What's the Deal: The cost of clutter

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The cost of clutter: Alicia Vitarelli reports on Action News at 11 p.m., May 16, 2018 (WPVI)

Clutter. Sure, it's an eyesore, but one New Hope organizing expert says the impact goes much deeper than what the eye can see.

If you are looking for some inspiration to tidy up and get your things in order, consider what she calls the hidden cost of clutter.

What you can't find will cost you and when it comes to clutter the first impact is financial.

"It's 'Oh...I'm making a recipe and I need to go out and get this spice because my cabinet is a mess," said Laurie Palau.

It seems easier to go out and replace things than to take the time to look for them, and after a while that adds up.

But Palau, the author of "Hot Mess- A Practical Guide to Getting Organized" says the cost goes much deeper than your wallet.

Palau said the acronym to think about is FAST: frustration, anxiety, stress and time.

She said the frustration can be instant.

"You are spending time looking for things, whether your kids can't find their soccer cleats or you are saying 'I know I have this! Where is it?'" Palau said.

She said the frustration then leads to anxiety, as in you have this anxiety that you can't find your keys and it's going to make you late for work.

Next comes stress, which Palau said starts to spread across your home and into every arena of your life.

"It's the little things that drive us the craziest and cost us the 10 minutes that we just don't have," she said.

Finally, Time. We know it's money, but consider this: Palau says the average person spends an hour a day looking for things.

"That accumulates over the course of a year to about 2 weeks of time," she said. "You could take a vacation in the time you take to look for stuff you know you have!"

So how can you fix the problem? Palau says the solution is simple - just give everything a home. She says to start slow, but to stay committed.

"If you're feeling overwhelmed, just pick the biggest pain point," she said. "If every day you're scrambling to find your cell phone or your keys that's the area where you start."

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