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Organize + Energize: How Much Money Have You Lost?

Tuesday, December 24, 2013


Tis the season...why not give yourself the gift of rediscovered money?

How much money do you think you wasted this past year due to disorganization? How many times did you go to search for something that you knew you had, couldn’t find it, and went out and purchased another one? Once you get organized you will save money; trust me on this. I’ve experienced this with all my clients.

Hidden treasures

I have to say, over the past couple of years—aside from people spending money on duplicating items they already have or throwing away expired food—I think the next best thing is actually finding money and gift cards.

Just last week I was helping a client organize her closet. We found Christmas presents from last year in bags stuffed in the back of the closet, including $125 in gift cards that were purchased to be given as gifts. She was so excited. Not only did she find money, but she will save money going forward because she is now organized.

I was in an office last week and we found over $300 in gift certificates. Overall, in the past 2 years, my clients and I have found over $10,000 in gift certificates and cash. That wasn’t a misprint—$10,000.

So what can you do to not let this happen to you or avoid it from happening again?

Gift cards

This is a busy time of year and probably the time of year when we receive the most gift cards. Develop a system to contain your gift cards. Keep them contained to one area, not thrown all over the house or office in different drawers. It can be as simple as containing them in a labeled envelope or container and placing them in a secure place. If you have an abundance of them and you want to get fancy, you can organize them in a binder with clear plastic inserts categorized by theme.

Mail + checks

As far as money goes, staying on top of your mail and opening immediately will solve the problem of checks that haven’t been cashed. If you do receive checks, no matter how small the amount, make a plan to cash them as soon as you receive them or put them with your banking for the week. Eliminating clutter in drawers and getting rid of the paper piles will also allow money not to get stuck in between the piles or get lost in a drawer full of paper.

Loose change

Keep random change contained. Let it accumulate in one container as opposed to being thrown all over the home. Have a spot in your home or office to drop the change into. Keep a small container in your desk drawer to hold the change. One woman on Facebook mentioned that as she was organizing her junk drawers and she gathered all the change. Once she rolled all the coins, she had a total of $94.00 in change in her junk drawers.

Greeting cards

If you have children, don’t forget to keep an eye on the cards they get with money and gift cards in them. I’ve been in a few kids' rooms where we have found old birthday cards with money in them and gifts cards in different areas of their rooms.  

Create these working organized systems for money and gift cards and you will never have to go searching again. You won’t be wondering where that $4,000 check disappeared to, and you won’t waste time and energy searching for these items.

Think about how many gift cards you may have floating around your home or office. Do you think you may have money or uncashed checks floating around, too? If you are planning to get organized in 2014, you may be in for some pleasant surprises when you go to empty out the areas you are organizing.


Kristin Carcieri-MacRae, the founder and owner of Organizing in RI, has always enjoyed finding creative ways to streamline the environment around her. She has appeared on air on Patricia Raskin's Positive Business Radio and her articles have been published in the Rhode Island Small Business Journal and New England Home Life. Kristin's CD, Organizing Basics, is a 1-hour guide for the person who wants to get organized but doesn't know where to start. She is also available for organizing workshops. Tune into her weekly radio show, Organize, Energize! on Mondays at 8:30am on www.talkstreamradio.com.

Related Slideshow:
2013 Gift Guide: Great Last-Minute Gifts

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Olive del Mondo. 815 Hope Street, Providence. (401) 383-573. Open Mon-Wed 10am-7pm, Thurs-Fri 10am-8pm, Saturday 10am-6pm, Sunday 12pm-5pm.

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Soy Candles

The great selection of products at Green Envy Eco-Boutique in Newport is your go to for candles. Clean burning soy candles are the perfect gift for those who do (or should) indulge in some occasional relaxation. Pick up one in their relaxing green teahttp://www.greenenvyshop.com/greentea.html scent for only $15.00 today.

Green Envy Eco-Boutique. 8 Franklin Street, Newport. (401) 619-1993. Open Mon-Wed 11am-6pm, Thursday 11am-8pm, Fri-Sat 11am-7pm, Sunday 11am-6pm. Christmas Eve: 11am-3pm.

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A Good Read

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Bath Goods

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Crafty Goods

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A Gift Card

Pay homage to a time honored, tried and tested tradition this Christmas. Although it’s not the best idea to purchase a gift card for your mom, your dad, and definitely not your wife; there is nothing wrong with picking one up for someone on your list that you know less intimately. You will avoid the possibility of the recipient no liking what you pick up, and save them the hassle that goes with returning it.

Check out your local Rite Aid to take a look.


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