Welcome back to the Conquering Clutter Series. Today we're looking at how clutter impacts your budget.
Reorganizing and decluttering have so many benefits. Drowning in too much stuff affects your mental and physical health, your emotional well-being and your wallet.
Yes, your wallet!
You might already have the itch to straighten out, tidy up and declutter but if not, here are 8 reasons you should. Clutter impacts your budget in a negative way but you can turn that around and make a positive impact. Here's how:
1) Saving on Health Care
It might sound like a stretch but one of the benefits of an organized and clutter free home is improved health. Research shows that clutter leads to stress and as we know, ongoing stress cause is the cause of several health problems. Eliminating things can improve your mental health and thereby reduce the future medical expenses. Sure, you won't see cash in your wallet this way but consider the high cost of health car now and what it will be like in the future.
2) Reduce Extra Expenses
In 2009 it was estimated that one in every ten families rented a self-storage unit. When clutter takes over the home these folks run to the nearest Storage Rental store and begin paying a monthly fee to keep their stuff under lock and key. They can't see it, they can't use it at a moment's notice and it's rarely practical to get it when you do need it yet people pay anywhere from $40 to $255 a month to keep more stuff.
Clutter is a stuff problem, not a space problem and sometimes a mental problem. If you're renting a storage space I urge you to consider how necessary it really is. Evaluate how much money it is costing you per month. A 10 x 10 storage unit in my county runs around $75 per month. That's $900 a year.
3) Liquidate for Quick Cash
My husband has fallen in love with The Man's Yard Sale. It's a local Facebook page for men to sell man-stuff. Since he really doesn't “do” Facebook he uses my account so I see all this fun “man stuff” in my newsfeed. The lesson I have learned: If you have something to sell, chances are there's someone who wants to buy it. There are several ways to sell your junk, I mean stuff!
- Facebook Sale Groups
- Craig's List
- Community newspapers
- Yard Sales
- Flea Markets
- Charity Yard Sales (small fee for the space goes to charity)
- Selling Apps like Carousell, Poshmark, SellSimple and Boxes can make selling stuff simple.
I'm not one for a real yard sale but We have sold small things and even our pickup truck through a Facebook group, you can read that amazing story here.
4) Donations Could Lead to Tax Deductions
If you file a federal tax return you could see deductions if you donate your excess stuff to local charities. Around 26% of Americans itemize their tax returns and take a deduction for charitable donations. The government has rules for taking deductions such as proof of giving so be sure to check out the latest. This is a good basic article you might want to read.
You won't see cash in your wallet like you will with a quick sale mentioned in #3 but you will see an impact on your annual bottom line.
5) Consignment Sales for Kids Stuff
Consignment sales are like one big concentrated yard sale for children's stuff and they are growing in popularity around the country. The basic idea is this: semi-annual sale of anything child related that is in-season, all together in one place. Consignors set their prices, tag their stuff and drop it off to be sold. Buyers scoop up deals left and right on clothing, toys, books, games, furniture and more. As a consignor, you get a (usually) generous portion of the sales price.
Speaking from experience, this is a great time investment. You either get cash or use the earnings to buy new things. With a preschooler, there's not much he can wear one year to the next so last year's stuff gets sold and the money covers the new stuff I buy in his size. I even buy things for Christmas and Birthday gifts too.
6) Consignment for Adult Stuff
There are adult clothing consignment stores and even consignment furniture and tool stores. These sales are even less work than the consignment events I mentioned above. Most times you just drop stuff off and they do the rest. You might earn less but you have less time commitment.
7.) Organization Leads to Better Budget Management
So you have a budget but you can't seem to find the bills you get in the mail or your inbox is so cluttered you skip right over the past due notices. When you're organized and less cluttered you reduce your risk of missing important deadlines. Missing payment deadlines can lead to costly fees and interest charges.
8) Clutter Leads to Unnecessary Purchases
At one time I had six, yes six bottles of unopened ketchup in our house. Why? Because my pantry space lacked organization. It was a time when things were really hectic and my normally organized self was not so organized. For some reason, every time I shopped I bought ketchup. I'd stick one in the cupboard, one in the upstairs pantry and one in the basement. The lesson: When you're not organized you don't know what you have. When you don't know what you have you buy more.
Raise a hand if you bought Christmas gifts on sale and couldn't find them next year. Yep, it happens to the best of us. Keeping organized is essential to less expense!
Resources to Help You Get Organized
Getting organized and decluttering can be done. One day at time, one room at a time.
Making lists is a great way to stay organized and reduce clutter. I use and recommend List Planit. List Planit is digital, printable and mobile which makes it perfect for anyone needing to stay organized. (Hint, that's you!)
If you enjoy reading here are a few must-have books:
28 Days to De-Clutter (In 10 Minutes A Day) by Anne Simpson
Anne takes the approach of eating an elephant – One bite at a time! Even the busiest of moms can find 10 minutes a day to work on de-cluttering. The book is reasonably priced and free if you have Kindle Unlimited. Take a peek inside the book here.
Another great resource to help you get organized. If you're overwhelmed and don't know where to start this might be the perfect place for you. This is great if you need help with the basic tasks of de-cluttering your home.
Other resources to check out include:
As you begin your journey to declutter, grab my free printable worksheets to help you evaluate your stuff.