The High Cost of Clutter

Many powerful emotions are lurking amid stuff we keep. Whether its piles of unread newspapers, clothes that don’t fit, outdated electronics, even empty margarine tubs, the things we accumulate reflect some of our deepest thoughts and feelings.[1]

The Emotional Connection

I look around the house and see plenty of clutter. In my office are piles of books. In the kitchen are stacks of cooking magazines dating back to 1992. And then there are the years of sentimental notes, cards, or gifts from people I care about. Those are hard for me to toss out.

It’s easy to see there’s an emotional connection between me and my favorite stuff. Some of the books feel more like friends. And the possibility of throwing away a great recipe bothers me.

The average person’s clutter isn’t a hoarder’s paradise, but it still needs organizing and paring down.

The High Cost of Clutter is Complex

To evaluate the high cost of clutter, we must look at the complexity of both emotions and money. These two work together—never alone. To have one more book, that book first has to be bought.

My clutter won’t be like yours, but consider it might prevent us from using our money for more important purposes. Men might be impulsive about tools and women long for another pair of designer shoes. Video games, electronic gadgets, and a wide range of toys can easily fill a child’s room to excess.

What if some of those same dollars were redirected? What would happen if we thought of future dreams over instant gratification? We could tuck money away in a college savings account, or build an emergency fund, or fix a leaky roof.

Ways to Declutter and Recapture Hard-earned Cash

There are ways to declutter that can recapture some of our hard-earned cash. For me, a good place to begin would be cleaning out cupboards in every room; going through the stuff with a determined attitude to say good-bye to at least one third of the excess. I’d set three boxes out for sorting: 1) Toss it, 2) Sell it, 3) or Give it. Only keep what is most meaningful or serves a practical use. And, I plan to trim down the number of magazine subscriptions, too.

Once sorted, the next step is to figure out how to move it off the property. There are businesses that help people declutter; that will even buy our clutter. Look online. Yard sales and local ads are another way to turn stuff into money. Donation sites want used things to line shelves in thrift stores or to give to the needy. This choice comes with the added bonus of a tax deductible receipt.

Emotions and Mind in Balance

When our home is uncluttered, my emotions and my mind are more in balance. The whole family benefits from, and functions better in the organized space. I can’t help but think most of us would agree. But, are we motivated enough to minimize our excess?

2 Thessalonians 3:5 May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.

 

[1] Melinda Beck, https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-psychology-of-clutter-1404772636