What is Clutter Costing You?

Written By: Leah Morris

Everything as a cost. How much is your clutter costing you?

Do you find yourself keeping things you don’t need because you tell yourself you might use them one day? It’s a common misconception that holding on to those unused items will somehow save you money down the road, but the truth is your clutter is actually costing you money, right now and a lot of it.

Have you ever really thought about what your clutter is costing you? Sometime the cost is super duper obvious - late fees for over due library books you can’t seem to find in your home. Other times the cost could be emotional or mental such as not wanting to have friends over because you are too embarrassed to have others see your space.

Yes, it is true we all have clutter, in one form or another, and to varying degrees. Being Frugal February now is a great time to clear the clutter. You’ll end up saving money, getting more out of your living space, and feeling less stressed.

Below are three ways the cost of clutter may be affecting you.


Your space isn’t the only thing affected by over-accumulation of stuff. Clutter also has proven, tangible effects on your mental and physical well-being.

Increases Stress

Clutter can induce a physiological response, including increased levels of cortisol, a stress hormone. Cortisol’s failure to decline normally over the course of the day has “been associated with greater chronic stress, disease progression, and even mortality risk.” Link here to learn more about clutter and stress.

Impacts you diet

“Clutter is stressful for the brain, so you’re more likely to resort to coping mechanisms such as choosing comfort foods or overeating than if you spend time in neater surroundings,” explains Dr. Eva Shalhoub

Impacts Safety

According to the Alliance for Healthy Homes, cluttered homes often contain more dust, dirt, and debris to accumulate which can cause or amplify breathing problems.

As more things pile up, more dust is generated. This creates the ideal living environment for pests like dust mites. The harder it gets to access different areas of the home to clean, the more serious these respiratory issues become. Living with lots of clutter also puts you at risk of getting injured with a slip or a fall.


Jeopardizes your loved ones

If you share your home with others, excessive clutter is no longer just a “you” problem. Clutter in your home can also negatively impact the lives of your significant other and kid(s)

Any space that’s disorganized and cluttered has some type of detrimental impact on the occupants. The National Institute of Mental Health found that kids living in a severely cluttered environment often have elevated levels of distress, experiencing less happiness and more trouble making friends.

Isolates you

You're less likely to invite people over when your house is a mess. Clutter has put such a guilt trip on us. Shutting people out can take a tool on relationships and make you feel sad and lonely. This could be one reason a hoarding disorder tends to overlap with depression and anxiety disorders.

You don’t have to be alone to feel lonely. Loneliness is the perception of being alone and isolated, and having a feeling of disconnectedness. You may know — or be — one of the 42.6 million adults who experience this every day. This emotional state has physical consequences that can be devastating,


A messy home can negatively affect how you manage your finances, leading to poor money management and severe debt. Being chronically disorganized is like having a slow leak that can cost up to hundreds or thousands of dollars every year . While there are solutions to these issues, being able to find your energy bill is a good place to start.

Late Fees

A report by NerdWallet found that 26% of Americans have made a late credit card payment (30 days late or more) in 2019. By NerdWallet's calculations, that amounts to more than $3 billion in late fees alone. The report also found that delinquent credit card payments increased 22% from 2015 to 2019.

Storage Fees

Statistics show that Americans spend $38 billion every year on self-storage units. This was astonishing to me thinking of all that cash being simply to store items.

Even if you don’t rent a storage unit, yo