I have long believed that there is a relationship between clutter and debt. And if not debt, certainly money and overspending. This week, with the kids back in school, I’ve been doing a lot of decluttering and it has only reinforced my belief.
First there’s the obvious: clutter represents items purchased. While a few things come into our lives for free, most are things that we wanted or thought we needed and so we bought them.
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. That’s harder to do when you have lots of stuff.
- Have you ever bought something at the store only to run across an identical item you forgot you had a few days later?
- Or had to go out and buy something that you knew you already had but you couldn’t find?
- How about having a closet full of clothes but not being able to find anything to wear?
- Or throwing out produce or other food that’s gone bad before you could eat it?
I’ve done all of that and in every case it cost me money because stuff got in the way.
That’s because clutter represents things that aren’t valued. When I choose to have less, I value it more. Letting go of things creates a feeling of contentment and satisfaction rather than a desire to have more. To see that in action, 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.