How Much Is Clutter Costing You?

by Joel Fink

How Much Is Clutter Costing You photo

If all your stuff is starting to weigh you down, don’t be afraid to take the initiative and make the effort to declutter your life. You’ll not only improve your personal living space, but your finances, too.

How much do you think your clutter is costing you?

We live in a material world. It’s easy to accumulate a lot of stuff over time.

But, did you know that all of that stuff can be doing more than just cluttering your personal space? It can be damaging your finances. Here are seven ways that decluttering your life can also improve your finances.

1. Living in a larger house or apartment than you actually need is expensive.

Not only do you have the actual expense of purchasing or renting that space, but you are also paying higher utility bills to light, heat, and cool it, higher property taxes (either directly if you own it or indirectly if you rent it), higher cleaning bills to keep it clean, and higher maintenance expenses.

2. Reducing clutter can help you prioritize your spending and reduce impulse buying.

When you are diligent about preventing clutter, you force yourself to make some decisions about your priorities. That cool new kitchen appliance looks neat, but where are you going to store it when it’s not in use?

Will you really use it? Do you really need it?

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3. Decluttering can help you reduce redundant and unnecessary purchases.

When you have a lot of stuff, it tends to get disorganized.

If your pantry is a jumble, you may not realize you already have two boxes of that cereal or ten pounds of flour hiding behind the bag of sugar. You may buy another bag of dog food because you didn’t see the one behind the stuff in the garage.

4. Paradoxically, decluttering can help you save money by purchasing in bulk.

Once you’ve finally cleared out that garage or closet, now you have somewhere to put those large packages of toilet tissue or paper towels. Before, you had to buy the smaller packages because there was no room to store the bulk package.

5. You may have money tied up in items that are just sitting around your house.

If you have a lot of gently-used clothing that you never wear anymore sitting in the extra bedroom closet, that clothing may be better taken to a reseller, sold online, or donated.

Similarly, if you have shelves or boxes filled with used books, CDs, DVDs, video games or records, you may find you can turn them into cash at a reseller or you can sell them online.

6. Owning large, infrequently used items can be expensive.

You thought it would be cheaper to own that boat or RV than to rent. Then, you find that you don’t get to use it as often as you thought, and the cost of storage and maintenance is adding up, not to mention the debt that you used to buy it.

7. If you are renting a self-storage unit, you are likely incurring unnecessary costs.

Unless the items that you are storing in your self-storage unit are income producing (like inventory for a home-based business), the extra storage cost is an unnecessary burden on your budget.

If all your stuff is starting to weigh you down, don’t be afraid to take the initiative and make the effort to declutter your life. You’ll not only improve your personal living space, but your finances, too.

Reviewed June 2021

About the Author

Joel Fink is a retired CPA and financial services executive living in Dallas, Texas. He enjoys writing articles that help real people with simple ideas to manage their money and improve their lives.

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