4 Ways Decluttering Can Help You Save Money
Maybe you love a good stress-clean or organizing session, or maybe the clutter around your house doesn't bother you—but regardless of your feelings about it, your clutter is likely costing you financially, if not emotionally. Decluttering your space is an easy way to save money every day.
While it can be daunting to declutter your whole home and all those forgotten closets full of stuff, you could set time aside daily or weekly to do some organizing. Or make a plan to declutter one drawer or one area of your home per day; tackle the rest similarly until your space is free from junk. Not only does decluttering make your home look better, it can put your mind at ease, too.
"When your home is visually appealing to you, it becomes your sanctuary or refuge from the outside world, saving you money because you aren't shopping mindlessly to avoid dealing with your clutter," says Laura Lonie, CPA and financial coach. Read on to find out all the ways decluttering your home can help you save money (and even make some, too).
1 Decluttering shows you what you already own, so you can use what you have.
One of the perks of decluttering is finding things you completely forgot you bought, but can still be of use now. This way, you're not going out and buying things you don't need. "Purchases will no longer be guesswork, you'll make a plan to purchase items only when you truly need them," says Rashelle Isip, a professional organizer based in New York City.
You never know what you'll find when you declutter your space—you could even find cash or gift cards stashed away in places you never thought to look.
"You may have unused gift certificates, vouchers, coupons, cash, uncashed checks, or other items sitting in your space that can be used or deposited into your bank account," says Isip. Using what you have or finding new uses for old items is a great way to save money and keep your space clean. Also, if you get bills in the mail, create a place for them so they don't get lost in the clutter, leading to late payments and fines.
2 It can help you become more aware of your spending habits, and make more intentional choices.
Many of us have been there, digging through our closet to find that one top or skirt we bought a while ago that would be perfect, but it's nowhere to be found—so of course, now we go buy a whole new outfit for an event.
"You may own five identical black turtlenecks because you bought another one each time you could not find the last one you purchased," says Lonie. Decluttering can help you keep everything organized so you can make better decisions when you're shopping, and not end up with multiples of the same thing, which only leads to more clutter.
"When you establish a place for everything and put everything in its place, you will find what you want when you need it," says Eileen Roth, organizing expert and author of Organizing For Dummies (Amazon.com; $18).
Decluttering can also show you your spending habits, and prevent you from impulse-buying things. "What category are you spending way too much money on?" Guadalupe Sanchez, founder of personal finance site Budgeting in Blue, says to ask yourself. "Do you buy things and don't use them?"
Sanchez says that after you declutter, shopping becomes a new experience, and you'll be more aware of what you're buying. She says you will find yourself asking whether you will actually use the item, how many times, and whether it's just going to end up in the back of your closet again.
"In the end, this will save you money because you'll buy a lot less of what you don't need," adds Sanchez.
3 Make money off of your clutter by selling or donating things.
You don't just have to throw away all of your unused items—setting aside items to sell when you declutter can help you make money on those things. If you find things that are gently used, (or even brand new) try selling them on Facebook Marketplace, eBay, Poshmark, or Offerup. Or you could go the old-fashioned way and have a yard sale or network among your friends and family to see if you can sell some of your stuff that way.
Sanchez says you could make a few hundred dollars, depending how much stuff you have. "Listing your items online and selling them for a lot less than you purchased them is also extremely humbling and eye-opening," she says. "Again, you'll realize that you could have saved a lot of money by simply not buying it at all."
You could also donate any items you no longer use. "Not only are you giving back to the less fortunate, but you can also get a tax write-off for your contributions—just make sure to get a receipt at the time of your donation," says Erica Seppala, financial analyst.
4 Decluttering can help you save money on storage fees.
If you have stuff sitting in a storage unit somewhere, plan a visit to declutter that space to see if there is anything you can get rid of—otherwise, you're just paying money for your clutter to sit there. One of the biggest money-savers is eliminating storage fees.
"If your clutter has taken up all of your storage space and you've had to rent a storage unit, these monthly fees can add up quickly," says Seppala. She says average monthly costs for a storage unit can be under $100 to several hundred dollars depending on how big the unit is. Free up space in your home and in the storage space—and then see if you can eliminate the storage space altogether.