We’ve all been there. We tackled a room that was packed with clutter that we didn’t need. We have no clue where all that stuff came from in the first place. But now, it’s all sorted, the things we no longer want have been donated and we are feeling the calm instead of the chaos. Perfect!
Fast forward a couple of months and we are back to square one. How on earth did that happen? Stuff has started to creep back into our home and we feel out of control and surrounded by chaos and clutter once again.
Decluttering can be a life-changing process, and it’s so important to tackle the ‘stuff’ but it’s important that we start to shift our mindset too. When we focus on our mindset, slowly but surely, we will stop bringing things into our homes that we don’t need.
The first step in shifting that mindset is looking at our shopping behaviours. When we shop, we are often at the mercy of clever marketers and sales assistants. Control is taken away from us and we bow to sales pressure. And then we start to bring things into our homes that we don’t need and the clutter starts to build. It sounds simple but when and how can we avoid self-sabotage?
Beware the bargain
Who doesn’t love a bargain? Car boot sales, garage sales, yard sales and charity shops can be a minefield if you love the thrill of a sale. Just because it’s a bargain doesn’t mean you need it. Intentional shopping often goes right out of the window when temptation is in your way. If you are on a decluttering mission, bargain hunting is one to avoid.
Unsubscribe (again and again)
If you are subscribed to marketing emails from lots of shops, the temptation is never far away. Unsubscribe and only buy online when you really need something.
Don’t cave in to upselling
If you are shopping and offered free gifts when you buy extra things, be careful. Sample sizes and free gifts are never really needed and can really add to the clutter.
Avoid fixating on freebies
How many times have you picked up free sauces, salt, straws and napkins from takeaways and fast food chains? More often than not they stay sitting on your cupboard months or years later. Do yourself a favour and leave them behind.
Refuse the hanger
Unless you have a huge shortage of clothes hangers at home, don’t take the hanger when offered it in a shop. Extra hangers gather at the edges of wardrobes or in ironing baskets adding to the clutter.
Shop with intent
Craft markets, farmers’ markets and trade shows are even more tricky to navigate your way through than standard shops as they are chocked full of exciting items. It’s hard to avoid them as they are such fun but be mindful and intentional when browsing otherwise you may end up with lots of things you don’t need.
Control your guilt
Parties that your friends host like candle parties, makeup parties etc bring with them inner guilt that we need to buy something. Another tough one to navigate through, but beware the guilt you feel making you buy things you will never use.
These little temptations stand in our way every time we enter a shop or jump online and they lead to sabotaging. We work so hard on decluttering projects that self-sabotage is just not welcome. Be mindful, be aware, be strong and that way you will keep that clutter-free home intact.
Lesley Spellman and Ingrid Jansen are UK-based professional organisers and run The Declutter Hub, an online community for anyone feeling overwhelmed with clutter.