The Joys of Organizing My Stuff to Save Money

garage saleIf you had a chance to read the Day In The Life post that I wrote recently, I mentioned that I am currently sorting through a massive pile of stuff, stuff that has been sitting in my in laws house for three years, stuff on top of stuff, and stuff I didn’t know I had in my stuff.

In case you didn’t pick up on this fact: I have a lot of stuff.

According to the Internet, you have a lot of stuff too. It’s not just America either. The UK has a ton of storage businesses like Strongbox Self Storage where people can, for a modest fee, store their stuff. I feel like the media always makes us feel like it’s the US who is the primary source of stuff-having, but really in developed and even undeveloped countries everywhere, people like to hoard their things.

Even in Grenada, where many of the locals were living in poverty, they collected and held on to things that they found or bought. There’s just something about owning a little bit of property, even if it’s a coffee cup, that we all just have to have.

Anyway, I’ve actually come a long way in terms of sorting through and trying to embrace minimalism. In 2011, just before I moved to the Caribbean, I got rid of over 2,000 items. Even with that massive purge, finding storage was still necessary. There were wedding gifts and nice kitchen appliances in my stuff that I couldn’t bring with me to Grenada. So now, I’m basically going through and re-opening all my wedding gifts again, which is actually kind of fun when it isn’t super overwhelming.

It’s amazing how many things we keep and how many things we don’t know we actually have. Just the other day I bought Frog Tape so I could paint the nursery, and of course, I found a brand new Frog Tape in my stuff when I was going through it yesterday. Go figure: there was stuff all up in my stuff.

The thing is, there is nothing wrong with storage as long as it’s organized and it makes sense. That’s what I’m working on right now, using the power of all the nesting juice that is currently running through my veins. The more organized I am, the more money I’ll save from not buying duplicates of things. I probably won’t have a garage sale, but I will bring a few things to consignment stores. That way, when the hubs and I move in May, we’ll have only just what we need, and that will be an amazing feeling.

How much stuff upon stuff do you have in your stuff? ;)

How To Budget Your Time

We chat a lot about budgets over here at Budget Blonde. Emergency funds, student loans, credit cards – you name it, we’ve discussed it. Yet, one thing we don’t talk about that much is budgeting time.

It’s a common problem these days. People have so many commitments and no time to do the things they really want to do. So I’m here to share how to gain some precious hours back and in the process, find some peace in your life.

I’d like to preface these tips by saying that I have a full time job. In addition to that, I spend about 20-25 hours a week on freelance writing projects and this blog. So, these tips are not coming from someone who has all the time in the world to begin with. In fact, it’s actually hard for others to understand that I choose to work like this because I absolutely love it. However, I think the reason that I love what I do is because I’ve found a way to work and still have time to do the things I want.

Here are some tips on how to find some extra hours regardless of how crazy your schedule is:

1. Know yourself first.

My experience living in Grenada has given me lots of time to be introspective. I’ve spent many hours figuring out what works for me. I’ve learned that in order to be happy, I have to get something accomplished during the day. In fact, if I lounge all day and don’t get out of my pajamas, I feel like my day was a total waste. So, if I spend all morning Saturday sitting on the front porch, looking at the water, and turning in 9 blog posts to a client, I am happy. However, you might only be happy if you get to spend your Saturday morning baking, taking a nap, spending time with your friends, etc. You have to know yourself before you know how to allocate your time best. For me, I need to get something accomplished before I allow myself a drink with friends or a date out to the movies.

2. Turn off the TV. 

I cannot think of a bigger time suck that TV. We haven’t had one in our home in almost 2 years. When the hubs and I first got married, we ate dinner in front of the TV and then just sat there for a while and flipped through channels like zombies. I think we were exhausted or maybe it was just a good excuse not to think about the day. The TV allowed us time to veg and zone out. Yet, when I cancelled the TV to save a little moolah, I found myself with so much time on my hands. That’s when I really got motivated and started to write a lot more.

3. Don’t hang out with people you don’t like.

Sounds harsh, but it’s true. Why are you wasting your time going to that book club meeting or that dinner with your friend’s wife when you really don’t want to go? Life is short, peeps. Spend your precious time with the people you love most.

4. Don’t overload yourself.

We’d all have a lot more time if we stopped having so many darn things to do. You want to paint every room in your house, take that trip to the mountains, get a promotion, bake cookies for your kid’s class, and write a book all while trying to be a good spouse, child, or parent. Peeps, it’s just too much. Only do what you actually like to do. And, more importantly, give yourself ample time to do it. Pick one small thing to do each day or each weekend, and mark on your calendar when you’d like it to be finished. Forget about doing things quickly or immediately. We all want instant gratification, but the best things come when you enjoy the journey.

While I can’t say I am perfect when it comes to any of these things, I’ve made the transition to taking things a bit slower. Call it being an island girl or whatever you like, but I can say with certainty that despite my busy work schedule, I feel more relaxed and more calm than I have ever felt.

What do you do to budget your time? What do you wish you could improve upon? (For example, I wish I could wake up earlier and gain another hour, but I am such a night owl!)