How to Know if Clutter is Ruining Your Life
How to Know if Clutter is Ruining Your Life
Is stuff taking over your life? Do you feel like clutter is ruining your life?
Sure you have a lot of stuff, but you might not say it’s excessive. Most of us know that we could live with less. We don’t really NEED a fancy set of dishes, a third television set, the fancy living room that no one ever uses, but you might not go so far to say that clutter is ruining your life.
However, the statistics might surprise you.
Clutter is a big problem in our modern society. People are no longer using their homes for living. They are using them as storage facilities. The average American home has 300,000 items in it (1). 32% of people with two-car garages don’t have room to park two vehicles inside (2). Instead, we spend all this money on a car and let it waste away outside in the harsh elements because we’d rather have boxes filled with things.
The real problem though is that clutter is robbing us of our most important resources – time, money, and our sanity. Here’s how.
Clutter Wastes Your Time
Having a bunch of stuff in your home, means you have to maintain it. You feel the need to keep it orderly (whether it is or not), clean it, and move it around periodically. The average home size for newly built homes in the USA is now 2660 square feet (3). With all that space, it is estimated people spend 20 hours a week cleaning their homes (4). That’s a part-time job! Think of all the things you could do with an extra 20 hours per week…
Clutter also wastes time when have to search for our belongings. The studies show people lose on average 9 items per day in the home (5). Things like our smartphones, house keys, car keys, paperwork, and sunglasses top the list. Over the course of our lifetimes, the average person will spend a total of 3,680 hours or 153 days searching for misplaced items. One way I like to tackle this problem is with a good morning routine and a family command center.
Lastly, we let clutter waste our time through the amount of shopping we do. It is said that women will spend more than eight years of their lives shopping! (6) I don’t know about you, but I hate shopping. My contempt of grocery shopping is one of the reasons I created Capsule Meal Plans. And I cannot remember the last time something I purchased brought me as much joy as something I experienced. I would much rather fill those 8 years with experiences and memories. How about you?
Clutter Wastes Your Money
The point of clutter wasting our money seems a bit more obvious to me. Of course, in order to fill your home with stuff, you will need to purchase it with money. But, I was shocked to learn how much we spend collectively.
Americans spend more on shoes, jewelry, and watches ($100 billion) than on higher education (7). These are just the accessories for an outfit!! Sure, they are the expensive bits, but I do not have as many accessories as I have clothes. I think the saddest part is that as a society, we would rather spend money to look good rather than spend money to expand our minds.
However, not all the money we spend around clutter add to our collections. A good portion of money is spent on keeping these collections in order. The home organization industry is now an $8 billion dollar industry. The business of organizers and bins has more than doubled in size since the early 2000’s—growing at a staggering rate of 10% each year (8). I have a whole blog post about how you can stop organizing for good and it turns out it will save you money.
One final thought on how clutter wastes your money. The Wall Street Journal reports that Americans spend $1.2 trillion annually on nonessential goods (9). These are things we do not need. I can think of a lot of good that could be done with $1.2 trillion dollars every year. And even if you do not want to get that altruistic, think about your own retirement…but we’ll get there in a minute.
Clutter Causes Stress
At first glance, you may not think that clutter has anything to do with your stress level. After all, the act of purchasing something new often gives us a small high and makes us feel good. The problem is that high is short-lived and becomes harder and harder to replicate.
But, think about this fact, nearly half of American households don’t save any money (10). Half! 50%! Remember, that $1.2 trillion dollar stat about buying things we don’t need? If this is you, spending your money on stuff instead of saving it increases your stress level as you continue to live paycheck to paycheck. The stress makes you want to buy something to feel good and the cycle continues. But, you can say no and break the cycle.
Another area that may not seem like a problem at first is in our closets. The average American woman owns 30 outfits—one for every day of the month. That is a 233% increase over the number of outfits a woman owned win 1930 (11). But the real problem is that so many of us look in our closets and say, “I don’t have anything to wear!” That’s why my French Capsule Wardrobe plan is so popular. In it, you learn how to create 74+ outfits from only 12 articles of clothing.
The saddest part about clutter causing stress though is that it’s not only the adults who are stressed out because of our stuff. British research found that the average 10-year-old owns 238 toys but plays with just 12 daily (12). Having this many toys causes children to have lower attention spans, become more selfish, and not take care of their things. Too many toys interrupt a child’s concentration, focus, and their sense of independence because the constantly need you to help them find something.
After I learned how clutter was ruining my life and causing me way too much stress, I started making steps to let it go. I’ve cleaned out my closet, we make more crafts out of cardboard, and we try to get outside more. The other thing I do is cook with Capsule Meal Plans and resist the urge to shop as a past time.
If you are looking for help on your journey to say no to clutter, I invite you to join this 7-day Break the Clutter Cycle Challenge. Over a 7-day email course, you will get to the heart of why you have clutter in your home, come face to face with the life you dream of and how to bridge the gap so you can break the clutter cycle once and for all and start living the life you want.
You (and your family) deserve the calm, confident life of your dreams.
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