That money we spend in an effort to save (+5 things to do right now to declutter + stop spending it)

I’ll go ahead and admit it: I’m cheap—I hold on to my pennies tightly, weigh the pros and cons carefully before I regretfully turn over my wallet.

A lot of us money-concise folks have another tendency: to want to hold on to all the things we’ve already bought. We want to hold on to all the things, so if we happen to need them in the future we won’t have to go spend money on it.

But in this cost-saving efforts, you’re carelessly spending every day to store all the things you already own.

If you’re paying rent, or own a home, some of your cost went towards square footage. Remember that spacey echo-y apartment that held so many possibilities before you moved in all your stuff? (Of course, if you live in a two-bedroom downtown like I just moved into, it might have been a little less echo-y than others...)

As we fill those empty spaces with things, there is even more joy—until there is less. When we no longer have space to do our windowside yoga or dance our heart out in our bedroom. And that money we spent on our homes goes towards these things that are filling it.

No matter how well you think it’s stashed and organized, there’s a cost to keeping everything you already own. {Click to tweet}

And you could probably put hard numbers on it—$3/day of your rent goes towards housing this piece of furniture that takes away from your square footage.

There can be emotional costs, like the frustration of trying to pull one thing from overfilled closets, only to have five things fall out in a tangle of hangers.

There is time costs—the time it takes to clean, organize, and put away the things you own.

So when you hold onto things for fear of spending money if you need them later, ask if it’s worth the money, time, and joy you’re paying to own it today.

Ready to stop paying to store things? Here’s 5 easy things you can do today or over the next ten days to downsize. {Click to tweet}

 1 Throw out all your pens that don’t work perfectly.   If you only have three pens where the ink flows smoothly that is enough. If you still have thirty pens, start storing them strategically—one in all your handbags, car, or any other place you can find yourself in need of a pen.

 2 Go through your drawer of papers. Digitize all the important things and recycle the rest.   For manuals and warranties, see if there is a PDF version available online. In the future, you can start asking stores if they can email you a digital copy of your receipt instead.

 3 Clean out your cosmetic case or bathroom cabinet.   If you can’t remember the last time you used it, throw it away. If it’s almost empty, throw it away. If it was free and you’re not obsessed with it, throw it away.

 4 Tackle the craft and d.i.y. supplies.    Okay bloggers and creatives, I’m talking to you. How many bits and pieces are you holding on to for the off chance you’ll need rainbow glitter and fake flowers again? Chances are if you were to re-buy everything you needed for a craft project it would probably be under $20.

 5 Identify the duplicates.    There are two major areas for this: kitchen and closet.

KITCHEN

In most cases one cooking utensil is enough. One can opener, flipper, wooden spoon, spatula, or pair of tongs. If you’re worried you’ll regret giving up any duplicates, keep them in a box and see if you find yourself going to the box to get the extra spatula back.

CLOSET

This one is a big one to conquer. But let’s start easy and focus on the specific-use pieces like rainboots, flip-flops, bathing suits, slippers, pyjamas, etc.—the kind of things you only wear under specific circumstances for specific activities. One of the most impactful things I did this year was switch from my stuffed full, always wrinkly, drawer of oversized t-shirts and pyjama bottoms to 3 pairs of cute matching sets. Wow.

With love and less,