At first glance, it may seem that clutter in your home has little to no impact on your finances, but the two are more connected than you might think. Clearing out the clutter can have a surprisingly positive impact on you, as the stress-free environment in your home can translate into stress-free money management.
You might be asking, “What does clutter have to do with money?” For people who have accumulated clutter in their home or office, the culprit is usually a lack of organization—and many of the habits that allow clutter to accumulate are also present when dealing with money. Eliminating literal and financial clutter can seem challenging at first, but with a few helpful tips, you can improve your organizational and decision-making skills for a clutter-free life.
The emotional side of clutter
Our emotional health has a major impact on nearly every part of our lives, and it can manifest itself in various ways. Clutter around the house is often more than just letting mail accumulate or not getting rid of old clothes—it can be a sign of deeper issues that are being outwardly expressed. Disorganization, in general, is typically rooted in avoidance, and keeping things organized may seem like more trouble than it’s worth. This same avoidance can be seen in people who struggle with managing their finances.
Habits are usually formed in childhood and often stay with us throughout adulthood, especially if no effort is made to correct the behavior. For those who have problems keeping things organized, there may be some deeper emotional issues that are not being addressed. Minor issues can be corrected with a little more diligence, while deeper emotional traumas are better addressed with the help of a professional. A therapist or even financial advisor can help you draw some parallels between your emotional state and your relationship with money to help you gain the clarity needed to improve your situation.
Once you begin to clear out things you no longer need, you can apply the same principles to your finances. For example, you may have multiple checking accounts and find it hard to keep up with statements, automatic withdrawal dates, and balances. Your newfound commitment to streamlining things may make it easier to consolidate these accounts and find easier ways to keep track of your money. The key is to break the habits that have caused you stress over time. Closing unnecessary accounts and putting bills on autopay are just a couple of ways to declutter your finances.
Can decluttering save you money?
In addition to applying decluttering techniques to your finances, getting rid of the unnecessary can also save you money. Just as clearing your physical space allows you to see the beauty in simplicity, decluttering your finances has the same effect. The benefits of decluttering your home may have the welcome side effect of helping you see where you can streamline financially.
Start by taking inventory of your space. You might have a lot of clothes, collectibles, and other items that you rarely use. These forgotten items are essentially just taking up space, yet you may struggle with them letting go. Decide to get rid of things that no longer bring you happiness or aren’t useful, but start slow to avoid overwhelming yourself.
Clearing out old items will help you see that keeping material things that go unused translates to wasted money. Some items may have great resale value, so you might want to consider selling them to a consignment store or on an online auction, boosting your finances even more.
You can apply this strategy to your finances, too. Go through your statements and identify all the non-necessities that you have purchased over the past few months. Just as physical clutter can make you feel stifled and overwhelmed in your home, the same is true for financial chaos that impairs your ability to make good financial decisions. Find areas where you can ‘declutter’ your finances and commit to being more mindful about what you spend.
Clutter and financial issues are often rooted in our psyches, and regardless of our perception of money, disorganization almost always spills into our finances. The key to conquering financial and physical clutter is simply to get started. A total transformation will not happen instantly—take things slow to avoid burnout.
Start with small goals, such as clearing out a closet or creating a workable budget, and don’t stop until that one task is complete. Give yourself time to evaluate how you feel and then move on to other areas that need improvement. Whether you are clearing clutter in your home or trying to make better financial choices, think about what you want, what is holding you back, and how to get organized for good. Keeping your home tidy and organized will require small steps daily, and the same is true for maintaining your financial health. Keeping track every day lessens the burden of dealing with a huge mess—financial or otherwise.