Take Stock of Your Stuff

Unnecessary belongings weigh you down and cost you money. Here's how your extra clutter may be impacting your life and finances – and what you can do about it.

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By Margaret Poe

48% of Americans say their homes are cluttered with things they no longer use.

While the majority of Americans (72%) think they'd free up space in their house by purging unused items, 41% haven’t decluttered in more than a year

Nearly half of Americans think they have more than $1,000 in unused items in their homes1.

Pocketbook pain

After filling up their closets and garages, many turn to outside storage to find additional space for their stuff. Currently, 9.4% of American households rent a storage unit. At an average monthly cost of $91, that adds up to more than $1,000 annually2.

Sabotage by sweet tooth

Clutter even may encourage unhealthy eating habits. A 2016 study in the journal Environment and Behavior found that students in a chaotic kitchen ate nearly three times as many cookies as those in an organized one3.

Conquer clutter

You know you don’t need all that stuff piled up around your house. But where do you start?

Try the four-box method to sort through your belongings. Pick one room or closet to tackle. As you go through these objects, put them in one of these boxes:

  • Keep any objects you use regulary.
  • Sell/Donate anything that no longer serves you but could benefit someone else.
  • Trash items that are broken or otherwise unusable.
  • Store those belongings you don't use on a regular basis but just can't bear to part with. Re-evaluate the contents of this box regularly.