You think you’re done paying for something when you swipe your payment card and pick up your shopping bag. But really, the biggest costs hit after you take the stuff home.
That’s because stuff takes up space . . . and space is more valuable than stuff. For example, if you live in a house, the cost of the house is almost certainly more than the combined cost of all the things you put inside. In economic terms, then, it is more important to make good use of the space inside the house than it is to preserve the value of the things you buy.
To help you keep your things in perspective, this calculator estimates the cost of the space taken up by one item you own (based on the size of the item and current U.S. real estate values). What you’ll usually find is that it is too expensive to keep something that you don’t actually use.
For more precise results, you can do similar calculations using the actual rent value of your space, taking into account your local real estate market. You can find this process, and much more about the meaning of clutter, in the book Fear of Nothing.