Clutter and hoarding are a difficult habit to break for many people. It can be unsightly, and frankly annoying to look at. So why would some people choose to put up with it?
Frugal living and hoarding
We have touched on frugal living in previous posts and one great way to save money is your grocery bill. The trouble that can arise is hoarding food. Have you ever been in doing your shopping and saw a fantastic bargain and somehow came home with lets say 3 bottles of tomato ketchup when only one was on the list? Sometimes deviating from the shopping list and stocking up when you see a great price is a good way to save money.
The issue here is when is too much too much? When does building a stock pile in your press or pantry becoming hoarding? I would say its a problem when there is more in your home than you can use before it spoils or when storing it is costing you more than it saves.
Sounds silly doesn’t it? Buying food you can’t possibly use before it turns just sounds ludicrous.
How it happens..
I can’t speak for everyone or how this comes about every time but as someone who has accidentally hoarded food I can share my own experience.
Picture this. You’re in doing your food shopping and you notice a sale on pizza. It’s the fancy kind that you love but can’t always justify the cost. It’s down to the same price as your usual pizza and you’re drooling at the thoughts of it. So instead of buying your normal amount you buy double. Next week you won’t need to buy pizza and you’ll get to enjoy your favorite kind two weeks in a row. You’re on the pigs back.
Next week comes and you’re in doing the shopping and this time you notice the Turkey dinosaurs your kids love are in stock and they’re on special offer. Buy one get one free. It would be daft not to stock up because who knows when they’ll be in stock again. You buy four bags. You’ll only be paying for two after all.
Week three rolls in and the freezer is starting to get very full. That spare pizza you bought the first week is lying under all the dinosaurs and you’ve forgotten about it. Truth be told you’re not sure what you need at this point. It was too much hassle to get into the freezer because it’s so full but you’re fairly certain you need some frozen veg for Sunday. You’re in luck it’s 2 for €2 instead of the usual €3 on frozen stir fry. Might as well pick them up when you’re there. You need to get broccoli anyway.
All of a sudden you have more food in your freezer alone than you need. Add in everything that’s in the fridge and in the presses. Now you have more food than you can use before it spoils. That’s the point when stockpiling becomes hoarding food and becomes an issue.
If you find yourself in this situation then you need a meal plan!
The hoarding continues!
Putting things away in case they come in handy again is a fairly frugal move. What’s the point in buying something twice? In your wardrobe have you still got those clothes that fit two years ago? The ones that made your bum look good or the ones that flattered your coloring. The only issue is they don’t fit but since you’re going to lose weight this year there’s no sense in dumping them.
As for the clothes that don’t fit because you’ve lost weight, well what’s the point in getting rid of them? In case you gain the weight again or wouldn’t they be handy for painting clothes!
You have the space to keep them. So what if the wardrobe door doesn’t close anymore! And if it takes a few extra minutes in the morning to find an outfit you’ll wear so be it. Not for no one are you getting rid of those clothes and paying for them again when you need them. Not no way, not no how.
But wait what about the shoes that’s lurking under the bed? Well you need a good pair, a spare good pair, the shoes for slobbing around in, the ones that are pretty but don’t fit, the shoes for painting, the running shoes, the beach sandals, the dressy shoes. And so it goes on. But you’ve paid good money for them and if you throw them out that’s when you’ll need them.
Now you have clothes bursting out the wardrobe and shoes poking out from under the bed. It’s grand. Better to have them and not need them, than need them and not have them.
But hang on a second what about the toys? Surely there is no valid reason to get rid of toys when you’re not sure if you’ve finished having kids?! You couldn’t possibly part ways with little Billy’s favourite teddy or Margie’s favourite blanket. Alright that’s fair. How about those toys that no one ever played with? You know the ones. They cost an arm and a leg. There the ones the kids loved playing with the box off. They came in eye catching packaging but once out of the box not a soul touched except you. You moved those toys around the house hoping they’d finally get played with. They’re great quality and when you were little you desperately wanted them. How can you get rid of them?
Wouldn’t it be an awful waste to get rid of the toys that were played with though? The toys that are in good condition and clearly popular. If you’ve another child wouldn’t it be lovely to see those cherished toys come out again?
Frugal living and clutter
Your house is over flowing with great quality odds and ends that you spent time and money buying. You don’t want to dispose of them because if you need them again it is more frugal to have held on to them in the first place. But the house is bursting at the seems.
In this scenario your mental health may be beginning to suffer. Everywhere you look you’re surrounded by clutter and signs of hoarding. On one hand it’s reassuring to know you have all that you need. On the other hand it feels like you’re drowning in a sea of stuff and things and food and clothes.
There are presses heaving under the bits and bobs you’ve squirreled away in case you need them.
That’s the point when clutter is an issue. Some might argue that the point was sooner than this but at this stage a declutter is badly needed.
Avoiding clutter and hoarding
- Clothes-If it doesn’t fit it goes. That’s clothes and shoes. No matter how pretty or expensive it was. If you don’t wear it because it sits funny or the texture bothers you it goes.
- Toys- If the kids haven’t played with it before now they’re not going to so it goes.
- Food- If you know you won’t eat it before it spoils and it can’t be frozen it goes.
- Random odds and ends- think the 4 rolls of sellotape lying around the house. Stop buying it until it’s used up. Don’t add to the problem! If you can’t possibly use it all then it goes.
- In fact organize your possessions in a way that you know what you have and if you have no need of something then do not buy it. That includes candles. (Sorry, not sorry!)
- When getting rid of these things be as sustainable as possible. Sell or give them to someone who will make use of them. There’s no need to be wasteful.
For more de-clutter and hoarding advice this blog post is really useful. The author talks about the benefits of decluttering and ways to tackle it. The strategy is simple and do-able.
I came across this blog post and found it very interesting. You might find it interesting too. It is about when frugality and hoarding becomes a real problem and recognizing the signs.