I always say that things that are good for you, are usually good for your wallet in the long term. De-cluttering is good for your mind and body and in the long term, good for your wallet. Springtime is a good time to think about de-cluttering as we open windows, throw off jackets and feel rejuvenated.
What if you don’t? What if you leave the clutter where it is, don’t give away unused or old clothes, and never see the back of your refrigerator? Well, there are lots of people that will tell you about the spiritual, emotional and physical negatives of having too much clutter in your home. I’m only going to speak to the financial burden of clutter. Here are the 3 ways clutter affects your wallet:
- Storage units – I hate it when a client has an ongoing storage unit expense. Unless you’ve had a major life change (college, divorce, home move, etc.) you should not need a storage unit. If you haven’t seen the contents of the storage unit in more than 12 months, get rid of the stuff. Sell old furniture, donate items and get that $100+ per month off your household budget.
You think your storage unit is de-cluttering your home, but really it’s just shifting the clutter and now your clutter pays rent. Pare it down to one or two boxes of stuff you simply can’t part with and get rid of the rest.Your $100/month clutter rent (what you pay for storage), if saved, will make you $15,500 in 10 years (at 5% annual return). Is the stuff you’re saving worth that?
- Uninformed and confused buying – People with a lot of clutter tend to buy more stuff because they don’t know what they have. They don’t know what works, what needs to be replaced, what can be fixed.
Do you ever buy more tortillas when there’s already a bag in the fridge? Not sure you have a bathing suit for the beach, or sponges, or rain boots for the kids? Look at what you have before you go to the grocery store, online to shop or the mall. Get rid of things that are spoiled, old, torn, broken or unused. Then, go to the store and buy only things you really need. There will be less waste and that’s good for your wallet.
- Discomfort/unhappy in your home – If your home annoys you because there’s so much clutter, no room at the kitchen table, or no place for your new stuff, you may be spending more money to make yourself more comfortable. You may be getting take-out or eating out more, going out more, or simply buying things to make yourself feel better. Remember, take-out can be one of the biggest “over spending” categories in most people’s monthly budget.
Sounds silly, but it’s true. When you cannot deal with your home because it’s cluttered, uncomfortable or impossible to find things, you’re going to look for other ways to get some gratification… cha-ching!
It’s springtime, do your spring cleaning in your fridge, closet and home. It’s good for you and good for your wallet.