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Find Out How Much Disorganization Is Costing You

You Are Worth More Than Your Clutter —
Find Out How Much Disorganization Is Costing You

It’s deeply ironic, considering how passionately I despised that godforsaken “Measurement/Statistics” class in college (alongside the fact that my answer for “what is one plus one?” comes out right only about half the time) — but I’m a lover of numbers. Analytical findings, deductive inference, inductive reasoning, and the sociological implications that accompany the whole lot absolutely freaking fascinate me!

The Joy Of Double-Blind Heteroscedasticity Sans Fallacio

I’m talking math, you perv. (Get your mind out of the gutter!) Not that a standard deviation is anywhere near as good as a roll in the hay — but quartiles and ordinal variables do get me pretty danged hot.

Tell me how much an odor weighs (760 nanograms), you’ve made my day. Gimme a probability matrix outlining the odds of being killed by falling out of bed (one in two million), I’m smiling for a week. And oh-my-yes-please present me with a mathematical formula to predict how likely a serial killer is to take a life at any given moment (it’s called “the devil’s staircase”) — I’m a happy mother-flippin’ camper!

I also adore cluttery chaos stats — the more dire-and-outlandish-yet-true, the better. (Whatever it takes to scare the bejezus out of my clients and get them moving in a positive direction!) Here are a  few faves from mainstream media, NAPO studies, and census data:

  • from womb to tomb, the typical homo sapien receives 49,060 pieces of mail, one-third of which is junk — that individual also discards 4,583 pounds of books/magazines annually (you could build a twelve-foot-high coast-to-coast wall with all the paper thrown away between January and December)
  • we each spend one full year of our lives looking for misplaced items (nine million hours per day as a country) — and every misfiled document costs between $61 and $122 (figuring in personpower spent searching, then all that’s involved with recreating the damned thing once it’s deemed terminally lost)
  • each average office worker uses 200 pounds of paper per year (45 new sheets a day, half of which is immediately pitched out) — each household creates two tons of trash a year (4.4 pounds per-being-per-day, that’s 300 laps around the equator with just the disposable eatingware we throw out)
  • humanity as a whole pisses away the equivalent of 79,000,000 years on FB time-wasteage each month (well done, Zuckerberg) — and the National Soap/Detergent Association (who knew there even was such a thing?) says that clearing excess clutter would eliminate 40% of housework

The Cold Hard Truth

I could go all night — you know I can! But what I really wanted to focus on is how much those stacks and piles are costing you.

The Wall Street Journal (in its infinite wisdom) has decided that we each loses an average of one hour a day to disorganization — that’s more than two freaking weeks per year! Considering how much your time is worth, what does that add up to? Wait — do you even know what an hour of your time is worth? Prolly not. (Most folks don’t.) Here, lemme help:

Gross Annual Income (ex: 12500)
Average Hours You Work Each Day
Daily Hours Lost To Disorganization

And that, my little nastywoman or badhombre, doesn’t even take into account all the other ways that disorder drains your wallet — late fees and interest charges because you blew right past that bill’s due date, missing out on the “early bird” pricing for a conference/event because you registered at the last minute, errors on your bank statement that got overlooked in the absence of a monthly bookkeeping routine. All those little dribbly money leaks become a flood that will eventually drown you. But good news — the tide’s reversible! The more organized you get, the more money you are guaranteed to save.

Imma leave you with one more largely disheartening fact (because I like to end things on an upbeat note). A full 53% of Americans “think less of” those with messy homes and desks — while somewhere between 73% and 91% of folks (depending on the survey) admit that they need to improve their organizational skills. That says a whole lot of something not very good about our society right now.

Moral of the story? Set yourself apart from the cluttered masses — don’t be a statistic!

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    Ramona Creel is an award-winning 15-year veteran organizer and member of the National Association Of Professional Organizers. As well as having birthed “The A-To-Z Of Getting Organized,” Ramona is also the author of “The Professional Organizer’s Bible: A Slightly Irreverent And Completely Unorthodox Guide For Turning Clutter Into A Career”—and the creator of more than 200 “quick-start” business tools and templates for use by productivity professionals. She writes seven different blogs, has worked with hundreds of clients, and has delivered scores of presentations on getting organized. Ramona resides on the roads of America as a full-time RVer—living and working in a 29-foot Airstream. Learn more at and

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