We all know that amassing lots of ‘stuff’ costs us money. But aside from the hundreds of pounds we spend each year acquiring the latest gadget or designer coat, clutter can cost us far more than we realise. So next time you are reaching for your credit card, just think about the ways in which your newly purchased clutter may also be effecting your life.
- Time. How important is your free time to you? How do you like to spend it? Unless you are in the minority, I’m assuming you don’t like to spend it cleaning, moving clutter and working to pay for it all. And how do you want to be remembered? As a person who lived an amazing life, or that person who was channelling the Clampits? (If you’ve never heard of the Clampits, just imagine the most run down, beat up house in your neighbourhood and you’ll get the picture. If that describes your house – you probably have some work to do.)
- Your health. Consider the amount of time you spend worrying and feeling guilty about how much stuff you own, or the debt you have created. The stress you are adding to your day and potentially the danger to your life (too much clutter can equal one big fire trap, as several people have found to their cost.) Clutter also has a nasty habit of gathering dust. This breeds mites and can lead to asthma and allergies. Nasty.
- Your social life. The last-minute visits you say no to because you are too embarrassed to let people drop by. The friends and relatives you fail to invite to your home because you are too ashamed of the mess. The time you could be spending outdoors which are spent indoors tidying all the mess/maintaining all your things.
- Your love life. It’s difficult to get romantic when you are surrounds by piles of clothes or mounds of bulging carrier bags. Or if you are single, clutter can be a bit of a passion killer when you invite your date round to your home. “Want to come back to mine for coffee? It will only take me half an hour to find the jar.”
- Your self-esteem. Getting bogged down with too many possessions can make you feel like you never make any progress. You throw away a few things, but one by one they creep back into your life. The result – depression, anxiety and the feeling you are not quite good enough. Which is a lie. You are good enough. You just have too much stuff!
- Unwanted guests. Fortunately, there are laws in place to stop people moving in and taking up residence when you are out at work or on holiday. No one wants squatters. However, keep too much clutter and you may find all manner of four, eight or even 12 legged creatures quite happily setting up home and raising exceptionally large and irritating families. Such infestations can prove particularly noisy, smelly and generally unpleasant, especially when your clutter starts wending its way across your carpet, buoyed up by a colony of whatever is living underneath.
If you fail to make a plan to effectively clear clutter, you will set yourself up for a lifetime of feeling irritated and overwhelmed. So today, even if you have committed to clearing clutter 100 times and failed, commit again to getting rid of it all. And just do it.