hidden cost of clutter

Today is a public holiday; so you’re probably at home chilling. So, look around your home.  Can you spot any item that has not been used for months, or even years? Do same when you get back to your office on Tuesday. Almost every home or workplace has a considerable amount of clutter accumulated overtime.

Recall that we previously discussed how to plug your spending leaks. Now, eliminating clutter is an entirely different ball game. Note that not only does clutter take up space, make your environment look untidy, and get you depressed (even if you don’t realise it), they also tie up your cash.

Wealth in a rot

Just a few days ago, an acquaintance of mine ran out of space due to all the stuff he’s been keeping in his home. He tried moving some of them to the garage, but it was also filled to the brim – the horror of it!

Note that most of these items had not been used for over ten years. So, he decided to see if he could get some sold. Luckily, once he made his intentions known, it wasn’t difficult to find buyers.

At the end of the day, although he didn’t sell up to one-fourth of the contents in his garage, he made a mind blowing 100, 000 naira. This is good money that someone would have thanked him dearly for, and used to settle debts or even start a thriving business. But for ten years, it was trapped in a garage.

Get rid of clutter

It is important to note that accumulating clutter is a financial sin. Therefore, in this article, we are going to discover the different types of clutter that exist in your living space. This will help you decide what to keep, sell, donate, or toss.

We are also going to look at what you can do to avoid building them up in the first place.

Identifying clutter

Here are the different types of clutter that you may have in your home or office. It’s possible that you don’t even recognise they are there. However, by identifying them, you would have taken the first step towards getting rid of them, and also avoid accumulating more in the future.

  1. Useless items: 

These should be the first to go. They are items that cannot be sold or donated and should simply be thrown away. Old books you used in college or the university, newspapers, magazines, worn-out shoes, clothes, and irreparable electronics and furniture are just a few examples.

  1. Aspiration clutter:

 It’s only natural to want to learn new skills or take up new hobbies. But sometimes, after we’ve spent the cash to purchase the necessary tools or equipment we require, we end up not finding the time to see these dreams through, or we quit after a while.

For some, it could be a musical instrument, skating shoes, or new office equipment that never left the packaging.

It could also be spare auto parts that can easily be sold but you hang onto them with the thought that they may come in handy at a point. But most times, you forget you have them and buy a new one. It could also happen that the need for them never comes, so you leave them in storage, even after you no longer drive the said car.

Therefore, the best way to go with this kind of clutter is to get them sold.

You may be thinking, “Why would I do that? After all, it’s still in perfect shape and I may decide to pick it up again one of these days”.

That’s a good argument. But, just like the case of my friend, it may still never get used for many years to come, and before you know it, will go out of style or even expire.

If it’s something you can easily buy again, then it’s best to get it sold.

  1. Bargain clutter: 

These include items that you don’t really need but because they were on sale, or came attached with a free gift, you found yourself not able to resist. Before you could tell what’s what, your hand was already in your pocket, pulling out your wallet.

Watch out for bargain clutter. Some, you may not be able to sell, or even if you could, may not fetch a very reasonable price. The best way to get rid of such clutter is to donate them.

  1. Sentimental clutter: 

This is the hardest type of clutter to get rid of. Letting go of them may seem like betraying a loved one or your fondest memories. So, what do you do?

  • Decide whether it’s worth keeping: for some of such items, it’s not really that you need them or that they serve any particular purpose. It’s usually that it reminds you of a time, place, or person.

If it means much to you, then there’s no need getting rid of it. But in most cases, you would be better off to dispose of it.

  • Pass it on or donate it: some sentimental items that you don’t use can be of great value to a friend or family member. Rather than keep it, give it to someone who would appreciate it.
  • Remake or re-purpose it: if you have a sentimental item that’s not particularly usable, find a way to re-purpose it, if possible.
  1. Abundance clutter: 

This is often the most common kind of clutter. You may buy things that you don’t put to use immediately. Before you know it, you forget you got them and enter the market to purchase the same item again.

If you stock products that go unused, you’ve got a case of abundance clutter on our hands. It could happen when you are used to buying things in bulk.

It could also be that you just got a raise, so you decide to buy yourself a brand new TV. You set it up and put away the old, but still functional one. Fast forward 5 years later, the old TV is still in its lonely corner collecting dust.

How does clutter cost you money?

  1. Maintenance costs: 

Let’s take as an instance; you have a car you no longer drive but still keep. To keep it from degrading, you have to maintain it once in a while. Other times, it may sit there and rot over the years, or even get vandalised.

Why not consider renting the car (in which case, you earn some revenue from it) or simply sell it off, rather than allow it to depreciate gradually as years go by, or cost you money to maintain.

  1. Space: 

As you accumulate clutter, you will notice that your home or office begins to look untidy. An untidy environment can lead to depression, reduced morale, a drop in productivity, or loss of customers.

  1. Purchasing duplicate items:

 When you forget you have a particular item or can’t find where you have kept it, the only option left is to purchase it again. Re-purchasing items is a waste of time and money.

It may seem like the cost is negligible. But when you add up the cost of all such items, you will discover it really adds up to something. Bringing in more stuff also means perpetuating the clutter problem.

  1. Piling up valuable items: 

You tie up useful cash when you accumulate clutter. Imagine the things you can achieve with the money. You could save or invest it and earn yourself more money.

You might even be in need of money to pay bills or settle a debt at the time but you’ve got valuable cash imprisoned as clutter.

  1. Clean up costs: 

There may come a time when you would have to relocate. It will take ages before you figure out what to do with all the clutter you have gathered over the years. You may decide to still hold on to all of it, in which case, you have to shoulder the costs and the time to get them sorted out and moved.

Things would have been a whole lot easier if you only have to move items you use regularly.

  1. Keeps you disorganised:

 Because you have so much clutter lying around, you will be prone to looking for things all the time. Maybe you would blame the kids or your wife or husband or workers during such moments.

Having clutter keeps you disorganised. Has there ever been a time when you had to pay a late fee because you couldn’t locate a borrowed library book or perhaps a sensitive document amidst all your clutter?

How to avoid clutter

Now that you’ve gotten rid of items you don’t use, how does it feel? Freeing, right? Let’s now see what you can do to keep them from piling up again in the future:

  1. Adopt the 1 item in 1 item out rule:

Each time you bring in a new item into your home, you have to decide which existing item you will get rid of. This might not be the easiest rule to stay true to, but it is a sure way to keep clutter from building up.

It will also help you think twice before you decide to purchase any new stuff.

  1. Before you make a purchase, wait a day or two:

Before you buy anything that won’t be considered an essential, give it a day or two. Don’t rush to make the purchase simply because you have the cash. Allow yourself time to think over it. You may find that you have changed your mind after a few days has gone by.

  1. Ask or give gifts of experiences:

We give and accept gifts so as to show affection to our loved ones.

As a man, during the holidays, you may be gifted yet another wrist watch or a pair of trousers. You may also decide to buy some new clothes for your wife (and perhaps she already has many she probably doesn’t wear). It could also be that you buy a few toys for your kids.

While all these are thoughtful gifts, they are the perfect way to pile up clutter. Why not consider instead, taking your wife on a lovely night-out? Or register your children for a skill acquisition program that will help them in the future? The world we live in today is no longer about the certificates you possess but the skills you can deliver.

  1. De-clutter monthly:

Even after you have taken proactive steps to see that you don’t accumulate clutter, one or two things can still pile up over time. So, rather than allow this to continue over months or years, make out time to sort out and organize your stuff every month (commonly known as clean-up or spring cleaning). This way, you can eliminate items that are no longer of use to you before it gets difficult to manage.

In conclusion

No matter your financial status, clutter is a real thing. Even the most humble of homes or business startups can still find some clutter lying around.

If you want to take conscious steps towards financial freedom, you have to begin today to avoid and get rid of clutter.

For businesses or individuals that are thriving financially, remember there are people in need. Always make it a point to give back to society. Donate your clutter today or sell them and use the money to help someone in need.

We hope this content has been of use to you. Cheers!

4 COMMENTS

  1. Brilliant and very enlightening piece. I have been quite conscious of clutter lately as I prepare to move. Sometimes, I don’t bother taking souvenirs home to add to what I already have. I also recently felt good selling off. Pair of shoes which were too big for me. That’s the spirit. Many more items are marked for disposal via sale or donation.

  2. There’s a Nigerian online service where one can get rid of clutter. Can anyone help with the website. I think it’s Declutter.ng or something.

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