Living a cluttered lifestyle means you overspend, according to science

Living a cluttered lifestyle means you overspend, according to science

From time to time, we’re all guilty of impulse shopping. When you’re perusing the depths of the internet late at night, you may feel the urge to splurge and buy something that you honestly don’t need. We’ve all been there. Whether it’s a brand new TV set or a pair of oh-so-expensive shoes, it’s always tempting to just go for it and worry about the consequences later. When the credit card bills start rolling in, though, you will wonder what on earth possessed you to buy such rubbish!

If this scenario sounds all-too-familiar to you, you may wonder why you always end up spending more than you ought to. It’s true that some people seem to have unbelievable levels of self-control, while others can hardly manage to stop themselves. So, what is the deal here? What’s the difference between the saints of shopping and the rest of us mere mortals?

A disorganised home means you’re more likely to overspend!

According to a study published in the Journal of Consumer Research1, there could be a very simple reason that you overspend. You see, the research suggests that people who have a disorganised home are more likely to overspend than those who have a tidy, minimalist place. It may sound just a tad bizarre, but it could be your super messy house that’s encouraging you to whip out your credit card and start shopping.

“We propose that people in a disorganised environment experience a threat to their sense of personal control — and being surrounded by chaos ultimately impairs their ability to perform other tasks requiring ‘brain’ power,” wrote the study authors, Boyoun Chae, University of British Columbia and Rui Zhu, Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business.

What that means is that when your home environment is untidy, you will likely struggle to think properly. What’s more, you will possibly find it tricky when it comes to making decisions. Suddenly, simple tasks will seem harder than they ought to be because your brain power is taken up by all the clutter around you. So, what does this all have to do with spending?

giphyWell, when you choose to buy something – online or otherwise – you have to make a snap decision. That means that you weigh up whether the item will be worth its cost in your mind. You probably don’t even realise that you’re doing this as it all happens unconsciously. In a split-second, you make a judgement on whether you can a) afford the item and b) whether it’s worth the money you will need to pay for it. So far, so easy, right?

The problem comes when things around you are chaotic. Yes, it may sound like a cliche, but if your home is disorganised, so is your mind. When you’re sitting in a room filled with old magazines, trinkets, and other random little things, you’re likely to struggle to make a proper decision. That means that ‘impulse buying’ or splurging are bound to follow.

Here’s the science:

Don’t believe me? Well, here’s the science. The researchers ran four separate studies based on this theory. In one key study, participants were put in a disorganised room or an organised one. Next, the researchers asked people in each room whether they would pay money for a series of items – ranging from a new TV to some cinema tickets.

The findings were seriously telling about how our environment impacts our spending habits. Those in an organised room were far less likely to want to buy things than those in a cluttered, messy room. The conclusion that the researchers drew here was that if you want to curb your spending habits (who doesn’t?) tidying up your home just a little can make a world of difference!

10 ways to declutter your home

So, how can you declutter your home?

If you’re a naturally untidy person, the very thought of tackling that mess may be too much to handle. Never fear! It’s not actually as difficult as you may imagine. If you want to get things right, you should take things one step at a time. (Yes, we know that this chore is the least amount of fun, but if it saves you some pennies, it may just be worth it!) If you’re not 100% sure where to start, check out our top tips here:

1. Set aside the time to declutter

Before you do anything, you absolutely have to set aside some time to tidy up. I hate to break this one to you, but this is not a five minute job by any means. If you want to get a decent amount done, you will need to set aside a good few hours, if not a day. Sure, it may sound a little much right now, but once you get into it, the time will fly by quicker than you can ever imagine. Pop on your favourite playlist and get to it!

Consider: The 15 Best Motivational Songs Get Stuff Done (YouTube) | Get Things Done (Spotify)

2. Tackle just one room at a time

Trying to do the entire house in just one day is nothing short of insane. You’re not a superhero so don’t try to be one. Instead, you need to be reasonable about this whole thing. That means taking on just one room at a time. Starting with the living room is probably a good move since it is likely the room with the most clutter in it. Get your bin bags at the ready and get to work.

3. Make the most of your wall space

shelvingOf course, one of the main reasons that so many people live in a cluttered household is because they don’t have enough storage. Making use of your wall space is one of the quickest and easiest ways to give yourself a little extra room in your home. You can buy decent shelving for next to nothing and it takes minutes to put up. Once you’ve done so, you will have a whole new area of storage. Easy!

Buy: Handmade shelving from Etsy

4. If you haven’t used it this year, throw it away!

As a rule, if you haven’t used something in the last year, you’re probably never, ever going to need it. Hoarders tend to keep hold of things whether they use them or not. You must never do that! Instead, you need to make sure that you are kind of brutal about what you keep and what you don’t. If you can’t even remember the last time that you used something, it’s really got to go.

Consider: The hanger technique

The clothes hanger technique
Get all your clothes and put them on your bed.
Get as many extra hangers as possible and hang all your items up in your wardrobe BUT place the hangers backwards (so the hook is facing you).
After you’ve worn something place the item back in your wardrobe with the hook facing away from you (i.e. different to the others).
After 2/6/12 months pick out everything that hasn’t had the hanger turned around and sell it or charity shop it.

5. Sell on or give things to charity

dressThrowing things away can seem a little drastic, so you should take this chance to do something for a good cause or sell on. Bag up all your unwanted (but perfectly usable) things and take them down to your local charity shop. Simply having a reason to pack things up will help a great deal! Often, we hate throwing things out because it seems wasteful, but giving to charity is anything but that.

or consider selling items on apps like eBay | Vinted |  Vestiaire Collective | Hardly Ever Worn It | Edit Second Hand | High Fashion Society

6. Make sure that each drawer has a purpose

Open your drawers. What do you see? If you see a cluttered mess of random items, it’s time for a complete overhaul. Each drawer in your home should have a purpose. For example, you could dedicate one drawer to arts and crafts items, while another may be used for buttons and sewing stuff. Defining what each should have inside it will help you to organise your things with ease. Plus, you will always know where your cellotape is when you need it. Bonus!

7. Create a space for incoming letters

51ypzoexxwlIf you’re not the type of person who opens their letters right away, you probably find that they end up stacking up on the kitchen surface or the dining table. Creating a legit space for your incoming letters will mean that things look much more organised in seconds. You could use a folder or a drawer. Just having somewhere that you can pop those letters will mean that they don’t pile up and you can sift through them when you’re good and ready.

Buy: Wooden Letter Rack Post Desk Organiser (in photo above) | Zeller Letter Holder Bamboo | 3-Tier Letter Tray

8. Keep one of everything!

Here’s a little secret: You don’t need two hair dryers, or two copies of the same novel, or two vacuum cleaners. There are some items that you really only need one of in your home. When it comes to going through your things, you need to remember this rule of thumb. Keep one of everything. If you have two things that serve the exact same purpose in your home, you’re hoarding stuff for no reason. It might seem hard right now but you honestly need to get rid of one of them. You won’t even notice the thing’s gone once you’ve done so!

9. Organise your bookshelf

bookshelfIf you’re a reader, you probably wouldn’t dream of having a home without a well-stocked bookshelf. While these pieces of furniture are kind of essential, they often fall foul of mess and clutter. It’s all too easy to use the shelves for anything but books. From random little trinkets to notes and pieces of paper, these units can often become seriously messy before we even know it. Take a look at your bookshelf now. If there are many things on there that have absolutely zero to do with reading, it’s time for a quick tidy up. This chore should take you only a few minutes, but it will make the room look so much tidier than it is right now.

Buy: Bookshelf (one in photo) | New Bookshelf

10. Invest in a little extra storage & compact your long term storage

vacuumFinally, if you’ve tried all of the above and had no luck when it comes to decluttering, there’s really only one solution. You need more storage than you have right now. Investing in a few extra furniture pieces, such as a new set of drawers or a magazine rack, will mean that you have that bit of extra space you need.

Stackable boxes with Vacuum Bags inside are a great way of storing seasonal clothes or items for long term storage in the loft/garage etc.

Buy: Decent Vacuum Bags (the ones we use) | 50 Litre under bed stackable storage box |

Failing that consider renting out unused space in other people’s homes and using shed or outside storage.

Oh, and don’t forget to check our Facebook page for regular deal updates on storage products.



  1. Journal of Consumer Research, Inc.. “Impulse spending? Save money by getting organized.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 February 2014. <>

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