If you’ve been thinking about going through your bookshelves and getting rid of trinkets and clutter, some recent news might motivate you to do it sooner rather than later. Why? Because having a lot of clutter is equivalent to throwing money down the drain. According to Money, “buying things you don't use is a waste of money. So is the cost of storing and moving them.” Most people who live in clutter-filled houses don’t realize just how much they are wasting. Author Tim Wong breaks down the financial blunder of clutter by highlighting several ways, outlined below, in which clutter costs more than you bargained for.
- Overconsumption. When you buy things you won’t end up using, you're wasting money. Wong uses an eye-opening statistic to illustrate his point: The U.S. has 3% of the global child population, but Americans consume 40% of all toys. “Babies grow out of their clothes before they can wear them out. People swap out their cellphones for the thrill of the new. Over a lifetime, buying unnecessary things carries a tremendous cost.”
- Duplication. “Earlier this year, I wasted $300 on painting supplies,” writes Wong, “Why? Because I needed to repaint the dining room and I couldn’t find my box of paintbrushes in my garage (that is packed to the rafters with stuff my husband and I don’t use). I am still mad about this purchase.” Buying stuff you already own is just plain silly.
- Like cash, only not. Wong says that we waste tons by not using coupons, free tickets, and store credits. Don’t throw money-saving offers in a drawer and forget about them—use them!
- Time. Time is money, and when you’re sorting through clutter in search of something, you’re wasting time and therefore money.
- Upkeep. Wong points out that “keeping possessions clean and in good working order costs money.” He also says that “it’s easier to fake a clean house when there’s no clutter" because having clutter makes a clean house look dirty and unkept.
- Moving. If you’re moving and taking your clutter with you, it’s going to cost you money. Use the move as an excuse to purge the clutter.
- Storage. People who pay for storage units filled with clutter and items they'll never use are insane and wasting thousands of dollars.
- Profit loss. “Most material goods do not gain value with age,” says Wong. “Clutter makes it that much harder to identify what should be sold immediately to maximize profits or at least a tax write-off.”
Got clutter? Throw it away in a big trash can.
How do you feel about clutter?