Monthly Archives: October 2015

The Invisible Cost of Clutter

Stuff costs money – it costs money to manufacture, to sell, to buy, to store and to eventually get rid of.  We can all list the various costs of the items we have in our home and in our lives.  But what about the unseen costs, the costs we don’t consider that arise from having too much stuff.


Here are 10 ways in which we pay:

1. When we buy an item, it may be an item that we have had on our list of desires for a long time. It may be something that we have saved up for and had a goal to obtain, then again it might not.  Unfortunately, these days with online shopping so readily available, we often buy things on the spur of the moment – because it popped up in our newsfeed, we just read an article about it, one of our Facebook friends just bought one or we were surfing the net out of boredom.  When we buy things spontaneously in this way, because of our need for instant gratification, we often live to regret the decision afterwards and we find ourselves thinking “why did I order that?”, “what on earth was I thinking?” because the money we just spent on that item means that we can no longer afford the thing that we REALLY wanted.


2.  If we are continually buying items that not only do we not need,  but that we do not have a place for in our home, we are in danger of “the stuff” taking over. The physical items build up and up and all of a sudden our home is in chaos with things everywhere and we feel overwhelmed and ashamed.   Not only have we now spent money we didn’t allocate to this item, but possibly money that was already designated to paying for something else, like electricity or food.  It can be a spiralling problem – we shop to feel good, then we feel guilty and ashamed and so ultimately feel worse, so again we look to retail therapy to make ourselves feel worthy and loved.

3.  Many (MANY) people buy items that they then hide from their partners and/or families – this might be because they feel guilty for spending the money or ashamed that they broke an agreement about family purchasing habits. Not only does lying about spending habits destroy your own feelings of self worth and confidence, but potentially has the power to destroy your most important relationships. How would you feel if you discovered your life partner had been lying to you about money?

latin businessman looking worried and stressed while paying bills and credit card on a white sofa

4.  I often hear from my clients that they are ashamed and embarrassed about the state of their home and not only do they no longer invite friends or family to visit, but dread the thought of someone turning up unannounced.   If people do show up for a visit, they will then spend the whole time apologising for the state of their home and feeling so embarrassed that they don’t enjoy spending time with those people.  Living in a cluttered and chaotic home can be extremely isolating.


5.  When nothing in our home has a designated space, we tend to shove things in drawers or cupboards to get them out of the way.  What happens then is when we next need that item, we have to tear the house apart to try and find it.  Either that or we simply go out and buy another one, often ending up with 2, 3 or 4 of things.  How many staplers, rolls of cellotape, greeting cards, ungiven gifts do you have in your home?

6.  Bank fees, late payment charges and interest – when we have piles of paperwork strewn about the house, covering every possible flat surface, or shoved in drawers because we had visitors, important documents will often go astray. How many times have you received a late payment charge or interest on a credit card bill because it was lost and forgotten about? Not only does this make us feel anxious and out of control with regard to our finances, but can seriously destroy our credit rating for loans and mortgages.

7.  Have you got a spare room that you can’t use because it’s filled to the brim with clothes the wrong size, toys that your children grew out of, ancient paperwork or inherited items that you don’t really want? You pay for every square foot of space in your home, regardless of whether you are renting or own your home.  Would you let an unwanted person come and stay in your space without paying?  Of course not, but that’s effectively what you are doing by giving up so much space to unwanted and unnecessary items.

Beautiful panicked girl buried under mess and trying to set free

8.  Your physical health can be dramatically affected by clutter. Everything feels just too hard when our house is cluttered. We don’t want to put something in its place because in order to do that we have to move 2 things and to put those 2 things away, we have to find a home for something else and on and on it goes, like a never-ending nightmare.  So, counters and floors are cluttered with things, which makes cleaning so much more difficult, so much so that we tend to do it far less.  The more used to it we get, the more accepting we become of the mess and don’t try as hard to keep it clean, because “what’s the point?”.  As time goes on, the dust and crumbs build up, causing potential infestations of insects and rodents.


9.  One of the most important costs of clutter is the one thing we can never get back – time! So much time is lost to looking for items that “were just here yesterday”. How much time have you spent looking for keys, wallets, phones, bills, passports, school notes?  I know that I have wasted countless hours over the years and this is time I will never see again.  I would much rather spend my time having a coffee with a friend, or reading a book, watching a movie or learning something new.  What could you do with all that extra time?

10. A breach in our values and loss of self. If one of our core values is family and as such it is important to us to create a haven or sanctuary for our loved ones, to live in a place of chaos is in breach of that value, making us feel stressed and disconnected.  Clutter blocks the flow of energy, not only within our home, but within our bodies.  If our minds are constantly filled with images of disorganisation and mess, it can lead to anxiety and depression, lack of motivation and isolation.

Sad woman in the room

All of these things can impact your physical, mental and emotional health and that of your family.  If you’re stuck as to how to stop paying for this clutter, get in touch via the form below.

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