The past couple weeks have opened up the door to strange e-mails coming into my inbox. Apparently, when the U.S. stock exchange goes on a roller coaster ride, this is the time to send angry messages to the editor of an organizing and simple living website.
I haven’t been replying to the messages because I have learned that people who write these messages don’t actually want a response. They don’t imagine a human receiving their rants, and a response only infuriates them. More importantly, they’re not usually regular readers of the site, and I’d rather spend my time helping our constituency.
However, I realized that I may not be the only recipient of similarly themed comments. If you are someone who chooses to live an uncluttered lifestyle, people may be saying comparable things to you. (Granted, they probably have more tact than what I receive in anonymous e-mails.) So, I have decided to address a few of these questions here, to help you formulate a response if confronted by a person who disagrees with your choice to live simply during times of economic flux.
“You are so stupid!! How can you suggest that people get rid of things when we’re headed toward a Great Depression?”
Owning clutter is never a financially prudent endeavor. It costs money to store objects (mortgage, rent, heating, cooling, humidity control, storage supplies), and the more clutter you own the more money you have to spend to store your things. If you have things piled on your floor, it restricts air movement in your space, and the fan on your heating or cooling system has to run longer and harder–which costs you more money. If you have stuff shoved into closets and cabinets or crammed into your basement, it is difficult to notice little cracks, leaks, and other problems in the structure of your home. You don’t see the small issues appear, and then you have to spend thousands of dollars repairing what would have been an inexpensive quick fix earlier in the game. It’s also difficult to identify if you get bugs or pests in your home because you won’t see them until you have an infestation. Additionally, if you have clutter in your car, you earn worse gas mileage than when your car is lighter. A cluttered car costs you more at the gas pump. The list of ways clutter costs you money is virtually endless.
“You’re promoting the recession by telling people not to buy things!!!”
Regular readers of Unclutterer.com know that we support smart consumerism. We define smart consumerism as buying products and services that are high quality, built to last, have consistent utility for the person using the product or service, and improve and/or inspire your life. Regardless of economic recession or growth, this is the type of consumer behavior we recommend. Frivolous buying for the sole purpose of owning more things is always a bad idea.
“Once again, you recklessly suggest that people spend money to buy something when you should be telling people to save their money.”
See the previous response, and add the following: Buying products and services when they are necessary and/or extremely useful can sometimes save a person time and money over the long term. (Note the example with home repairs discussed in my first response.)
“I’m looking forward to when the depression hits and you and all your readers wish they wouldn’t have taken your advice.”
Wow. Looking forward to a depression is messed up.
Seriously, though, it isn’t typically the organized, productive worker making money for his company who is laid off in leaner times. When companies have to make layoffs, they often start with the employees who don’t have a positive impact on the balance sheet. This isn’t always the case, good employees can be let go when a company goes out of business or for lots of other reasons, but it’s still a decent rule of thumb. The productivity and office organizing advice we provide on our website hopefully helps people to be more efficient workers and stay in their jobs as long as they want to be in them. We can’t promise the moon, but sharing what we know about productivity and office organizing seems more responsible than keeping it to ourselves.
Have you run into any simple living nay-sayers? What have you heard and how did you respond?