no more clutter logo no more clutter newsletter for December 2006

Shop smart this Christmas

Congratulations to everyone who observed Buy Nothing Day in November. I was particularly impressed by Hazel who takes this further and for the last two years has had a November No Spender where she only buys essentials like food and toiletries. I might give this a go in January when those Christmas credit card bills start arriving!

Now we're only 3 weeks from Christmas you are probably feeling the pressure of buying gifts and all the associated accessories like wrapping paper. Before you rush round the shops in your lunchhour again or try to concentrate with young kids in tow, stop and think about your shopping style.

Are you a maximiser or a satisfier?

A satisfier is someone who is happy to find a purchase or present that is "good enough". They don't need to scour every shop on the high street or go online to compare every available deal.

A maximiser will search high and low for the very best and even when they find it still feel they could have found something better. They often find themself buying a second similar gift for the same person.

Psychological research has shown that satisfiers tend to be happier overall and less stressed. I used to be a maximiser and never felt my presents were quite good enough and kept adding gifts to compensate. This meant overspending and feeling anxious that I hadn't got it right! These days I don't get so tense. Yes I try and get a gift the person will enjoy but I don't spend months shopping for it.

So before you hit the shops this month - try the following

  • Set an overall affordable budget and then list everyone you have to buy gifts for.
  • By the side of each person's name brainstorm ideas for gifts - if you come up blank then phone and ask. Don't be bashful about giving them an idea of what you want to spend.
  • Take this list with you when you shop.
  • Little surprises are fun at Christmas but beware all the tat they put next to the till to tempt you.
  • Once you've completed each person's gift - cross their name off and don't be tempted to buy just one more thing!
  • If you find yourself buying more gifts for yourself than for others, you're not alone! It's easy to get lured into all those early sales bargains that spring up before Christmas. But do you really need another evening bag, scarf or computer game?
  • When it comes to edible gifts think quality over quantity particularly for adults. Most of us don't want to still be surrounded by huge boxes of chocolates when the New Year arrives and we think about detoxing and getting back into shape.
  • Think of Christmas like a buffet - the first pudding tastes great, the second one less so and the third is pretty sickly. So don't overload your loved ones with too many gifts this year!

Books as gifts

If you know someone who has problems with getting organised check out my books page for inspiration. I've been particularly enjoying Rita Emmett's - The Procrastinator's Handbook
cover- it's great at helping you understand why you continually put off those unpalatable jobs and motivating you to change.

Another book I've been finding helpful is "The 100 simple secrets of Happy People" by psychologist David Niven.
coverIt would make a great stocking filler.

Or take a look at my new book Hoarder to Order hoarder to order cover and don't forget no more clutter! cover

December needn't to be a total wash out for decluttering. But don't aim for the moon in what can be a busy, stressful month. Get a flying start to your New Year's decluttering with my December tip.

Happy holidays to you all and let's all look forward to a happy, healthy, clutter free 2007.


Sue Kay works with a wide range of clients to organise home offices, small businesses, declutter before a house move, prepare your spare room for a new baby and organise your wardrobe ready for the new season. If you're selling your home, she can help you present it clutter-free for the market to achieve a quick and profitable sale. For practical sympathetic help call Sue on 020 8444 5149, email at or check out the website at


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