As many of you know, I try to be mindful about what I bring into my home — both because I’m frugal and don’t like spending money, and because I detest clutter of any kind!
Thankfully, I’m not a big shopper, so it’s relatively easy for me to resist impulse purchases!
However, when I DO purchase something, I mentally think through several questions before bringing the item home (this is all in a matter of a few seconds as I’m shopping).
- Do I REALLY need this item? And if so, do I need it right now?
- Is it a super great deal that I’ll never find again?
- Is this really the best use of my money at this point in my life?
- Could I find this item used on Craigslist or in a thrift store?
- How many uses will I get out of this item?
- Can I return the item if I decide I don’t love it once I get home?
- Do I have a spot to store the item?
One question that pulls quite a bit of weight for me is the last question about WHERE I will store the item when I bring it home.
If I don’t have a good “home” for the item, I will almost always pass up even best deal because I really REALLY dislike stuff sitting out without anywhere to store it.
So I ask myself…
Do I have extra hangers and room in my closet or dresser for this clothing item?
Do we have room in the play room or the garage for an extra toy or kid’s item?
Do we have room in the game closet for another game
Do we have room in the van for another travel pillow or blanket?
Do we have room in the craft cabinet for yet another coloring book?
TRUE STORY: I found an amazing deal on baskets I wanted to use for our bathroom renovation 7 years ago… and we literally built the shelves around the dimensions for my baskets! Now, if something can’t fit in my bathroom baskets, it doesn’t belong in our bathroom!
Would you believe that I even run through these mental questions when I’m grocery shopping!
Do I have room in the deep freezer for more frozen food?
Do I have room in our fridge to allow me to stock up on produce?
Will this bigger size item fit on my pantry shelves or in my kitchen drawers?
If the answer is no, I don’t buy it.
For example: I knowingly spend a little more to buy the normal size packages of aluminum foil, wax paper, and storage bags because the larger sized boxes don’t fit in my drawer.
I also won’t buy family-size boxes of cereal because they don’t fit on the shelf where I store cereal.
And when it comes to food storage containers, I won’t use anything I can’t fit easily in this drawer!
I just purchased a new griddle (more on this in an upcoming post) to replace my well-used 12 year old griddle — and my main criteria for buying a new griddle was that it had to be a specific dimension so it would fit in the cabinet I wanted it to fit in.
I know that might sound crazy, but this thought process saves me TONS of clutter because everything I bring into my home has a place to live (which means it can be put away, out of sight).
Questioning my purchases is now second-nature for me… I do it without thinking about it.
Obviously, if you’re not used to questioning your purchases, it will take a little time to develop this habit… however, it could be an invaluable tool to help you keep excess clutter at bay in and around your home.
These questions will probably help your budget a bit too 🙂
The next time you’re shopping for clothing, a new toy, a waffle iron, food storage containers, or jumbo Costco size bags of food, take a minute (literally just 1 minute) to consider if you actually have a place to store the items once you bring them home.
If not, do yourself (and your home) a favor and just keep walking!