no more clutter logo no more clutter newsletter for July 2004

Shopping and Clutter

Do you ever look around your home and feel like all the stuff has crept in while your back was turned? Do you blame your partner for the overfull cupboards and the piles of general flotsam that are kicking around? But are you being totally honest with yourself - how much of the stuff did you personally bring into your home?

One of the key ways things enter your home is because you've chosen and bought them. With the Summer Sales here perhaps you're warming up your wallet for another assault on the shops. Before you do - stop and think about your shopping habits and how they are contributing to your cluttered situation. Ask yourself the following questions.

How many times have you bought things in the sales you've never worn or used? I've certainly done this many times in the past - though these days I expect things I buy to be both beautiful and useful and to have the Wow factor even if they are in the sales. Remember don't buy anything you wouldn't buy normally.

Do you really need it? We live in slick consumer-driven times so it's easy to get carried away particularly at sale time into buying one more set of towels, one more pair of trousers, another watch or cut price crockery. Instead of being seduced by what's on show try shopping with a list. I know it sounds boring but it means you come back with white sheets you'll actually use rather yet another vase that will quickly become clutter.

Is it really a bargain? However reduced it was, if you shove it in the back of the cupboard and forget about it, then it certainly wasn't a bargain. In fact it will cost you more than the wasted money. It will cost you valuable storage space, not to mention the sinking feeling you'll experience when you come across it in six months time!

Do you con yourself online shopping doesn't count? Wherever you buy things they will still arrive at your home. I know lots of hoarders who are addicted to eBay and all its tempting bargains. So be just as choosy about buying online as you would be on the High Street.

Are you addicted to shopping? We all have days when we buy something on impulse or blow some money because we're feeling low. The problems start if this is an everyday occurrence. Psychologists have found compulsive shoppers' heart rate soars as they hit the shops - so they do really get a physical high from shopping. The problem is that soon afterwards, their mood crashes - they feel guilty about the money or because they didn't really need another jacket or handbag. Warning signs are lying to others about your shopping habits, hiding your purchases and feeling driven to shop daily. If you think you may have a problem, put "compulsive shopping" into Google or other search engines for lots of helpful sites and articles. C
heck out for help if your compulsive shopping has led to debt.

But shopping can still be fun

I still love shopping even though I'm a declutterer and a minimalist. Earlier today I bought a lovely summer top in the Sales. Yes I'm thrilled because it was half price and I'm looking forward to wearing it tomorrow. So it's definitely treasure not clutter. Make sure anything you buy this summer will bring you pleasure and hours of enjoyment.

I'd love to hear your stories and any tips you have about making shopping work for you. I look forward to receiving your emails.

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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 07974 076 675 or 020 8444 5149 or check out the website at


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