The hidden cost of clutter is more than just monetary. In fact – you may well be surprised at how much your excess stuff is affecting all parts of your life…
We’re living in an age where it’s common place (even expected) to own loads of “stuff”, and that stuff all costs us money of course, which is hard enough to deal with – but have you thought about all the EXTRA hidden costs that the clutter brings as well?
It’s a scary thought – but what exactly is the cost of clutter and owning all this stuff?
The 9 Ways Clutter Is Costing You
Clutter Costs You Space
It’s not only spare bedrooms that become clutter zones, statistics also show that garages are suffering too.
In fact, of 1,500 North American respondents to a Garage Living poll, 20% said they were unable to park in their garage at all.
Just think of what that space COULD be used for instead?!
- Parking your car – more secure and weather proof
- Starting a hobby – fitness, crafting etc… all need quite a bit of space for the kit
- Setting up a business – a home office isn’t a luxury anymore, more of a necessity
- Having guests stay over – a guest bedroom makes it easy to socialise more
- Grow the family – either having a baby, or being able to invite a relative to live with you
All these are much better uses of the space that just storing clutter, don’t you think?!
I’ve found time and again that once people go through what they actually have in their homes, a lot of it isn’t required anymore.
We’re storing unused items in our home that honestly don’t need to be there if we really thought about it properly.
Once this physical clutter is taken away, a previously cluttered home feels so much more spacious, and people can often see that there’s so much potential that hasn’t as yet been tapped.
We have a clutter issue rather than a space issue – usually.
As William Morris once said:-
The answer is, of course – to go through the spaces that are cluttered, and declutter as much as possible.
It’s easier said than done a lot of the time though – as the clutter has built up over time – but it’s SO worth it.
Clutter Costs You Time
A huge amount of time can be wasted by having clutter – and every second adds up.
- Looking for lost items around the house. Any lost item – such as keys – can be frustrating beyond belief to have to look for regularly. Having a space for each item and using it habitually is key to stopping losing it again…
- Looking after the clutter – you have to clean around it, tidy around it, etc… For example – having excess clothes means time spent shopping, washing, drying, ironing, mending, maintaining each item etc…
- Organising the clutter – it’s ALWAYS a good idea to declutter before you start organising things, but often people don’t, and then spend excessive amounts of wasted time trying to get organised with clutter in tow. For example – sorting the bathroom and trying to make space for all those excess toiletries you’ll actually never get round to using…
And just think – what else could you have been doing with your time?! Sobering though, hey?
Clutter Costs You Energy
I for one don’t want to have to spend any more energy in my day than I have to. Life is busy enough, and I get enough exercise as it is!
So – when I saw the stat that clutter accounts for 40% MORE housework than necessary – that was all the motivation I needed to declutter and then stay clutter free.
And when you think about it – it’s obvious really.
When you clean – you have to tidy up first, and then you have to clean every item.
If there’s lots of clutter around the house, you’ll end up spending ages sorting that first, before you even get started on the job you’ve set out to do.
Your productivity takes a nose dive – and you’re tired before you’ve got anything done.
Clutter Costs You Sleep
Any of these bad habits aren’t going to do you any good, but it was the sleep section that really interested me.
Who knew sleep would be affected by stuff?!
Again though, when you think about it, it makes sense. If you’re stressed you can’t sleep – I know I can’t.
Not to mention that if your bedroom isn’t a relaxing haven from day to day life, that’s not going to help either…
Time to get the laundry / home office / <<any other clutter in your bedroom>> out, so you can get those 6-8 hours of peaceful sleep in.
Clutter Costs You Health
Having suffered with anxiety and stress over the years, ANYTHING I can do to eliminate it from my life is very welcome – and so staying clutter free is more important than ever.
Having less will create more space for you to breathe.
So – why not give yourself space for the important things in life instead and take your stress level down a few notches…
Clutter Costs You Happiness
Mental clutter is truly draining…
Even just having a pile of books on your bedside table that you want to read but haven’t got the time to do so will start to eat away at you over time.
It’s a constant little voice in your head saying you have failed, even on the tiniest scale, and who wants that in their lives?
Clutter Costs You Relationships
Whether you’re arguing about your spouses’ clutter, or your clutter, or your kids clutter – it’s not good for anyone…
Clutter Costs You Money
It kind of goes without saying that your stuff costs you money – there’s always a financial cost when belongings are involved.
Of course it does – every time you buy something you are spending your hard earned cash.
However, what about the less tangible costs of your things?
For example – it costs money to:-
- Dry clean your clothes
- Clean and maintain your stuff
- Update and replace items
- Buy storage for your things (especially if you end up having to rent a storage unit / storage space – which you may have to due to excess stuff…)
- Insure everything
- Pay any late fee(s) for lost items
Just to name a few.
Although some items are cheaper than ever, people tend to buy even more as a result. This adds still further to the clutter in their homes.
Then, as people buy more they feel they need more, and therefore spend more time at work to pay for everything – it’s a vicious cycle.
A great eye opener is to track your non essential spending over a month.
Look at what you’ve spent on items, and what you’ve also spent on maintaining items that are non essential.
What’s your figure?
Often it’s enough to actually spend on something that will make a real difference in your life: –
- Money towards a holiday,
- to a change of career,
- to starting a new hobby etc….
And that can be the motivation needed to stop that spending going forward.
So, next time you say you don’t have the money to do something – maybe it’s your excess stuff that’s causing the issue…
Is The Cost Of Clutter Worth It?
I’m not saying you should live in a white box, all minimalist with nothing to do, and no belongings to enjoy.
Far from it.
What I AM saying is that it’s crucial to balance whether the cost of the items you have is worth it to you.
It can be a pleasure to enjoy our stuff – and looking after it isn’t an issue.
It’s only when it becomes excess clutter or a clutter problem that we need to reconsider how much we have.
Think about a few examples:
- Clothes. A capsule wardrobe is often seen as a less stressful form of owning clothes. The majority of people who minimise their wardrobes say that they feel that they actually have MORE to choose from, because they can see everything – and it all works with each other.
- Collections. We are happy to dust existing items in a collection that we have spent time putting together, and it can be a fantastic hobby shopping for new items to add to it. However – when the collection gets out of hand and we can’t enjoy it any longer – where’s the pleasure?
It’s just a case of taking a look at what stuff you have – and what you REALLY need.
Know the TRUE cost of clutter – and not just the monetary cost.
Minimise what you can, without losing things you love – and the next time you go out and buy some more “stuff” ask yourself whether you have the time, energy, space, and money to get it – and whether it will make you feel good after the purchase.
If you answer “No” to any of these then chances are you shouldn’t make the purchase and you should move on.
If it helps, have a list of your goals in your bag/wallet. Take a look at what you could be spending your time, energy, space and money on instead.
Worth a Read: How to Stop Clutter Returning…
Does knowing the cost of clutter make you think twice now?
It’s easy to see that clutter can cost us money, and space – but the other costs are quite hidden and sneaky.
Take back control, work out what you really need, and what’s worth the costs (hidden and obvious) – and take it from there.
You’ll enjoy your stuff much more that way, I promise!