It’s easy to come by and we all have too much (including me). But is it hurting you? It could be. Clutter is a budget breaker. I won’t go into details in this article, but trust me that having more makes you spend more. You’d think that once you had everything you’d stop spending. You’d be wrong.
Are you using that?
When you’re busy, things get messy. So how do you know if you have clutter or a mess? According to my friend Matt Baier, of Matt Baier Organizing, you should ask yourself whether it has a pulse:
Here’s an example of a living mess and an example of true clutter. If there is a playroom full of toys, all over the floor and they will be moved around and played with tomorrow, that’s a living mess. If, however, there’s a room full of toys and the kids have moved out and have kids of their own now, that’s true clutter. It has stopped moving. The heartbeat is gone. It’s dead.
Unfortunately, we had a lot of dead clutter.
Save it for a rainy day… I mean the project not the object
We needed to tackle our clutter, but I wouldn’t waste a sunny day on it – or even a whole day.
This is what we did on snowy weekends this past winter.
- Scanned documents from the file cabinet, then shredded and recycled the paper (medical records, income taxes, etc.)
- Digitized the notes, workbooks and CDs from conferences we attended – now it’s all filed in the computer and backed up.
- We did a major cleaning of the basement. In our house that is where things get put that don’t have a place. Plus, living in a family home, we have stuff from our parents – photos and memorabilia that I wanted to preserve. It’s not all done, but it’s well on its way. We are tackling the basement one box and one shelf at a time.
- Donated some useful items. We found several old cell phones that we donated to an organization that gives cell phones to battered women. We cleaned out the books for a donation to the library.
- We cleaned out the pantry and got rid of foods we no longer choose to eat. Some was donated to the local food pantry.
The bittersweet goodbye is mostly sweet
There are so many positives with decluttering. It’s not all heart wrenching goodbyes and worries about being caught without “that thing we were saving in case”. The house feels bigger and brighter. It’s a place where we feel more alive because we’re not clinging to the past or the future. We’ve benefited from sales and donation tax breaks. We feel closer to each other because we’ve processed our feelings and made plans for what we really want out of life.
We’ve found that we’re actually more ourselves without our stuff. And our spending is more focused on the things we really want – like travel.