How to stop shopping too much and collecting future clutter

Someone recently asked me for some tips on how to stop shopping so much with a view to collecting less clutter in the future. This has become all too easy in the current conditions where we’re spending more and more time at home, attached to our phones and sometimes bored and needing something to fill the time (this can be either the shopping itself or in using the item that we eventually get).

It’s a great question and first of all I would encourage anyone reading this to try to identify the motivations behind the shopping habits that are troubling you. Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  • Has it just been during lockdown as an antidote to boredom or did you like to shop beforehand?
  • Are you buying things you need or want? (Both are valid btw!)
  • If you’re buying things you WANT, are you actually using them/are they adding to your life? Or does the initial buzz wear off shortly after it comes in the post? BE HONEST!
  • Imagine it wasn’t SO easy to buy those items…would you still have gone through with it? One-click buying can save you time, but it almost certainly doesn’t save you money!

Becoming aware of your shopping habits and whether you’re buying more than you’d like is the first step to tackling any issues you have with your spending and/or the clutter its bringing into your home. This post is not to make you feel guilty in any way, we’ve all been there right? What I want you to do is become more INTENTIONAL with what is coming into your home. It may be that you’re NOT buying more than you want or need. It also may be that it’s just too easy for you and you need some practical advice on staying away from the checkout button.

Some practical tips

  • Is it the process of shopping you enjoy (like virtual window shopping) or getting the actual item and using it? If it’s the process, how about adding items to a wish list so you can think about it a bit more before you purchase or people could get you those items for a special occasion like your birthday or Christmas.
  • Make it harder to actually shop and buy items e.g. if it’s an online shop that you have an app for e.g. Amazon, Wish etc. take the app off your phone, turn off any kind of one-click buying and clear your passwords and credit card information if possible. This way when you go to shop it’s not EASY and it will make you stop and think if you really need that giant 2 feet novelty panda slipper that caught your eye!
  • If it’s a habit you do at a particular time e.g. sitting down with a cup of tea, phone in hand to start scrolling through items to buy, replace it with another habit like reading a book and try to leave your phone elsewhere.
  • You could also implement a ‘1-in 1-out’ system so that you’re not gaining MORE items. This can be really useful for kids toys too, but that’s another blog post! 🙂

As with any foray into dealing with clutter, if you make a good effort to clear what is already taking up your space, it is a fantastic incentive to keep it like that. The time and money you will save from getting rid of things and being intentional about what comes into your house is very motivational.

Final thoughts

  • Be honest with yourself about WHY you’re buying the items
  • Don’t make it too easy, avoid temptation!
  • Change your habits as a way to curb your shopping
  • Be INTENTIONAL about anything that you buy

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