Stuff. We’re all surrounded by it all of the time. Frequently, we end up with so much stuff that we don’t know what we have. Have you ever found yourself buying something, only to find you already owned it? This happens all too often with me when it comes to kitchen and cleaning supplies. “Oh, I’m almost out of olive oil. I should buy more.” And then when I go to put the new bottle of olive oil away, I realize I already have a spare bottle. When things like this happen, I know it’s time to start the 30 Day Decluttering Challenge.
The 30 Day Decluttering Challenge is an easy one. On day one, you get rid of one thing. On day two, you get rid of two things. Day three, three things, and so on. If you do the math, that’s a total of 465 things. That is a lot of stuff.
What should you do with these things? Any time I do a big declutter, I like to have three categories – trash (or recycle), donate, and sell. Most things end up in the trash or donate bags, but every so often, I find something that I can put onto Ebay or Craigslist. (I also currently have a box going for the annual neighborhood yard sale, but if, like last year, I can’t participate, I’m just going to take the whole box to Goodwill.)
So what does this have to do with finances? Obviously, some of the things you get rid of can be sold, and having some extra money is good. Items that are donated can lead to a tax deduction. But more importantly, taking a look at what you have and really making the hard decisions about what to keep and what to get rid of can help you figure out ways you can save money.
Do you realize that you keep buying books at the local library book sale only to never get around to reading them? Stop buying them! It doesn’t matter that they’re cheap!
Have you amassed a huge collection of cleaning products, always looking for the next best thing? Use up what you have. All of it. Then limit your purchases (or look into making your own – vinegar and water is a phenomenal combination).
Are you a collector? Have you been a collector in the past? Maybe you have a collection that was once important to you that you no longer love the way you did. Perhaps it’s time to consider selling that collection or gifting it to someone who will love it the way you once did.
I think that much of what you will find are small inexpensive things cluttering up your space. It’s so easy to drop $5 or $10 on something, because it’s not that much money after all, but over time, those little purchases add up. (For example, I’m embarrassed by the number of lip balms I own, mostly because I’m forever misplacing them, then finding them again.) No, you won’t get rich on those tiny savings. But you won’t be wasting money, and that’s the important thing. Plus, I think you’ll feel more satisfied in the space around you now that you’ve cleared out a bit.