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    July 2012
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    The High Cost of Clutter

    Tammy Johnston

    I hate clutter. It drives me nuts. In fact I have been accused on more than one occasion of being an anal retentive neat freak, but I’m okay with that. Even with my natural tendencies to keep things clean, simple, and organized it still blows my mind the amount of “stuff” I have around my house.

    Every week I try to make a point of cleaning out some small area of my home to rid myself of the junk that accumulates and seems to breed in the dark. Junk drawers, closets, cupboards, the storage room, the garage, the crawl space, shelves, the “stuff” is everywhere. One of the big questions I ask myself, my husband, and my daughter when we are sorting what stays and what goes (some to the garbage, some to donate or give away) is “Would we move this to a new house?”

    Clutter comes at a very high cost. Number one it sucks the life out of us. When we are faced with clutter at home, at work, in our vehicles it drains our energy. We don’t want to be there. So we find ways to escape. We procrastinate, we go out and spend money we don’t need to, just so we don’t have to face the mess, we are nowhere near as productive as we could be. This robs us of our peace of mind and our ability to move forward at work and in our lives.

    Number two how much money have we spent accumulating this clutter? I like to think of myself as a fairly frugal person, and I definitely do not consider shopping to be a hobby, but it still blows my mind at how much money I have spent (usually in small chunks) to buy the junk that is now driving me batty.

    Number three when we have too much stuff it costs us money to maintain it, insure it, move it, clean it, and even store it. If it doesn’t bring you joy, add beauty to your life, you don’t use it on a regular basis, it doesn’t work and you aren’t going to fix it, WHY do you have it?

    So I challenge you to pick a corner, a drawer, a cupboard, a box anything and start sorting. Ask yourself the question “would I move this to a new home or replace it if it was lost in a fire?” If the answer is no, then get rid of it. Have a garage sale, donate it to a charity, or pass it on to someone that will love, use, and appreciate it. Trust me it will reward you in more ways than you can imagine.

    “Too many people spend money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t want, to impress people they don’t like.”
    Will Smith

    The MONEY® Network