It may come as a surprise to those of you who know me, but I love to shop! Yes, me, the same person who sells, consigns or donates everything and anything she doesn’t need, want or use; the same person who is so anti-clutter her friends know the best house gift is one that disappears with use (i.e., wine, candles, etc.). But the difference between you and me is that I understand the basic principle, which is if you want to get organized, you need to stop shopping.

But back to shopping… I love meeting friends for lunch and window-shopping. I love going into a store and feeling the excitement of the approaching holidays; I love seeing the newest fashions, feeling the fabrics and appreciating the workmanship and beauty of a well-made dress, handbag or pair of shoes; but most of all, I love coming home empty handed (most of the time).

For many people, shopping is an Olympic sport, which, unfortunately, after the roar of the crowds subsides, leaves them not with a gold medal, but with piles of things they don’t need.

Please understand, I’m not suggesting you stop shopping altogether, but I am telling you: The only way to stay organized is to put an end to the never-ending profusion of more stuff in your life (and in your home). In other words, you need to reassess your need to acquire more stuff.

To help you get started, here are some ideas—some a little more drastic than others—to help you hit the brakes when it comes to shopping. I’m hoping you’ll be willing to try at least one of the following strategies:

No clothes shopping!  This one’s a no-brainer. First, you need to completely organize—and by that I mean cull and purge—your closets so that you are left with only those items you truly love. Once your closets are organized, and you can actually see what you have, you need to make a pact to shop in your closets, and NOT in a store (or online) for at least three, if not more, months.

Not only will you save money, but you’ll have more time to do the things you want to do, such as spending quality time with your family, playing sports, reading and, of course, organizing your entire home.

Need versus Want: Grab a piece of paper, divide it into two columns, one for “wants” and one for “needs.” Starting today, every time you think you have to buy something, write it down in one of the two columns, being sure to be judicious when deciding which column to use. For example, I “need” a new saucepan because the one I currently own is dented, making it impossible to put a lid on it. I “want” a new pair of UGGs in hot pink because I like the color. You’ll be amazed how few things you actually “need.”

Online shopping: Yes, shopping online is fun and convenient, but it’s also a costly endeavor. If you see something online that you “think” you must have, do NOT click “add to shopping cart.” Instead, close the tab and put your computer or electronic devices away. If, in 30 days, you’re still thinking about purchasing the item, then, and only then, should you revisit the website where you first saw it.

Matching hangers: Although getting organized goes far beyond sorting through your clothes, shoes and accessories, closets are always a good place to start when seeking organizational Nirvana. I suggest doing a major tidy-up and purge before purchasing matching hangers. The secret is to buy the exact number of hangers for what remains in your closet after the purge. Then, going forward, whenever you run out of hangers, you’ll know it’s time to start pitching. The secret is NOT to buy more hangers, or worse, to use the hangers you get from Target when buying something, or worse, using dry cleaning hangers instead of returning them to your dry cleaner to re-use.

Buy one, purge two: If you can’t resist the “call of the mall,” you’ll have to surrender to the tried-and-true “buy one” rule, but this time around, instead of getting rid of one item, you’ll need to get rid of two items for every new item you buy. If that’s not enough incentive to stop shopping for six months, I don’t know what is!

As you go through the process of getting organized, it’s important to remember that what you own does not define who you are.