent 20 minutes searching for your car keys or misplaced a document or were late for a meeting? It's depressing to see nothing but piles and stacks around you — the mental toll is just as great as the more tangible costs of disorganization. But once you realize how much disorganization is costing you, you have a reason to want to change. The idea of cleaning out all the clutter, setting up storage systems, and revamping your schedule may seem overwhelming — but I guarantee you that getting organized is way less challenging than continuing to attempt to function in the middle of chaos.

Keep the vision of a clutter-free and chaos-free life in front of you for motivation as you move forward with your organizing efforts. And just recognize that this is going to be a process (possibly a slow one) — it's not going to happen overnight. But if you commit to your goals and stick with it, just another small change every day, you will see progress. It's never too late to get organized!

© Ramona Creel, all rights reserved. Ramona Creel is a modern Renaissance woman and guru of simplicity -- traveling the country as a full-time RVer, sharing her story of radically downsizing, and inspiring others to regain control of their own lives. As a Professional Organizer and Accountability Coach, Ramona will help you create the time and space to focus on your true priorities -- clearing away the clutter other obstacles and standing in the way of that life you've always wanted to be living. As a Professional Photographer, Ramona captures powerful images of places and people as she travels. And as a travel writer, social commentator, and blogger, she shares her experiences and insights about the world as we know it. You can see all these sides of Ramona -- read her articles, browse through her photographs, and even hire her to help get your life in order -- at And be sure to follow her on Twitter and on Facebook.