If you've ever watched one of those hoarder TV shows, you already know that compulsive shopping often leads to big problems with clutter. But what about impulsive shopping? While it may not lead you into bankruptcy or land you on an episode of "Hoarders: Buried Alive", making purchases without thinking them through beforehand could be unraveling all of your grand plans to get organized.
The first step in any organization project is to purge items that aren't really needed to create more room for the ones that are. One of the most common comments I hear from clients during this process is "But I paid good money for this and never even used it," or "I'd definitely use that if only I had a good place for it." Worse still, "Oh, I totally forgot I had these and just bought more last week."
Plan before you buy!
Whether it's a new armchair or a new paring knife, knowing when, where, and how you will use it and store it are decisions that should be made before you even get to the cash register. Without a plan in place, you run the risk of adding to your existing clutter and possibly wasting your time, effort and money. Consider the following scenarios:
- You get that beautiful mirror home only to realize you need help hanging it. Since you live alone and hadn't thought about that, it sits...and sits...and sits, taking up valuable space and getting in your way.
- Those shoes are perfect for your new outfit, but your closet is already stuffed. You toss them on the chair in the corner of your bedroom on top of your new boots and the two dresses you bought last week. You tell yourself you'll find room for all of them the next time you organize your closet.
- The price on a new stand mixer is just too good to pass up! It's too heavy to keep in a cabinet, so it gets added to your already over-crowded counter top, making food preparation a challenge.
- You stumble upon the perfect birthday gift for your mother, so you buy it and stash it in a closet somewhere when you get home. When her birthday rolls around, you can't remember where you put it and end up having to go out and buy her something else. Meanwhile, the original gift still occupies the shelf where you put it...space that could be put to better use...perhaps even space you could use for those new shoes?
Freebies aren't really free!
These questions also apply to all those freebies you collect and bring home. You'd be surprised how much less appealing all those giveaways appear when they are cluttering up your drawers and surfaces. The truth is, nothing is truly "free"...it costs you space and overhead. One of my favorite quotes from a fellow organizer is "Treat everything like a gallon of milk and put it away as soon as you get home with it." If you truly follow this rule, you won't be as likely to buy on impulse. If you don't know where its designated home will be at your house, perhaps you should leave it in the store for now. Next time you clean out your closets (or your car), you'll be glad you did!
With a little impulse control, even decluttering can be easy peasy!