Piece by piece, bit by bit, clutter can creep into our homes. It does not often happen all at once, but is predominantly a trickle of items not put away, or taken out of the house. Then one day, you find yourself with a closet you can’t close, and items falling on your head when you open the closet door. You decide to solve the problem by getting a storage unit. This is step one of your clutter starting to cost you. A good rule of thumb is buying only what you need, and getting rid of the things you no longer need. Take time daily, weekly, and a deeper clean seasonally to clear out clutter. Or, just don’t let it accumulate in the first place. Focus on what you use, and let go of the “desire to acquire” by being satisfied with what you have, and when you upgrade, toss out the old to make room for the new. Clutter can be more than the topic for another episode of the TV show, “Hoarders”, it can have true financial and emotional costs. Is your clutter really worth the cost? 10 Ways that clutter can cost you:
- Money: Renting a monthly storage unit — especially one you may never even go into — is a way to store your clutter that can cost thousands of dollars a year. If you don’t have room for it, don’t pay to store it. Also, if you have so much clutter that you can’t find things, you end up buying something new when you can’t find the item you had already bought. Find and use what you have by having less items, and keeping what you do have organized.
- Time: When the house is a mess, a common problem is lost items, such as keys, shoes, etc … Streamline your life and your time by having less. Get out the door quicker by putting things in the same place consistently. NAPO (The National Association for Professional Organizers) says that on average, people spend 1 year out of their life looking for lost items.
- Relationships: A common cause of fighting amongst couples is one person having more clutter than another. If you are dating, there literally is no room for someone to move in unless you keep your space clutter-free. Having clutter can also cause embarrassment and a lack of interest to let people into your home to entertain.
- Space: People start buying bigger and bigger houses in order to store all their stuff that they accumulate along the way. To make more space in your house, you may not need a room addition, or a second story, you may just simply need to let go of some stuff to make the space you already have seem bigger.
- Well-being: Clutter is a breeding ground for dust and bugs. If you can’t see the floor, you can’t clean it properly. If you want to avoid spiders, bedbugs, and your sanity, keep items off the floor. Dusty clutter also leads to allergies, headaches, and stress.
- Energy: On a deeper level, clutter can make you feel fatigued. In ancient Feng Shui principles, there needs to be a flow through a house, and clutter is perceived as stuck energy, limiting the healthy flow of energy in your home.
- Productivity: Without clutter in your way, you can spend less time looking for things, organizing things, and more time moving forward with your life and your goals. Clutter holds you back by nagging at you to face it, rather than having a clean slate to go forth and create anew.
- Vitality: On an energetic level, clutter can be a visual to-do list, perpetually staring you in the face about what you “should do”, or make you feel guilty for acquiring more than you need.
- Focus: Clutter is not only visually distracting, but when you see piles of papers, clothes, or boxes in your space, it can keep you from focusing on your family, your work, or your priorities.
- Freedom: The more stuff you have, the more difficult it is to move easily, to travel, or to make changes in your life. Your stuff can literally keep you stuck where you are, by being overwhelmed at the sheer magnitude of items that stand between you and living the life of your dreams.
Time to let go of the clutter and avoid the hidden costs. Keep it light. Keep it simple. Save money, time, energy, and relationships, by having less and knowing what you do have in the first place.
Featured photo credit: Alex via flickr.com