Most of the clutter in our homes used to be money
Collections, tchotchkes, “one-off” items, impulse buys, ill-fitting, damaged or unused clothing that we don’t wear, décor items, mounds of unloved or broken kid’s toys, crafting supplies for projects that didn’t get off the ground, books and magazines, all that stuff in our junk drawers, items that we keep “just in case”; it all used to be actual money.
This is the intersection between clutter and financial well-being. While there’s little we can do about the past, we can still control our futures, and give our future selves a bit more economic breathing room. Think about these 6 strategies to help keep your cash in hand.
1. The easiest way to help solve a clutter problem and a cash-flow crunch is to be more intentional with shopping. The speed of life and the constant bombardment our senses are under, means that our defences against the many marketing tricks out there can become weak. This causes us to succumb to impulse buys far more than we’d like. Try creating limits for shopping, or set a savings goal which can help with creating more accountability to yourself.
2. Some folks go the “no spend” route for a certain day each week, or a certain period of time. The principle behind this is just as it sounds – designate a day each week, or a week each month, or whatever time frame works best for you, and spend nothing. Literally nothing.
3. Only shop with a list and try seeing yourself as a rebel and a hero when you resist the pull of the shiny thing screaming, “take me home and your life will be everything you want it to be”.
4. Consider buying things that may be more expensive, but will last a lifetime. This one is a bit tough to wrap your head around, especially if the item is vastly more expensive and your goal is to spend less. Bear in mind, though, that not all things that are expensive represent value. If you don’t need it, and won’t use it, there is zero value in an item. Further, it’s possible that an item has been overpriced, so be mindful of how well constructed it is before you shell out your hard-earned cash.
5. Resist the urge to shop as entertainment. “Entertainment shopping” is dangerous when we’re trying to both cut clutter and save cash. It often leads to coming home with something that we didn’t need at all, but bought because it caught our fancy at the time. There are myriad things to do when boredom and cabin fever set in. Visit a friend, get outside with the kids, put those craft supplies to use, volunteer for a cause you care about, or spend your “free” time decluttering to give yourself a sense of how much stuff you already own.
6. Speaking of decluttering, you may already own the item that you were thinking you needed to buy. Purchasing duplicate items is quite common in a cluttered environment, and is obviously an unnecessary cash drain. Having a place for everything, and knowing where to find your stuff when you need it can keep a good chunk of cash where it belongs – in your pocket. Professional organizers (like me!) can help with this one :)
Do you have a method that works for you that I haven’t mentioned here? Share it with us in the comment section.