Look at Your Clutter, See Your Money

Recently I was trapped in a hotel on a rainy weekend and I got sucked into a marathon of Clean House. (This is why I don’t keep cable at home. If stuff is on, I just fall into it.) I was mesmerized by the amount of stuff that some of these people had. Stuff was piled to the ceilings, bursting out of the garages, and filling every closet. As a neat freak, it was disturbing to say the least.

But as I watched, what really got my attention was the amount of money that was invested in this clutter. In some of these houses, thousands of dollars had been spent on stuff that wasn’t being used (heck, some of the participants didn’t even know what they had). Hundreds of dollars of h

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10 Responses to Look at Your Clutter, See Your Money

  1. ceejay74 says:

    It’s something I think about when I watch those shows too. (Although I can attest that you don’t have to be spending money to accumulate clutter; my parents’ house is half as bad as the ones on those shows, but they wouldn’t be able to scrape $300 out of all the clutter; it’s mostly papers, very old well-worn clothes and toys and books, etc.)

    I saw an episode of “How Clean Is Your House?” (with the British ladies) where money was part of the girl’s clutter. The ladies found over $1000 throughout the house! Another time I saw an episode of “Big Spender” where the shopaholic mom would buy things and leave them in the bag, with the receipt–and the change from the transaction, sometimes several dollars! They found a couple hundred in cash there, if I recall.

    There are so many ways clutter can relate to poorly organized finances, like when people have to buy another of something because they can’t find the original.

  2. Junebaby says:

    My Sister has a LOT of clutter, but it’s not from spending! She had her Husband have little money. Her clutter comes from not throwing stuff away. They don’t clean and tidy, and she has a sentimental attachment to almost everything except papers.

  3. Diane says:

    Everything you own not only costs money, but takes up space & time & creates more work (cleaning it, moving it, looking for it). I agree there’s likely a correlation between more stuff and more debt.

    To put it simply, in my view more stuff equals less money, less space, and more work. Not a good trade-off in my opinion.

  4. sewingirl says:

    My MIL was a hoarder. She never threw much of anything away. It drove my Hubby, and his siblings, crazy. Hoarding is now recognized to be a form of obsessive/compulsive disorder. Anyway, it took the family 3+ years to clean out the house after she passed away, she was just positive that she might need all of that stuff someday! and no one could convince her otherwise.

  5. sewingirl says:

    My MIL was a hoarder. She never threw much of anything away. It drove my Hubby, and his siblings, crazy. Hoarding is now recognized to be a form of obsessive/compulsive disorder. Anyway, it took the family 3+ years to clean out the house after she passed away, she was just positive that she might need all of that stuff someday! and no one could convince her otherwise.

  6. I’m not a Suze Orman fan….but I do like one thing she says: to value money more than things.

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  8. gaelicwench says:

    There are some who go shopping for “bargains” who truly believe they are accomplishing a money-saving feat, simply because they got it on sale and with a rebate/coupon. What they fail to realize is that, unless the item is used regularly, their so-called savings become moot if the item remains unopened and tossed into the garage and/or basement. It totally defeats the purpose and turns into nothing more than clutter.

  9. Gloria says:

    We just began to do this about a month ago. We took our stuff to resale shops and we hope to get back some money from it. Our house looks cleaner too. We still have more stuff to consign but so far so good.

  10. Ellen Scott Grable says:

    I figured out after years of buying and dusting collectibles that I would rather travel. I needed more time to travel and money. Voila! Ebay and Craigslist and I love my new space. I relish the space and am very cautious about bringing in new stuff.

    I see these programs about clutter and hoarding and it makes me want to downscale further. What so many people who overshop and over store possessions are missing is that there is a great freedom in traveling lightly through this life. Spending good money on rent or a mortgage to house extra stuff is rediculous. I believe this is a side effect of the western lifestyle of consume to be rather than do to be.

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