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How much is your clutter costing you?

11 April, 2008

The average sized three bedroom home is 220 square metres (approx 2400 square feet). In our area, the outer suburbs of one of Australia’s biggest cities, a 3 bedroom house costs about $350,000. So, as an upfront cost, you are paying about $1600 per square metre.

Add into that the interest on the life of the loan: if you have a $325,000 loan on the property and pay an average of 8.25% interest you pay an extra $553,982 in interest (over 30 years). Or if you put a little extra in there and pay it off in 25 years that’s $443,739 in interest. That’s at least an extra $2000 per square metre. So over thirty years you are paying a total of $3620 per square metre over the life of the loan.

So that $5000 extra lounge suite for the tv/entertainment room, with a 2-3 seater and two arm chairs will take up approximately 5 square metres and cost you just over $18,000 in space.

Self storage costs about $45 a cubic metre per year (when you buy a big unit – my calculations are based on a 73 cubic metre unit). So those two boxes of love letters from ex-boyfriends could be costing you $45 a year to keep. Then there’s the unused juicer, bread maker and ultimate shredding machine in the deep recesses of your cupboards.

By having less stuff you can have a smaller house. Having less stuff may enable you to downsize. By having less stuff you can afford to not use a storage unit for your excess belongings.

But clutter doesn’t just cost us money in terms of the space it takes up.

You need to clean and maintain the things you own. You need to run them (if you in fact use them). You need to buy accessories or consumables for them. When they break down, you need to repair them. Some need to be paid to be removed when they eventually die.

Also, when the clutter builds up you waste time trying to find things. Time costs you money. When you can’t find things you have to buy more. Sometimes the delay in use renders the first object unusable (such as food products, gift cards etc). Things get broken by being stored incorrectly or just being thrown on the floor, and so need replacing. If the clutter makes you stressed, you will spend money getting out of the house so you don’t have to see it. You buy organisation systems to store your clutter.

In some cases, clutter can cost you your life.

Get rid of your clutter and save yourself money!

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