This article is written by Kennedi. You can find more of her work at Face & Fitness about beauty, fashion and home décor on a budget.
I tend to be a packrat. It’s a habit that’s fed by my frugal streak: I figure that if I spent my hard-earned money on an item, I should keep it. Otherwise, I’m literally throwing money away.
It’s faulty logic, as I’m sure you can see.
It gets worse: I also figure that if I can “flip” an item on eBay, even if its only for a few bucks, I should. Which means, of course, that I keep the item around my house but never get around to selling it, which only results in more junk.
On top of that, I also tend to buy large quantities of items when they’re on sale. Which means that in addition to not throwing away the things I’ve purchased in the past, and collecting items for “future re-sale,” I’m also cluttering my home with mass quantities of paper towels, toilet paper, jars of salsa, cans of beans … this list is endless.
This combines to form clutter, of course, and that clutter comes with a steep price. I’ve discovered that being disorganized can actually end up costing you more money. Here’s how:
1) You buy things twice. – With all this junk around my home, I can’t find anything when I need it. Yes, I have an extra can opener … but where? Yes, I have hairspray … but where?
Since I can’t find things, I end up buying the item twice – spending more money than I otherwise would if I were to purge my home from stuff.
2) You pay for storage. – In an effort to keep my home organized, I’ve shelled out dozens of dollars (okay, probably hundreds) on plastic bins, which I use to store my various belongings.
The problem, of course, is that now I’m throwing good money after bad. I’m spending money to store cheap items that are just cluttering up my home space.
For example, I have one bin dedicated to “future gifts” – items that I bought on sale with the intent of giving them away as gifts to some unknown recipient for some unknown occasion at some random, unspecified time in the future. (That’s a very long way of saying that it’s complete junk.)
3) Your mental energy is taxed. – Clutter takes up a huge amount of psychic energy. I know that sounds very esoteric, but psychic or mental energy really does account for a lot of our success.
We relax during the weekends so that we can “hit the ground running” on Monday, right? Well, we should be able to relax and unwind in our
home space. If we can’t, the stress bleeds into our work life, leaving us less-productive.
And that’s really the worst effect of all this clutter. The $50 or $100 that I’ve shelled out for plastic storage tubs isn’t so bad. If buying and storing stuff has helped me save $50 or $100, then I’ll call the whole experiment a “break even” wash.
But the drained mental energy is the real killer. A cluttered home leads to a cluttered mind. When we’re surrounded by stuff, we’re stuck in it.
So throw away (or donate) items, even if you’ve spent your hard-earned money on it. Stop fooling yourself into believing that you’ll sell these things on eBay. Don’t stock up too much when you see sales – one extra roll of toilet paper is fine; five extra rolls is not.
Keep your space minimalist, clean and simple. Your mind (and eventually, your wallet) will thank you.