I was watching a show on Sunday called Extreme Clutter, which is hosted by Peter Walsh (an Aussie living in the USA) and his job is to go around and help people who are either crazy hoarders or just can’t seem to manage to organise themselves. I’m not really a big TV watcher, but in this instance, I was captivated. This family was paying so much money each year just to store their stuff and they just had no money to do so.
The episode I watched was called My Secret Clutter and what was happening is that this family was renting an aeroplane hanger to store all their junk in. Obviously you know you have too much stuff when you need to rent a hanger, but the thing that really got me was how much money they were spending each month on keeping this junk that they weren’t using. It turns out that they were spending $1,000 a month just to rent the storage space. To make matters worse, this was just the latest in a long line up of storage spaces that needed to continually be upgraded in order to continue keeping up with their junk collecting. Over the last 20 years they had spent an astounding $100,000 keeping storage in rented storage spaces. $100,000 is a lot of money, especially to keep stuff that you aren’t using.
Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance see the ending of the show as I had to go and look after our little one, but I can only imagine that Peter was able to save the day and help this poor family out of their storage nightmare.
The episode did get me thinking about just how people can save money around the house by getting rid of clutter. It’s just so easy it is for people to get stuck in a certain frame of mind, and not really realise the long term implications of their choices. When Peter worked out that they had spent $100K on storage I don’t think that any of them could quite believe it. I personally would have looked into my budget and scrapped that expense way before that point, however not everyone is as engrossed in their own financial well being as I am. It did open my eyes as to how some people end up struggling with money even though they probably make more than enough to live comfortably.
What I would have done had I found myself in that situation was start giving things away. Maybe I would start by having a yard sale to sell off some unwanted items around the house. Anything that I didn’t sell at the yard sale could be donated. Depending on how large my clutter problem was, I might even consider donating my boat for charity. After all, a large item like this takes up a lot of room that could be used for several other things. Since I only use my boat a few times per year anyway, donating it would make sense.
So I am wondering, do you have any type of reoccurring expenses for things that you really don’t need? What would it take for you to get rid of it?