By Melissa Tosetti
Last week I was in Canton, MI for a speaking engagement. During the presentation I talked about how your home environment affects your personal finances. When you're not comfortable in your own home, you don't want to be there. When you don't want to be there, you're likely out spending money - at the movies, dining out, at the mall, etc.
I shared with the audience a very personal story about my own experience...
For many years, I couldn't relax in my own home. It was so cluttered that I always felt on edge. Each room was a visual reminder of all the cleaning and organizing that I needed to do - cleaning and organizing that was never finished. I would get so frustrated that the only time I felt relaxed was while on vacation staying in a hotel. I kept thinking, “Shouldn't I be able to relax in my own home?”
In the back of my mind, I knew the clutter was also an indication that I didn't have my financial house in order. Yes, I was paying my bills on time and staying debt free, but I wasn't managing my money once it transitioned from cash to a possession. I would go shopping for clothes and what I would purchase would stay in the bags on the couch for a week. If I really wanted those items, they would have been taken out of the bags and hung on hangers as soon as I got home.
It sounds dramatic, but I would literally panic any time someone would knock on the door. Paul's mom was one of the most organized, neatest women I had ever met. Several times she caught me at home with my house in embarrassing order. I found myself constantly apologizing to my friends for the state of our house. After a while, I couldn't fake that it was a temporary situation.
When Paul and I would entertain, I would do marathon cleaning sessions prior to the party. By the time our guests arrived, I would be exhausted and a tiny bit grouchy. I knew there had to be a better way.
I finally hit a breaking point and decided to take a few days off from work to focus on the problem. The week before my grand makeover, I was psyched and excited about the clean up. I even cleared my schedule the evening before that first vacation day so I could jump right in. I likened my cleanup project to the makeover shows that were becoming so popular. I knew it was going to be hard work, but by the end of the weekend, my house was going to be magically transformed into a Zen-like retreat.
When I got home from work that day I changed clothes, pushed up my sleeves and immediately -- became overwhelmed and started crying. I didn't know where to begin. Within 30 minutes I made the excuse that I needed plastic bins to organize my stuff and left the house. I didn't come back until after 9:00 pm, because I couldn't face it. I ended up spending a silly amount of money bringing more stuff into my home - the plastic bins. Ultimately, I wasted my vacation days, accomplished nothing and my depression grew. The following Monday I found the Flylady
website and by following her habits and routines, I was able to get in control of my home.
Recently, a friend of mine sent an article to me from Good Housekeeping
titled, 10 Biggest Organizing Mistakes
. The article hit home for me. To this day, I still have to be careful about not having too many projects going on at once and putting things somewhere "for now". If this sounds familiar, check out the article and I also recommend visiting Fylady's