Featured Image My friend sent me a meme last week that said, “Look around you. All that clutter used to be money,” and it spoke to my soul. Anyone who knows me knows that my house cannot be cluttered. My counter tops have to be cleared or it drives me insane. On top of that, I try as much as possible to stay money savvy so really linking money with clutter struck a chord with me. Most everything in your home costs you something and if you’re feeling overwhelmed by “stuff” then maybe it’s time to put the brakes on spending. With a two-year-old and a baby it’s pretty much unavoidable to keep a clutter-free home. We used to have a toy room, now we have a toy “area” in every room of the house. Each room has some type of baby gear or toddler toy and it can be overwhelming. But in reality, my daughter hasn’t touched some of her toys in months and sometimes finding the exact toy she wants is hard to find in the sea of toys flooding our home. I can’t blame everything on the kids though (or can I?). My husband and I have more than enough “stuff” of our own. For example, my husband HAD to have a bigger TV for our living room. I fought it for years and caved this past winter for his birthday. I am now enjoying the benefits of a bigger TV but we have an extra perfectly usable TV and nowhere to put it. I TRY my best to limit screen time for my littles and refuse to put a TV in their bedroom. The Paw Patrol theme song is stuck in my head enough as it is, keeping it contained downstairs is good for all of us. So what’s my game plan? Declutter, buy less and use a minimalist mindset. Declutter- Luckily ever spring my community hosts a neighborhood-wide yard sale. They put up signage and advertise in the local paper. All we have to do is put our stuff on the front lawn. This year, I’m getting prepped early and determined to sell as much as possible. I’ve also been slowly letting go of all my baby gear. My brother and sister-in-law are due with a baby at the end of summer so everything my son outgrows immediately gets shipped to their house. Buy less- TJ Maxx and Target are now my arch nemesis. I never go into these stores intending to drop money on things I don’t need but as I’m sure you can relate; they have cute stuff for a “great deal” and it’s hard to resist. I don’t need new picture frames but when I see the display with the couch, coordinating pillows and cute accents suddenly my living room doesn’t seem so cute. I convince myself that these frames will add the pop of color I need in my boring living room. BUT If I avoid walking into these stores that I know are my weakness, then it’s a lot easier for me to not spend my money. I’m more content with what I have if I’m not looking at what I don’t. Minimalist mindset – I do believe that too much clutter can take away the good. More stuff doesn’t mean more fun or more happiness. In fact, it can be quite the opposite. I don’t know about you but when I declutter I feel like a weight has been lifted. It puts me a in a good mood when my house is neat, organized and I can find what I need when I need it. But where I struggle is keeping more “stuff” at bay. I’m trying my best to be very mindful of what comes into my home from now on. If it doesn’t truly add value or serve a purpose, IT. MUST. GO. Audra F. Hi, I’m Audra! I’m a marketing specialist here at VACU. I joined VACU right out of college at VCU 5 years ago. In that time, I got engaged, married my college sweetheart and had two babies; a girl and a boy. I’ve learned a lot about finances working at the credit union, but even more from navigating these life changes. So I’m excited to share my personal financial journey with you and what I’m learning along the way. Other stories by Audra F.