Americans are keepers…we keep everything from ticket stubs to broken pencils to pictures that have the heads cut off. An even bigger problem is that the personal storage business in this country is HUGE….people actually rent giant rooms to keep their stuff. What use is it if you cannot even use it? While I understand holding on to family heirlooms that you might eventually use, I do not and never will understand paying upwards of $100 per month just to have another garage to keep stuff in when you could probably get rid of it and save that money!
I want to admit something here though..I kind of have a problem with cleaning. Call it OCD or ADD, but I clean…a lot. Our house is always immaculate and my wife doesn’t do any of it, I do it all. And I like it that way. I have been this way my whole life, and my grandmother and my aunt are the same way. My mom, not so much, so I must have gotten it from my grandmother. I do a thorough house cleaning every Saturday morning, and I pick up, wipe down and do basic cleaning all week. So clutter is not an issue in our house. We also go through our stuff a few times a year, throwing away, donating, recycling anything that we have not touched in a while. It is refreshing to see open space in a closet or two..
This all being said, I know there are some people out there that need to clean out their clutter, and my wife pointed out the article that follows in her Martha Stewart magazine. Cleaning out your house can make your life easier, make it easier to find things and keep track of what you own…never mind free up some of your finances (no more buying things because they are sale) and even make you money by selling what you do not need anymore. I thought I would pass this information along for any of you looking to make a clean start in your home! While not DIRECTLY related to personal finance, I found some of the info here very helpful.
From Martha Stewart, “100 Reasons To Get Rid Of It”:
Because You Have Too Much Stuff
1. 1.4 million Americans suffer from chronic hoarding & clutter.
2. People burn 55 minutes a day looking for things.
3. 80 percent of what we own we never use.
Pay someone else to take out the (big, cumbersome) trash.
Lock it up in more than 2,100 locations around the U.S.
Schedule a pickup with your local Salvation Army.
Find local recycling and reuse programs for all kinds of household items.
Because It’s Fun
Set up shop at the World’s Longest Yard Sale, August 2-5, along 450 miles of Highway 127 in the Southeastern U.S.
9. Or peddle your wares in your own front yard on National Garage Sale Day, August 10.
Attend nationwide clothing exchanges and do-it-yourself alteration workshops.
Watch as a pile of your favorite old T-shirts is converted into a quilt.
Because Someone Else Needs It
Put a refurbished phone (of any brand) into the hands of a domestic violence victim.
Or let its sale benefit an environmental charity.
Send a phone to the field staff of a poverty-fighting mission.
Help keep service members in touch with their families.
Work with charities to find homes for consumer electronics.
Put scanners, computers, and cameras in the hands of deserving, impoverished kids around the world.
For Red Cross staff and volunteers
For deployed soldiers
For transplant patients
For terminally ill kids
Furniture & Appliances
Match your household items with a local non-profit’s wish list.
Furnish homes for disaster victims.
Give interview and work clothing to disadvantaged women.
Donate a wedding gown to benefit breast-cancer patients.
Send formal wear to teenage girls who need help getting to the prom.
A free coat to anyone who needs one.
Ship shoes and sportswear to struggling athletes around the world.
Supply children in foster care with luggage.
30. Uniteforsight.org & givethegiftofsight.org
Send eyewear to men and women in underdeveloped countries.
Convert American Express credit card points to cash donations.
Donate a used vehicle to support your local public radio station.
Give everything from storybooks to encyclopedias.
Send towels and newspapers to animal shelters.
Fund job training programs and social services.
Post donations for charities (and regular folks) to claim. (This is a BIGGIE with us!)
Donate leftover building supplies to Habitat for Humanity’s ReStores.
Technology and training for the disabled and disadvantaged.
Connecting donations with charities across the U.S.
Send computers to more than 50 developing countries.
Because It Can Be Turned Into Something Else
Recycled footwear materials become sports and playground surfaces.
Donated Capilene base layers become polyester fibers for new Capilene garments.
43. Pangea organics’ packaging becomes an herb garden when planted in soil.
44. Cargo cosmetics’ PlantLove lipstick tubes come in plantable boxes that sprout wildflowers.
Old newspapers become colored pencils.
Rubber tires become sleek purses
…or rugged iPod covers.
Plastic soda bottles become durable hammocks.
Yogurt containers become colorful plates, flatware, toothbrushes, and razors.
Because It Will Make Your Life Better
50. Getting rid of clutter will reduce housework by 40 percent
51. Erase a $10K credit card debt(with an average interest rate) 65 percent faster — and pay 75 percent less total interest — when you pay double the typical minimum monthly payment.
52. Download security software like Stopzilla to keep a lid on computer pop-ups.
53. Around 23 percent of people pay late fees on bills they cannot find.
Because You Can Get Something Back
54. Return six MAC Cosmetics containers to any MAC store and receive a free lipstick.
55. Trade in an old iPod and receive a 10 percent discount on a new one.
Easily convert spare change into “real” money.
Sell it to your neighbors.
Sell it to anyone.
Get cash for gift cards you’ll never use.
Trade the books you have for the ones you want.
Trade the DVDs you’ve seen for the ones you haven’t.
Clear off your CD shelves, and make money in the process.
The great entertainment exchange: books, music, movies, and games, all swapped in one place.
To see the last 37 items on the list, be sure to check out Martha Stewart.com.
And remember, just because you have stuff does not make you rich; it means you have stuff!