The Cost of Clutter


clutterThe accumulation of clutter in our lives affects more than just our physical beings, it also has a huge impact on our emotions as well.  Clutter seems to infringe on our every waking moment once it gets a hold in our homes but we also become quite impartial to it, ignoring the obvious.

Once clutter gets a hold on us, the thought of doing something about it becomes totally overwhelming.  It saps our energy and clouds our minds.  But, there is a way to slowly tackle this monster and I hope it will give you a bit of encouragement.

Ways To Tackle Clutter

Mountain or Molehill?

Rather than looking at the mountain (of stuff), look at things as a molehill.  Don’t try to tackle the entire room, start with a drawer.  Clean it completely, empty it out and then give it a good swipe with a sweet smelling cleaner, line it with some pretty paper and then return only what you need to that drawer.  Once you discover the sense of accomplishment from that act, you will find yourself renewed to tackle another small project.

When evaluating all that needs to be done, I’m sure you are envisioning days, or even weeks, of work and you don’t know where to start.  Here’s a tip I learned a while ago that really helped me diminish the overwhelming feelings.

Choose a small section of a room and work only on that area.  Don’t allow any “but firsts” to draw you away from the matter at hand.  Grab a timer from your kitchen and set it for 15 minutes.  Work diligently for those 15 minutes, until the timer goes off.  You will be amazed at how much can actually be accomplished in that short amount of time and you may even surprise yourself and want to work another 15.  If that’s the case, set your timer again and work through until the timer dings again.

One Man’s Trash…..

Once you have completed your series of working segments, you should have a group of things to remove from your home.  Now the decision is yours as to where you might find some extra funds for your savings account.  Items can be listed on Ebay, Craigslist, Kijiji and even your paper’s classifieds.  If your items don’t sell there, you can also arrange a garage/yard sale.  Have one with friends and you will definitely draw a larger crowd with more items.

If you have a larger item that you want to get rid of, such as a boat, you can donate that to charity as well. When donating a boat in North Carolina, you will receive a tax deduction after your donated item is sold at auction. The money that is received in exchange for the boat is then donated to a worthy charity and you receive a tax deduction. Your boat does not even have to run to take advantage of this program, as many people will purchase a broken down boat at auction and then perform the necessary maintenance.

Then, with what is left over, donate it to a local charity and receive a tax deduction for it.  You can’t go wrong and you will discover that your outlook on things has brightened and cleared.  Once you remove the clutter from your environment, it’s also lifted from your mind.  And I know that your bank account will thank you!

[Photo Credit: Fionn Kidney]

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6 thoughts on “The Cost of Clutter”

  1. Mary, thanks for writing this and JT, thanks for publishing it today. I so much need some inpiration to tackle our mountain (or a very large number of molehills). Yesterday I sorted out my sons clothes and it felt so good – strangely, I keep putting it off but it doesn’t really take that long. Probably, de-cluttering should be approached as marathon training – what make you fit is not the seven miles you run on the weekend but the one mile you run every day. Next week my diary will include a daily entry – 30 min sort out.

  2. I have found just by taking 15 minutes a day in 3 5 minute sessions of tackling clutter zones it makes a huge difference in staying on top of clutter. Morning, noon and evening I simply set a timer for 5 minutes and hit my “Hot spots” where it always seems to build up.

    Another thing we do is I involve the family in a team 15 minute clean up right after breakfast while I clean, I help the younger members by directing them in what to clean or where to put things, or who is to vaccum or scrub toilets….

    It is amazing how much can get accomplished in these mini marathon sessions!

  3. Hi Maria,

    Glad I hit on something that was pertinent to you…’s SURE pertinent to me. Like you, it’s that first step that’s the hardest to take. It always amazes me how much I can get done when I do get started but somehow, it’s that first step that’s the hardest. Now, if someone could help me find how to get past that, I’d be walking in tall cotton!


  4. Poor to rich,…’re so lucky to have others to involve in your tackling of things…it goes so much faster when you have help….and the other thing I know is that it’s a lot more fun and enjoyable when you have someone to share it with. But, we do with what we’re dealt, don’t we?


    We do the 15 minute thing as a family too. I have also started tossing ten things every time I boil the kettle to top up my tea pot.

    Slowly the clutter is moving out of the door and blessing other people on occasion too

  6. “Choose a small section of a room and work only on that area. “ – I totally agree, Mary. A few weeks ago, we had a garage sale. We have plans to move to another city in the very near future and we thought that we could use a little extra cash. So we ransacked our stuff and tried to find things that we don’t use but are still in very good form. And well, there was no problem with motivation in this case as we have that certain goal – to have extra cash. But of course, it was overwhelming at first, at least for me, when I started to search my belongings. I tend to have an attachment to everything I own. But I did it anyway and I found a lot of things to sell. And apparently, my family keeps a lot of things, too 😉 Anyway, the garage sale went well and so I really agree with what you said here.

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