- Seeing clutter creates stress, this occurs when you are trying to relax and you are just looking at the cluttered area. Read Last year's Post Why the Mess Causes stress
- Buying too much is a waste of money
- Having too much creates difficulty and stress trying to find storage space.
- You waste more money on containers and organizing tools.
- You can't find the things you need creating more stress
- You buy things twice because you lost them or forgot you had them, even more stress.
So having too much stuff will end up costing you money and mental energy.
How to stop buying stuff you don't need.
- never buy the 1.0 version of anything -- ever, quit being the first kid on the block to own everything. Wait for 2.0 at least, depending on the company.
- Read reviews online, even if you hate shopping online, Amazon has a very vocal and loyal customer base. It's like the "angies list" of stuff -- don't buy anything without reading reviews.
- Get Consumer Reports. For purchases of appliances and even smaller devices this is a valuable tool to read unbiased information on all the great options out there.
- Adopt a "buy it once buy it right" attitude. Clothing for a 3 month old baby has to last a 1-3 months tops, clothing for a teen or adult, should last indefinitely, If you are going to need the item for a long time, buy one that will last a long time. For the most part it is not the price of the item that matters it's the price of having a working item over time, so for example a pair of socks that is made to last a year can cost 4 times as much as a pair that wears out in 3 months and still be a bargain since it saved you 3 trips to the store and kept 3 pairs of socks out of the landfill.
- Stores bank on the fact that you cannot remember prices for very many items. Many times the "wow" price is just the regular price.
- Red is a color of action, that is why clearance sale prices are on red stickers. Red doesn't always mean the item is on sale, don't be fooled. I once saw a "price held until" big red special tag on $50 Itunes gift cards, the special price was actually $50. I asked the store manager if that actually worked, he told me yes, it did boost sales. Don't fall for it.
- Don't touch or hold anything. High pressure sales people often ask you to hold something. You're more likely to buy something you held. Don't fall for it.
- Shop online, it saves you from the well researched design psychology that stores use to get you to buy stuff, the colors, music, smells, the traffic flow (making you walk past the neat gadgets you don't need to get to what you do need) Even the presence of plants makes people spend more money. When you must shop in a store, use a list and be aware of these things.
- Self-Care is important. Re-visit my post on Willpower. Get regular exercise and don't shop when tired, hungry, or very stressed.
- All money is the same. It doesn't matter if you earned it, found it, won it, inherited it, or if it was a capital gain. all money is the same. This goes for tax refunds, you earned it, loaned it interest-free to the government and they returned it. Do a zero based budget any money that comes in goes toward your debt, savings, or when you have a fully funded emergency fund of 3-6 months of expenses in savings, you put money towards things you need. These things don't need to be things, they can be home improvements, repairs or replacements.
Clearing Extra Stuff
- If you bothered to read this far, you probably have too much stuff.
- Start with a new rule, nothing enters your home unless something leaves the home.
- Return items that are defective or that break. There is no reason for you to absorb the cost of shoddy workmanship. Demand that the items you are sold perform as promised or ask for a refund. Don't just put them aside, actually return them.
- Return items you bought by accident because you forgot you had them or duplicate gifts, don't procrastinate.
- Clear the clutter sort then purge Go through a drawer or a surface or a cabinet daily until the job is done. Donate the items or give them away. Use Freecycle You would be surprised what people will happily pick up from you.
- Get theNeatdesk Scanner and get rid of the paper clutter. You can shred almost anything that doesn't have a raised seal and keep it digitally.
- Turn all your clothing in the closet around so they hang the wrong way. Purge what you don't like that is in the back and you have forgotten. Any new clothing gets hung backwards too. Items coming out of the clean laundry get hung up the correct way. This time next year, if it's still hung backwards, it needs to leave. You can keep the little black dress and a few special occasion items, but everything else has to go.
- Get a pack of little dot stickers & keep them in your pocket. Every time you move an item while looking for something else, put a red sticker on it. When you use an item, put a green sticker on it. Anything with a bunch of red stickers is in the way. If it doesn't have any green stickers it needs to leave. If it has a green sticker it can stay, but might need a new home.
Take control of your home, your wallet, and your life. Reduce stress due to finances and due to clutter and general mess. You are not only saving money and reducing stress, you are saving the planet too, by not buying cheap junk that breaks you keep them out of the landfills, by not buying stuff in general you save on virgin materials and shipping carbon emissions.
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