Avoiding Excess Clutter 

I walked in the house balancing an overflowing box of great finds from Costco. A 5-pack of toothpaste! 4 bottles of dish soap for the price of 3! Shoe racks were on sale and, well, shoes have always been a problem, so I thought I better get that too. And new towels that were just too good of a deal to pass up! I wasn’t planning on getting anything of this, so there is no place to put any of it. Before I have a chance to even shut the door, my dog barks. He needs to go outside via the back door, so I turn and see the laundry in the basement – that needs to be cycled. Then my kids come in, the neighbor needs to borrow a cup of milk, and the dog has been barking for three minutes wanting to come back inside.

And this is how our homes can get cluttered! I often credit Costco, Target, Walmart, Home Goods, and other low-cost retailers for keeping me in business. It is so easy to consume – and we are fortunate to live in a society where we can afford to buy more than we need, but when we start tripping over boxes of things we forgot we purchased, it becomes a problem.

How do we avoid clutter? One option is to stop going to these places, but we are still going to need to buy the basics, and that will likely be at one of these retailers. So -before you buy something that wasn’t on your list you might want to ask yourself a few questions:

·      If I don’t buy this, how will I feel about it tomorrow?

·      Do I have something else that serves the same purpose as this?

·      Is there space to store the item(s) without causing clutter?

·      Will I use all this product before it expires? Will I remember that I have extras before I buy more?

·      Is the price savings worth the hassle of storing extra products?

·      Does making this purchase fit into my longer-term financial goals?

I also remind my clients to trust their creative problem skills. If there is something that would be nice to have, but you find yourself without it, are there other solutions? Can you borrow something from a neighbor? Use a Ziplock bag instead of toiletry bag?

This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t buy things. If you have the space and it fits your budget, then it is wonderful to have nice new things! But if your space starts feeling cluttered it may be helpful to take these questions into consideration before heading to the check-out line!

Blog, From the Expert