I have long thought that there is a relationship between clutter and debt. Well, maybe not debt necessarily, but certainly money. This week, with the kids back in school, I’ve been doing a lot of decluttering and it has me thinking about this topic more.
First there’s the obvious: most clutter consists of items purchased. And that costs money. While some things come into our lives for free, many are things that at one time we wanted or thought we needed and so we purchased them. More purchases eventually equal more clutter.
There’s a less obvious relationship, however. A major means of saving money is to use things up, make do, and take care of what you have. Ironically, that can be harder to do when you have lots of stuff. Ever bought something at the store only to run across an identical item you forgot you had a few days later? Ever had to go out and buy something that you knew you already had but you couldn’t find it? Ever had a closet full of clothes but nothing to wear? Ever thrown out produce or other food that’s gone bad before you could eat it? I’ve done all of that and in those cases it cost me money because “stuff” got in the way. It’s better than Christmas!
I also believe that there’s another less obvious relationship. By choosing to have less (de-cluttering) I tend to value it more. Letting go of things creates a feeling of contentment and satisfaction rather than a desire to have more. Don’t believe it? Help your child clean up his or her room or playroom and watch as they re-discover toys, books, and games they had forgotten they had.
That’s because clutter represents stuff that isn’t valued. How much can I really care about items that have found their way to the bottom of my closet or a box in the basement? My goal is to have less but to really care for and value what I have.