Ever thought about the cost of your clutter? As you toss things into your donate or trash bins, are you adding up just how much everything cost? Does it make you consider re-selling your stuff instead? There are so many factors to consider when you think about the cost of your clutter…
The cost of buying it
There is the obvious initial cost of whatever the item is. Maybe you got a great deal on it, maybe it was a gift you bought your kids or partner, maybe it was full price and you decided to go ahead and get it anyway – I mean, you only live once, right? Either way, the cost was the cost. What’s done is done. You can’t really un-buy it. You could possibly return it, unless you’ve already owned it for too long and used it! You could resell it, which might bring back a small portion of the cost to your pocket. But, if you think about it, you have probably already financially recovered from the cost of these items! You are probably still living somewhat comfortably despite the money you spent on these items.
The cost of keeping it
Here is the cost to your sanity of actually keeping an item you truly don’t need! This is the ongoing cost. The cost that you must pay EVERY time you even look at the items, or step over them, and move them to clean around them. This is a cost your family also pays. They pay for the stuff to be part of the household. This is the relative cost, or the unmeasurable cost. Sometimes it may cost nothing because it’s out of sight, out of mind, sometimes it’s the biggest cost because it’s directly in the way of doing or using something you actually want to do!
The cost of cleaning it
Whether it’s dusting the items, or moving them to clean under or around, somehow you gotta clean it! This is more of a time cost, but still worth considering. If you don’t really like the item, or it doesn’t add great value to your life, is it worth your time of cleaning and caring for the item?
The cost of storing it
Kind of like the cost of cleaning, the cost of storing the items should be considered too. Are you storing your possibly unwanted items in a prime spot of the house? Is it better to store something you actually want or will use, rather than using the space for those clutter items? Maybe you even have add on costs of buying bins to help you organize the clutter!
The cost of tossing it
So now, you are staring at your toss bin, and you may start wondering where the items will actually end up. They might not be worth anything anymore, or maybe they’re broken items, whatever it is, there is a cost to throwing things away. Can it be recycled? Reused? Will it end up in a landfill? Eventually, someone will pay the cost of you tossing whatever the items are.
Ways to save instead
The best way to avoid all of these costs is to not buy some of the items in the first place! Easier said than done sometimes. But if you do need to buy stuff – cuz really, who doesn’t? – then you can put these tips to the test:
Stick to the list
Probably the oldest saving money tip in the universe. There is so much stuff out there! Stuff for the house, for the people, for the pets, stuff to buy as gifts, stuff to eat, stuff to just kill at LEAST 5 minutes of the kids’ attention, stuff for hobbies, stuff for the car, stuff for the pool, stuff for the kids in the class, stuff for the neighbours…it’s basically endless. Sticking to the list when temptation strikes is really hard! There are often sales that aren’t in the flyers or deals that are just too hard to pass up!
Work with an ongoing list
One of the ways to deal with some of the stuff you may be tempted to buy, is to modify your list slightly. Use your phone (because, really…most of the time I am guessing you have your phone with you while you’re out!) Use your phone to create a variety of lists. I love having an ongoing gift list on my phone. I list everyone who I typically buy for and for what occasion. Then I can cross people off my list as I do find those random sales. Use your phone to track wishlist items. Make wishlists for anything and everything. Name people or name categories of stuff, like wishlist for the garage, or wishlist for *insert hobby here*, whatever purpose you buy random stuff, think about it ahead of time by writing it into your phone lists.
Only shop one day per week (at the MOST!)
This is one of my favourite tips. Every time you are in ANY store you risk being tempted to buy things you don’t need. If you limit your shopping to only one day per week at the most, then you eliminate TONS of possible impulse buys. Even groceries! If you really need something, like a specific grocery item, see if you can make it to the next errand day! Get creative with your food to try to stretch out the time. If you need something like new boots for kids because they’ve worn through old ones and their feet are now getting wet…maybe you can make an exception…but do your best to limit the number of times you are shopping! Challenge yourself even more by shopping once every TWO WEEKS!!
Just wait 24 hours
This may be really hard, because you may miss out on some deals that you really want! But anytime you want to buy something that is not on any list, or some of those online deals you stumble across – because you’re only going in to ‘stores’ one time per week, *not what I meant by shopping once per week by the way!!* – just wait for 24 hours! Keep the item in your online cart for 24 hours – if it’s a timed deal, and it’s not on your list…maybe it’s not worth buying yet. You could also take a picture of the deal and item you find in the store so you can think about it for 24 hours. If you miss out, c’est la vie! Even if you REALLY want it! I know how hard it is to miss out on a deal, but another deal or a better deal may still come along!
Set some financial goals
Maybe you have a goal of going on an expensive trip! Or buying a big-ticket item…like a hot tub or even a house! Either way, having a financial goal is a great way to stay focused on the target rather than wanting to buy some little odds and ends here and there. Even if it seems like a far off, impossible goal. Every little bit makes a huge difference!
If you have a lot of clutter, it’s a good idea to examine your shopping habits to see where you can cut costs before they even happen!