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3 Ways to Think About Decluttering Costs

A good way to think about decluttering costs is to realize how much you’re losing by not decluttering.


Mike Kelleher

October 17, 2020

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People are sometimes unsure about decluttering because they worry about decluttering costs. After all, like any big home project, you’re going to have to put some kind of resource into it, and sometimes the price seems too high for the benefit. However, a better way to think about decluttering costs is to realize how much you’re losing by NOT decluttering. The real cost is in letting your clutter remain unattended.

The truth is, decluttering is an investment that starts paying out immediately. Whether you’re investing money, emotion, or time into the decluttering process, you’ll earn back significantly more of each. And no matter what, you’ll likely invest a little of everything, and get more of it all in return. To help you conceptualize the process, here are 3 ways to think about decluttering costs:

1. Money

By not decluttering, you’re losing more money than you’d expect. Losing track of the items in your home leads to consequences, some of which can be dire. At best, you’ll end up purchasing a duplicate of something you already own. At worst, you’ll lose track of necessary paperwork and miss out on paying a bill or having tax records during an audit. Decluttering is a chance to avoid these potential mishaps.

Some people will want to hire a professional to take care of their decluttering job. This is understandable, as it’s often an intimidating prospect. Rates for home organizers differ based on your area and the particular project. However, sites like Thumbtack and Homeadvisor show that most professionals charge a rate of $40-$60 an hour. If you have money to spare, it might be worth your while.

2. Emotion

Whether you decide to hire someone for the job or tackle your decluttering project on your own, there is going to be an emotional cost. The things we hang onto inevitably gain sentimental value, regardless of how we first acquired them. Sorting through a life’s worth of clutter, even if it isn’t your own, is emotionally challenging.

Despite that difficulty, decluttering is excellent for your emotional wellbeing in the long term. Decluttering gives people a sense of control over their home and the profound sense of self that comes from accounting for everything in your life.

3. Time

For Matt, time has the highest return on investment for any decluttering project. Time is often the thing we’re trying to make up for or get back with the items that clutter our home. We buy gifts for others to make up for something we missed, or save hundreds of mementos trying to hang onto specific memories.

But more often than not, these items, and the practices associated with accruing them, are what's holding us back. By reinvesting your time into a decluttering project, and sticking to methods that keep your home and life free of clutter, you'll find yourself with more time on your hands than ever before. You'll have time for yourself, time for your partner, and time for your children and grandchildren. 

Whether you’re starting a project, or already in the middle of one, it helps to remember these decluttering costs. 

Keeping these decluttering costs in mind will help you invest your money, emotion, and time more wisely when considering a potential project. Just remember that, ironically, no matter what path your decluttering project takes, the more items you give away, the more you’ll find you have by the end. 

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