The Cost of Clutter

Living a disorganized life not only costs you time, it costs you money. When your life and home are disorganized and cluttered you tend to waste money on many of the following things:

  • Late fees because bills are misplaced.
  • Buying the same thing twice, because you couldn’t find the original item or you don’t know you already have it.
  • Purchasing clothes you don’t need, because hand-me-downs are not properly stored and organized.
  • Broken items because they are not properly stored.
  • Expired food items that get lost in your fridge or pantry.

I know I am guilty of all of these things and many more. Over the years I realized that being organized is something that really does save my family money. Moving five times in the past five years has driven home the fact that less is more. I am happier, more energetic, and a better saver when my “stuff” is kept to a minimum.

This year (Lord willing) we are staying put. That means I have 365 days to de-clutter, de-junk, and create spaces for everything in my home. I thought about creating a system to get organized, but decided just to spend 15 to 30 minutes each day tackling my house from top to bottom. No system, or at least no system yet… :)

To help hold me accountable I have decided to join Amy’s 730 in 365 challenge. Over the next year I will get rid of (donate, toss, or sell) 730 items from my home.

I have already started and it feels good! Each month I will post my total and some before and after pictures. I got a head start last weekend and knocked out my master bedroom closet. This closet has been a mess since we moved in, very low priority since it isn’t a public space, but that isn’t an excuse. It needs to be organized! I found many items to giveaway and to toss during my closet clean-out.

After the clean out I realized I only own a few long sleeved shirts. Considering I live in an area where you can wear long sleeves 8 months out of the year, I might want to make a trip to the thrift store soon!

So, will join me on this journey to de-clutter so we can all get organized be good stewards of what we already own? I promise you’ll be happier and probably save a bit of money over the next year! Many times saving money means sacrificing wants and even needs. But getting organized only costs you your time! You have junk to lose and money, time, and happiness to gain!

What are you tackling first?

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Comments

  1. this is something i’m terrible at.

  2. Wow – thank you! This has come just at the right time for me. I’m feeling decidedly stressed with house. We have 3 boys and there is just so much STUFF everywhere. I actually started before Christmas getting together bags of toys that I thought the 3yr old wouldn’t need any more (filled 3 large bags) which I will donate and/or give to a friend who is having a baby soon.

    We’re also planning a garage sale soon. We may move house some time this year (to get more space), so we need to de-clutter now. I don’t want to take it with me!

    Ok – I’m motivated. Off to tackle more!

  3. Young Wife says:

    Wow, good for you. The closet looks great. I think I may sign up for this challenge. I cleaned out our closet quite a bit before and after Christmas to make room for gifts, so I’ve got a head start on January.

  4. Miriam says:

    I don’t know if I will specifically join in the 750/365 challenge, but one of my Goals for 2010 (here: http://mycountrycupboard.blogspot.com/2010/01/goals-for-2010.html) is to NOT KEEP CLUTTER! I have a super-organized side, and a not-so-organized side. I have areas of the house that I like to keep neat and clean, and others (ahem, our closet) that need some serious organizing. I know I have a TON of stuff in our closet that I could donate! Your organized closet looks great, btw :)

  5. Oh, I know that I need to finish my closet, looking at those pictures of yours. It’s started, but not yet done. :)

    I am definitely making more of a point to de-clutter this year. I find life much simpler, and yes we also save more and care better for what we have, when we have less. And our goal is to have less stuff, but love what we have.

  6. Barb says:

    I need to do this. I am going to head over and check out the challenge. Thanks for telling us about it

  7. Southern Gal says:

    Every year I think I’ll get a handle on the clutter and every year it gets worse instead of better. I’ve got to come up with some sort of plan and just tackle it!
    Scared to death of it all.

  8. Nancy M. says:

    I was forced into de-cluttering due to a mouse in the house! So, I started without even realizing the challenge. I will try to keep it up!

  9. I’m definitely tackling my pantry first!

  10. Lauren says:

    I’m in! We just had our first military move and I found we have a lot of STUFF! If I’m counting I have already gotten rid of 29 books at cash4books.net. :) I also have a bag full of stuff to go to Goodwill. I may be at my 750 items by February! haha.

  11. I can relate to this post somehow, last year, i really had a hard time looking for my things because my cabinet is really cluttered. Aside from that my clothes were attacked by pests. Too bad I have too learned the hard way. Now I wouldn’t want my cabinet to be messy.

  12. Samantha says:

    I just finished cleaning out my closet – I even found my breast pump in there…and my youngest child is 8 1/2 and I didn’t nurse for more than a year with each one so…you do the math – it’s been a LONG time. I’m so glad that I finally did it, even though it was a huge project. I finally figured out that what was holding me back was guilt – guilt that I had pants in my closet that no longer fit. I wonder if similar “clothes-guilt” holds other women back from dealing with their messy closets.
    Samantha

  13. Stephanie says:

    I too am working on clutter.. the Lord has really put different areas in my life on my heart that i NEED to change and I am looking forward to it. Before I would get overwhelemed but things are going much better this time :) Can’t wait to blog about it.

  14. Jenn says:

    Good Reminder =)

    As a large part of organizing our house, both my Husband and I are determined to throw out/donate/give away a BUNCH of stuff. I think reducing clutter & excess “stuff” is such a large part of staying organized!

  15. Thanks for joining in and for the mention! Your closet looks awesome.

  16. That is a major change in your closet! We are in our third year of a RECORD FOUR YEARS in one place! Unprecedented! I have decluttered so much… But I also understand now why people do Spring Cleaning. The stuff just adds back up! Next on my list is my drawers. Don’t ask. I regularly take things in to consign. Maybe I’ll have to look into this challenge for some more encouragement…

  17. I have the same clutter problem, but not so much for clothes. I have too many unread books (thousands of them) that I am literally buried by them. My books have invaded my bed, my dining table and everywhere… My problem is I can’t get rid of my unread books, very attached to them. But I have no problem giving away books that I had read. My resolution for this year is not to a single book at all this year. So far I haven’t bought any book yet, but it’s only been a few days into the New Year… I will see…

  18. Kim says:

    Thanks for posting the link to the challenge. I’m off to check it out. It’s funny because just two days ago I was writing about how decluttering should just be a daily household task and wondering if one did 15 minutes everyday if that would keep clutter at bay. It’ll be fun to try it out with others. I find right now, as I’m putting away Christmas decorations and letting that dead tree go, is a great time to declutter. Riding the wave.

  19. susanna says:

    On November 1st I have been gone through all my closets, drawers and cabinets sorted, thrown out and organized. Great feeling. Due to the fact that I just threw out so much that I would be able to get to 730 items. But I will be following you closely to see if there isn’t the one or other thing to get rid off.

  20. Lisa says:

    I love to de-clutter. I’m one of those people that gets stressed being in a messy house. Unfortunately, my husband and three kids have a very hard time parting with anything and have no problem just walking over anything in their way. I’ve had to bring my cleaning standards down a few notches.

    My first project this year is to tackle the kitchen cabinets and inventory the food. I recently bought a big jar of corn starch from Sam’s Club, only to realize when I got home that I had a smaller jar (new) that I had bought from the grocery store and forgotten about.

  21. This is a GREAT idea :) I’m trying to reorganize some things around our place too, since we won’t be buying for a while and hope to stay put. Purging is good.

  22. Maria says:

    The closet looks amazing. Good for you. I don’t believe I even have 730 in my house.

    Good luck to you.

  23. Jennifer says:

    I have been feeling the urge to declutter for a few days now. Not sure what is stopping me as I don’t often feel that urge. I guess I should just start, I know my home will thank me.

  24. Sherry says:

    I decided to take part in Amy’s challenge, too. I’m in the basement this morning and have decluttered quite a bit already. :D

  25. DeAna says:

    You are absolutely right about the “cost of clutter!” It amazes (and even irks me) to see how quickly things pile up. I made a goal to get organized the first of this year, setting specific items to tackle and what I want to accomplish in the end, using your “Itch to Pitch” challenge from last year as my motivation. This will be my 2nd time around because I did an overhaul of the kids’ room last summer. My entire house is on the list for this year. Thanks for sharing the link to Amy’s 730 in 365 challenge. I had not heard about that, but I definitely like the idea!

  26. Andrea says:

    There are eight of us living here—and not much closet space—so you can imagine what the house looks like! I need to do this too. I did finally get rid of the clothes that no longer fit—I finally told myself that after six kids there is very little chance they would ever fit again! Most women I know have at least a few such items (my sister calls it her “I have a dream” clothes!).

  27. Kelly says:

    I’m curious…do you then have garage sales or just donate to a thrift shop? I’ve been decluttering in the house, but have kept the stuff in the garage thinking I’d have a garage sale after the holidays. Now the garage is a wreck, and doing a sale seems overwhelming.

    • TheHappyHousewife says:

      I have done both in the past. I usually just donate it, but when we were getting out of debt I had a yard sale and sold stuff on Craig’s List. For me, donating it is less work, but sometimes you need to make a little money!
      Toni

  28. In my de-cluttering I did last summer I accidentally threw away some of my precious childhood pictures and memorabilia. I was so gung-ho about getting rid of stuff that I was not careful enough. My recommendation- go for it but proceed with caution :)

    • TheHappyHousewife says:

      Great advice Beth! I am sure I have thrown out treasures in the past too! Thanks for the reminder!
      Toni

  29. Allyson says:

    I am motivated now! Considering we just made a move and I was frustrated at the amount of “stuff” we moved and I am anxious to get started!

  30. Serenity says:

    This is perfect timing for me! I am DESPERATE to have my house decluttered and efficent before the new baby comes. Being a miltary brat we moved 18 times before I was 18 and we only kept the significant things. Now, I think I have lost the habit :( This will get me motivated!!! Thanks!

  31. Nikki Rainey says:

    I am in but I need to drop a few thousand pounds. But I believe the 730 things will be a good start.

  32. Nancy says:

    My master bedroom closet is in desperate need of attention. It’s on the list. Good job for knocking it out!

  33. Sara says:

    Looks great! I just got done reorganizing my basement. It feels so good to declutter and find stuff again.

  34. Becky L. says:

    Sounds like a good challenge! Great looking closet and thanks for the inspiration. I bought a cool basket from Cost Plus World Market today with money from my bonus. $10 off coupon thru 1/10/10 when you buy $30 or more. Well I bought one to use by my computer table. Box is going to go–stuff thrown out I don’t need. Hubby gave me a file for 300 cd/dvds for Christmas. My photo cds are going in there and will free up some space down below. That’s when I’m gonna start. Hope to get my daughter to go thru stuff in garage that she’s not used in 3.5 years since she’s living with us and no “out” date yet. I am definitely going to declutter and keep up with it. I usually donate as well but might do a garage sale this spring.

  35. Shalet says:

    Decluttering is the best. I love the 730/365 idea — may just have to join!

  36. Crystal says:

    so far we have tackled the kids rooms, the master bedroom.. OMG I have a FLOOR and a CLOSET… All of Hubby’s tools have gone to where they belong..THE BASEMENT.. The office has been done, clothes have been sorted, tossedout, put in bags to give away with labeled to who… I have 4 kids and 4 kids with alot of clothes.. My youngest is 16months and luckily all her clothes are moving out of our house and to my cousin’s house she jsut had a baby girl… Toys go to the Clothing Bank for needy families, broken Garbage.. I’m telling you My garbage man is probly cursing me…

    • TheHappyHousewife says:

      That is awesome! I am sure there are going to be some pretty happy families when they get your donation!
      Toni

  37. dj says:

    I can’t believe how much this helped motivate me. I am on a roll and lovin’ it. It feels SOOOO good to be able to see my desk, floor, etc. So much more peaceful and I know where stuff is. Thank you so much!

    I am wondering for the counting: if I have 5 magazines, does that count as 5 items or do I count all magazines (or like items) as one?

    • TheHappyHousewife says:

      I think you can count them individually. But there are really no official rules, just do what works best for your family! So glad you are motivated to get organized!
      Toni

  38. Melinda says:

    Happy, I saw this article and thought of your wonderful blog:

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/blogs/happinessproject/archive/2009/11/11/eleven-myths-of-de-cluttering.aspx

    My biggest challenge is being too sentimental.

    P.S. Got the kids’ clothes organized today. Baby steps!

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