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Spend, spend, and spend more is what our consumer-based economy tells us to do every day. We hear it and see it everywhere. It is difficult to spend our way to prosperity. Instead, let’s consider a more minimalist approach. Let’s start by committing to declutter and to make some money doing it.
Why declutter? It will prove that having a lot of stuff does not make us happy and we don’t need it.
Now we still might want the big house and the fancy car, but maybe we can put those off until we reach financial independence.
This article is part of our 9 Week Financial Challenge Series. The challenge is not a one-week boot camp that “fixes” all our problems. No, we know that it does not work. This is about long-term financial wellness. The 9 Week Financial Challenge Series covers:
Though not required, we do recommend starting the series at Week 1: Achieving Your Financial Bucket List.
There is a free workbook to assist you during this challenge (almost 30 pages of goodness). Please sign up via email to receive the 9 Week Financial Challenge Workbook. Do not worry. No spamming of emails from us. Promise. Remember the workbook is free and it really helps.
Week 3 – Declutter and Make Money
This week is all about cleaning up our humble abode (house, apartment, condo, hut). And how is this going to move us along on our goals? Excellent question, my friends. Read on to discuss:
- Financial Mindset Change
- 5 Simplicity Challenges
A Better Financial Mindset
The reality is we do not have many needs. We need a safe place to sleep, food, clean water, and clothes. The rest of the trappings are wants.
We want the fancy condo, the brand name clothes, and the beautiful entertainment center. Society and heavy marketing tell us these things make us happy, more desirable, and successful. Really, do we think brand name underwear makes a fat pack look better? We are better than this.
An important part of becoming financially independent is accepting that you need to live within your means. Do not over kick your coverage to impress others. This is how we get in financial trouble.
To be clear, we are not saying be satisfied. It is even okay to be mad at your current situation but learn to live within current means.
Don’t fake your financials until you make it. It doesn’t work out well for those who do.
Adopting a minimalist mindset helps reduce the consumer-based mindset that has been ingrained in our heads by the broader society. Simplicity removes barriers to financial independence.
Tackling clutter, repurposing items, and making homemade items can help reduce expenses. Additionally, decluttering gives the additional opportunity to make money.
As we condition on our journey towards financial independence, adding a little more cash to the coffer does help. So, let’s move on to some decluttering challenges to make money.
Declutter and Make Money Challenges
Sell all that stuff you no longer want. There are a ton of places to sell your treasures from the internet to consignment stores to a simple garage sale.
For fast cash, a garage sale works well. I am always surprised by how selling
junk treasures can bring in some additional cash. Consignment and internet have their place, especially for specialty items like antiques.
Below are a few challenges to try this week. The goal is to declutter and make money. It is time to rethink what is important.
1. Clothes Hanger and Shoe Challenge
I really love this challenge, because it works with even the most stubborn members of my family. It is hard to argue against a visual fact.
Turn all your clothes hangers backward in your closet. When you wear and return an item to your closet, turn the hanger the correct way.
For shoes, turn your shoes pointing outward. When worn, return facing towards the wall.
After a season is completed, look at the clothes with the hangers still backward in the closet and at the shoes with toes pointing towards you.
Do you still need those clothes and shoes? What can you sell, donate or trash?
2. Storage Challenge
Garage, attic, basement, off-site storage, shed, basement and junk closets are the true nightmare areas.
The extra stuff that we don’t know what do will, so it sits because someday we might need it.
Time to get real and ruthless. Pick a new area to conquer every week. It is painful, so pace yourself. Remember, we need money. Consider the following as you look at that storage spot:
- Is it broken? Don’t keep broken stuff. Fix it now or get rid of it.
- Have you used it in the last year? If no, it is probably time to let it go.
- How many spares do you need? My parents had 5 spare coffee pots. It is true. I now know where to go if there is a worldwide coffee pot shortage.
- Can the storage be consolidated? If you are paying for storage, can you consolidate your stuff with someone else or move to a smaller unit? Can you challenge yourself to completely empty a junk closet?
If you are struggling with the emotional side of letting go of stuff, read KatiesKottage’s blog for some useful tips.
It is legitimately hard to break the mindset that things do not define who we are as it has been taught to us for our whole life.
3. Hobbies Challenge
If the plan is to declutter and make money, consider selling crafts that you have made. Now, you might not be Etsy ready, but maybe you are and just don’t know it yet. Give it a shot.
A simpler idea is to bake up some cookies or loaves of bread to sell alongside your other items at the garage sale.
4. Books and DVDs Challenge
Books and DVDs are huge dust gathers. They also sell well at garage sales! If you have not read the book or watched the movie in the last year, it is time to let someone else own it.
Most importantly, stop the inflow.
Unless you think you will read the book or watch the movie multiple times, start borrowing or renting. Libraries are always a good place to start.
5. Box Challenge
Give every family member a box. Tell them to fill it with things to sell at the garage sale or to donate. It might be necessary to give a little incentive like sharing the profits with the kids. This can take the sting out the kids seeing their treasures for sale.
Lifestyle creep is so tempting and devious.
Sometimes we don’t even recognize the lifestyle creep, but it impacts your financial independence goals. Understanding the impact of our decisions helps us financially prepare for the consequences.
We are not defined by the things we own.
If you are interested in more decluttering ideas, read 10 Minimalist Challenges for Beginners.
Good luck with your decluttering and make some money!
Don’t forget to keep focused on the goals created in Week 1 and executing the plans. I know right about now you are probably thinking it is all this work worth it? YES!!!!! Keep working at it.
If you have a question or thought, feel free to contact us. We would love to hear how it is going with the challenge.
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Good Luck, WhipperSnapper Finance!