Just because you aren’t living like one of the people on TV’s “Hoarders” doesn’t mean your home is as organized as it could be. In fact, living with clutter can have a profoundly negative effect on your daily life and even cost you money.
Here are six surprising ways clutter could be costing you. They just might convince you to take the steps needed to declutter your living space once and for all.
1. Bills Go Unpaid and Important Papers Disappear
When you have a massive pileup of mail and other papers, it’s easy to lose track — and sight — of important bills and documents.
“When your house is cluttered, your financial life is cluttered,” said Lacey Langford, a financial blogger. “Important tasks such as budgeting and bill paying get pushed off because people want to avoid dealing with a mess.” On the other hand, if you have a clean workspace, it’s easy to complete those tasks on time.
To start the process of decluttering your home, strive to open bills as soon as you receive them and pay the ones that are due right away. Langford went on to suggest designating a clutter-free zone — such as a special shelf in the kitchen with a basket, a filing box or even just a shoe box — to store those invoices awaiting payment.
2. You Buy Duplicates of Items
If you can’t keep track of the items you own due to clutter, there’s a good chance you’ll repurchase products you already have in stock.
“After the unnecessary purchase, you’re left with extra items that you don’t need, don’t have room for or won’t use before the expiration date,” said Rachel Rosenthal, a professional organizer and owner of Rachel and Company in Washington, D.C.
Rosenthal recommended families spend an afternoon combing through belongings in each room of the home: “Create categories and store like items together, toss or donate what you no longer need and keep everything easily accessible so that it’s possible to quickly locate next time you are in need,” she said.
3. You Pay to Put Clutter in Storage
If you have a storage unit for items that won’t fit at home, it might be time to declutter your belongings.
“Why pay someone to store your possessions? Storage units are pricey, regardless of the unit size,” said Rosenthal. “For example, if you spend $100 on a storage unit per month, that’s $1,200 per year spent on items that you aren’t using.”
For those already keeping clutter in storage, Rosenthal recommended choosing a date to go through the contents and sort items into piles designated “keep,” “donate,” “trash” and “sell.” Any items on the “keep” list should go home with you — just be sure you’re not keeping too much and starting the cycle anew.
4. Your Clutter Costs You Revenue
If you’re constantly misplacing receipts due to clutter, you could be putting your reimbursements and tax deductions in jeopardy. Moreover, if you’re simply keeping too much clutter, you might be losing out on tax-deductible donations and moneymaking opportunities.
“Unused items — regardless of the price or purpose — are losing you money and taking up valuable space in your home,” said Rosenthal.
She went on to suggest taking your spare clothing and furniture to a local consignment shop to declutter your home and make some extra cash. You can also team up with a friend or neighbor to host a joint yard sale.
“Once you start exchanging your unused goods for money, we’re sure you will be more motivated to clear out any remaining clutter in your home,” Rosenthal said.
5. Moving Will Be More Expensive
When you have more belongings, the cost of moving tends to be higher. The more items you have to cart across town or state lines, the larger the truck needs to be and the more manpower will be required to complete the job. For best results, aim to declutter your living space before moving to a new dwelling.
Additionally, you’ll want to declutter your home when it’s on the market to gain square footage and showcase positive features, according to professional home stager Tori Toth.
“If you see clutter haunting your rooms, start the packing process early by removing it from your house,” she said. “Small knickknacks, collectibles, excess toys and miscellaneous papers should all be removed before showing your house to buyers.”
6. Clutter Can Affect Your Health
Declutter your life, and you can improve your health in the process, according to Mim King, a professional organizer. “It’s stressful to have too much stuff; you’re not in control of your surroundings, your stuff is,” she said.
In the long run, stress can also lead to depression, anxiety, immune system disturbances and even viruses, like the common cold, according to Stress.org. Those who are stressed or ill often not only miss more work, they also end up paying more for doctor visits and medicine. Cut the clutter and boost your overall health and wellness in the process.
Just because summer is here doesn’t mean it’s too late for spring cleaning. Declutter your home and reap the rewards in superior organization and financial savings.