I love shopping! Yes, me, the same person who recently sold/consigned/gave away every single piece of furniture and accessory in her living and dining rooms in order to start fresh with the minimal amount of “stuff” in her life and the same person who is so anti-stuff her friends know only to bring perishable house gifts when visiting.
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.
But just because the proverbial tiger can’t (won’t) change his spots, doesn’t mean you can’t change for the better and adopt a new attitude when it comes to shopping. To help you get started, here are some ideas – some a little more difficult than others – but I’m hoping you’ll be willing to try at least one of the following strategies:
The 365-day challenge: A few years ago I challenged friends to dispose of 365 items in 365 days. This didn’t mean one-thing-a-day, but rather 365 items in a year.
The easiest way to approach this de-cluttering challenge is not to try and organize one room all at once, but rather to tackle one drawer (cabinet, shelf, box, bin…) at a time. For example, one day, while “on hold” with Comcast (need I say more?) I sorted through the kitchen utensil drawer, pitching one garlic grater (I’m not a fan of garlic), one spatula (how many spatulas does one person need), one cake tester (I don’t bake) and one ice cream scoop (I don’t eat sugar) all in less than a minute.
Try and keep track of everything you dispose of (sell, consign, donate) until you hit your goal. You’ll be amazed at the progress you’ll make when you write everything down.
40 days of Lenten – – no shopping! I’m guessing the idea of a 365-day purge is freaking a few too many people out, so why not start small and take baby steps to a more organized and simplified YOU? One of my clients came up with this brilliant idea, where she actually got rid of one item every day during the 40 days of Lent. To make the act of purging extra special, she donated everything to a local shelter.
Take the dare and go six months without shopping! This one’s a no brainer! Not only will you save money, but you’ll have more time to do the things you want to do, such as organizing your closets, the kitchen and pantry, the garage and the kids rooms, when you’re not shopping and when you’re not returning items you don’t need, want or like.
During this six-month period of abstinence, write down the things you think you need; my guess is after six months, you’ll realize you really didn’t need anything after all and that you were able to survive by shopping in your own closet.
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 want 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 UGG’s in hot pink because I like the color. You’ll be amazed how few things you actually “need”
Matching hangers: Although getting organized goes far beyond sorting through your closets, closets are a good place to start when seeking organizational Nirvana. I suggest doing a major tidy-up and purge and then 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, when you run out of hangers, you’ll know it’s time to start pitching since you’re not allowed to “cheat” by buying more hangers, or worse, using those nasty dry cleaner hangers.
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; what you own does not define you and above all else, you are stronger than all the “stuff” in your life.