What Is The Cost Of Clutter On Your Life And Finances

Aug 09

PERCY SAYS… We all collect a lot of junk. If you look around, you will notice many things that you should have never bought and things that have been bought but not used at all. If you look at your closet, you may see clothes with price tags still intact. In your house, you will also have expired food stuff and non-perishable food that you purchased and then decided not to eat. You are not alone!

Clutter Can Cost You A Lot

It is true that the United States is a prosperous country, but there are many who don’t get enough. As a nation we tend to buy more than what we need and surround ourselves with stuff that is useless. Have you seen Storage Wars? It is a television show in which people bid for storage lockers that have been abandoned. These storage lockers contain a lot of stuff put in by the owners. The lockers are put up for bidding as the owners could not honor their payment commitments. These lockers contain valuables. My guess is that the owners forgot about the valuables either because of the availability of more than required stuff at their homes or their inability to pay the fee due to the hard times that they were faced with.

However, the obsession of the Americans to possess a lot of stuff seems to be waning off. The last few years have been witnessing a movement towards simplification. Blogs that are dedicated to providing advice on removing clutter are available on the Internet now. There are other blogs that talk about the experiences of owners who challenged themselves to live with just 100 things. A blogger has even written a book. You may not realize the emotional cost involved till you decide to throw clutter away.  Think about how much more organised you will be if you keep your files handy, keeping details of your savings handy, keeping track of your insurance premiums, keeping up to date on mortgage offers.

Let us now look at the financial costs involved. All the stuff that you have around your house costs a hell of a lot of money. You can never recoup your costs. For example, if you sell all the stuff that you have in your garage you may earn about $300 to $500. How much would you have spent for those things? If you had put that money in the bank, interest would have been accruing on your investment. The marketer somehow convinced you to buy those items.

Along with the blogs on removing clutter, the number of blogs on personal finance has also been growing. Many of these blogs are about how the owners got themselves out of debt caused by student loans, health care expenses, etc. However, a large portion of debt is mostly due to acquisition of too many material things. It is easy to accumulate debt. You need only have to swipe your credit card. It is doubly difficult to get rid of the clutter.

How to Fight Clutter

Never allow the advertisers to win. Take action to get rid of unwanted stuff from your house. You can even think of the ‘100 things’ option. You will feel lighter and better if you let go of many things. I had taken up removing clutter as a challenge and got rid of about 2000 items in our home in approximately 20 weeks. Of course, a lot more remains that has to be thrown away.

If you have removed clutter, here are a few strategies that you can adopt to prevent it from coming back into your home:
Take about 24 to 48 hours before you make a purchase: Don’t just mindlessly buy the sandwich cutter that you see in the grocery store. Wait for a couple of days. You will realize that the sandwich clutter is not required at all.

Gift experiences and not things: For example, instead of buying a new video game on his birthday, send him to the karate class that he likes to attend.

Always make it a rule to remove one item when you bring in one item: Though it may be difficult to practice, it can simplify life to a great extent.

Summarizing, clutter can cause financial as well as emotional burden. Think twice before buying anything. Don’t buy on an impulse, wasting money and energy on things that you don’t need. You will be better off and happier without the clutter.