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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 Gifts for Her

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Natural relxation

Between work, family, and anything else that life might be throwing their way, chances are the woman you are shopping for is in serious need of some pampering. Pop in to Blushing Bee Naturals in Holden and browse their great selection of all natural and organic products. Choose from great product lines like Little Moon Essentials, Badger, Burt’s Bees, Pacifica and more. Rest easy knowing that you are treating the special lady on your list to a completely natural pampering experience.

Where to buy: Blushing Bee Naturals, 787 Main Street, Holden, MA. (508) 829-2332. 

Price: Varies based on product line and item

Photo: Mr. T in DC/Flickr

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Chocolate indulgence

By and large, chocolate is a smart gift choice for any woman on your list. Head to Colonial Candies in Bolton to check out their selection. This place has been in business for 100 years and counting and it’s no secret why—they sell some of the best confections in the industry. Pick up a box of their famous assorted chocolates that will be sure to please. If chocolate is not an option, be sure to check out their old fashioned ribbon candy!

Where to buy: Colonial Candies, 47 Sugar Road, Bolton, MA. (978) 779-6586.

Price: $21.95/1lb Box Classic Assortment; $17.95/gift wrapped box of Old Fashioned Ribbon Candy

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Bedside reads

Got a girl that loves to read in mind this holiday season? Look no farther than Tatnuck Booksellers in Westborough. Containing thousands of books covering all genres and age ranges spread over 35,000 sq. ft., you are sure to find a book she’ll love. As a bonus, all the books in store are discounted—every day.

Where to buy: Tatnuck Bookseller, Route 9 & Lyman Street, Westborough, MA. (508) 366-4959.

Price: Varies based on book or item selected.

Photo: Casey Fleser/Flickr

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Inspired jewelry

Choose a piece of jewelry for a special woman in your life that has meaning this holiday season. Ribbons Jewelry in Uxbridge is the go-to for inspirational jewelry. Take a trip to the show and check out the BB Becker Collection, featuring beautifully designed engraved jewelry. 

Where to buy: Ribbons Jewelry, 158 North Main Street, Uxbridge, MA. (508) 278-2495.

Price: $64.00+

Photo: Alexander Karelly/Flickr

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Maybe you haven’t yet heard, but Kringle Candle Company is the newest, freshest premium candle retailer in Massachusetts. Take a trip out to their Bernardston candle factory and explore all that it has to offer. Collections of candles scents range anywhere from kitchen spices to holiday fragrances and more. Pick up some great scented candles, like the great Cocoa Spice Jar candle, and pair it with a car freshener!

Where to Buy: Kringle Candle Company, 220 South Street, Bernardston, MA. (413) 648-3077.

Price: Large Spice Jar Candle: $24.95

Photo: Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism/Flickr

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Got a free spirited adventurer on your list? Keep it close to home and take the short drive to New England Backpacker on East Mountain Street. Pick up a pair of cross country skis or snow shoes for a winter lover, or a tent and some hiking boots for a summer adventurer.

Where to buy: New England Backpacker, 6 East Mountain Street, Worcester, MA. (508) 853-9407.

Price: See store for details.

Photo: Stefan Schmitz/Flickr

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Hand-painted treasures

Support a great Worcester business, ARTworks, this holiday season. Peruse beautifully handcrafted figures by Lori Mitchell that are perfect as gifts. There are several to choose from, all amazingly detailed and themed. For a holiday themed gift, pick up the “Playing Santa” figure—it’s adorable!

Where to buy: Artworks, 261 Park Avenue, Worcester, MA. (508) 755-7808.

Price: “Playing Santa,” $23.00

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Got a busy mom to buy for? Why not buy her a photo calendar, specially made with all of her favorite memories? As she’s planning away for next year, she can look back on all of her happiest moments. Snag her favorite pictures and hop on Shutterfly today. You can get her a gorgeous wall calendar in 8”X11” or 12”X12” sizes.

Where to buy: www.shutterfly.com

Price: 8”X11”: $21.99; 12”X12”: $29.99

Photo: gingerboximages/Flickr

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Botanical creations

If you’ve got a nature lover on your hands, you can do better than a bouquet of grocery store roses. Check out Seed to Stem, a great local business that pairs unique botanical arrangements and creations with curiosities, antiquities, and more. Pick up a gorgeous hanging terrarium that will make the special woman on your list beam.

Where to buy: Seed to Stem, 174 Shrewsbury Street, Worcester, MA. (508)890-0933.

Price: See store for specific pricing.

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Handmade jewelry

Take a visit to Prints and Potter, a store that is dedicated to handmade, handcrafted treasures. Pick up a beautifully made piece of jewelry for the lady on your list. Select from an array of alluring gemstones and precious metals to find that perfect gift.

Where to buy: Prints and Potter, 142 Highland Street, Worcester, MA. (508) 752-2170.

Price: Varies

Photo: Kristina D.C. Hoeppner/Flickr


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