Your Clutter Is Costing You (and Not Just Money, Either)

by | May 26, 2020 | Minimalism | 0 comments

clutter costsMake no mistake, your clutter costs you. A lot. 

Between monthly self-storage costs, late fees for lost bills, fines for overdue library books and various other charges related to disorganisation, there’s no question that clutter is an expensive business.

But money is just one part of the problem. Of far greater concern is the time that clutter costs us as well as the stress it causes.

We can always earn back the money we’ve spent managing our stuff, but we can’t get back the time or peace of mind we’ve squandered.

Americans spend 55 minutes a day looking for stuff they own but can’t find. Along with an hour of wasted time, there’s the cost of having to  replace whatever is missing. And let’s not forget the irritation factor.

However you look at it, your clutter is costing you a bundle in more ways than one. If you’re still not convinced, take a look at these clutter statistics.

Save Time With These Clutter Statistics

These clutter statistics will shock you. My hope is that they’ll also shock you into action. By decluttering the areas mentioned below, you’ll find yourself with a lot more time on your hands. You’ll also be happier, less stressed and more productive. 

We wear 20 percent of our clothes 80 percent of the time. —Pareto principle

Apart from taking up valuable space in our closet, the 80 percent we’re not wearing causes decision fatigue and slows us down in the morning. Take steps to simplify your wardrobe and you’ll be out the door in half the time.

31 percent of customers surveyed reported more satisfaction from clearing out their closet than they did after sex. —Ikea

We know that giving is better than receiving, so it follows that getting rid of stuff will make you feel good. Clutter has an annoying habit of weighing on your subconscious. The sooner you clean it up, the sooner you can turn your attention to more pressing matters, like what to wear to bed tonight.

80 percent of papers and information that we file or keep, we never use or look at again. —Agency Sales Magazine

Getting a handle on your paperwork will save you a bunch of time. How often have you needed a specific invoice, contract, etc. and spent way too long searching for it because your filing is a mess? If you’re not sure how long you should keep your paperwork for, take a look at this guide from SAGA or search for one specific to your country or state.

While you’re at it, make a point of moving as much of your stuff as possible online. It’s 2020 after all, just about everything can be done electronically nowadays. It’ll save you a ton of space and time.

3.1 percent of the world’s children live in America, yet they own 40 percent of the toys consumed globally. —University of California Television network web series A Cluttered Life: Middle-Class Abundance

How much time do you spend tidying up toys at the end of the day—or worse, nagging your children to do it themselves? Downsizing the kids’ toy box is a great way to save time. The little guys won’t be all that happy about it, but fortunately Joshua Becker from Becoming Minimalist has a helpful guide for decluttering toys. (He also explains why fewer toys will actually benefit your kids.)

Getting rid of excess clutter would eliminate 40 percent of the housework in an average home. —National Soap and Detergent Association

Obviously, because cleaning a clutter-free house is a lot easier. As a minimalist, this is something I can attest to. I can clean our studio apartment from top to bottom in an hour. 

Two if I’m doing a deep clean.

Conversely, when we were professional house-sitters, housework was an all-day affair. The places we stayed in were generally bigger, but the real reason it took me so long to clean them was that they were so cluttered.

Instead of buying more stuff, why not give yourself the gift of space and time instead? You’ll be happier, more relaxed, and better off financially. 

Win, win, win.

Buy Less, Share More, Make New Friends

Don’t worry. My goal isn’t for you to get rid of everything and move into a twelve-by-twelve cabin. That would just be silly. Or would it? Think about the time you’d save on housework.

Seriously though, it’s definitely not what I have in mind. My aim is to get you to declutter enough that you stop wasting valuable resources taking care of the stuff you don’t need, use or even want. 

That makes sense, but what if you feel like going for a bike ride or taking a course in food photography or spending the winter snowboarding? Surely you’ll have to own the necessary equipment to make that happen?

Not necessarily. A much easier approach is to join a peer-to-peer lending site like Stuff4Hire and borrow the things you need from a neighbour. 

This idea of buying less and sharing more is better for the environment and your pocket. It’s also a great way to inspire a sense of community in your neighbourhood. 

If we’re honest, the majority of us were self-isolating long before the coronavirus pandemic. We justified our behaviour by saying we were busy. For the most part, that was true. Between work and family commitments, there weren’t too many hours left in the day. Sometimes none at all.

The truth is, a lot of what we were preoccupied with was busywork. Those things that make us feel like we’re accomplishing something when really all we’re doing is spinning our wheels.

Take it from someone who knows.

Let’s Be Good Neighbours Again

All of that to say, our neighbourliness has been lagging for some time now. What better way to get back in touch with the world and people around you than by sharing your stuff?

You may want to borrow a mountain bike for the weekend, but perhaps you also have a surfboard to lend to someone who’s heading to the beach? Think about it, your belongings could become a source of extra cash for you.

If you’re in the fortunate position of not being financially strapped right now, you could earn some good karma by lending your stuff out for free. Don’t worry, your possessions are totally safe.

Stuff4Hire is committed to making it easy for you to lend and borrow items from one another in a way that’s friendly, safe and secure. Lenders and borrowers are verified through a third-party screening service, and items are insured in case of loss or damage.

Ready to ditch the clutter now? Yip, I thought you might be.

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