Is Clutter Keeping You in Debt?

How Clutter Encourages Debt

We know that clutter is bad because it keeps you from finding things when you need them, but it’s worse than that. Clutter can be a contributing factor to debt and other financial problems.

Rodika Tchi, ​​Guide to Feng Shui, says that clutter can “…negatively influence…specific areas in your life.” Clutter indicates a lack of control. It may be safe to say that if you don’t have control over the things in your home, you also have lost control over your finances.

Clutter Encourages Bad Spending Habits

Clutter accumulates because you haven’t taken the time to put things back in their place. Similarly, you don’t take time to organize your finances – to create a budget and make sure your expenses fit within your income. Instead, you spend blindly and deal with the consequences later.

Another bad habit that leads to clutter is accumulating more things than you have room for, rather than using self-control and knowing when to say “no”. That’s the same thing that happens when you get into debt – you’ve been spending more money than you can afford to.

When your home is cluttered, it’s easy to misplace important documents like credit card billing statements. You could end up missing your payment and trigger a string of negative reactions – a late payment fee and a higher interest rate. The more payments you miss, the worse it gets. On the other hand, you could end up paying more than you can afford to, leaving less money to handle other household expenses.

Clutter could lead you to buy multiples of things you already have but can’t find. This is a problem because you’re spending more money than you have to, possibly even spending money you don’t have.

How Clutter Keeps You In Debt

When it’s time to make your get out of debt plan, you need a place where you can think clearly and focus on your debts.

If your home is cluttered, you won’t get past the first step, which involves locating your credit card billing statements and other loan documents to add up your debts. If you manage to put together a debt payoff plan, will you be able to put your plan in a place that you can locate it in the future?

A 2008 New York Times’ article suggests that getting rid of clutter isn’t always about buying things to help you get organized. It’s usually about changing your behavior. The same is true for debt. You can purchase books and other tools that tell you how to get out of debt, but it’s your feelings about money and your spending habits that need to change if you want to get out of debt and stay out.

How can you get your finances in order if you’re distracted by all the “stuff” around you? You can’t. If clutter is keeping you in debt, you have to organize your space before you can start working on your debt.

Organizing Clutter and Getting Out of Debt

There are a lot of websites out there that focus on de-cluttering your space. Most of them agree, that a small start is best. As the saying goes, Rome wasn’t built in a day and your home won’t get uncluttered any faster. Dealing with clutter isn’t just a physical process, it’s also emotional.

Trying to clean up too fast can give you an emotional backlash that makes you put off the task even longer.

Getting rid of clutter might be a difficult process, but so it getting out of debt. If you can motivate yourself to make the changes needed to get rid of your excess stuff, you can do the same for your debt. Check out How to Unclutter Your Life in One Week by Erin Rooney Doland, editor of to get more information about clearing your clutter.