Dispelling Millennial Home-Buying Myths

Think pieces upon think pieces flood the internet, listing all of the reasons why Millennials aren’t buying houses. Some people think it’s stagnant wages, while others put the blame on all that avocado toast. Still others say that Millennials have different priorities than earlier generations. They are less enamored by possessions like houses and the stuff you put in them and would rather be backpacking through Thailand. The problem with these many articles and commentaries is that the outlook for Millennial home buying is not nearly as gloomy as most people seem to think. According to CNN Money, Millennials make up the largest group of potential homebuyers today. They are buying homes at around the same age as earlier generations and are not skipping out on this rite of passage by any means. Let’s look at some of the myths and misconceptions about this important group of buyers.

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Millennials prefer to rent

How the myth goes: Millennials have different priorities than other generations. They’d rather spend their money on experiences than commit to a house. As a result, they rent.

The reality: Millennials, in a 2014 survey conducted by Fannie Mae, overwhelmingly said that they considered owning a home a better financial move than renting. 49 percent of respondents who were renting said that they would likely try to purchase a home soon.

By and large, they have stuck to that conviction. Millennials make up nearly half of all of new mortgage holders, and their numbers are growing. Mortgage analysis experts at Ellie Mae say that, in 2016, they accounted for 42 percent; by the same month this year, they’d leapt to 45 percent.

Millennials are taking longer to form adult priorities

How the myth goes: This generation’s special snowflakes do not want to settle down.

The reality: Millennials buy their first home at around the same age their parents did. According to NerdWallet, the average individual in 1970 through 1974 bought their first home at the age of 30.6. In 2015, that age had risen just a few months to 31 years of age.

Millennials are also not spending much more time renting than previous generations. NerdWallet says, on average, a Millennial will rent for six years before buying a house. In 1980, the median number was five years.

Millennials can’t afford homeownership

How the myth goes: Millennials, whether it is down to income that is too low or expenses that are too high, cannot afford to buy homes.

The reality: The median income for Millennials older than 25, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, is $38,220. Based on a two income household, this is enough to apply for and afford monthly mortgage payments, which can often be cheaper than rent.

This is also a high enough salary to put together a reasonable down payment. If the buyer qualifies for an FHA loan, they will only need to come up with 3.5 percent. On a home that sells for $150,000, that comes to $5,250. A couple each putting away $50 out of every paycheck could accumulate that much in a year.

Millennials don’t have the credit scores needed to buy

How the myth goes: Tighter lending rules mean that Millennials, with their shorter credit histories, cannot hope to buy homes.

The reality: Requirements have been easing since 2010.

It’s still harder now to buy homes now than it was before the 2008 collapse. However, since 2010, analysts at Ellie Mae have seen credit scores of approved buyers steadily drop.

Many people also overestimate the importance of a long credit history. The length of your credit history only accounts for 15 percent of your credit score with FICO, the most commonly used credit scoring company. As long as someone has a good payment history, reasonable levels of indebtedness, a good mix of types of credit and few recent inquiries, they can still score very well.

Millennials are drowning in debt

How the myth goes: Between thousands spent on travel and brunches and dizzying student loans, most Millennials have too much debt to interest mortgage brokers.

The reality: In many ways, Millennials have other generations beat. SmartAsset says that the average debt, including mortgages, for people under 35 is $82,500. By contrast, people between 45 and 54 owe, on average, $150,500.

And, while student loan levels are up, they do not seem to have a negative effect on people’s ability to buy a home. In fact, NerdWallet’s research showed that people who pursued higher education were more likely to become homeowners.

As of 2013, only 8 percent of households who are repaying student loans have what the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau considers high debt burdens. A high debt burden means that more than 14 percent of monthly income goes toward that debt. With average student loan payments of $312 and estimated monthly income around $2,940, student loan debt is manageable for most borrowers.

However, the advantages seem to apply just to those who use their student loans to complete a degree. A degree is typically a ticket to higher earnings, which makes homeownership more realistic. Those who attend college on student loans and do not complete their degrees are less likely to seek out homeownership.

Millennials are not financially savvy

How the myth goes: Millennials never bothered to learn about credit, investing or savings. They were never taught in school and never learned on their own.

The reality: Barbara Ostroth, a real estate agent working with Millennial buyers in New Jersey, said in a recent interview with NorthJersey.com that her Millennial buyers understand the home buying process and the many perks of homeownership. She says that they have a strong understanding of concepts like tax deductions and building equity. Many use online research to find out more about home prices in the area and other facets in order to become more prepared to purchase.

However, the way that many Millennials chose the homes that they want has changed. Many Millennials go through more job changes that individuals in previous generations did. They are more likely to want to continue to engage in activities like travel and dinners out. Because of this, they are typically more conservative about the limits they are willing to spend on a home. This makes it harder for them to find the right homes for them, but also protects them from becoming house poor.

Tight housing markets and high mortgage rates are scaring Millennials away

How the myth goes: Homeownership is way too expensive between a low inventory of homes and high interest rates.

The reality: It is true that the housing inventory is tight. According to CNNMoney, Zillow had three percent fewer listings this past February than they did that month in the year before. The houses that are left are selling for more money. Zillow says that home values are up nearly 7 percent.

However, while interest rates are going up, they remain at reasonable and affordable levels. Experts speaking with CNNMoney said that they do not expect rates to go over 5 percent. Earlier this year, rates hit a high of 4.21%. While that seems significantly higher than last year’s 3.68 percent average, the impact will be small for most buyers. On a $235,000 home with a $20,000 down payment, that means a difference of $57 per month.

Only about 13 Percent of Millennials have become homeowners

How the myth goes: With everything that’s working against them, the American dream is dead.

The reality: The 13 percent figure was included in a recent tweet from Ian C. Calderon, a California Assemblyman and the founder of the Millennial Caucus of California.

Calderon’s office told Politfact that they got that figure from the Obama Administration. However, many news articles put homeownership rates for Millennials much higher. The Washington Post said that around 34 percent of Millennials owned homes. Researchers at Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies listed the homeownership rate for people under 35 at 31 percent in a study they performed in 2015.

These rates are lower than they were for similar age groups in other eras. In 1995, around 39 percent of those under 35 owned homes. However, the trend toward lower homeownership rates isn’t just something that is going on with Millennials. People of all ages are less likely to own homes. The homeownership rate nationwide is at its lowest rate in 50 years at 62.9 percent.

Millennials prefer city life

How the myth goes: Millennials aren’t buying because they would rather live in the city. Since city properties are way more expensive than a home in the suburbs, Millennials are passing on buying homes.

The reality: Millennials are just as likely to get a home in the suburbs as anyone else. A March 2017 report from Zillow revealed that nearly 50 percent of Millennial homeowners live in the suburbs. Only about a third live in an urban neighborhood. Zillow’s chief marketing officer Jeremy Wacksman says that he expects the suburbs to change as more Millennials reach homebuying age. Suburbs are more likely to feature the restaurants, organic food shopping, yoga and Pilates classes that draw people to urban centers. As Millennials start making moves toward marriage and parenthood, they are also more likely to become interested in the benefits of a suburban lifestyle.

Millennials are just getting started. NerdWallet observed that around two-thirds of Millennials have not yet reached the average homebuying age of 31. Just over a fifth are under 25 years in age. If current trends continue, they will make up a larger chunk of homebuying consumers as time goes by. Despite the many rumors of gloom and doom, the kids are alright. They will continue to save, earn and work toward the dream of homeownership and the security that it provides.

Water Heater Troubleshooting And How To Repair

Water heater is one of the most important things in one’s household. However, it is not always possible to maintain water heater and its additional parts with a monthly plumbing company. Maintaining and fixing a water heater is relatively easy.

Once you have learnt the tricks, you can successfully carry out the tedious chore by yourself. However, if you have a leakage in the tank in the water heater, nothing can be done. You have to replace it. For all the other major concerns, just read the article and master the art of fixing it.

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Knowing the device

You need to know the device and its parts, in order to understand its functioning. Typically a heater will have large water holding tank, which will usually 30 to 60 gallon water capacity. It will have a cold water opening for in taking the water. A dip tube will be placed right in the junction and it will transport the cold water to the bottom of the tank.

Lastly, it will have sacrificial rod, which ensures the safety of your tank from corrosion and erosion. Now, the dip tube is the part which electrically heats the water and converts it into hot water.

How to detect the problem

Start with draining out the hot water heater

First and foremost you need to test, which part is not working properly. For this reason, you need to make the tank empty as you cannot understand it from the surface. Turn of the electric panel. Close the cold water intake, give it some time for the hot water to cool down inside.

Lastly, open the hot water outlet and let the water drain away. It is best if you can perform the task, somewhere in a dry area. it is advised that to drain the water into a basin. This is because sometimes a small amount of hot water may remain small. It is better to be careful.

Get rid of the sediment

Most of the time, the natural cold water that is coming in will have small particles in it. These small particles accumulate and get settled at the bottom of tank, forming sediment. Most people have reported a smell of rotten egg around the tank with an unpleasant gurgling sound.

This happens because, the sediment is also getting heated up along with the water. At times, you may also notice water overflow, this may also happen because of sedimentation.

Now, once you have emptied your tank, fill up half of the tank, to get rid if the sediment. Flush the water out. Repeat the steps until the sediment is gone. To get rid of stubborn sediment, you can also use a water softner.

However, if you see that you are unable to get rid of it all. Then it is time to change the anodes of your system. You need to call the plumber and get a new anode installed.

Conclusion

You will not notice any time of sedimentation in a good quality water heater at it comes with a pre-installed water filter. Usually, these are costly but you can look for affordable water heaters San Diego in any online store. Just consult with a professional, before buying one.

5 Tips to Create a Stylish Space for Your Footwear

One can never have too many pairs of shoes. Storing them, however, is a whole different ball game. It doesn’t matter if you have 50 pairs or 5 pairs—unless the shoes are stored in the right way, you are likely to find them misshapen and in need of repair when you pull them out to wear. Setting aside a little time and effort can stand you in good stead in the long run when it comes to storing shoes. Here are some tips to remember when creating a nice space for your footwear.

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  • Estimate Your Needs

Make a calculation of how many pairs of shoes you own and where you want to store them. The space you choose must be large enough to hold your current collection of footwear and have rooms for a few more. You do not want to end up having to reorganize your shoes every couple of weeks! Decide if it is designer shoe racks that you want or just pick one of the many shoe racks online retailers have in stock.

  • Store the Proper Way

Before you store your footwear, clean them of dust and dirt. Use shoe trees to help retain their shape irrespective of where you decide to store them. Make sure there’s not even a teeny-weeny bit of moisture left on any of the shoes. The smallest drop of moisture is enough to weaken and damage any shoe.

  • Find the Right Spot

It is important that the place where you keep your shoes is protected fromexposure to direct sunlight and moisture. Cool, dark places are a great choice under all climatic conditions. Never opt for the garage or basement as these can get damp in winter or rains and hot during summer.

  • Choose the Appropriate Storage Solution

Just as there are numerous types of crockery cabinet designs, so are there shoe racks and cabinets. Zero in on one that meets all your requirements including style quotient. It can be a cabinet with glass doors or a sleek contemporary shelf that screams chic.A revolving shoe tree, over-the-door shoe rack, cubic shoe organizer, or a drawer shoe rack are just some of the options available.You might need more than one storage option depending on the pair of shoes you wish to store.

  • Arrange Collection in Order of Priority

Keep frequently worn pairs of footwear on the upper shelves or rungs for easy access. Delegate the lesser worn or occasion wear pairs to the lower shelves. Also, arrange them according to season. In order to avoid the hassle of having to rummage through your shoe rack often, store everyday footwear in a tray.

Just ensure that the choices you make for footwear storage are in keeping with the décor and colour theme of the room. This will help lend some elegance and bring in the chic factor to what might otherwise be mistaken for simple and ordinary.

Why Smaller Houses are better than Huge Villas to Live in Every Day

Large villas have their own charm, sprawling spaces, huge rooms and a lot of private spaces and is probably everybody’s dream house. However, they come with their own set of challenges and may not be the ideal option for everyday living. On the contrary, smaller houses are well suited to the demands of modern city dwelling. You will save money on every aspect of maintenance and your future will thank you for it. That’s not all; there are several other reasons for choosing a smaller home for everyday living and they include:

  • Easy to Maintain: Big and huge villas need only a huge financial investment but also time, effort and the costs for upkeep can be quite stressful.On the other hand, small houses are a boon for everyday living. It allows you to live a streamlined life by reducing the amount of daily chores and maintenance. This ensures that you are stress-free, have a lot of free time for leisure activities and get to spend more time with your family. You will be relaxed and will love your home for the overall comfort it provides.aaa
  • Lower Cost of Acquisition: Smaller homes like a 2 BHK flat in Marathahalli or acquiring a 2 BHK flat for sale in Electronic City Bangalore will be a lot more cost effective than buying huge villas. A small and cosy place would translate into lower costs of maintenance, reduced taxes, insurance and decreased effort in the general upkeep.
  • Easy Cleaning: The less space you have around the house, the lesser you will fill it up with things you do not need such as extra furniture, artefacts electronics, appliances and other general home use items. This will ensure that the time you spend on cleaning will be much less when compared to a large living space that has large spaces filled with house hold items that need care and attention.
  • Forces you to de-clutter: A small house will force you tointentionally only keep stuff that you need and will not allow you those extras or unnecessary indulgences. This way you have a home that is better organised, is cost efficient and is clutter free.
  • Better family bonding: A small house encourages better family bonding as opposed to a spread out home with large floor plans. Small homes create an environment where family members share a smaller space, engage better among one another and create a feeling of cosiness, which leads to a happier domicile.
  • Decreased Interior Decoration Costs: Plots for sale in Whitefield will allow you to build luxury villas with all the opulence and grandeur. But small homes will be less expensive to decorate and will be not only be pocket friendly but will save you time and effort when you beautify your abode.
  • Easy to Sell: A huge villa will require substantial investment and may not always be easy to sell as a 2 BHK flat in Marathahalli. A smaller house is more affordable to a wider audience and will find many more prospective buyers than a huge, more expensive villa.

Small is the newbig; it will give you more opportunities to leverage your existing resources by providing more value for your rupee. As you look for your apartments, start at Roof and Floor to find your home!

What is a Doctor Loan?

A model house is being doctored by a stethoscope.

Recently graduated medical students make for interesting borrowers. They have the unique quality of being deep in debt, but with a high probability of making boatloads of cash later on.

While they are in that transitional period right after they graduate medical school, and are making modest salaries as residents, they have too high of a debt-to-income ratio, and won’t qualify for most conventional loans.

Someone over at Bank of America made the initial mental leap that these future high-earners were an untapped market, and invented the doctor loan.

What is it?

With a doctor loan, the lender understands that you will have much more money in the future than you do right now, so the requirements aren’t quite as strict as they usually are for a low income borrower. For this reason, they often don’t factor in student-debt to the debt-to-income ratio.

There is also a low down payment minimum (10 percent or less), and since they know doctors have a very low chance of defaulting, there is no private mortgage insurance required.

It’s also fairly common for lenders to only require an employment contract as proof of income in order to accommodate doctors who have to relocate before they start their first job. Typically, the borrower has the option of a 30-year fixed rate, or a five- or seven-year adjustable rate loan.

What’s the catch?

Shocker—I know—but lenders aren’t doing these doctors a favor out of the kindness of their own hearts. The ulterior motive is to build relationships with future wealthy doctors, and get them to do more than just a mortgage.

In most situations, the applicant will have to have at least a checking account with the bank in order to obtain the doctor loan. After that, the bank is hoping for credit cards, investment banking, and anything else that might tickle the doctor’s financial fancy.

On top of that, most of these loans come with higher interest rates, and fees/points than conventional loans.

The bottom line:

While the doctor loan does have its advantages, in most situations the cons outweigh the pros. One strong reason against them is that the majority of residents will relocate after their residency is over in 1-5 years, which is almost never enough to break even on a home.

If you wait a little longer until you have an actual income, and a better debt-to-income ratio, you can get a much better deal with a conventional loan.

5 Questions to Ask When You’re De-Cluttering

Whether you’re packing for a move or just starting to feel a little cramped by all the clutter, half the battle is picking a strategy that works for you and sticking to it. Here are 5 tried and true questions to ask yourself when you’re trying to decide what to keep and what to sell, donate, recycle, or throw away.

1. How often do I use it?

This is a popular question to ask yourself when de-cluttering—and for good reason.  It’s the simplest way to tell if the item in question is actually of any use to you. If you haven’t used it in the last year (or six months for non-seasonal items), then you can get rid of it and feel secure that you’ll probably never miss it.

2. Would I buy it again?

People tend to hang onto things they paid a lot for just because, well, they paid a lot for it. This I-need-to-get-my-money’s-worth state of mind is all well and good if the item is getting use, but if its main function is collecting dust, it’s time to re-evaluate.  Ask yourself if you would spend the money again—if the answer is “no,” then it’s time to let go.

3. Is this the right place for it?

Squeezing your grandmother’s antique armchair into your already-furnished living room probably isn’t doing you any favors.

Before giving it up for good, try to find a better home for your item. Maybe that chair would make a good reading chair in your office, or a nice place to sit and put on shoes in your bedroom.

4. Why do I want to keep it?

It’s easy to toss things you shouldn’t into the to-keep pile when you’re not thinking too hard about why what makes them automatic “yeses.” So even when your first instinct is to keep it, take a minute to evaluate.

Is it a gift from a loved one that you feel obligated to keep? Do you think you’ll get around to fixing it in future, even if you don’t now? If these are the kind of answers you’re getting—or if you can’t even come up with an answer—consider pitching or donating.

5. Can I do something else with it?

Still having a hard time letting go of a few sentimental somethings? Try finding another way to preserve the memories. Scan your photos and store them digitally, turn all your old concert t-shirts into a quilt, or take pictures of your teenager’s baby toys.

The key here is not to tuck the items away to document or transform “later,” but rather to do it immediately. If you don’t, you risk simply shifting your clutter from one pile to another.

4 Steps to Protect Your Turf

Winter lawn care includes mulching leaves

Although spring lawn care gets all the attention, fall lawn care is the make-it or break-it season for grass.

“I’m already thinking about next year,” says John Dillon, who takes care of New York City’s Central Park, which features 200 acres of lawn in the middle of Manhattan. “The grass I grow this fall is what will be there next spring.”

Fall lawn care is no walk in the park. It’s hard work, and Dillon guides you through the four basic steps.

1.  Aeration

Aeration gives your lawn a breather in autumn and provides room for new grass to spread without competition from spring weeds. Aeration tools pull up plugs of grass and soil, breaking up compacted turf. That allows water, oxygen, and nutrients to reach roots, and gives seeds room to sprout.

If kids frequently play on your lawn, plan to aerate twice a year — fall and spring. If your lawn is just for show, then aerate once a year — and maybe even once every other year.

A hand-aerating tool ($20), which looks like a pitchfork with hollow tines, is labor-intensive and meant for unplugging small sections of grass. Gas-powered aerating machines (rental, $20/hour) are about the size of a big lawn mower, and are good for working entire lawns. Bring some muscle when you pick up your rental: Aerating machines are heavy and can be hard to lift into your truck or SUV.

Depending on the size of your property, professional aeration costs about $150.

2.  Seeding

Fall, when the soil temperature is about 55 degrees, is the best time to seed your lawn because turf roots grow vigorously in fall and winter. If you want a lush lawn, don’t cheap out on the seed.

Bags of inexpensive seed ($35 for 15 pounds) often contain hollow husks, weed seed, and annual rye grass seed, which grows until the first frost then drops dead. Splurge on the good stuff ($55 for 15 pounds of Kentucky Bluegrass seed), which resists drought, disease, and insects.

Water your new seed every day for 10 to 20 days until it germinates.

3.  Fertilizing

A late fall fertilization — before the first frost — helps your grass survive a harsh winter and encourages it to grow green and lush in spring. Make your last fertilization of the year count by choosing a product high (10% to 15%) in phosphorous, which is critical for root growth, Dillon says.

Note: Some states are banning phosphorous-rich fertilizers, which are harmful to the watershed. In those places, look for nitrogen-rich fertilizers, which promote shoot and root growth. Check with your local extension service to see what regulations apply in your area.

4.  Mulching

Instead of raking leaves, run over them a couple of times with your mower to grind them into mulch. The shredded leaves protect grass from winter wind and desiccation. An added bonus — shredded leaves decompose into yummy organic matter to feed grass roots.

A mulching blade ($10) that attaches to your mower will grind the leaves even finer.

The Warm and Cozy Home

Family dog sitting by gel fireplace

The dark days of winter can really do a number on your well-being. Shorter days trigger the blahs; freezing temps spark the sniffles. So we put together a list of ideas that’ll turn your home into a comfy haven.

Cozy and Clever Energy Savers

Here’s how to create a brighter and warmer home without using more energy or cranking up the thermostat.

1. Clean dirty light fixtures and dusty bulbs to make your home appear 30% brighter without turning on more lights.

2. Seal sneaky air leaks. It’s not just window and door leaks killing your cozy vibe. Don’t forget to plug stealthy gaps around recessed lights, electrical boxes, and wall outlets. Use a lit incense stick or scented candle to hunt down drafty spots while leaving behind a cozy scent.

3. Replace your traditional gas or wood fireplace. Why? Both suck out heated indoor air and send it up the chimney. A gel fireplace insert is an eco-friendly option that produces a burning fire without gas, wood, electricity, or even a chimney. It’s also smoke-free and emits fewer allergens than a wood fireplace; some options crackle like the real thing. A basic model costs between $100 to $210; custom models go up exponentially from there. A case of gel fuel comes with 12 cans that burn for three hours each (about $35).

Tip: Use a slow cooker to infuse your home with a warm and cozy aroma. Even better, slow cookers are more energy efficient than electric ovens, typically using less energy than a light bulb.

Immunity Boosters

You’ll feel coziest in a healthy indoor environment that keeps allergies at bay and reduces your chances of getting sick.

4. Get plants. Some indoor plants, like golden pothos and gerbera daisies, are particularly adept at sucking up nasty VOCs — the vapors emitted from household cleaners, paints, and dry cleaning. And since plants increase humidity levels, they help decrease household dust.

5. Vacuum while your thermostat is set to “fan on.” This helps filter dust that gets kicked-up while cleaning. Just leave the fan on for about 15 minutes after you finish vacuuming and switch it back to “auto” afterward. HVAC blowers aren’t intended to run all the time.

6. Change your HVAC filter every couple months (monthly if you have pets) to prevent excess dust from circulating.

Tip: Combat superbugs with copper. If you’re planning to upgrade your kitchen or bathroom fixtures, consider classic and homey-looking copper or a copper alloy like brass. A three-hospital study in 2011 found that bacteria can only survive on copper for a few minutes, but germs can live on stainless steel for weeks.

Sun Worshippers

Lack of natural light can trigger a mean case of the winter doldrums — or worse, mood-altering seasonal affective disorder. Maximize daylight and make rooms feel warmer by adding the following to your yearly fall maintenance checklist.

7. Make your windows pane-fully clear. Clean glass not only lets more natural light into your home, it’s a feel-good task, according to a survey by the American Clean Institute. When ACI asked consumers what clean surfaces make them happy, “gleaming windows” made the top five above a “spotless sink.”

8. Ditch your window screens in the fall and winter. They trap dirt and can make your home appear darker inside and out. It’s a good curb appeal booster, too.

9. Add an interior window to a room next to a sun-drenched space to take advantage of natural light.

Tip: Paint chilly rooms, especially north-facing walls that don’t typically get sunlight, in reds, oranges, or yellows cozy colors that can actually help the room feel warmer, according to a Michigan State University study.

Why Being Organized Saves You Money

Coat hooks and boot storage

If you’ve ever accrued a late fee after losing a bill, thrown away spoiled peaches you forgot to eat, or bought yet another pair of sunglasses because you couldn’t find yours, then you know being disorganized can cost you money.

At best, clutter in the home causes mistakes, late fees, overdue payments, and missed deadlines. At worst, a house in chaos can eat away at your finances, mar your credit, and reduce your productivity. That’s a whopping price to pay for being disorganized.

According to an Ikea “Life at Home” survey, 43% of Americans admit to being disorganized, and the average American wastes 55 minutes per day looking for stuff they’ve lost or misplaced.

“Do you think organizing is just for appearances?” asks Lisa Gessert, president of Organizing.buzz, a professional organizing service in Staten Island, N.Y. “Organizing your home is financially beneficial.” Gessert stresses to clients the need to sort, purge, assign things a home, and containerize. “This process saves people tons of money.”

Here’s why being organized saves you money, and how to get your home into shape:

Disorganization in the Home Office Costs You:

  • Lost papers = time spent looking for them, money wasted on duplicates
  • Misplaced bills = late fees, bad credit causes higher interest rates
  • Missed tax deadlines = penalties

Home office with paperwork on shelves

If any of these sound familiar, you’ll need a home office system for dealing with important papers, bills, and personal correspondence. The Ikea survey found 23% of people pay bills late because they lost them. Wall-mounted bill organizers can help you stay organized. Look for ones with two or more compartments to categorize by due date.

“Having your papers organized will save time, help you pay bills on time, and allow you to be more productive,” says Alison Kero, owner of ACK Organizing, based in New York City.

Mount shelving and create a file system for important papers, such as insurance policies and tax receipts. Look for under-utilized space, such as converting a standard closet into built-in storage with shelves and cabinets for your papers, files, and office equipment. If you need to use stackable bins, don’t stack them around equipment that needs air ventilation, such as scanners and Wi-Fi receivers, since they could overheat and malfunction — costing you money.

Disorganization in Your Closets Costs You:

  • Missing clothes = money spent on duplicates
  • Hidden items = wasted time since you can’t see what you own
  • Accessory mess = wasted money on items you don’t wear, can’t find

Clothes organized in a closet

“Organizing often reduces duplication of possessions,” says Lauren Williams, owner of Casual Uncluttering LLC, in Woodinville, Wash. “No more buying an item for a second, third, fourth time because someone can’t find it.”

If closets are crammed, paring down is a must. First, take everything out. Rid yourself of multiples, anything you no longer wear, and assess your shoe collection. Create piles: purge, throw out, or donate.

For what’s left, you’ll need a better closet system. You can choose a ready-made system that simply needs installation, or create your own. PVC pipe can be used to create additional hanging rods, and you may also want to add shelving to store folded clothes, hats, and bulky items. Look for wire mesh shelving, solid wood shelves, or an all-in-one closet shelving system depending on space. Large and small hooks can be wall-mounted to hold belts, accessories, and scarves.
Disorganization in the Kitchen Costs You:

  • Expired food = wasted money
  • Overflowing pantry = can’t see what ingredients you have and duplicate them
  • Crammed cabinets = overspending on multiple dishes and gadgets

Since the kitchen is often the hub of the home, it has a tendency to clutter. No wonder the Ikea survey found 50% of the world’s kitchens have junk drawers. Categorize yours by adding small plastic or wooden drawer organizers for things like thumbtacks, rubber bands, scissors, and tape.

To avoid buying your third jar of oregano or second potato ricer, buy or build an organizational system for your pantry. Built-in lazy Susans work great. Use pull-out mini shelving to corral items like dressings, hot sauces, and vinegars. Tackle cabinets and counters by mounting behind-the-cabinet-door racks to hold items like pot lids or cutting boards.

Add pull-out drawers in your bottom cupboards to make everything easily accessible and easy to see. You’ll thank yourself when you get older, too.

Disorganization in Your Living Areas Costs You:

  • Lost keys, missing wallet = late for work, lost productivity
  • Not being able to fully enjoy your home = you spend money elsewhere for fun
  • Blocked ventilation = utility costs rise

Organized living room

Your living space is where you want to get the most enjoyment out of your home. If you can’t relax and enjoy yourself there, you’ll constantly be seeking out other places to find solace and fun — and that can add up to a lot of money spent on entertainment and recreational venues.

And, meanwhile, you could be paying more than you should for the living space you’re not enjoying.

“I run into people whose homes are unorganized to the point of papers, boxes and ‘stuff’ blocking air vents that supply heat and air conditioning to their homes,” says Gessert. This costs a fortune in utility bills. Likewise, a jumble of electrical wires around TVs and home entertainment systems can be sucking energy from always being plugged in. Connect them all to smart power strips that can turn everything off with one switch.

Once you’re living with organization, you’ll start to see the benefits everywhere. No more dealing with late fees on bills, having to buy replacement earrings or bread knives when items go missing, and — perhaps best of all — no more having to leave your home in order to find relaxation and entertainment. After all, saving on bills can be a big boost to your monthly budget, but there’s no greater value than getting more enjoyment out of your home.