Clutter: A collection of things lying about in an untidy mess.

It’s a simple definition, but clutter can have enormous costs associated with it, both tangible and intangible. My clients with clutter issues call me for help because they have finally decided that the costs are too high and they don’t want to pay them anymore.

These are the top ten costs of clutter for my clients:

1. Time and energy spent looking for items they can’t find
2. Anxiety and stress over not being able to find things (especially paperwork) when they need them
3. Wasting money buying duplicates or even triplicates of items they know they already have but can’t find
4. Decreased productivity due to lack of work space or inability to find what they need to do their work
5. Wasting a lot of money on storage units to house all the extra items they can’t fit into their clutter-stuffed homes (see my previous blog post on Storage Units)
6. Paying late fees and interest penalties because they often don’t find bills until after their due dates
7. Throwing away expired food because their refrigerators and pantries are so full, they can’t actually see what they have
8. Embarrassment from not being able to invite friends and family over because of all the unsightly clutter
9. Worry over health issues, especially for those with chronic illnesses due to mold, dust, and germs from built-up clutter
10. Danger of tripping and being hurt from too many items lying around the house.

This is why clutter is such an important issue for so many Americans today.

Chaotic clutter around home with papers. It is in a conceptual image showing clutter.

I know that when I try to work in a cluttered environment, I get overwhelmed and stressed out. It’s almost impossible for me to be productive if my desk is not cleared; in a way, the physical clutter causes correlating mental clutter in my brain. If I work in a severely cluttered office of a client, I often leave with a headache – I can only imagine what living in such an environment every day does to them.

Do you live with clutter? What do you think it costs you? Are you ready to give it up? Making the decision to de-clutter is the first step you need to take if you’re serious about achieving a more organized life.

Penny Blog Head ShotPenny Catterall is the Owner and Founder of Order Your Life, LLC. Order Your Life works with clients in the Washington DC Metro area and virtually around the world, to help you declutter, go paper-less, improve workflow and make life simpler.