Easily Declutter Your Home (even if you are a recovering shopaholic like me)
Are you struggling to easily declutter your home? Do you ever just look around your house and feel overwhelmed by all of the stuff? I do regularly. Clutter stresses me out. The problem is, I love shopping and finding new things and I also don’t like to get rid of things. I know- a recipe for a cluttered home. As I have gotten older and grown more confident in my homemaking skills, I have figured out ways to organize my house in a way that feels less cluttered without getting rid of all of my treasures. I have also learned that one of the best things I can do is to simply bring less into my home. Easily decluttering in your home does not have to feel impossible.
This has been a big exercise in willpower for me to really learn to only buy what I need and limit buying the things that I simply “want”. When I was younger, I tended to seek joy in material things. Shopping was an easy way to get a burst of joy because I had some fun new thing in my hands. After a bit of time, many of those things fell by the wayside and were no longer bringing me joy and instead, frustrated me because they were cluttering up my space. As I have aged, I have grown smarter about what I need and what I buy. I have discovered there are many other ways to get those little bursts of joy I used to get by shopping.
Another thing that has helped me is that I am much less concerned with “keeping up with the jones'”. I spent so much time and money trying to keep up with the latest fashions and the newest hot thing. Eventually, I realized that none of that made my life better… it did not enhance my relationships or my quality of life in any way. I finally stopped buying just because other people had that thing and I really didn’t feel any different. That was key! I now find joy in hobbies and relationships and I am not turning to amazon for a dose of serotonin as often.
I know that it can be difficult to declutter when you have shopaholic tendencies like me. Below are my best tips for curbing those shopaholic tendencies so you can declutter!
1. Grocery shop online
One of the easiest and most dangerous ways I would buy more than I need was impulse buys. I would go to the store for groceries or one specific thing and walk out with 6 bags of random stuff. Avoiding impulse buys helped me to easily declutter my home. One way I am able to limit this is by ordering my groceries online for delivery or pickup. Shopping online allows me to simply buy what I need and what is on my list with very very few impulse buys. I also tend to make less grocery runs because I am able to stick closely to my list while selecting food on my home computer. Less trips to the store = less chance for impulse buys.
This also declutters my kitchen because I do not overbuy food. I am able to “shop” while in my own kitchen. Before ordering another box of cereal, I can check the cabinet to see how much I have in stock. I find this saves money on my grocery bill and I throw out less expired food because I use it up before buying another. I love to do grocery pickup on my way home from work. Many stores offer this free (Walmart and Meijer are the two I use). You can also do delivery through Walmart.com or with Instacart or Shipt for a nominal fee. I find the time saved and money saved by shopping this way is WELL worth any small fees for the service.
2. Implement a waiting period
Online shopping makes it so easy to feel a rush of joy over a new item in just a few clicks. But sometimes online shopping is just too easy and too quick. It does not allow for reflection and deep thought befoe purchasing. When you go to TJ Maxx, you usually have those 5 minutes in the check out line to really look at your cart and decide if you truly need all of those items. You do not have that when online shopping.
In order to make sure that those easy buys are something I truly need and want, I implement a few day waiting period between putting it in my cart and purchasing. This gives me time to think it over. By the time I purchase, the instant excitement of finding something fun has passed and if I don’t really need it, I will more easily be able to avoid it. The only time I do not use this is if I have had my eye on something for a while and I see it go on sale; then I will snap it up quickly because I have been thinking of it for a while and no longer need a waiting period.
I really like to utilize the “save this item” or “favorites” function in online shops. It allows me to keep track of items that have caught my eye and think through them fully before moving them into the cart and purchasing.
3. Work with what you have
Sometimes, when you want something new, you can get the same fresh effect by simply repurposing something you already own with a simple DIY. I would say this works better for homegoods than clothes for most people. Paint is MAGICAL in changing the look and feel of items around your home. For example, I had a few old vases that just didn’t fit our home color palette. Instead of buying new, I spray painted them with a matte white paint and now they match my home perfectly!
You can repurpose clothing too if you know how to sew. Simple fixes can really change the vibe of a piece. For example, I will often add buttons to a simple garment to give it a little extra. Easy fixes but really makes a difference. Get creative and work with what you have! You will save so much money this way and decrease your clutter.
On the point of decluttering, if you don’t like an item anymore and can’t repurpose it, it is probably time to say goodbye. Don’t keep items for the “just in case” or because you spent good money on them. If it doesn’t serve you or bring you joy and can’t easily be altered into that type of item, get rid of it.
4. Find joy outside of shopping
There was a time where I looked to shopping as a way to find joy. It was easy to order something cute on amazon and get a serotonin boost instantly. But that joy almost always faded as quick as it came… and it was causing the opposite of joy by cluttering up my home and hurting my pocketbook. Finally, when I leaped into homesteading and was able to return to my outdoor hobbies, I found that I wasn’t seeking joy in the shopping cart anymore.
If you find yourself turning to amazon or a trip to TJ Maxx when you need to find a little joy, it may be time to pick up a hobby. Even better, find a hobby where you can create something new and you will be amazed by the joy it can bring you. Here is a list of ideas:
5. Limit your exposure
If you are struggling to kick a shopping habit to declutter your space, avoid the stores. It is simple in concept but extremely effective. If you don’t walk into TJ Maxx, you can’t buy anything. If you don’t have the Amazon app on your phone, it will be harder to make quick orders and thus, you will likely make less purchases. Spend time on your hobbies instead of in the stores or online shops.
This can be hard at times when you are invited on a shopping trip with friends or need to kill time somewhere. My suggestion is to try coffee shops or parks instead. Less chance of spending money and still an enjoyable experience. The less stores are a part of your routine, the less money you will spend and the less stuff that will enter your home. This will keep your home less cluttered and decrease the need for massive decluttering efforts.
The biggest way I avoid clutter is to shop less which is why I spent so much time on that subject. But, there is still a lot of clutter existing in my home that needs to be addressed. I don’t prescribe to a lot of the trendy decluttering and organizing habits. I don’t like the idea of saying goodbye to my books (sorry Marie Kondo) and I am not willing to shell out tons of money on pretty bins (looking at you The Home Edit). Instead, I simply try to spend a few hours every month going through my home and removing things I am not using or that no longer fit our life. For example, while I decorate for holidays, I declutter as I put out my decor. If I am no longer loving the item or it doesn’t work with my space anymore, I say goodbye.
Something else I do is have a holding spot for items I am not sure about. I have a spot in my basement where I place items I am considering getting rid of but not yet ready to commit to. After a few months, I revisit to see if I have changed my mind or if I am ready to get rid of that item. Usually, I find that I do not miss that item and will say goodbye.
Once a week, I run around the house with a trash bag and try to remove the clutter that builds up during the busy weeks. Paper clutter, trash, things I am not using all goes into the bag and then to the trash. By keeping up with this easy to remove clutter weekly, my bigger declutters go more smoothly and there is just generally less clutter.
Happy decluttering friends!