Clutter steals your joy and robs you of happiness. We can have clutter in our homes, and clutter in our finances.
Many of us have so much more stuff than we realize. We hold onto things we don’t even use and trick ourselves into thinking we might need it someday. But, you forgot you even owned it! I have some family that is moving out of state very soon. When I was asking them how the packing was going, they pointed out how much STUFF they had. Their house wasn’t cluttered, but they commented on how much stuff they kept because they might need it someday. Stuff in the very back of closets, stuff in bins or on shelves in the basement, stuff in the attic. Stuff, stuff, STUFF!
But when you’re moving, you look at your stuff differently. When you’re in moving mode, everything you keep is something you have to move. So, anything they didn’t use in the past year or two, they got rid of. They threw it out, donated it, or sold it. If it got to the point down the road where they really needed that thing, they would borrow it from someone or if it was cheap enough, just buy it again. It wasn’t worth moving the clutter to keep it, and bring that clutter to their new house.
I mean how many of us have an Ice Cream maker but haven’t made ice cream more than once… And that was three years ago! C’mon. Maybe it's time to move it on.
I remember doing something similar with my clothes when we first decided we were going to stop spending and get out of debt. One day, I opened my closet and it was a mess! I had way too many clothes, shoes, and purses. I started to clean them up, but then my bedroom was a mess from throwing clothes out of my closet.
These two simple rules still help me keep my closet in good order and ensures that every piece of clothing I own, I actually wear and love. There is no waste. Now, that’s just the closet, what about the rest of the house?
The number one thing I tell Recovering Spenders who come to me for financial help is, “Clean your house.” Why? Because clutter steals your joy and zaps your energy. It makes you feel like you can never get ahead.
If you want to get out of debt you need laser focus. If you don’t, it is easy to get discouraged and quit. I know it is hard for me to have any sort of clarity when all I am looking at is a mess. Cleaning your house can help to free up some of your mental space so that you can make room for all of the financial changes you are going to focus on.
One point I make in my book, The Recovering Spender is that spending begets spending. And saving begets saving. What I mean by this is that if you spend, it will make you want to spend more. If you are saving, it will make you want to save more. Well, the same idea is true for organization. I’m not saying you need to get crazy, but when I am in a good routine of organizing and decluttering my home, it spills over into the rest of my life – including my finances. Especially if you consider that keeping your house decluttered means that you have a designated space for your bills, pay stubs, receipts and everything else related to your financial life. Keeping my home organized, keeps my finances organized, and reminds us to budget every month. This cycle keeps moving us into a better and better financial place.
Have you ever sat on the couch at the end of the day when your home was completely clean? Toys picked up, dishes done, laundry folded. I certainly don’t get to this point every night, but it is a goal of mine, and when I do, I’m more relaxed. I go to bed more relaxed. When I walk down the stairs in the morning and see a nice clean, quiet house, I feel more prepared to tackle my day. More peaceful. Having my home decluttered leads to a more organized day, more organized finances, and a more organized life.
Years ago I was so determined to get out of debt that I moved from a 3,200 sq ft custom home into an 800 sq ft townhouse. I cut my expenses and had to sell everything that would not fit in my home – furniture, clothing, one-use kitchen appliances, my dining set…
I had laser focus and realized what I didn’t need to survive. Downsizing like this allowed me to dig my way out of debt much faster than I thought.
Declutter your home. Declutter your finances. Simplify. Gain back that JOY!