How Much Does Your Stuff Cost You?

I’m a person who likes background noise while I work, so I tend to turn the TV on when I’m writing. One of my latest fascinations is the show Hoarding: Buried Alive.

For those who have not seen the show, each episode profiles two people who have a problem with hoarding. These people’s homes are basically uninhabitable, because there is stuff piled everywhere. The homes are health hazards, as there is no way to effectively clean around the junk, not to mention the fire hazards the piles of stuff create. And most importantly, these people are losing their relationships with their families, as the families can’t handle the hoarding problem.

Hoarding is an extreme example, but even on smaller levels, “stuff” has a price. Too much stuff can cost you in several areas.


Financial Costs

Stuff costs money. First you have to buy the stuff. Then you have to store the stuff. When you add it all up, how much does it cost?

Eight years ago we moved 100 miles down the road from a small house to an even smaller duplex. For the first couple of years we rented a storage unit for our excess stuff. And for what? We never went to the storage unit. We never used our stuff. Fortunately we wised up and downsized our stuff, and at the same time downsized our monthly expenses.

Cost of Time

Stuff takes time to manage. When you have stuff cluttering your house, it takes longer to clean and dust your house. When your stuff is unorganized, it takes time to find things.

Too much stuff can also cause trouble with decision making. For instance, if you have an excess of clothing, how long does it take to figure out what to wear? To properly care for the clothes?

Health Costs

In serious situations, too much stuff can cause health problems. Clutter can provide a safe haven for bugs and rodents, neither of which you really want living in your house.

For those with indoor allergies, too much stuff can exacerbate the problem.

Relationship Costs

Finally, too much stuff can put a strain on your relationships. Couples can argue over the financial problems caused by buying too much stuff or the state of cleanliness in the house with too much stuff.

I tend to be a bit of a clutterbug, and at one time or another I’ve experienced costs in time, money, and family harmony. Getting rid of the clutter and leading a simple life saves more than just money. It saves time, unneeded stress, and day to day sanity.

Photo by Disposable Dreams.


By , on Sep 13, 2010
Lynnae McCoy I'm Lynnae, wife of one and stay-at-home mom of two. I'm committed to getting out of debt by being frugal with my choices in life.


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  1. It is a good feeling to either donate or trash items that I do not want, need or are me anymore. I find having less choices is so helpful to my overall stress level.

  2. Caroline:

    I think it’s important to point out that the people featured on this TV program have unusual mental and/or emotional illness that manifests when they attach themselves to stuff/material possessions. I watched this show for the first time Friday night and it absolutely brought me to tears. I felt such compassion for the individuals who were featured. They don’t want to be that way but they were reacting to past hurts and trauma in their lives the way other people might turn to alcohol, drugs, food, sex, crime or whatever. I know a lot of people “like” to watch this show as voyeurs who criticize and make fun of the people (not suggesting that you are doing this!) but I used it as an opportunity to pray for the people.

    That being said, I am a bit of a “clutterbug” myself and desperately lack organizational skills. I do not enjoy shopping for clothes or anything other than books and I realize I need to “share the love” a little bit by giving away some of my books!

    Blessings to you!

    • Lynnae:

      I absolutely agree, Caroline. I feel a lot of compassion for the people in the TV show too. It must be horrible to feel unable to break out of a living situation like that.

      You’re right that general clutter is not anything like hoarding. But watching the show does make me examine my own issues with clutter, even if they aren’t as serious as hoarding.

      Thanks for the reminder to be compassionate!

  3. Norman:

    I have a friend that was paying for a storage unit for 17 years! She moved out of state and had this stuff in storage all that time. Last year she came for a visit and we went through all the stuff in the storage unit and closed it. It was like walking back in time. A lot was ruined due to the extreme temperatures and humidity. I could count on one hand the things she decided to keep. The rest we threw away or gave to charity.

  4. AngelSong:

    This post is excellent. This is why I have been so busy trying to reduce clutter in our home, and it is a major reason I wrote my book.

  5. Carmen:

    I have been working on getting rid of clutter. I love shedding all the extra stuff!

  6. Candy:

    Great timing for this post. I spent several hours last evening going through Rubbermaid crates of memorabilia, trying to sort out what truly is memorabilia (crayon drawings, precious letters from my daughter) from the rest (letter tracings, toilet paper roll activities. etc.).

    My impetus? Our near miss with hurricane Earl. We realized that if we had to evacuate, room in our vehicle would be extremely limited with three people, two dogs, a wheelchair and our necessities. I’d like to have everything streamlined so that if we had to grab and go, we could.

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