Dear Husband and I have reduced a lot of the clutter that we accumulated over the years, and it’s been freeing. We’ve got a ways to go (like in the garage!), but in rooms where we’ve decluttered, the shelves, closets, and tabletops are now organized and easier to keep clean. DH and I just have to make sure we don’t refill those areas with freshly bought stuff. Here are seven tips we’ve successfully used to STOP buying clutter:
1. Make a place for it first. Do you have one empty spot in the kitchen cabinet and want a deep fry skillet? Great, you have room for it. But that doesn’t mean you buy the skillet and the matching omelet pan. There is only a place for the skillet.
2. If you are an emotional shopper (and even if you’re not), then STOP shopping, at least for awhile until you’ve got a new mindset. Send a spouse or a sweet friend with a list of items “and only those items.” This person will understand that you are trying to quit overspending, trying to stop using shopping as an emotional crutch, and trying to quit bringing home clutter. You may have to do a favor in return, but that’s okay. It’ll be fun to help someone out knowing he or she kept you from buying unnecessary items.
3. Delete your personal PayPal account. It’ll make it that much more tedious to proceed through website checkouts, giving you an extra minute to double-think that purchase.
4. Avoid the pretty stores. We all know our weaknesses. Is it the colorful craft store? (I admit that’s mine.) The organic grocery? Maybe the hip children’s store whose clothes your grandkids like? Stay far, far away. Don’t even have “just a look-see.”
5. Know your spending limit BEFORE you go to the store. This is shopping advice we hear all the time from financial experts because it truly works if you stick to your limit.
6. Ask your spouse, teen or adult child, or best buddy to go on a one week NO-spending spree with you, and check-in with each other daily. Be kind and supportive if the other person messes up one day. And if you mess up one day, get back on track so you don’t mess up the other 6 days. Kudos to my sister for just completing a three week no-spending spree. (Three weeks–she had a lot of food to use up in the freezer!)
7. The next time you have to go to the store, see how many strategies the store uses to entice you into buying, and then smile when you say to yourself, “I’m not going to fall for it this time!” I easily spotted three strategies this past week when I had to shop for necessities:
•An artistic, huge, colorful, and downright glittery Valentine’s display at the entrance to the store. We shoppers had to walk all the way around the enticing display when we entered.
•“Shake me!” It was a little novelty that I would have passed by except for an eye-catching tag in black and neon green that encouraged me to pick it up and shake it. The item was motion activated and lit up. “How fun! I want that,” was my immediate reaction . . . before I came to my senses.
•The shelves at the checkout stand held small doodads that’d be ever so easy to toss into the shopping cart. There were batteries, lip balm, candy, and gift cards.
•Maybe you can spot even more strategies stores use to try to get you to part with your money, but be smart and don’t fall for them.
Make this day even better. Consider:
- Do a few cleaning chores. You’ve been blessed with your home; show your appreciation by taking care of it. When you are finished cleaning, stand still for a moment and admire your work. Me, I like the daylight coming through the bathroom window and making the freshly scoured tub gleam. I try to remember that feeling because it is a great motivation for the next time I clean.