I’ve been on a bit of a spring cleaning and decluttering kick lately. As part of this effort, a few weeks ago I decluttered my jewelry box. I came across a bit (not heaps, mind you) of gold and sterling silver jewelry from my high school days. You may know that high school wasn’t exactly last month for me, or even last year. Cripes, it wasn’t even last decade! So, you get the picture-this jewelry was old.

I decided it was time to say farewell to some of it. So I made a pile to give to my daughter and a pile to sell. Now, you may also know that I usually don’t sell things I’m ready to let go of. But I decided with all these ads about selling gold there might be something going on. I should give it a try. So I called a couple of local jewelers to see what the rates were and decided it all seemed reasonable. I trekked my little baggie of gold and silver to the first jewelry store. They only took gold. So I sold my gold and received a nice little check for my little baggie of gold. I then headed to a second local jewelry store, where I traded silver jewelry for $6 in cold, hard cash. The gold netted me a bit more, but all in all, the thing I was most aware of was how much time it took to get rid of my jewelry!

Going through my jewelry and deciding what to keep took time. Calling the jewelry store took time. Waiting for the jeweler to weigh my gold and write me a check took time. Driving to the second store and getting my $6 in cash took time. Cashing the check from the first jewelry store took even more time. Sure, I pocketed some cash for my time and decluttered my jewelry box too, but this didn’t come for free. It came with an investment of my most precious commodity-my time.

The bottom line is this: stuff equals time.

Every item you bring into your home, whether it is food, clothing, jewelry, books, magazines or anything else, requires your time. Stuff takes time to put away. Stuff takes time to use and put away again when you’re finished using it. And ultimately, when you don’t want your stuff any more, it takes time to get rid of it-whether you donate it, sell it or simply pitch it in the recycle bin.

It’s easy to make the connection between stuff and money. Stuff costs money. But, as you go about deciding which items to bring into your home, remember this: stuff equals time.

Which items are worth your time?

Remember, clearing clutter is a two way street. It’s a mix of deciding what to take out of your home, and then, becoming intentional about what you bring into your home. As you purchase new items, ask yourself this question: “Is this item worth my time?” If your answer is a resounding yes-bring it home. If your answer is “no,” leave the item behind. Then, pat yourself on the back knowing that you’ve not only saved yourself some money, but you’ve saved yourself something even more important-your time. Take that time, and go enjoy it.

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Aby Garvey is a creative organizing expert and simplify 101’s founder. She has created 14 online organizing classes, which she has been teaching since 2007, helping thousands of people around the world get organized. Aby loves to help people create positive change in their lives through her online classes and organizing eBooks.

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