If you’ve ever watched the show, “Hoarders” on basic cable, you know that it can be a pretty short ride from “merely messy” to “dangerously cluttered.” And while most of us would never dream of living in the filthy conditions depicted on the show, if you let clutter accumulate, you might be closer to becoming a hoarder than you ever imagined.
The key to staying ahead of clutter is by not letting your possessions take control of your life. This means continually committing yourself to clean up and management of the things in your house. Here are a few thoughts on clutter and the impact it can have on your life.
Cost of Clutter
When you’re in the thick of it, you probably never really consider the long-term costs of keeping a cluttered house. Most of the time, it’s considerably more expensive than you’d ever imagine.
For starters, there’s the cost of the actual items themselves. While there’s certainly nothing wrong with purchasing items that you’ll use, buying items because they’re on sale and you think you’ll use them in the future is like throwing money down the drain.
Besides the financial cost of the items, there’s the value of the space in your home that you’re not able to use because of all that junk all over the place. You’ll also find that getting rid of clutter helps you become more productive, and that’s got a monetary value, too.
What to Throw Out
When you’re ready to start clearing out clutter, you might have trouble deciding what to keep and what to throw out. Many cleanup projects turn into shifting projects when you simply move your junk from one part of the house to another without actually getting rid of anything.
A good rule of thumb for clean ups is that if you haven’t used an item in a year or longer, you should probably get rid of it completely. And anything that’s been sitting in box unopened for any length of time, with the exception of season items like Christmas ornaments, should be thrown out or sold immediately.
After the Clean Up
Once you’ve decided what to get rid of, you’ve got to decide where to get rid of it to. This is actually a good problem because there are plenty of other people, some of them hoarders, who will happily purchase your old junk.
Whether it’s used pool tables, chipped dishes or old bicycles, there’s someone out there for every unwanted item in your house. If you’re not comfortable having a garage sale, just post the items up on Craigslist for bargain prices. Remember, the goal isn’t to make a huge profit, mostly you just want all that stuff out of your life.
Starting fresh in a cleaned up house is a great feeling and it’s actually pretty easy to maintain. Remember to only keep the items you actually use, and don’t go out and buy new junk with the money you made selling your old junk.
Jennifer Burton writes about family, home improvement, travel and parenting.