It might seem obvious to hang onto everything that might be useful when you’re trying to save money. However, you might actually be able to pay off debt by decluttering even faster! Here’s how.
By Shannon, Contributing Writer
It might at first make more sense to try and hang onto every little item that might someday be useful, especially when you’re looking at months or years of paying off debt. After all, who wants to have to go out and buy something again they just got rid of?
However, at the same exact time our family started paying off debt, I also started a big decluttering project. I found that my minimalist tendencies actually helped me find ways to pay off debt faster in some surprising ways, and 9 months later we were debt free!
7 Surprising Ways to Pay Off Debt by Decluttering
1. Declutter to make room for buying in bulk.
Cutting my grocery budget was a big way that we were able to save money to get out of debt. Specifically, buying in bigger quantities can save 50% or more on groceries! We couldn’t have fit bulk food purchases into our little house without clearing some clutter first.
2. Declutter, so you can use what you have.
I can’t tell you how many times I have been decluttering and have ended up crossing something off my shopping list because I already had some of what I thought I needed in the back of the cupboard!
Decluttering and getting organized is a great way to take inventory of what you already have, so you can use it up before you spend money on buying more.
When we were working to pay off debt I took this to the extreme with my $170 grocery budget.
3. Spend less time cleaning and organizing, and more time saving and earning.
One of the things about paying off debt fast is that it will take a lot of your time and focus. With all the clutter gone, you’ll spend less time cleaning and organizing, so you can spend more time looking for ways to save money or earn extra income from home.
4. Earn extra cash by selling your stuff.
The obvious, of course, is that you can find things around your house that you don’t need anymore to sell.
One of my favorite examples is one I shared in my 21 Day Savings Challenge. Though we have been working on decluttering more and more since early in our marriage, we still found several items of value, some brand new, to sell.
My husband hopped on Amazon and set up a listing. A few weeks later, I got an email telling me the item had sold. I took it to the post office, and the next day I got another email telling me that $65.47 was on its way to my bank account. Sweet!
So of course, I was super motivated to started looking around the house for more ways to clear some clutter and make a little extra towards our savings goal.
5. With less stuff to store, you can make do with less space.
Once you downsize your stuff, you can consider moving to a smaller house to save money, or simply letting go of a storage unit to free up some funds.
6. Once all the clutter is cleared, it’s easier to take better care of what you have.
When your home is full of things you need and love, it’s easier to prioritize taking good care of these things. With better care and maintenance, they’ll last longer, and you won’t have to spend money to replace them. Of course, any extra money that’s left over can instead go towards paying off your debt!
7. Decluttering helps you find your ‘enough’.
As I let go of the clutter, hanging onto just the things I needed and loved, I felt a growing sense of contentment.
As you declutter, you’ll probably ask the question many times whether you need or want something, and that is a great habit to build to help you too become familiar with what ‘enough’ looks like in your home.
I have no doubt decluttering will change the way you spend, reminding you to think twice before making that next purchase.
If you love the idea of decluttering to pay off debt but aren’t quite sure where to start, I created a printable week-by-week decluttering checklist to help.
Paying off debt makes a difference
Of course, decluttering was just one of the crazy things we did to get out of debt, but the practice and mindset that grew out of decluttering made a huge impact on helping us pay off debt faster.
I love this quote one of my frugal friends shared with me. It so perfectly sums up how living a simpler, more intentional, and yes, decluttered life can help improve our finances and bring opportunities to pay off debt faster:
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.”
What’s your best decluttering tip or success? Share your story in the comments!
Thank you for this post! Me and my husband are trying to pay off debt and just live more simple….these are great ideas!
I’m so glad you found it helpful! Blessings to you on paying off the debt!!
The moment when I sold items and put all the money in a jar I realized how much money I spent on never used items.
I have no depths, indeed, but this is not a reason to not pay attention to my money – I am working hardly for these 🙂
This post came at the right time. I just decided today I have to de-clutter because I cannot focus on other things and work efficiently when I am living among chaos! Thank you for another reason to remind me to get motivated to get it done! 🙂
Thank you for this post! As my wife and I work to get out of debt, we are also working to get our house cleaned up and get rid of things that we don’t need. I can’t even count the number of garbage bags that we have used to throw things out already (but I can tell you that they almost filled a dumpster. Twice.) And we have packed our car so full of stuff to bring to Goodwill that we couldn’t even see out the review mirror – multiple times. Plus we sold some bigger pieces of furniture and brought a few pieces that were worthless to the burn pile. It’s okay living with less – in fact, it’s helped because our house is more calm and we are more able to focus on how to get out of debt rather than how to get out of clutter. We still have more to go on our journey to living simply and living debt free, but we are well on our way! We paid off over $8,000 in the last 2 months! 🙂 Thanks for the help!
Thanks for the tips. I love that your post is not just focused around selling your stuff.
These are such great tips! I am on a decluttering/purging spree lately and it feels sogood to lighten up. We used to keep so much stuff “in case we need it someday” but what is the point of doing that when we can never find anything??
Amazon doesn’t let people (unless they own a business) sell much of anything except books, but there are numerous auction groups on Facebook where you can make a lot of money selling your stuff. My sisters-in-law do this like a part time job, and make quite a bit at it!
Thanks for sharing the idea!
Trying to figure out how to sell clothes, some almost new, some older. I recently lost quite a few pounds and almost my whole wardrobe does not fit anymore. I gave some ti charity but could use some money to get new.
Rebecca, there are several options I can name off the top of my head:
1. Check into any local consignment shops or sales. The ones where you get to name your own price will get you the most money.
2. If they are name brand, especially, list them on Craigslist and/or any local buy/sell/trade Facebook groups or even EBay.
3. Sell them on ThredUp.com or Swap.com.
I hope that helps! Best wishes to you and congrats on the weight loss!
(sigh) Thank you so much for this article. You don’t know how desperately I want to declutter. It just seem so over whelming. My husband and I argue bc I want to sell things he just wants to give them away. Which I’ve done several times in the past, but we are trying to get out debt, so I want to sell things. But waiting for them to sell, and then keeping them organized (every time I finally get an interest I can’t find the item or I’ve finally donated it and then I’m like “rats I could’ve made a few bucks on it.”)
I can understand your frustrations. It is hard to keep things with the hopes of selling. For now, I tend to only sell the items that will hopefully get me the best return. You are definitely not alone in your frustrations!
When I shop I ask is this a want or a need? For baby clothes I get free hand me downs and layer the summer clothes instead of buying more clothes for winter. Some tights or cardigans work great. I do this for myself as well. I also keep my clothes for up to about six years until they are well loved.