We talk a lot about decluttering and space clearing in our homes!
Why? Because we’re firm believers that too much stuff is not only physically oppressive. It’s also emotionally, mentally and financially heavy, too! So if you’re just starting out, halfway there or recently done with clearing out your house….each room, each closet and every drawer…. what happens next? If you’re not careful, you may start to stock up again! Your half full closet beckons you to add a few more tops. An end-of-season sale at the mall entices you to pick up new bedsheets. Or Amazon Prime Day ads convince you to shop for Christmas in July. How do you resist the allure of acquiring [too many] new things again? Read on for 5 strategies to keep retail “creepage” at bay!
Decluttering tip #1: Get comfortable living with less
It required effort to pare down your things. It also takes time to adjust to a minimalist decor and wardrobe.
Seeing space in your pantry, closet or bookcase will be a “new normal” for many. So often, when we discover something that we like, we automatically stock up on more. Find a navy sweater that fits well? Great! Why not get it in red and grey, as well? Yet think about the decision fatigue that can set in when we have too many choices in our wardrobe.
The same goes for your bedroom or living room.
Perhaps you cleared out dozens of knickknacks and books which accumulated over the years. Naturally, your space will look a bit bare at first. But give yourself some time to appreciate the clarity and simplicity of displaying only your favorite things. Now they can really pop when they are on display, front and center!
In other words, allow yourself a 30 day retail shopping ban.
Appreciate the beauty of less: less dusting, less spending and less chaos. Feel the value of more: more space, more clarity and more freedom. Drink in the peace of simplicity!
Decluttering tip #2: Be mindful of the Internet
Ads appear everywhere when we surf the Net, Facebook, or Instagram…even our daily e-newsletters are filled with suggestions to buy!
Anything you looked at gets tracked with cookies and then those items “mysteriously” spring up in the sidebar as you browse. But nothing is a bargain if you really don’t need it. Saving 30%? In fact, you actually spend 70% on something unnecessary!
Retailers lure us with promises of special discounts when we opt in to their mailing lists. They know that sending you regular notifications of “flash sales” or “advance VIP notifications” will increase the likelihood of a purchase. Your best defense? Disregard the ads. Shop only when it’s time to replace something essential.
In fact, consider taking one of these two actions: Have a secondary email account dedicated to on-line purchases. This keeps the compelling ads out of your primary account. Or sign up for the mailing list in order to qualify for a discount. But then unsubscribe once you’ve received your item. You can always sign up again when it’s time to make an essential purchase. Just don’t forget to opt out again afterwards.
Additionally, one more “retail risk” to be aware of is having your credit card number stored for ready access.
It’s certainly convenient when you don’t have to enter in the account number, expiration date and CID number each time. But think how easy that makes it to pull the trigger on a purchase that might warrant a second thought. Truthfully, many of us have our credit card digits memorized already which illustrates the slippery slope of impulse buying.
Decluttering tip #3: Beware of Target
This is a tough one!
Who doesn’t love the hip vibe of on-trend clothing at within-reach prices? The artfully displayed contemporary room decor? The beckoning color-drenched towels? Sadly, it’s a landmine to maneuver the aisles! Before you know it, you’ve loaded your big red cart with a dozen items you didn’t know you needed. If this is your go-to store for certain items, mindfulness is the key to staying on course with your wallet.
Honestly, I myself just needed to “break up” with Target for a while…it is just too easy for me to drop money in this store!
A time-out was just the ticket for me as a first step. Next, a pre-store pep talk was in order to ignore the numerous shiny objects calling for my dollars. I also realized that not shopping alone helps immensely. If you can have an “accountability partner” with you, that’s great fortification to buy only what is needed. But if that’s not always possible, then bring your own accountability tool as recommended in the next tip: create a shopping list.
Decluttering tip #4: Stick to your shopping list
Whether on your phone or an old school piece of paper, have a plan before heading to the store.
Without a strategy, it’s easy to succumb to whatever catches our eye.
Grocery shopping? Take a few minutes to create a meal plan for the week. This avoids pantry overload.
Clothes shopping? Review what you have now to ensure you don’t buy duplicates.
A shopping list is like a map: it provides direction to keep you heading where you want to be. Think about it this way: having a plan puts you in control, not the retailers.
Decluttering tip #5: One in, one out
Lastly, donating or tossing out an old item whenever a new one is purchased is fundamental to keeping your home streamlined.
Do you find yourself hesitating to release your existing jacket/book/lamp? Maybe it means you don’t need the new one! Perhaps you’re just feeling tired of the current item and having a new one would feel exciting. We get that!
But is more always better? Think about how fewer choices can be liberating, especially when it’s about choosing among the things you truly need, use and love.
Give your newly cleared space a chance to provide clarity and peace of mind.
We are constantly bombarded with marketing messages to buy. We are subtly coaxed to buy this or that in order to look good, feel good or be relevant. It takes stepping back to thoughtfully determine when we truly need to make a purchase. And it requires forming new decluttering habits to keep our homes clear.
Here’s another take on retaining a streamlined lifestyle: a thoughtful and smart video from the timeless Jenny Mustard! She explains how to avoid “retail therapy”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E2PnwZs9krg
What’s your biggest challenge with keeping your home clear? Any tips you can share with us? As always, we welcome your comments below… and thanks for stopping by!