If you're anything like me, you've probably been lured into the trap of a fantastic sale. You know the feeling: your heart races, your palms sweat, and you exclaim, “It's on sale!” I mean – you have to get it, right? No. Actually, you do not. By constantly partaking in retail therapy, you are undoing any and all decluttering you have attempted so far. And suddenly, you find yourself buried under a mountain of unnecessary items.
Now, I'm not saying all sales are bad. It's just that sometimes, we need to take a step back and ask ourselves, “Do I really need this?” If you are in the process of decluttering your home, I can assure you that you do not NEED it until you have decluttered your home.
The Sale Dilemma – Laugh It Off, But Take It Seriously
Look, I get it. We all love a good bargain. But, let's be honest, do you actually need that 7th coat in your closet, even if it was only $6? It's time to hit the brakes on impulse purchases and make more thoughtful decisions. After all, decluttering isn't just about getting rid of stuff but also about not adding more clutter to your home in the first place.
When I help others declutter, I can't help but question why they buy new things. Or why they have so much of one type of item. Usually, the response I get is, “But it was on sale,” and that makes no sense to me. Why would your child need 6 coats, 3 backpacks, and 5 lunch boxes? These aren't daily items like socks and underwear. Buying the next size up? Sure. But this excessive need for more, or extra in case one gets dirty (or you lose one because of an overflowing house), is a vicious cycle.
The “How Many Do You Really Need?” Reality Check
I am not really a minimalist, but I do understand and acknowledge the benefits of less is more. For instance, my kids have 4 sets of pajamas per season. I could have 20 sets and not wash them as often, but then when I do the laundry; I'll have much more to wash. Rather, I keep the minimum amount on hand and do their laundry 2-3 times weekly. The laundry loads are smaller, so I can get them done quicker, and their closet and room are less messy because I can efficiently store them in their room.
Shoes? 5 pairs per kid (church, school, water, rain boots, and play shoes). Cups? 3 straw cups per kid (for school and travel) and a set of plastic cups from the dollar store (well, the dollar and a quarter store) if needed. Keeping less on hand equals less work on the maintenance side of your decluttering journey. If your kitchen counter is covered in cups, and your family can keep grabbing a new clean cup, the mess will only get bigger. Limit the options, and increase efficiency. Keep less and have to maintain less.
Retail therapy is the act of shopping to make yourself feel better. There is a mood boost associated with shopping, even if you are just window shopping. Retail therapy doesn't have to be a purchase. Rather, just going “shopping” is enough to boost your mood.
So, don't let the excuse for why you are purchasing unnecessary items be that they were for retail therapy. Science suggests that window shopping has the same effect as resisting the urge to purchase something when limiting impulsive spending and buying. If you need your retail therapy – that's great – but that doesn't mean you need to buy a single thing.
Yes, I will also talk about bargain groups, pallet groups, and all the groups in your social media newsfeed tempting you with a good deal. I was a compulsive shopper when the boys were little. I had to unfollow, leave, and no longer accept new invites to any group selling an item I might think I needed or wanted. (If you are currently a friend of mine, and I haven't accepted your invite to the pallet group you started, this is why. Sorry, not sorry.)
And you know what happened? I stopped buying things just because they were a good deal. I stopped seeing items that piqued my interest, and I made an excuse for needing to purchase them. Even better, I no longer have to shop for a deal or coupon to get a new item that I actually want or need because I've saved all of the money from no longer purchasing the “deals” just because they are a deal.
The P.A.U.S.E. Approach – A Way to Shop Smarter
Before you make your next purchase, let's put our shopping habits under the microscope. Introducing the P.A.U.S.E. approach, a series of questions to help you determine if you truly need an item:
- Purpose: Will this item serve a specific purpose in my life? Does a current item in your home already serve that purpose?
- Affordability: Can I afford it without stretching my budget or going into debt? Could the funds be better used somewhere else?
- Urgency: Do I need this item right now, or can I wait? If it is for later, can you properly store it until needed?
- Space: Do I have a place to store this item without causing clutter? Are you able to clear out something to make room?
- Essential: Is this item essential to my or my family's well-being? Do you have an actual need for the item, or is that need already being met with another item you have?
Remember, just P.A.U.S.E. and ask yourself these questions before adding anything to your cart. If you are in the midst of your decluttering journey, you must P.A.U.S.E the excessive purchases in your life. Not forever. Not for everything. But for now, to get your home in shape, you have to allow yourself some time to clear out your home before filling it back up.
Stop the Shop: 21-Day Retail Therapy Rehab Challenge
It's time to put our newfound wisdom into practice! Introducing the Stop the Shop: 21-Day Retail Therapy Rehab Challenge, where we'll commit to avoiding unnecessary purchases for 21 days. Are you up for it?
Sign up for our email challenge to join the Stop the Shop Challenge. You'll receive daily tips, tricks, and encouragement to help you stay strong and focused on your decluttering journey directly to your inbox. Just imagine the progress you'll make in your home when you stop filling it with more clutter! Since this challenge is completed via email, you can jump in whenever you are ready to conquer the excessive purchases for your home!
So, there you have it, folks! I hope I didn't upset anyone, but if you truly want to declutter your home, you have to stop bringing new items in. Let's work together to conquer the Retail Therapy mentality and pave the way for a cleaner, more organized home. Remember, the power to change our habits lies within us. So, go forth and P.A.U.S.E., and let's make some serious progress in decluttering our lives!