by Susan McCarthy
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Everyday Practice: Shop with a list - and stick to it. If you get out of a store without making an impulse purchase, give yourself a mental high-five.
Weird confession. I’m drawn to colors. No, not, “Oh, I love that shade of blue.” Nope, not me. I want all the colors. If I’m looking at an item that comes in multiple colors, I want all of them. Fortunately, this weakness doesn’t extend to purchasing a tee shirt in each of the eighteen colors its offered (my wardrobe is black and gray).
However, I long for the set of Sharpie markers in the largest, most colorful set offered. Instead of buying a palette with two or three eye shadows, I buy the one with ten (neutral) colors. The last time I bought ball-point pens, I bought the pack with pink, green, red, purple, light and dark blue, and black. If I wrote color-coded notes or lists, this would make sense. But, no. I just use the pens as pens.
I once bought one skein of every color Red Heart offers for their Super Saver yarn. I filled four big plastic totes with the yarn that took me over two years to work through.
I have to be vigilant, particularly if I’m tired or stressed or rushed for time when I run into a store. Oooo, a box with 120 Crayola crayons!
When you notice your shopping weaknesses, you can better prepare yourself for not buying things that later overwhelm you when you realize they’ve become more clutter.
Avoid Recreational Shopping
The kids are bored, or you and your friend are getting together for a couple of hours and someone says, “let’s go to the mall.” Maybe you have no intention of buying anything and you think that you’ll just walk around and look.
If you are just getting into the habit of decluttering possessions, why tempt your new resolve by wandering around stores for entertainment?
Limit Online Shopping
I’m always saying that I hate shopping. What I should be saying is, I hate going into stores. Online shopping from the comfort of my home, no problem. Or, well, it is a problem because it’s a little too convenient. Know what I mean?
Scroll from screen to screen and you see far more options than you would have walking around the mall in the same amount of time. And, what about the daily emails from stores and websites? Every one of them offers free shipping or a 2-for-1 deal or a limited time sale that make us feel as if we’d be losing money if we didn’t buy something.
Identify Your Shopping Weaknesses
What tests your resolve to limit purchases? Shoes? Handbags? Books? Kitchen gadgets? Craft supplies? Beer-themed knickknacks for the man-cave?
If you know where or what your weaknesses are, you can decide to avoid them. Don’t go all “poor me, I can’t buy those adorable sandals.” Instead of thinking that you can’t buy something, rephrase it as a confident, “I choose not to buy those sandals. I’m working down my credit card debt and I’m cleaning my closet. Keep walking.”
If online shopping at 10 p.m. has you opening packages two days later, wondering what you were thinking, find something else to do at 10 p.m.
Limiting Shopping = Limited Clutter
While we tend to think of decluttering as going through the things we already own, noticing what your shopping weaknesses are can limit the number of new things that make their way into your house.
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Other helpful articles:
The Organized Squirrel, Susan, shows you how acorns (small habits) can grow into oak trees (a better life).