We live in a consumer society and it’s all too easy to succumb to the temptations, but for some people it can be a truly serious, life-altering problem. If any of the following sounds like you, you may have a problem with overspending and overshopping:
- You use shopping as “recreation” and “retail therapy” without a budget or limits on what you spend.
- You have several items in your wardrobe that still have labels on them after a year.
- You are afraid to look at your credit card bills and total up your credit card debt.
- You’ve been borrowing from one credit line to pay back another.
- You frequently pick up the check and/or buy things for people even though you can’t really afford it.
- You have more supplies for your hobby (i.e. scrapbooking, fishing, etc.) than you will ever have time enough to use.
- You hide your spending / purchases from people you live with.
- You worry constantly about whether or not you can pay your bills.
- You rarely, if ever walk into a store without buying several things you didn’t intend to buy.
- When your spouse or partner disappoints you or hurts you, you get “revenge” by shopping or spending a lot of money.
- You think about shopping and spending money even when you are not shopping.
- You have tried to limit your shopping, but can’t.
If your clutter issues stem chiefly from shopping, here are a few helpful tips to change that reality so you can conquer your clutter once and for all.
1. Be aware of how you feel. If you use shopping, and specifically BUYING to alter your mood, notice it! If buying something new gives you an emotional high that temporarily takes you away from your troubles, makes you feel safe, worthy, loved, or gives you some other rush, it’s important to be aware of it. Once you’re aware of why you’re buying, you can take other steps to make yourself feel better besides buying. I would recommend a few sessions with a counselor, a hypnotist, or therapist to get to the root of your buying.
2. Imagine yourself at home. When you’re OUT of your cluttered home and inside the gorgeous four walls of Pottery Barn or Crate & Barrel, it’s easy to forget how stressed your home makes you. Again, that’s the idea. They WANT you to forget about your house and just open your wallet. And listen, when you really need something, great. Go buy it! But before you do, vividly imagine yourself back at your house with your new “thing”. Where in your already cluttered home will your new thing live? Who will clean it? How much space will it consume? What will it give you back? How long will it be valuable? Asking yourself these questions will help you make better buying decisions.
3. Calculate the TIME cost. If money isn’t a motivator for you, and unnecessary spending doesn’t inspire you to reduce your shopping, think of how much TIME your new “thing” will cost you. Let’s say you make $20 per hour, and your new “thing” costs $100. In time currency, your new thing will cost you FIVE HOURS of your life. Thinking of new purchases in this way will help you decide if you REALLY need it or if you just want it to make yourself feel better.
The next time you’re out shopping, try these simple tips and see if it doesn’t help shift your shopping mindset so you can make better, more powerful choices and reduce the clutter in your life.