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How Organizing Your Home Can Declutter Your Finances

pile of 100 dollar bills- US currency

I will show you how organizing your home can improve your financial life.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau claims more than 10% of credit card users paid the banks over 14 billion dollars in late fees in 2022, that is a billion with a ‘B’. Late fees are a charge in addition to interest paid on late remittance.

In a Consumer Report survey, the most common reason people said they were late with a payment was that they thought they’d already paid the bill (27 percent). For 12 percent, one of the problems was that they didn’t know when the payment was due.

Clutter and finances are related

This is a good time to declutter your life and see how it can help you save money and feel more in control of your finances.

To get rid of the negative impact clutter has on your money situation follow these few steps.

Messy piles of papers with colorful file tabs clipped with paper clips.

Lack of organization has negative effects on finances

Do you dread having to pay your bills or have you set up automatic payments? A large percentage of people cannot set up auto payments due to shaky financial situations.

Bill-paying is a lot easier than it was back in the day! Back before electronic bill paying came on the scene here is what was involved in paying your bills.

Once a month usually people would take a stack of bills along with a checkbook, envelopes, and postage stamps and begin the process of bill paying allowing time for the remittances to travel to the business institution before the due date.

Also, most folks would mark their paid bills with pertinent information and put them away for safekeeping.

Clutter-free bill paying

Today we click a few keys and the bill is paid. There is not even a need for paper and postage. We have digital calendars with loud alerts we can set up to pay our bills on time.

bill paying in the 2020's shows a lady sitting at a desk paying bills using her phone and ipad

Still, Consumer Reports also states that 1 in 5 adult Americans—an estimated 52 million people- paid a credit card late fee in 2023. These fees average about 30 dollars each.

3 negative consequences due to disorganization

Wasted Money

I cannot bear wasting anything let alone cash.

If you have to sift through piles of clutter to find a pair of scissors is it much easier to buy a new pair? So you click on Amazon and order a pair of scissors or 2 pairs because they may only come in twos.

The next day when the new scissors arrive you then find the old pair of scissors because you need it to open the packaging the new scissors came wrapped in.

So now you have 3 pairs of scissors and all the packing material to discard too. It is nutty! Just designate a space for scissors and everything else you can never find. Problem solved.


Increased Expenses

Here is a good one… Some folks have so much clutter they rent storage units to hold what is spilling out of their homes and multi garages. This of course creates another monthly bill. I have watched friend after friend do this.

Then a few or several years later when they decide to downsize or move across the country they give away, toss, or sell the contents of the storage unit.. Years of monthly storage fees are gone, and for what?

Missed opportunities

Instead of gathering clutter in spare rooms here is what I do. In my fiber studio/ guest room I keep all my fiber-related art supplies – wools, silks, threads, yarns, etc where I have easy access to them.

The sewing machine is always set up. I don’t have to hunt and drag stuff around every time I feel like working on a project or hemming a pair of pants.

If a guest comes I don’t care if they see a sewing machine.

As a lifelong artist, I make and sell my handmade goods so this clutter-free room is making me money.

When I built my glass studio I had a moment of clarity and had the contractor also build out a room and bath. This space is clutter-free.

I live in a coastal community and we have many tourists in the summer. I generate a fair amount of income from this guest suite I keep free of clutter. If I were a collector of clutter I would be losing a lot of money!

How to remove clutter

Sell clutter

Instead of renting a storage unit sell all the things you haven’t used in a while. Facebook Marketplace makes selling anything really easy these days. EBay is another good platform to sell your unwanted and unnecessary items.

Download my free 17 page Resource Guide showing you the way to easily donate items large and small for free and little cost and hassle.

Donate stuff

If you think no one wants to buy your stuff or you don’t want to take the time to sell your things, donate them!

I’d much rather have someone enjoy and utilize something that is just collecting dust and taking up precious space. Freecycle.org is an organization with over 5,000 local town groups across the US and 9 million members.

Many towns have local Facebook groups such as ‘Your Town Yard Sale group’ and ‘Your Town Buy Nothing’ groups. Search for your town’s group on Facebook.

We love free stuff! During the pandemic ‘porch pickup’ became very popular. This is an easy safe way to get rid of stuff for Free. It is this easy!

Avoid impulse buying

I detest shopping. I seldom need anything or want anything. Do you know the new checkout systems where they wind us through the queues loaded with product as we make our way to pay the cashier? This is brilliant marketing! Which is why it caught on so quickly. This is known as impulse buying.

black & white graphic image of a figure hold a shopping bag in each outstretched arm

The next time you are checking out look at the price points. Marketing research teams have spent a lot of time and money figuring out the highest prices customers will pay for stuff they don’t need aka impulse buying.

Marketers then match the product to the price point. If I were on fire and there were fire extinguishers displayed in this checkout aisle I would not buy it. I will not waste my hard-earned dollars because smart marketers try to lead me to a sale.

Reduce living expenses

Sounds silly to think our heating and electric bills may be affected by having too much clutter. Is there plenty of room for air to circulate your rooms? Are your heat registers unblocked by objects? If not you are wasting energy and energy is expensive in a couple of ways. We feel the expense in our wallets and wasting energy is not good for the environment.

Each time my gas heater kicks on so does the electricity needed to fuel it. This also clutters your home with more dust and air pollutants.

Clutter comes with a price

I have a friend who every year or so mentions she has to drop services on her cable television bill because while she hardly watches TV she is paying over 300$ a month. Clutter!

While grocery shopping have you ever thought you needed a pound of Swiss cheese or something else perishable only to find you had one in your fridge? Yep one usually goes bad and needs to be tossed. This is clutter due to disorganization.

It is a shame how much food we waste in the US. How much food goes to waste?

Feeding America says In the United States, people waste 80 million tons of food every year, which equals 149 billion meals. We throw away over $444 billion worth of food annually. Shockingly, peoplw waste 38% of all the food in America.

Clutter and money

They may not seem like they’re related, but as someone who’s done a lot of research and tries to live a minimalist lifestyle, Physical and mental clutter go hand in hand, and both can interfere with your finances.

A distracted mind and finances do not mix well

A distracted and unfocused mind will not be very inclined to prioritize finances. Have you planned well for the future? What! You can hardly plan for the day?

A distracted mind that may forget to pay bills on time will lead to penalty fees. These wasteful fees add up! I would rather toss dollar bills into the sea than give money to big banks! 

Have you checked out your credit rating recently?

Decisions and procrastination

Paying attention and focusing on important life decisions becomes very difficult when our minds are cluttered. 

I have researched how procrastination can lead to negative finances too. Some folks use shopping as an escape, buying unnecessary things. This is an effective way to procrastinate doing the tasks at hand. Not very effective for the bottom line though.

The solution to clutter

Well, as I mentioned earlier, I’m a big fan of minimalism. It might sound extreme, but trust me, it’s worth considering. Minimalist living is not living in an empty space with only a mattress and tooth brush. On the contrary.

a light filled room with a round table and chairs, vase of minimalist buds, chairs around table - a table against the wall, minimally and tastefully furnished

When you start getting rid of physical clutter and simplifying your life, you’ll find that your mental state starts to clear up too. The feeling of freedom is a worthwhile tradeoff, at least it is for me.

5 ways to avoid late fees

Set up auto-pay if you can afford it, even if you can set auto-pay to a minimum amount this will help.

If you receive your bills electronically pay immediately or set up calendar alerts a couple of days before the due date. Set up the online account to send you reminder notices if you need.

If you still receive paper invoices in the mail open immediately and note the due date on your calendar. Also consider going paperless. You will wonder why you resisted this for so long.

Introduce more efficient habits to take the place of the old habits.

If you can’t pay a bill contact the business. Often businesses will work with you.

Emergencies happen and sometimes late payments cannot be avoided. Call the business and ask for fees to be reversed. Because fees are placed on consumer accounts automatically they can often be reversed

a pair of hands sending out intentions, wispy light source on green and plum color background

Living with intention

Suddenly you’ll have more space in your mind for important things like financial planning and saving money. Plus, by being more intentional about what you bring into your home and your life, you can avoid impulse spending and save a lot of money in the long run.

Gratitude

Love what you have! I’ve found that the more I simplify my life, the more I appreciate the things I already have.

When I clean out and donate things that no longer serve me, I feel grateful for the items I’ve kept, the fact that I love what I have, and the perk of helping another by passing along my gently used items.

When I declutter my mind by taking a walk in nature or laughing with my puppies and friends I feel a sense of calm, clarity, and freedom making it easier to make good decisions including financial.

Clutter and finances are related. I have shown you a few steps you can take to minimize the negative impact of clutter on your money situation.

This is a good time to declutter your home and your mind and see how it can help you save money and feel more in control of your finances. Try it!

Marj pic

Marj Bates is a life long ridiculously organized declutter-er and artist. Less is more are words Marj lives by in everything she does except collecting dogs. “Dogs are like potato chips! Can’t have just one.” says Marj. Marj wonders if growing up with a fanatically clean Jewish mom means her decluttering and organizational skills are in her blood.

For more Declutter Buzz & Freebies check out our safe and private Decluttering community on our Facebook page. We are a safe and private space of like minded folks tackling this all encompassing clutter thing once and for all. No shame allowed and always a few laughs!

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