Your clutter costs you time and money. Let’s get it under control.
First, let’s define clutter. Clutter is anything that you do not love, use or need, that is keeping you from living the life you desire. It can be physical (clothes, books, paper, etc), time-related (commute, meetings, time spent looking for things, etc) or mental (stress, worry, guilt, etc).
The frustrations I hear most frequently are:
- I do not have enough time to tackle my clutter.
- I do not have enough money to tackle my clutter.
But your clutter is costing you both time and money and while you put off handling it, those two costs just keep adding up. How much are they costing you? If we could quantify those costs, what would they be? What follows is a list that I and professional organizer, Jennifer Merkel, came up with after years of work with clients just like you. After each category you will see a value in minimum to maximum that your clutter is costing you annually. At the end, there is a worksheet to determine your specific clutter costs.
Clutter Costs You Money
These are purchases you made because you couldn’t find what you were looking for or forgot you had the item. This does not include the time to shop for or look for these items.
- Scissors $7.75
- Tape $1.13
- Formal Gown $100
- Socks $16
- Staplers $10.99
- Hair accessories $3.99
- Glasses $150-$300
- Jewelry $10-200
- Seasonal items $50-$200 (buying new decorations every year)
- Craft supplies $10-$75
Items damaged or destroyed due to improper storage or use.
- Books, magazines stored in boxes or damp places.
- Delicate collectables broken because of cluttered shelves or other items being placed on top of them.
- Family heirlooms lost or broken.
- Children’s toys- play sets, puzzles, etc, unusable because the pieces are lost or scattered all over.
- Electronics overheated due to lack of ventilation because of stuff around them.
Value $5 – Invaluable. There are some items that cannot be restored once lost.
Late Fees & Bills:
Late fees and bills easily compound. Once you add the interest you end up with a number that can get big quickly. Even if you have just 1-4 bills that you are late with on a monthly basis you are looking at $120-$480 a year! Ouch.
|Bill/Fee||Number of bills||Monthly||Annually|
|Credit Card Interest Assumed $7200-15,600 credit card w/15% APR||1||$90-$195||$1080-2340|
*http://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/credit-card-data/average-credit-card-debt-household/ The Average household has between $7,200-15,600 in credit card debt
Storage facilities come into play most often when people move or downsize. Then, unfortunately, they are often left or forgotten about with a monthly fee accruing every 30 days.
Impulse Buys + Shipping
Going to the grocery store or your local department store without a list can lead to many impulse buys. It may not seem like a lot at $3.99 a purchase but over the course of one year that adds up to over $200. If you don’t know what you already have and make purchases to replace items this number can go up substantially. In addition, this category includes items that you think you need after watching shopping channels or reading magazines. If you consider the item plus the cost of shipping you have a pretty hefty price tag. If you put these items on your credit card, you accrue interest which is not included in this number.
Value $200 – $1,000
Magazines & Memberships
And other subscriptions that just come such as newspapers, digital reports and memberships, gym memberships, etc.
Value $12-$1,548/ year
Clutter Costs You Time
And then there is your time…
Lost Time & Wages
Studies show that the average person spends 150 hours a year just looking for things. Check out the table below to get an idea what this is costing you, personally.
|Annual Wage||Hourly Rate||Monthly Cost of Time Lost||Annual Cost of Time Lost|
Fees for missed appointments
Missed doctor appointments are $25 a piece when you forget to add appointments to your calendar. Other appointments can be much more pricey to miss!
Unseen Human Costs of Clutter
Money and time are two obvious costs to your clutter, but there are costs that you can’t put a dollar value to. What about the unseen costs? In every class I teach about clutter and with every client I meet they can all share at least two of the items on the list below. Which ones can you relate to?
- Feeling that what you have is not enough
- Inability to find what you are looking for
- Late for appointments
- Guilt over the state of your home or office
- Fear and stress at the thought of having anyone over
- Family Issues
- Find it hard to focus
- Feel lazy
Adding ALL those costs, we come up with a minimum of $2742 and a maximum of $18,921 lost annually. In some cases the cost in incalculable. And that is just in one year! Imagine if that number were repeated annually? But what if you take control?
Work with a professional organizer to learn the skills you need, gain the accountability that will keep you on track, handle the clutter once and for all, develop systems you can maintain.
Take Control of your Clutter: The Take Control Package:
In Person Organizing – Your Cost $1999
- 6 sessions w/ an organizer & assistant Value $2352 (Over Three Months)
- 1 Bonus Session Value $294
- Removal of unwanted items $150
- 1 year Subscription to Exclusive Membership Site $228
- Ongoing support through online resources
- Package Value: $3024
- Savings: Priceless…
Clutter Cost Calculator
|Money||Monthly Cost x 12||Annual Cost|
|Unnecessary Purchases||x 12 =|
|Damaged Items||x 12 =|
|Late Fees/Interest||x 12 =|
|Storage||x 12 =|
|Impulse Bills||x 12 =|
|Magazine & Memberships||x 12 =|
|Lost Time Weekly x 12|
|Annual Rate / 2 = Hourly Wage|
|Lost Time * Wage =|
|Unseen Human Costs||(list them below)|