The Value of Getting Organized

Now that my free time has increased exponentially (giving me the margin I so desperately needed), I came up with a list of personal projects that I’ve been neglecting recently, first among these being a reorganization of the pantry.

Over the last few months, our pantry has descended into chaos. When we first moved into our house, I could easily find pretty much anything I needed in the pantry. Before long, I could scarcely find anything, particularly anything that wasn’t in a large container. Even the simplest recipe would involve ten minutes of hunting and searching through the pantry, trying to locate the item I needed. Thus, I dearly wanted to clean it up.

My initial reaction is that this would be a mere organizational task, a time sink that would save me time in bits and pieces later. Little organizational tasks like this are basically time swaps – you’re exchanging a chunk of time right now for little bits of time here and there later on, and most of the time it more than balances out over the long tail.

But during the process, I discovered much more value in reorganizing the pantry (and the cupboards, which were eventually drawn into this as well).

The intense value of the organizational time After I was done, I really began to see how much time this process would actually save me over the long haul. It took me about six minutes to make the dough for a batch of homemade from-scratch breadsticks. Prior to the reorganization, it would have easily taken me fifteen minutes just to find all of the stuff I needed for it. It doesn’t take many meals at all to recover the time invested in organizing.

The value of the stuff I discovered While clearing out the pantry, I discovered countless forgotten food items – a stash of jars of homemade salsa, several boxes of dried pasta, countless cans of vegetables and fruits, and so on. There was enough forgotten food in the pantry to feed us for weeks.

The inspirational value Digging around in the pantry, I came across several ingredients that inspired me to cook something right away. One of them was a jar of minced tarragon, which is, as far as I’m concerned, a magic ingredient in scrambled eggs, so I made a batch of scrambled eggs for breakfast. I found a sealed jar of minced garlic, which is going to be added to the batch of pizza dough I’m working on – yes, minced garlic straight into pizza dough is sublime. That’s just the tip of the iceberg.

The personal satisfaction When I was done, I felt incredibly satisfied. Not only had I knocked out a task that I wanted to accomplish, I had discovered many wonderful things along the way and I could tell already that it would save me a lot of money and time.

Obviously, this doesn’t just apply to organizing your cupboards. One can get a similar sense of satisfaction, both personally and financially, by organizing lots of things in your home. Try digging through your closet, or reorganizing your bookshelves. You’ll not only feel good about accomplishing something, you’ll also save yourself some time later on and you’ll likely make a personally valuable discovery or two along the way.

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