Mmm.. Organizational shows: watch and drool. Suddenly you find yourself grasped by the impulse to tidy your tiny world. Most of us realize that a a cluttered life can cost us money, but how can an uncluttered home put a hole in your purse?
Organization is a window into a world, a world where everything a person owns can be seen clearly. How many of us use something just because we have it, and replace that thing just because we’re used to having it? An uncluttered person can become a creature of habit, and this habit can sometimes lead into price ruts. How many of our routine shopping and spending habits are actually bad shopping and spending habits?
Something an extremely organized home has that others don’t (necessarily) is organizational solutions. I have noticed that in the tidy, picked-up offices I’ve been in have a remarkable abundance of decorative baskets, buckets, bins, and shelves. I’ve noticed most relatively cluttered people also have a pack-rat streak, and instead of beautiful, striking-white cookie-cutter baskets across their shelves, they have coffee cans, cigar boxes, oatmeal canisters, popcorn tins, and other impromptu storage stacked on the windowsill.
How much does organizational storage cost? Well, compared to the recycled options, too much. People who are remarkably uncluttered may also purge their closets twice a year, tossing out unworn clothes as the seasons change. Unfortunately, this makes space that can be filled by shopping. If you haven’t got the room to put a new shirt, you’re less likely to buy one. Similarly, a tidy home may have empty nooks to fill with collectibles or knick knacks. Will the desire to fill up a space for visual ascetic ever plateau? For many, it does not.
A clean home can be hazardous to your health, and is easy to get to from a tidy home. See dust? Take it down! The speed at which cleaners are gone through add up in dollars. Unfortunately, sometimes cleaners aren’t protecting you like you think they are: “over 75 different studies link chemicals ubiquitous in cleaning products to health problems” (reported 7/24/07 from NPR). Another negative consequence of a perpetually sanitized home is lowered immunity and allergy development. This is old news for some, as the NYT in 2000 reported “Common household germs and dust, it seems, play a vital role in the development of immune systems.” The medical costs of managing allergies, combating and preventing illness due to low immunity, and treatment for problems arising from chemical exposure is more than anyone is brave enough to tally.
Beyond costs for your mind or your body, living an uncluttered life can affect your psyche. Organization is a pressure. On TV, it is preferred, but in real life, organization can lead to obsession. Not all tidy people have obsessive tendencies, but if you are comfortable cluttered, you probably don’t. I’m not saying that people who tend to be tidy are obsessive-compulsive; no, that is a more serious illness. But if you grew up with adamantly tidy parents, you can understand where the quest to remain uncluttered is a power struggle.
Just as many function surrounded by clutter, others are at their optimum performance under routine that includes tidiness. If you’re paying someone else to ensure the harmony of your tidy home, or if you take full responsibility for it yourself, it is having an effect on your financial situation. It really pays off to research what it is you are subjecting yourself to for the sake of your health and finances. If nothing else fails, moderation is the key. Learn what you can live with for comfort, what you can deal with for health and safety, and what you really value for your budget. Being organized and uncluttered (words used in this article with synonymy) may seem like the most responsible thing, but remember to remain in a realistic sphere of who you are and what you need.
Image courtesy of Melilotus