How your clutter is costing you money 30



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At what point does stuff become clutter? The definition of clutter is ‘a collection of things lying about in an untidy state’.

I wonder how you would feel if someone was to come around to your place and check out your pantry – would you be proud or embarrassed?

How about sharing your bill payment system and accounts filing? Can you honestly say to yourself that you are completely clutter free?

In a world where computers were supposed to help reduce paper and we have an abundance of food, it’s really easy to quickly get out of control in our households.

Here are some ways that clutter is costing you money.

1. Late fees and reconnection fees

If you are one of those people that like to hang on to your bill paying until the last possible moment, you need to have a really good system in place. Not paying your bills on time can cost you not only in late fees and reconnection fees but also longer term with your credit rating. If you don’t have an efficient and clear bill payment system and you miss payments a default on your credit history will cost you in the future. Future lending and even future transfers of phone, gas, electricity may be affected.


2. Time and money wasted on lost items

How many times have you come back from the shops with a packet of batteries or sticky tape?

While window shopping is fun, wasting time and money isn’t it. Have a list with you for things you need to buy or an app on your phone. Refrain from buying things just because they are on special or in a bargain box. This is how clutter build-up begins and then can quickly turn into hoarding.


3. Paying to store stuff

If you are paying to store stuff because it doesn’t fit in your home, it’s time to get rid of it. Paying monthly storage because you have too much stuff is an incredible waste of money. Think of storage has a short term holding station if you really have to have it. Otherwise do a very serious stocktake of what’s in there and get rid of it. This may be a great opportunity to sell stuff and put it towards debt or savings.


4. Cluttered kitchen

How deep is that deep freeze?! What is lurking down there? How many meals can you make up from your pantry, fridge and freezer if you did an audit today? I organise my pantry like this:

  • baking ingredients – flour, sugar, coconut, bicarb etc…
  • pasta and tins
  • sauces, spreads
  • cereals, biscuits

Remember to also sort out all of your cupboards so you know exactly what you have. It’s easy to build up a supply of potato peelers!


5. Wardrobe

It’s tempting to grab a $10 white shirt bargain or those black pants for $20, but really, how many do you need?! Do you know we typically wear 20 per cent of our wardrobe 80 per cent of the time? Best way to do an audit:

  • Create 3 piles – keep, donate, trash
  • Take out everything in your wardrobe and put into either of the three piles

Here is a trick for you. When you are placing items back in your wardrobe put them in with the hanger around the wrong way. Each time you use an item, hang it back up with the hanger the right way. In 12 months time when you do your annual audit you’ll easily see what you haven’t worn for 12 months!


Finally: when your environment is clear, your mind is clear. Remember the saying, ‘tidy desk, tidy mind’? Truth.

If you are feeling overwhelmed and don’t know where to start or how to start, just start with one small thing, but do it daily.

Maybe start with the television table. Find the remotes, throw out magazines, put DVDs back in their cases. It’s pretty amazing how once you see something neat and in order you will naturally want to do some more. But remember, stay focused on one area at a time!


Do you have a lot of clutter? How do you organise your life?

Michelle House

Michelle House is a Money & Life Strategy Coach, Professional Speaker, Podcast Host and Author in Waiting. She is a wife, mother of 3 gorgeous children and a business owner who understands the importance of staying on top of the day to day finances AND getting great value for money. Known as Australia’s Money Guru and Money Savvy Mum she is a regular money commentator for Channels nine’s Mornings program and can be found sharing her savvy tips at

  1. I’d need to throw out my hubby or donate him to an op shop to live clutter free. He can make a room look cluttered within nano seconds of coming home.

  2. I hate clutter a decluttered home leads to a tidy mind. I chuck out as I go it is wonderful .

    3 REPLY
    • Albert Einstein — ‘If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?’

    • With respect to Einstein an empty desk is I sign of organisation and jobs complete much better I think l

  3. I am getting better. Just sent clothes to Salvos & booked in for a hard rubbish collection. Went through the pantry. Next on my list is the kitchen cupboards. Then I am done.

  4. Clutter seems to collect around me. I am a crafter so mess is created along with my creations!
    I would love to have a tidy life! Never mind, home is a happy place, and I am slowly decluttering! I don’t want my children to find me dead in an untidy heap, one day! 🙂

  5. I thought I was a “clutterer” but after reading this I realise it is “hoarding” that I am guilty of! There is a big difference when I really think about it.

  6. My house is mostly clutter free …… My husband ensures that, EXCEPT FOR 2 rooms which are my space. I’m the clutter queen, always working on sorting it out

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