Could Your Clutter Be Putting You at Risk?

A piece I wrote for

ClutterDon’t let your clutter control your life or your finances. Taking some time to de-clutter your home can not only be more freeing, but it could possible reduce your risk of going into debt. Here is why.

Clutter Can Be Overwhelming

When clutter gets out of control, you can quickly become overwhelmed. Being overwhelmed means that you will have less focus and energy to live your life. Studies have shown that too much clutter may even contribute to depression.

With less focus and energy for work and life, plus possible “retail therapy” to lift the spirits, debt could quickly get out of control.

Quick Tip: To address your current clutter without becoming overwhelmed, spend just ten to 15 minutes a day on one particular area at a time, such as the kitchen counter, your child’s closet or your magazines. Document your accomplishments in a journal, by taking photos or online through a blog or forum to keep you motivated.

Buying More Space for Clutter

The more stuff that you own, the more space that it needs to live. Having extra stuff means that you might be led to purchase a larger home or pay a monthly fee for a storage facility.

Quick Tip: Avoid storing items for “someday.” You may find that you spend more to store the items that it would cost to replace them. Challenge yourself to live with less.

Clutter Breeds Clutter

People with well-organized generally spend less money for two strong reasons. The first is that they are purposeful about what they will bring into their homes, since they don’t want the clutter to spoil the comfort of a clean home. The second is that they are used to living with what they have and don’t need the latest and greatest to be happy.

Quick Tip: Once you have an area de-cluttered and organized, let us say your bookshelves, vow to keep that area well. Don’t bring home any additional books unless you part with an equal number to make space for the new arrivals. Chances are that you’ll choose not to make the new purchases after all.

Clutter Makes You Lose Things

An excess of stuff is hard to organize. That means that with clutter, you’ll probably wind up having to repurchase items that you can’t find. Anyone with six pairs of kitchen scissors knows what I mean. An even scarier risk is that you will become subject to late fees and penalties or enter serious financial trouble because you can’t locate important bills or financial notifications. You may even lose checks or gift cards in the clutter.

Quick Tip: Give things that are important or used often a place of honor, so that they become highly visible. For example, you might place all of your gift cards in a pretty box somewhere near the front door, so you can grab them on your way out to shopping.

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