We don’t always realize it, but there is an invisible cost to clutter.
The cost of clutter lurks in the excessive clothes we stuff into our closets, the super cute seasonal decorations we must have for this year, and the craft supplies we need for that fun project we have in mind.
The cost of clutter is hidden in the book we buy when we have twenty unread books at home, or the free baby items we take from a friend even though we already have a drawer full of cute little PJs.
There is a cost involved with the worn-out dishcloth we save for “cleaning” and in the casserole dish we insist on keeping even though we have five others in our kitchen right now.
There are other costs too, less obvious costs, that impact our day-to-day lives.
You can’t afford to keep ignoring these expensive costs of clutter.
5 Ways Clutter Costs You:
1. The financial cost of clutter
Financial loss is the most obvious cost of clutter. If you buy things you don’t need, you are spending unnecessarily.
Buying things you don’t need can create a domino effect of financial problems:
- The need to buy a bigger home.
- The necessity of renting a storage unit (often a HUGE waste of money!)
- The cost of upkeeping an item.
- The cost of organizing the items we buy.
- The need to buy duplicates for “lost” items.
- The wasting of precious funds in your bank account.
Clutter makes us poorer financially.
Related post: How much is the storage in your home costing you?
2. The emotional cost of clutter
Clutter doesn’t simply cost us money, it also has an emotional expense.
Have you ever looked at a pair of jeans in your closet and instantly hated yourself for being your current size?
Or maybe you have a box of items given to you by a family member, but the thought of keeping them brings you no joy, only guilt or sadness?
We force ourselves to carry the weight of our clutter when really, there is an easier way of living.
Sometimes, we beat ourselves up over the guilt of spending money on things we never used, or hurting the environment by letting things go.
Emotions when decluttering are hard, but one way to avoid future emotional pain is to let go and avoid unnecessary accumulation of clutter future forward. You just have to get past the first hump of letting items go!
Clutter makes us emotionally miserable.
Related post: Why is decluttering so hard?
3. The productivity cost of clutter
When your home or workspace is a cluttered mess, it limits what you can do in an efficient and productive way.
For example, if you are moving around piles of paper clutter, sitting down and taking care of your paperwork becomes and monumental task, one that often gets avoided and possibly causes missed payments.
A cluttered home may cause you to feel behind on your daily chores, as every room seems daunting, so you simply ignore it all, which ultimately causes you more stress.
If you can’t manage your home in an efficient manner, it may cause you to miss out on time with your family or doing things that make you happy.
Clutter costs us productivity.
Related Post: 12 Tips on How to Keep a Clutter Free Home (Even With Kids!)
4. The health cost of clutter
Visual clutter is often a reflection of how we feel inside. Clutter can easily trigger feelings of anxiety and stress in a person, making you feel even more miserable.
Even though anxiety, depression and chronic pain can often slow down or even halt the act of decluttering, the clutter staying can actually make those feelings worse!
Stress also impacts our heart health and motivation to do other things that are more heart-healthy.
There is also the loss of self-confidence that comes from holding on to clutter and living in a home that we are not proud of. When your self-confidence is low, it has a huge impact on the actions you take to make yourself a healthier person.
Clutter costs us our health.
Related post: 5 Health Benefits of Living With Less
5. Relationship cost of clutter
Clutter can impact your relationships with those inside and outside of your home.
Clutter can cause marital strife over how the house is kept or over financial worries caused from overspending on unnecessary items.
If your home is cluttered and messy, you may be afraid to invite guests over to spend time with you.
You may fight with your family members about chores and picking items up, when in reality, there’s too little space or no system in place.
Clutter costs us our relationships with other people.
How to declutter?
OK, so clutter can be expensive, financially and in other ways. What next? How do you manage to get rid of all the clutter?
One of my favorite ways to declutter doesn’t involve getting rid of one single item. Instead, it’s about developing the habit of keeping clutter from entering into your home! Easy-peasy.
Take a no-shopping challenge. Commit to using up what you have before going out to buy something new.
Then, start decluttering one small space…a bookshelf, a drawer, a section of your closet. Don’t go crazy. Get a few quick decluttering wins first, then move on to the next areas.
If you want even more coaching through the decluttering process, get on the waitlist for The Tidy Habit, a decluttering course that will help walk you through decluttering your home and keep it that way…forever.
Get on the waitlist for The Tidy Habit now, and be the first to know when it opens!
Declutter Fast This Weekend (+FREE Printable)
My biggest obstacle to decluttering is that a lot of my clutter is valuable, like designer purses or jewelry. I have so much money invested in that (that I could use), I can’t just donate it But listing things on selling sights, then having to box up and send items just makes me tired thinking about it. How do I get past this hump?
I’ve dealt with this for years too, with expensive furniture and things around the house that would be expensive to replace. I used to sell things on craigslist, but now I just give it all away, and that is really so much better for me than selling. As much as the money is great, and it seems like it would make life easier to get some money back, it is so much faster to get it all out the door at once. Selling is exhausting, potentially dangerous, and leaves excess sitting around for a long time, which I find draining. Plus giving something really nice to someone else is an amazing feeling! It’s still taking me a while to let it all go, but I’m getting better. To get over the hump of thinking of the wasted funds, I think of it as I paid for an experience (or item), and got my value (or didn’t) but am done with it now, and it can go. Think of the thousands spent on the bags like a trip that you took but you just keep the pictures and memories forever or a piece of furniture that cost thousands but no longer fits in with your style, and it just needs to go to someone that will love it. The other thing you can do, if you really want to make some money, is sell them for next to nothing. That was how I transitioned to giving things away. First I started dropping prices to $20 for a large piece of furniture to make someone’s day while still getting a little something on a lot of items. They all sold within the day, and I got at least a little money plus the items being out. It was amazing. I just love getting them out fast now. I hope you have fun with this, either selling your bags for prices that can’t be refused (or send them in to places like fashionphile? and accept what they offer) or give them away to people you love or even strangers to make their day. You could wear a bag you want to give away, and give it to the first stranger who smiles, looks at, or compliments your bag. Can you imagine how fun that could be? You will feel so good however you get them out, and you can enjoy the space for the things you love. Talking to you has inspired me to get better with this task! Thank you.