Sunk Costs are Cluttering You & Your Home

So I was listening to Dave Ramsey on the radio a while ago and he was talking about a sunk cost* of an asset and or something that was perceived to be an asset in a caller’s home. This piqued my interest because I’m always fascinated by makeover stories whether it is someone getting their image overhauled or getting out of debt. He asked the caller if the asset in question here, a motorcycle,  was worth x amount today would he spend that money right now to buy it again. It was irrelevant what the motorcycle cost back when it was purchased, only what it was worth today. The caller said “no” so Dave told  him to sell it and  move on. I was impressed with his candor and his justification for making that suggestion quickly. How many times have I heard the following excuses (reasons) for holding on to something:

“……but I paid so much for it.”

“…..but I might get into that size again.”

“…..but I might take up archery/ ice climbing/ slalom skiing/ spelunking, etc again. I used to do it all the time 20 years ago.”

Whatever you spent on that equipment or outfit is a sunk cost and is not going to be retrieved. If you are going to seriously commit to the activities necessary to get into that size or hobby again, then by all means keep that equipment. It really is part of your life and you should keep it but you should also be using it and not leaving it in a cramped closet or garage. If it is just a hope, then let someone else enjoy and use those items. Keeping something that you hope to be able to use is wasteful and it is taking up precious space in your home and your ego. Either commit to using it or move on. It’s ok that you’re not going to be a superstar athlete or cheerleader anymore. That was great at the time but don’t spend precious time and energy hoping you’ll be that person again. There are many resources for donating or selling sporting equipment and clothes. You’ll feel better knowing that someone is able to benefit from it and you’ll love the extra space in your home.

Happy organizing!

* definition of a “sunk cost” is the following:

“In economics and in business decision-making, sunk costs are costs that have already been incurred and which cannot be recovered to any significant degree.”


2 thoughts on “Sunk Costs are Cluttering You & Your Home

  1. But, it is so hard. Especially if you were raised by depression era parents who never threw anything away. Somehow, they instilled the thought that throwing good stuff away was akin to murder.

    • I hear you, Pat! My grandmother lost her house in a fire and was raising kids during the depression so she still keeps EVERYTHING. If you have the space, that is less of an issue, but you still can’t keep it all. The human brain can only focus on so much. I find it comforting, while shedding excess stuff, to give it to needy recipients. I find that softens the blow of the loss to some extent.

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