I want to start the week off looking at some ways clutter makes our life harder, besides what Flylady calls CHAOS (Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome). I think that’s the first and most obvious reason people want to unclutter their homes. But what about other problems it causes?
- Unnecessary complications and minor irritations: I’ve had two little socks tucked into my laundry room cabinet for months, waiting for their mates to turn up. Load after load has been done in my washer, and still those little socks sat. Doing a deep clean-out of my laundry room closet resulted in me locating the missing socks—tucked away, at some point, waiting for their mates to turn up. (Argh.) Another perfect example: each time I try to stuff one more plastic cup into my kids’ “cup drawer.” If I just got rid of just one cup out of here, things would fit better. Instead, I’m playing Tetris each time I unload the dishwasher.
- Missing out on what is truly important to you: Each time you buy a new widget or goo-gah, you’re spending money you could have spent on something truly important to you. Avoiding even a few $20 impulse buys results in almost $100 worth of money that could be earmarked for something magnificent. Think of it: One $5 thingy that you discover during your weekly grocery trips; maybe one $20 item you discover “on sale” each month, and one more “oooooh, I love it! I don’t do this very often, so it’s okay!” $100 splurge every, say, four months ends up totaling eight hundred dollars in a year. Eight hundred dollars. (And sixty-eight things that you have to figure out what to do with.) Don’t whine at me about not having enough money to do [fill in the blank] when you’re up to your ears in stuff.
- Wasted time: This is huge, and I’m thinking about this because I just cleaned out the laundry room closet. Again. It appears to remain clean for about three days in a row, and I’m starting to think the only way to truly keep it clean is to take the door off and have it all on display. By tucking things in there (out of sight) to deal with later, I’m skipping the less-than-five-minute route of dealing with something now, instead piling it up gradually into a morning-long project. Less stuff, less time to deal with it. This also covers the time you lose looking for things you’ve lost, because there’s no designated place for them or because they’re buried in all the other stuff you own. More wasted time.
- Wasted money: This may be a reach, but in the piles of papers stacked on your desk there could be old forgotten checks or gift cards waiting to be dealt with. There’s also the more common occurrence of buying things you already have (but can’t find), or not returning things you don’t need (once you get home and realize you already have one).
I’m sure there’s more; I’d love to hear your ideas. I think that once we recognize how much harm we’re doing to ourselves and our lives, we finally have the reason to change.