May 9, 2011

If you want to motivate yourself to get rid of clutter...

... calculate what you're paying to store it.
[I]f you live in a 1,500-square-foot house and have a $1,500 monthly payment, that's obviously $1 per square foot per month. Now multiply by how many square feet are devoted to storage. This can be an eye-opening experience. Let's say you've let an entire room slowly drift into a "junk" room even though it was originally intended as a guest bedroom or a sewing room. You've got 100 square feet or more devoted to storage in that one room alone. So you're paying 100 x $1 = $100 a month for the privilege of having a junk room....
Count all the shelf, closet, and drawer space too. Put a dollar amount on what you pay a month to keep the stuff you've got there. That's the rent that stuff should be paying. Is it worth that much to you? If not, why won't you evict it?

39 comments:

Class factotum said...

I love my husband blesshisheart but have told him more than once that if he drops dead, I am throwing away all his crap in the basement without even looking at it. Nobody needs phone bills from 1997. Nobody.

Mark O said...

Bored?

traditionalguy said...

Now you have gone from preaching to meddling. Storing stuff can also be called logistical warehousing of marshaled provisions to have them at hand when needed. And how is that just in time delivery stream working out for you these days on Toyota parts coming from Japan? The paperless society promised by computer geeks has so far vastly expanded the production of paper. As to mementos that don't fit in the attic, give them away to someone else to enjoy them.

Nick said...

That is a bit misleading, if your not using that space anyway than its not really a waste of money to store junk there.

Coketown said...

No. The clutter does not cost $100 a month. You are paying $100 for the room whether it's filled with junk or not. Its only cost, the opportunity cost, is a sewing room. So the question is, which is worth more to you: storage space or a sewing room?

Either way, I don't understand people who collect junk. Personally, I can move everything I own into a U-haul in about two hours. It's very liberating.

AJ Lynch said...

Is Althouse sending a signal to Meade to get rid of some of his gadgets and tools?

ricpic said...

Why do I need stuff? Because stuff is my security blanket, that's why. As usual the cruel puritans insist on liberating us from our security blankets.

Fred4Pres said...

What is shocking is how many people have houses that are hording reality show episodes. It is sick.

And I am guilty of some of that myself.

Pogo said...

If my wife gets rid of my junk in storage, how will I pee?

Pogo said...

Ba dum bum.

Palladian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kurt said...

I agree with Nick and Coketown about the problems inherent in the cost analysis. I currently have two rooms with clutter problems. One is my study, which is very functional, but which is also a warehouse for papers and files of all sorts, which I habitually postpone organizing into the ones I really need and the ones I could toss. It will look better when I toss about half of the junk, but that's about it. I use that room almost every day as it is. The other room with a clutter problem is my spare room which I use as an exercise room. Some of the clutter in there is stuff I need to get rid of (old clothes in the closet, for instance) or stuff I need to find a more logical home for (various items purchased at home depot, etc. which probably belong in the garage or with my tools). I don't exercise in there as much as I should, but that has less to do with the clutter (the machines in there have enough room to function properly), and more because I've been rather lazy where exercise is concerned lately.

Palladian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Palladian said...

I love clutter.

jack said...

wow....I find Class Factotum's comment interesting....for her, a story on decluttering is an excuse to publicly flail on her husband and his 'stupidity'....is there ANY topic that doesn't remind her to restate her superiority? the color blue? Can you imagine men talking this way about women? Dear gawd....there would be blood in the streets....

cahlmeeishmael said...

I tried this logic with my wife when she wanted to rent a storage room to store stuff instead of discarding it. The room cost more than we could have sold the stuff for.

Now we rent two storage rooms.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

The math in that article is dumb. I think that she meant, cubic feet. Unless you are only storing flat sheets of paper on the floor.

Nothing wrong with periodically paring down your stuff or rotating the items from storage to display. That is what I do. I collect art deco pottery and other objects from that period. There is no way to show it all or it would be horrible clutter. So I box up about 3/4 of it and about twice a year, change out the display.

Cookbooks, craft books, fabric and art supplies are a different story. Clutter by the cubic yard. Groaning bookcases.

Whenever my husband says he's going to go through my stuff and get rid of things, I offer to do the same in his workshop/office which is full of his old toy truck and car collection. Mexican standoff.

:-)

I always think of theGeorge Carlin skit about Stuff when we have those conversations.

Jason (the commenter) said...

But if you collect enough stuff eventually you can be on Hoarders! How's that for motivation?

Jason (the commenter) said...

But if you collect enough stuff eventually you can be on Hoarders! How's that for motivation?

rhhardin said...

Don't forget that you can store stuff in the car, too, if you're running short of space.

Lem said...

I spent more on junk storage than on food.

That doesn't seem right.

rhhardin said...

Women want the place neat enough so that they can invite friends over to show them what a good deal she made.

This requires you to be on unnaturally good behavior.

That's two strikes already.

Pogo said...

My wife has a "two year rule" for junk (has to have been used within...) or it is out the door.

I await my eviction.

Coketown said...

You could also make that space work for you by arranging the junk into partitions and then renting each partition out to a transient.

$5 a night x 4 transients per room x ~30 days per month = $600! The only problem is finding enough transients to fill the month.

Meade said...

You're safe, Pogo. I'm sure she uses you at least once every two years. Maybe even twice.

AJ Lynch said...

Jason:
Have you watched the TV show called Storage Wars? It's not bad.

Btw , my house contains 3 bikes per resident so I am guilty.

Pogo said...

@Meade:

Must increase massage of feet.

R said...

I'm with traditionalguy. Plus my grandparents were depression-era babies, and I think it's something that's been handed down (pardon the entendre). Any one of us is the go-to person for this widget or that item that's not even made any more - note the widgets and items were built to last.

Marshaling provisions. Oh yeah. Organization is key, though.

edutcher said...

You know th time to clear it out. You just get to that point.

With some stuff, it's a guy thing - you can't have too much.

The Blonde's nephew is into Hot Wheels and asked for some more for his birthday. She says, "He has about a hundred. How many more does he need?". He said, "You can never have too many cars".

I simply smiled, understanding him completely. I was the same way about cowboys and Indians at that age. When they grow up, some guys are the same way about tools or fishing lures.

Victor Erimita said...

It's much worse than that: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvgN5gCuLac

Oligonicella said...

The stuff I keep is the stuff I want. I don't go around calculating it's rent, it pays me in other ways.

madAsHell said...

We have a ton of stuff left over from raising kids. My wife refuses to dump it. She says "It's not our stuff. The stuff belongs to the kids."

Bullshit!! We paid for it. We can get rid of it.

So far....my thinking has failed to sway the woman-who-shall-not-be-disobeyed.

Nora said...

All the time there is enough space to keep things why waste time on clearing it?

In any case, trying to produce convoluted money arguments to make people clear space is appx. as effective, as trying to make people quit smoking using money arguments.

Smilin' Jack said...

Is it worth that much to you? If not, why won't you evict it?

I might need it someday.

Methadras said...

My junk drawer right now is costing me a mint.

Christy said...

Clutter that doesn't rise to hoarding is simply the result of our never learning to pick up after ourselves. Use all the motivation in the world to clear out the clutter today. Tomorrow it'll be back. Learning those skills as an adult it a bitch.

JAL said...

Palladian --

Living in 600 sf in Manhatten means your clutter is very nicely displayed.

I have discivered that available junk fills available space.

What gets me is people who have no sign of mail or any paper in their abodes.

Where do you guys put it? (Not you, Mr. P)

Kurt said...

I agree with JAL about Palladian's clutter. Although there was a lot of stuff crowding that kitchen shot, the other two pictures struck me as more organized than cluttered. When my study looks that way--with a place for everything I need and no extraneous junk I don't--I'll be happy to call it organized.

Cameron Robertson said...

I think this is going to be a very effective method indeed! I think when you let money be part of the formula, then you will be able to see how much you are actually wasting every month on storage, storing things that you just do not need! With figures in front of our eyes, we will definitely be able to see the actual picture of the situation that we have landed ourselves into. Think about all the money that we can save if we just get rid of the things that we do not need anymore instead of wasting it all in storage, for what and for who to use? Think about it and you might just be getting rid of those clutters that do not deserve your well-earned money!