My house looks like a war zone. I'm in the process of packing for a move, and it's taking longer than I would like because of all of the papers I have to go through while packing my moving boxes. I'm not talking about newspapers. I'm talking about the boxes of financial files, unopened bills and assorted other crap that I apparently packed the last time I moved, and then never looked at again. Until now.

I found bills and unopened mail and other paperwork that was almost seven years old. Seven years! Shameful. No wonder my financial life was a shambles back then, something I detailed during a previous post about why I chose a life of Savvy Frugality.

As I looked through the boxes of papers, I also realized how much money all of this clutter has cost me over the years...in late fees, negative entries on my credit report, higher interest rates, etc. If I had tackled things head-on before I had even packed those papers (something I did start doing about five years ago), not only would my finances have been a lot different, but I wouldn't have all of these papers making my shredder work overtime tonight.

Some people choose to deal with their problems by ignoring them, hoping that someday things will work out. However, "someday" never comes, and things never just "work out". I know, because I used to live that life, as evidenced by the boxes of papers currently stacked in my living room. I had to take an active role in digging myself out of a bad situation. It wasn't pretty, and it wasn't fun, but in the end it was totally worth it. I was recently able to get an auto loan, and today I received a pre-approved offer for a platinum card...something that seemed impossible five years ago when I was staring homelessness in the face.

If you were like me, if you have "boxes of clutter" hiding in your house, it's time to dig them out, develop a plan and take a good, long, hard look at what your finances are REALLY like. I know, it's scary...but not as scary as what could happen if you continue to ignore the clutter in your life.

Clutter costs money.

1 comments

  1. Tasterspoon // February 26, 2008 at 5:02 PM  

    You are so right about the paper clutter.

    But other clutter costs money too, as I've also realized when I'm looking for a new apartment. If I didn't have so much STUFF, I could get by with a smaller place with lower rent.

    I mean, it's an obvious point, but when I'm adding to my possessions because (in part) something is cheap - I now have to remind myself to add to that price the cost of storage, which is largely what your home is (as George Carlin said): a place to keep your stuff. Companies include warehousing in their P&Ls; we should too.

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