I’ve gathered some interesting statistics on the cost of clutter and disorganization in time, money and quality of life.  Seriously consider what clutter and chaos is costing you in your home and/or business.  It can be a real eye opener.   If you need some help, we have many videos and organizing bootcamps to help you de-clutter your home and office.

Take a few minutes to review the Organizing and Time Management Statistics below and check off the ones that apply to you.  Then find your calendar and schedule time to de-clutter your office and home.  Start with the area that is driving you crazy the most.

  • Household Management
  • Information Management
  • Organizing Products and Tools
  • Paper Management
  • Stress and Work/Life Balance
  • Time Management


Household Management

  • It costs an average of $10/square foot to store items in your home
  • According to the National Soap and Detergent Association, getting rid of clutter eliminates 40 percent of housework in the average home
  • Escape Magazine, April 2000, says each week Americans spend:If you rent self-storage space to store your excess belongings, you’re contributing to a $154 billion industry.  That’s bigger than the Hollywood film business!
      • 74 hours cleaning toilets and on household chores
      • 72 hours picking up dry cleaning, retuning videos and other errands
      • 72 hours applying makeup and other personal grooming
  • 1 in 11 American households rent a self-storage space and spend over $1,000 a year in rent
  • 23% of adults pay bills late and incur fees because they can’t find their bills, Harris Interactive
  • 80% of the clutter in your home is a result of disorganization, not lack of space
  • 80% of what we keep we rarely use, Agency Sales Magazine
  • Realtors say ‘first impression’ is key and de-cluttering closets to be one of the smartest ways to spruce up your home before putting it on the market
  • We wear 20% of our clothes, 80% of the time.  The rest hangs there
  • U.S. Department of Energy reports that 25% of people with two-car garages fill it with too much stuff that they can’t park a car inside
  • 50% of homeowners rate their garage as the most disorganized room in the house, yet the most frequently used by family members


Information Management

  • 96% of office workers are frustrated by their company’s information management, Harte-Hanks
  • According to Forbes ASAP, the typical executive today wastes 150 hours a year, almost one month, searching for lost information.  For someone earning $50,000 a year, that translates to a loss of $3,842
  • Typical US worker is interrupted by communications technology every 10 minutes, Institute for Future and Gallup
  • 80% of papers and information that we keep, we never use, Agency Sales Magazine
  • Email is increasing print volume by 40%, Document Magazine


Organizing Products and Tools

  • Using the correct organizational tools can improve time management by 38%, Mobile Technology Product
  • Home storage products have become a $4.36 billion industry, Newsweek 2004


Paper Management

  • The average American gets 49,060 pieces of mail in a lifetime, one third of it is junk mail
  • Paperwork has been voted the biggest burden for small businesses
  • The Wall Street Journal reports that the average U.S. executive wastes six weeks per year retrieving misplaced information from messy desks and files.  For an executive earning $75,000 a year, that translates to a loss of $9,221 – 12.3 percent of total earnings.  For a company with one hundred executives at that salary, it translates to nearly $1 million in lost productivity.
  • The average office has 19 copies of each document. Spends $20 in labour to file each document. Spends $120 in labour searching for each misfiled document.  Loses one out of every 20 documents. Spends 25 hours recreating each lost document, PricewaterhouseCoopers
  • It costs about $25,000 to fill a four drawer filing cabinet and over $2,100 per year to maintain it, Gartner Group, Coopers & Lybrand, Ernst & Young
  • A four-drawer file cabinet full of paper, holds 18,000 pages
  • Studies show that some executives will pick up a single piece of paper from their desk thirty or forty times before acting on it, Michael F. Woolery, Seize the Day
  • Time spent mishandling paperwork detracts from the company’s ability to service customers, increase sales, and improve the bottom line, Small Business Administration
  • Corporations still don’t understand the value of good document management or the costs of bad, Thornton May, author of Imaging World
  • It costs businesses $120 in labour to track down a misplaced document or $250 in labour to re-create it

Stress and Work/Life Balance

  • 80% of our medical expenditures are stress related as stated by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Fast Company 2003
  • Stress-related illness costs the nation $300 billion a year in medical costs and lost productivity, American Institute of Stress
  • Perfectionism costs 50% or more of the total effort to squeeze out the last 10% or so of quality, Jeff Olson, The Agile Manager’s Guide to Getting Organized, 1997


Time Management

  • the National Association of Professional Organizers says we spend one year of our lives looking for lost items
  • Office workers waste an average of 40% of their workday.  Not because they aren’t smart, but because they were never taught organizing skills to cope with the increasing workloads and demands, Wall Street Journal Report
  • In a 2008 NAPO survey of 400 consumers nationwide:
      • 27% said they feel disorganized at work, and of those, 91 percent said they would be more effective and efficient if their workspace was better organized
      • 28% said they would save over an hour per day
      • 27% said they would save 31 to 60 minutes each day
  • In Escape Magazine, April 2000,says Each Week Americans spend: The average American will spend one year searching through desk clutter looking for misplaced objects, Margin, Dr. Richard Swenson
    • 751 minutes behind slow moving cars and stuck in traffic jams
    • 727 minutes waiting for dates and business associates to show up for meetings
    • 724 minutes standing in lines to make purchases, renew drivers
    • 723 minutes on hold, waiting for someone to pick up the phone
  • It’s estimated that a manager loses 1 hour/day to disorder, costing the business up to $4,000/yr if earning $35,000/yr or $8,125/yr at $65,000
  • 280 hours (7 weeks) per year are lost by workers seeking clarification due to poor communication
  • The average American spends one year of their life looking for lost or misplaced items at home and in the office, US News and World Report
  • According to the American Demographic Society, Americans waste more than 9 million hours each day looking for lost and misplaced articles
  • For every hour of planning, 3 to 4 hours are saved from redundancy, waiting for information, not being prepared and poorly managed tasks
  • The average manager is interrupted every three minutes
  • People who multi-task decrease their productivity by 20-40% are less efficient than those who focus on one project at a time.  Time lost switching among tasks increases the complexity of the tasks, University of Michigan Study
  • Sales reps surveyed were most productive when they assigned themselves only three tasks per day.  It gave them a great sense of accomplishment when they were able to cross off those tasks, Accountemps
  • 40% of adults say if they had more time, they would spend it with family, Day Runner Survey
  • Executives waste 7.8 hours each week in meetings, Accountemps Survey


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