The last thought that comes to mind when making purchases or accepting a free giveaway is how full our lives already are with items that we rarely use or do not truly need, in other words clutter.
“Clutter is the by-product of not making good decisions about what we buy and bring into our homes. As a result, we often own more than one of the same item, or items that we never use which end up filling our cupboards and shelves of our homes. The reality is that whilst clutter fills up our lives it often empties our pockets,” says Eunice Sibiya, Head of Consumer Education at FNB.
There is an upside to clutter. Taking on the challenge of de-cluttering could result in financial gain in the long and the short run. Since one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, your clutter can provide you with income in the short term. In the long term, a dedication to not buying what you do not need will save you money and time as there will be less organizing and de-cluttering to do.
According to Sibiya, the process consists of three steps.
Get rid of that which you do not need
There is no need to wait for Spring to “spring clean” – start de-cluttering today. To make the project easier, work room by room and throw out all duplicates that you do not need and items that you don’t use into a black bag or box.
Don’t be sentimental, especially with clothes. If you didn’t wear it this season, you are unlikely to wear it the next.
“In order to identify the items that you no longer use, hang your clothes, hangers all facing to the same side on your cupboard. Once you start wearing the items turn the hangers around. You will quickly see which clothing you did not wear – throw it out,” suggests Sibiya.
Adopt a no-clutter mindset
Make long term changes by adopting a de-clutter mindset in order to avoid clutter from building up again.
Before you accept a free giveaway, a hand-me-down or before you buy that scented candle, ask yourself whether you really need it. A good indication of whether you should go ahead and make the purchase is if you still want the item and have decided that you need it, a few days after having seen it.
“You might have to make a decision which seems insignificant at the time but if you were to add up the costs of all the little, unnecessary items that you’ve purchased over the years you will be shocked at what the amount adds up to. Should this money have been put away in a savings account, you would have started working towards a nest egg and have reaped the benefits of compound interest,” notes Sibiya.
How often have you gone to the shops, bought an item and then discovered that exactly the same item is on the shelves at home.
“One of the main reasons we end up with two of the same spices, or another bottle of the same glue, is that we don’t take stock of what we have at home,” says Sibiya. “The only way to solve this is to be strict about what you already have in the house.”
To do this, compile a list of what you need before you leave the house to go shopping. This will stop ‘lazy’ buying.
Bring the yard sale back
The concept of a yard sale is far from outdated and it is a great idea to make your clutter work for you financially. Once you have all the items you will be throwing away together, sell them off on a Saturday yard sale and make a point of not using the money to buy other things but saving it instead.
Should you decide to sell your items online make sure you take the necessary security measures such as never releasing goods before you have received the money from the individual who is making the purchase.
“You might be surprised at what you can live without and what you don’t really need as soon as you start making conscious decisions about what you put in your shopping basket or accept from others. As soon as you get into the habit of asking yourself whether you need something every time you pick an item up, you are sure to start reaping the savings benefits thereof,” concludes Sibiya.