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Hidden Costs of Clutter part 1

The word Clutter has an inherently negative connotation. Talking about it conjures up visions of disorder, chaos, general disorganization and mess. We may not know exactly why, but we do know that living amongst clutter is not a good thing.


“Scattered and disordered things that impede movement or reduce effectiveness. An unorganized collection or mixture of various unrelated things.”

It is stuff we don’t use, or want or often even know we have. It is things we can’t let go of for all sorts of crazy and illogical reasons. It is stuff that just accumulates and before we know it has filled our closets and drawers and basements and attics.

Think about your bathroom and specifically your makeup drawer: Although you use the same few things every day on your face, mascara, bit of concealer, some blush, and some moisturizer, your drawers are crammed full of product. Some of it never even opened yet there it sits. Why?

How about your linen closet. How many sets of sheets do you actually use? Chances are you alternate the same two sets each time you wash them. Yet there are multiple sets you have not used in years and have to navigate around to get to what you do use.

Your small appliance collection in your kitchen. Sandwich presses, rice cookers, waffle irons, toasters, air fryers, food processors, blenders, beaters, submersible whizzers! We have them all because at one point we thought we needed them or they would improve our lives. How often do we use each one? Once a month? Once a year?

Maybe one of those examples resonates with you.

So why are we talking about this? Why does this matter? Well as I said initially, we know on some cellular level that this is not a healthy way to live. In this series we are going to really break this down and see what having all this stuff actually costs us. Some of these costs are obvious but others might surprise you.

The First and Most Obvious "Cost" of Clutter

When you acquire stuff you are parting with your hard earned money. Chances are very very good that whatever you are buying, unless it is a car to get to work or your only winter coat when you live in Alaska, is not something you need. Its something you want. (and let’s be honest, often its because some company’s amazing marketing campaign convinced you you could not live without it or that you would have a much better life with it). Often it is an impulse purchase. In any event the money is gone. It doesn’t take long for the adrenaline rush of acquiring to pass, and for us to realize the money is gone. Since most of us don’t have unlimited resources or budgets, realizing we have just bought something we probably should not have is painful enough.

But that is actually only the first time we pay for it. We continue to pay for stuff in numerous ways (monetarily) after we initially purchase it. For example on average it costs $10 per sf to store and keep something in your home. Think about that. Stuff is taking up valuable real estate in your apartment or condo or home that you are paying rent for or a mortgage on. $10 /sf! And how about the millions of people who rent storage space to store their extra stuff not to mention people who convince themselves they need a bigger house and more space instead of considering decluttering. Its pretty insane really.

Then consider what we have to do for our stuff. We pay to have it cleaned, have it moved, have it organized, have it fixed. The more we have the more we pay. We have to maintain all our stuff of course and that adds up! But then, when we realize we actually have way too much of it, we have to pay someone to haul it away, quite often to a landfill where it will be for eternity wreaking havoc on our planet.

Junk Removal is a massive industry!

It is a huge business. They make their money helping people unload all the crap they accumulate. Junk Haulers or Junk luggers or Dump Trippers. We as a society accumulate SO MUCH STUFF that there is a whole industry of folks who specialize in helping us get rid of it. Hopefully this is the last time we spend money on this item that we bought at some point in our lives. The cost of having it hauled away most likely to some landfill where it will continue to cost the planet for eternity. More on that next time.

Donating Stuff Locally is Always a Better Alternative. Donating in Fairfield County Ct.

There are numerous charities committed to getting your unwanted stuff to people who actually need it. Your money is gone but at least this helps reduce the cost to the environment. A quick internet search for "Donate Fairfield County" or "Donate furniture or clothing near me" should reveal a host of good options! If you are in Darien, Rowayton, Greenwich, New Canaan or Stamford Ct. and need help getting rid of your unwanted stuff, contact Sustainably Styled by Melora and we can help!

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