Introducing the concept of retreasuring

Chris Budd

Financial wellbeing can be derived from buying stuff. We call this retail therapy.

However the wellbeing from owning stuff is shortlived. Once you have worn it, eaten it, looked at it, inserted it, listened to it, stroked it or read it, the effect on your wellbeing wellbeing tails off.

In my book, Financial Wellbeing, I advocate redirecting spending to experiences in order to create memories, the wellbeing from which lasts longer than the wellbeing from owning stuff.

Article continues after advert

But there is another way to increase wellbeing from spending. It’s called: ‘Retreasuring’.

The process of accumulating stuff is enjoyable. But after a while that precious niknak becomes a dust collector. To use the correct jargon, stuff goes through the following phases:

Phase 1: Treasure

Phase 2: Paraphernalia

Phase 3: Clutter


Wellbeing increases from buying stuff but reduces from owning clutter. It is therefore logical that we should get rid of the clutter and buy more treasure.

This is the process known as ‘Retreasuring’. This is shown in the diagram below, called the “Treasure-Clutter” cycle.

Figure 1 – Treasure-Clutter cycle

Let us consider this process in more detail. The Treasure-Clutter cycle goes through different phases.

Figure 2 – Treasure-Clutter process

The Treasure Index (TI) is a measure of happiness and well-being derived from the acquiring and subsequent admiring of stuff.

The Clutterness Index (CI) is a measure of the pointlessness of an object. Some stuff acquires pointlessness quickly, such as dreamcatchers. Other stuff gains pointlessness more quickly when multiplied, such as candles and cushions.

Stuff achieves pointlessness at different rates, particularly between men and women. This is known as the gender clutter differential. We shall ignore this in this article, as it makes things too complicated and usually ends up in an argument.

Point Of Ambivalence

As the TI drops through familiarity and novelty degradation, the CI increases. Where these two indices cross we reach the point of ambivalence (POA).

If Treasure is not discarded or replaced at this point it becomes Paraphernalia. This is a confused state with features of both Treasure (“Oh darling, do you remember where we bought this?”) and Clutter (“Yes, it was in Morecambe with your mother.” “No, it was in Brighton when we got engaged. How can you not remember?”).

De-Clutter Zone (B)

As stuff is held for a period of time beyond the POA its CI rises and the TI drops. Sections B and C are known as the Paraphernalia Wilderness.

The period of travelling through the Paraphernalia Wilderness is known as Clutterisation, and the speed with which a person moves through this section is their ‘Clutterisationability’.

Ideally the process of Retreasuring should happen straight after the POI, however it is more common for this to be delayed until the CI is at its peak and the TI at its minimum.