Your Clutter Is Costing You (and Not Just Money, Either)

Between monthly self-storage payments, late fees for lost bills, fines for overdue library books and various other charges related to disorganization, there’s no question that clutter is an expensive business.

But money is just one part of the problem. Of far greater concern is the time that clutter costs us and the stress it causes. We can always earn back the money we’ve spent managing our stuff, but we can’t get back the time or peace of mind we’ve wasted in the process.

Americans spend 55 minutes a day looking for stuff they own but can’t find. Along with an hour of wasted time, there’s also the cost of having to buy duplicates to replace whatever is missing. And of course, there’s the irritation factor. It’s safe to say your clutter is costing you a bundle in more ways than one.



These clutter statistics will shock you, but hopefully they’ll also shock you into action. By decluttering the areas mentioned below, you’ll find yourself with a lot more time on your hands. You’ll also be happier, less stressed and more productive.

We wear 20 percent of our clothes 80 percent of the time. —Pareto principle

Apart from taking up valuable space in our closet, the 80 percent we’re not wearing causes decision fatigue and slows us down in the morning. Take steps to simplify your wardrobe and you’ll be out the door in half the time.

31 percent of customers surveyed reported more satisfaction from clearing out their closet than they did after sex. —Ikea

We know that giving is better than receiving, so it follows that getting rid of stuff will make you feel good. Clutter has an annoying habit of weighing on your subconscious. The sooner you clean it up, the sooner you can turn your attention to more pressing matters, like what to wear to bed tonight.

80 percent of papers and information that we file or keep, we never use or look at again. —Agency Sales Magazine

Getting a handle on your paperwork will save you a bunch of time. How often have you needed a specific invoice, contract, etc. and spent way too long searching for it because your filing is a mess? If you’re not sure how long you should keep your paperwork for, take a look at this guide from SAGA or search for one specific to your country or state.

While you’re at it, make a point of moving as much of your stuff as possible online. It’s 2017 after all, just about everything can be done electronically nowadays, from paying bills to storing documents. It’ll save you a ton of space and time.

3.1 percent of the world’s children live in America, but they own 40 percent of the toys consumed globally. —University of California Television network web series A Cluttered Life: Middle-Class Abundance

How much time do you spend tidying up toys at the end of the day—or worse, nagging your children to do it themselves? Downsizing the kids’ toy box is a great way to save time. The little guys won’t be all that happy about it, but fortunately Becoming Minimalist has a helpful guide for decluttering toys. (He also explains why fewer toys will actually benefit your kids.)

Getting rid of excess clutter would eliminate 40 percent of the housework in an average home. —National Soap and Detergent Association

Obviously, because cleaning a clutter-free house is a lot easier. As a minimalist and professional house-sitter, this is something I can attest to. I could clean our studio apartment from top to bottom in an hour, whereas the house we’re currently looking after takes an entire day. Not because it’s bigger, but because it’s so cluttered.

Instead of buying more stuff for the Holidays, why not give yourself the gift of space and time instead? You’ll be happier, more relaxed and better off financially. Win, win, win.

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Photo Credit: Thinkstock


Anne F
Anne F17 days ago

numbers don't seem motivating to me. I agree that many affluent people have clothes they never wear. My downfall, though, is books and articles.

Linda M
Linda M19 days ago

I am not comfortable in most pants, so I ran out and bought 15 pairs at Kmart when I found out they're closing additional stores in 2018. I also ordered three of the same hooded jacket from a different company. Being uncomfortable (with sugar issues) is not the best thing, so I need to have a good supply of pants in case Kmart goes out of business. I like clothes and don't spend a lot per item, so I think this is okay. :-)

beba h
beba h23 days ago

Decluttering is my part time job. Making progress but still a challenge.

Freya H
Freya H28 days ago

I am a terrible packrat. However, I have learned to declutter and let go. One of the local thrift shops is very happy to see me drive up!

Ann B
Ann B28 days ago

most Americans have too much----we could do with much less

mmmm w
mmmm wabout a month ago

use less words..........t y

Lesa D
Lesa Dabout a month ago

thank you, Angela...

Angela J
Angela Jabout a month ago


Muff-Anne Y
Muff-Anne York-Haleyabout a month ago


Maureen G
Maureen Gabout a month ago

I'm forever rummaging through my handbag for things like car keys etc. Recently my son told me to get a smaller bag, take fewer things and I will save on time and feel less hassled. He was right.