To me, financial clutter is linked to organisational clutter
So we should clear our clutter so that we can be fiscally fit!
and that is what our family did this recent July
timely too… since it was just past midyear.. and it is a good time to review those beginning-of-the-year resolutions(related to money goals) one had so mindfully crafted
it makes sense really-beginning with your end goals-and working backwards..
I believe every organising system is customised based on an individual’s goals
These are the following tips we have carried out over the last 10 years to ensure our house stays lean (aka ‘purged’ of clutter), things are where we want them (cos in Singapore, or any other busy city in the world really, time equates money) and we increase our savings by year-end.
1. Gather similar items together and store them at ONE site
As an example,
when you gather all your disparate stationery items or electronic spare parts or accessories, sort them into ‘Throw'(T), ‘Keep'(K), ‘Sell'(S), ‘Donate'(D), *’Not Sure'(NS)
*this last category is more for my children 🙂
I remembered one memorable purging occurred when my children were in Primary school. After experiencing repetitive requests to buy files for individual subjects, the children and I found ourselves caught up in a frenzy of ‘to buy that school file or not since we already have one that is similar at home’ scenario…
And the stationery..o the stationery we had amassed over those primary school years was horrific – they were just everywhere and there were ‘extras’ and my children loved their stationery shop at school so much that they could forgo recess just to save up and buy a mechanical correction tape or stickers.
Gradually over the years we have purged all extras, grown wiser in our spending, share a vision of a fiscally fit home (yes, family cooperation very important here!)and I am glad our stationery and electronic related items have dwindled to these:
2. Label label label!
You know the organisation mantra “A place for everything and everything in its place”…”
After you have that saying down pat…
label all your storage boxes and shelves
This tip serves me plenty…
Even when I am away on one of my wanderlust overseas trips or I am not at home when in Singapore, my family does not need to rely on me to find things around the house – the house is literally ‘idiot-proof’ because we label
We started this as soon as the children were infants. We had already let go of the maid since my younger child turned one then
I remembered even labeling the kitchen cabinets back then in our former home which was far larger to clean and tidy up. I labeled them because back then my husband would keep late nights and often times wander into the kitchen to ‘fix himself a night snack’- naturally, everyone would be sleeping then..but if I labeled the cabinets, he could easily find what he wanted…I really think self-reliance started from then…
3. Establish House Rules
Believe you me..if a couple are both working(and you have no help whatsoever for housekeeping), do establish some house rules so that the whole family is ‘on the same page’.
Hold a ‘family meeting’, usually on a weekend, after a lazy Sunday lunch when everyone’s spirits are slightly perky and thrash out a couple of house rules. This is ours below:
This has been updated a few times ever since the children were preschoolers. The list of rules above was drawn up in 2011.
We haven’t had to change them since because the habits were ingrained in everyone, including the adults, and that reminds us, parents, finally, the children follow what we do, not what we say.
Of all the rules, number 8 has proven to be the most useful because I have needed to do very little ‘reminding’ for ‘items to be put back where they belong even if it was not where they had found it’
It was a rule that had been discussed and agreed upon some time back (I think it helps when you establish and reinforce rules before the children grow up to be teenagers..)
What is more, the rules save everyone time(we can find things quickly when we need it ), it leaves furniture surfaces bare so that we can perform cleaning tasks easily – all in all providing for a serene environment , clutter-free, family home, allowing us to focus on our personal pursuits and increase our family bonding time every day.
There are just some things money can’t buy and one is family harmony
And a clean, clutter-free home creates harmony.
If a parent has just ironed the clothes and placed them on the child’s bed and the child just before going to bed simply moves it to another place WITHOUT putting it back in his closet, the parent should make sure he coaches the child to put back their clothes in the cupboard before going to bed until the child has internalised it and does it on his own- the parent’s patient coaching will have paid off and this habit carries the child through to adulthood (this process will take time).