We all know that clutter has adverse ramifications in several areas of our lives— emotionally, psychologically, financially, on our reputations, and on our time. The focus of this blog is how clutter eats away at our time—a limited and precious resource. If you have clutter in your home or office, here are just a few examples of how it causes you to waste time. does that.
Time Wasted Cleaning the Clutter:
Having a cluttered space is bad enough. But when it comes time to clean, the clutter doesn’t clean itself. The cleaning process takes longer because you have more items to move and/or clean around. More time cleaning means less time doing something more important. A study by National Soap and Detergent Association estimates that the average home would have 40% less housework to do if its clutter was eliminated. Now I don’t know about you, but I do enjoy cleaning to a certain degree. However, if given the option of cleaning the house or spending time with loved ones, my loved ones will win out each and every time!
Let’s use clothing for example. Some of my clients have a lot of clothing. I mean A LOT of clothing. I’ve heard of retail therapy and I do believe that people get a certain “high” from shopping so they may not consider shopping a waste of time. However, think about the maintenance that’s required once you get the clothing home and wear it. Excess clothing means you have to spend more time maintaining it: washing, drying, hanging, folding, ironing, and possibly mending it. Is it really worth it?
Time Wasted Organizing the Clutter:
The more items you have, the longer it will take to organize them. More time wasted, right? I have so many clients who try to get organized on their own, time and time again, but to no avail. Do you know why? Because they skip the critical step of purging as part of their process.
You can’t keep everything and honestly, you shouldn’t want to. The more you have, the more time it will take you to get organized. Part of the organizing process is making difficult decisions with every item. Should you keep it, gift it, purge it? I tell clients to always make purging part of their process. If not, you’re simply organizing your clutter and will never eliminate the source of the problem.
Time Wasted Looking for Misplaced/Lost Items:
Here are some startling statistics according to Pixie’s Lost & Found Survey which surveyed more than 1,700 Americans. They report that the average time it takes to search for a misplaced item is 5 minutes, 20 seconds. The same survey reports that people spend more than 15 minutes looking for keys, wallets, purses, umbrellas, passports, driver’s licenses, and credit/debit cards.
Across the pond, another survey conducted of 3,000 Brits by Esure Home Insurance had similar findings–that people waste ten minutes every day rummaging for lost items which equates to:
– 2.5 days per year
– 153 days of an adult’s life
– 22 weeks
I don’t know about you, but when I’m one hundred years old sitting in a rocking chair looking back on my life I’m NOT going to say to myself “Wow I’m so thrilled that I spent 22 weeks of my life looking for lost items. That time was so much more important to me than spending time with loved ones or pursuing my passions, etc.”
What Can We Do About it?
We can avoid the negative impacts of clutter in a few key ways.:
- Emotionally: we can seek help through our support system
- Financially: we can make more money
- Psychologically: we can seek professional help
- Reputation: we can work hard to repair it
However, there’s one area we can’t turn around. Our time. Clutter causes us to waste time looking for items that are misplaced or lost.
- Is it possible to seek out professional help to get that time back? NO!
- Is it possible to create more time? NO!
- Is it possible to buy more time? NO!
Our time is limited and there’s nothing we can do to increase it. So how do we combat it? By getting rid of our clutter, plain and simple.
I hope this has inspired you to be more mindful of your clutter and the number of ways it affects you— in particular, your time.
It’s so easy to say you’ll take action, but most never do. And I don’t want YOU to be sitting in that rocking chair at age 100 full of regret for time wasted. Take action today—no matter how small, by starting to downsize your excess. Whether you do it on your own or hire someone to help you. “Just do it” as they say. Your future self will thank you—I promise!
“A year from now you will wish you had started today.”Karen Lamb
LET ME HELP YOU:
What area of clutter could you spend 10 minutes on TODAY that would make you feel better and more organized? Share that with us and you’ll help inspire others to free themselves of clutter, too!”
Brenda Tringali, CPO® (Certified Professional Organizer)
Organizing | Productivity | Speaker
At Your Fingertips Organizing
Serving Greater Myrtle Beach, SC or “virtually” anywhere via video
Brenda Tringali is the owner of At Your Fingertips Organizing. She provides Speaking, Organizing & Productivity services to Workplace/Residential clients both in person in the greater Myrtle Beach, SC area & “virtually” anywhere else via video, phone, etc. Brenda is an active member of NAPO (National Association of Productivity and Organizing professionals) and the former Chair of NAPOCares, NAPO’s Social Responsibility Committee.