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4 Ways Clutter May be Losing You Money

4 Ways Clutter May be Losing You Money

Have you ever stopped for a second and wondered how much the clutter around your home and work may be costing you? Many people keep a lot of clutter in their home or workplace, but why?

Some may have an emotional attachment and don’t want to get rid of things. Others prefer not to trash the clutter because they think that they might use the item someday and don’t want to waste it by throwing anything away too soon.  But all this stuff that’s burdening your environment could also be burdening your finances.

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Clutter is costing you money, plain and simple and here’s how.

1. Clutter can cost you time.

How many times have you spent more than a couple of minutes just looking for something that you need? Time is money and you are wasting time by having clutter everywhere. If you have a messy desk at work, you could lose important papers, projects or contacts that not only makes you look bad to your boss but wastes both your time AND your employer’s time.

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2. Clutter can mean that you are buying things that you do not need.

A big reason for clutter is that you are buying things that you think you need but actually do not. You are wasting money on food by buying food that you do not eat. You are wasting money on clothing if it just hangs in your closet collecting dust. You are wasting money on random gadgets if you never use those gadgets on a regular basis.

3. Clutter can make you lose important things.

If you have a lot of clutter in your house, then you may be losing money because you can misplace things that might be important. You might not notice a refund check that you received in the mail, or you may lose some cash that got mixed up in a pile of clutter.  Valuables or one-of-a-kind items can not only get lost but can also be destroyed or accidentally thrown away when it gets mixed up with useless clutter.

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4. Clutter can make you miss a bill.

We’ve all done it at one time or another.  We’ve opened up a bill, put it aside and forgotten about it until we get another notice that we’re late.  So you can imagine how often this would happen if your bill got lost in a sea of other stuff around your house.  When you miss a bill, this usually means you’ll either be charged a late fee or pay interest on the amount.

There are some ways to help you keep things in order and eliminate clutter:

1. Go through each room in your house.

Start with one room and tackle them one at a time.  If it’s too much to do at once, you might just start with one drawer in the kitchen, but it is a start. You will find that it gets easier as you de-clutter little by little, room by room.

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2. Sort your items.

Sort your items according to what you need, what you want, and what you absolutely do not need. This is the hardest part. The items that you do not need are things that you need to be realistic with. If you haven’t used an item in a couple of months, then you probably do not need it.

If you are having trouble with getting rid of clothing items, then you should to organize them a certain way. Flip all of the clothing hanging in your closet one way, and as you wear each item, turn the hanger around. After one month you will get an idea of what you wear and what you do not. After one season, get rid of all the items hanging that have not been flipped.

3. Donate, sell, or put away the items.

For items that you are keeping, put those away. For the rest, get rid of them as soon as possible. Donate them to a local shelter or Salvation Army or, if the item is not something that anyone would want, throw it away. You need to part with the items as soon as possible if you have a strong emotional connection to them, otherwise, you’ll end up keeping them and cluttering your house again.

4. Wait before you buy.

Now that you have finally cleared the clutter in your house, the next step is to control any future clutter. Before you buy anything that you are not absolutely positive that you need, leave it on the shelf and come back to it. You can wait until right before you leave the store, or you can come back next time you are in the area. This helps eliminate a lot of clutter and emotional spending, because you have time to think about whether or not you want the item.

More by this author

Michelle S.

Founder of Making Sense of Cents, a blog about personal finance and traveling.

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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