4 Top Money Lessons to Learn From Ruth Soukup's "Unstuffed"


What does clutter have to do with your finances? A lot more than you think. It can be easy to write off clutter as just an annoyance that keeps your home from being clean. However, clutter can have a stronger hold on your life. Not only does clutter take up your space, but it also can greatly affect your schedules, relationships, and finances, all while draining you physically and mentally.

Blogger and author Ruth Soukup gets to the root issue of clutter in many areas of our lives in her new book, Unstuffed. When I read it, I was surprised to find that this was not just a home organization book. There are also very important financial lessons strewn throughout, and when applied to your life, they could drastically change your clutter and financial issues. Here are some of the biggest money take-aways from the book.

See also: 8 Ways Clutter Keeps You Poor

Clutter Keeps Kids From Learning Important Financial Lessons

Many parents will probably agree that the biggest source of stuff in their homes comes from their children. As a parent, it is hard to not buy your children things, especially when you want to show them love. However, it is important to realize that the more stuff they have, the more spoiled and dissatisfied they can become. Many times, parents will buy items for their kids to solve their child's boredom or to remedy parental guilt.

This is just setting up our children for failure, since it does not properly teach your child to respect money or stuff. "Additionally," Soukup says, "fighting the battle of stuff alongside our kids, rather than only for them, will also help them learn virtually life lessons about the value of money, the reality of hard work (which includes caring for stuff!), and the responsibility of stewarding our resources wisely."

Learn to Give Your Presence, Not Your Presents

Soukup talks a lot about her aunt that loved to lavish her young girls with gifts for every major holiday. Finally, Soukup told the aunt it would be more important for her to spend quality time with the girls than to just get them stuff. Her aunt listened, and did a lot of fun things with them instead. A few years later, she passed away from cancer. Soukup was thankful that her girls had memories of her as a person, and not just the stuff she had given them.

Let this be encouragement for you personally to bless people with your time, not just your gifts. Memories will always have a bigger impact on relationships, and this applies to all relationships. You can never replace the quality of time with the quantity of stuff.

How to Deal With Family Members Who Love to Give

It can be hard to turn down well-meaning family members who love to buy you gifts for every holiday. However, sometimes well-meaning family members can make clutter situations worse. It might not be easy, but it is necessary to have a heart-to-heart talk with your family.

Tell them how important they are to you and that you love how thoughtful and generous they are. Share your struggles with clutter, and honestly say that you are trying to cut down on the amount of stuff and gifts that enter your home. Encourage them to give gifts of time instead. For example, if your mom loves to buy things for your daughter, suggest spending that money on special "Grandma-Granddaughter Dates" instead. When family members ask for gift suggestions, instead of saying "nothing," encourage them to take your children on a special trip to get ice cream or to buy family passes to a zoo or museum.

Talking with loved ones can be hard, and changes might not be immediate. It is important to remember to continue to love them and encourage them gently to gift their time rather than just stuff.

Don't Let High Value Keep You From Decluttering

Don't withhold from decluttering because of how much a particular item cost you. Many times people will hang onto an item because there is too much guilt attached to discarding it. They paid too much for that item, so they feel as if they are wasting money by getting rid of it.

If you're not using it and it is taking up space in your home, then it is doing you more of a disservice. "Better to sell it and recoup some of the loss than to keep it and gain nothing out of it," Soukup writes.

Soukup's book was packed with decluttering wisdom, as well as thoughtful tips on how to have better relationships and how to better use our time. Decluttering your life does not just mean getting rid of a lot of stuff in your home. Instead, it is important to free yourself from the negativity of having too much stuff, buying too much stuff, and having stuff clutter your calendar, relationships, and soul.

How do you deal with the clutter in your life?

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