What was worse? Many of these items were hugely valuable assets, costing hundred upon hundreds of dollars that only get used occasionally, such as televisions in spare rooms, gaming systems, formal furniture, appliances, and expensive handbags, jewelry, and shoes. In the grand scheme of things, my home lay as monument to the incredible waste of natural, economic, and emotional resources. Resources that once lost did little more than cause phantom power leaks and collect dust.
With time and consideration, I have been able to curb a lot of spending, shopping, and unnecessary accumulations in my home. And so you may be asking, what can be done to cure this need to bring more and more things into our homes? Here are the thirteen tips to help you curb shuffaholic tendencies:
- Tune out Marketing: Advertising and marketers know us very well. They are so well-versed in ways to make us want their shiny new stuff. But unlike children drawn to Saturday morning cartoon commercial propaganda, we now can control both our emotions and purse strings. We can simply say no to spending. Turn off the commercials, unsubscribe from email listings, recycle your weekend advertisements, and put marketers on the back burner.
- Utilize the Sharing Economy: Utilize public service first. Before buying books check out your local libraries, before purchasing music check out Youtube or Pandora to listen to the music for free.
- Borrow before you buy: Need a tool? Ask a neighbor. Utilize the tools knowledge, and help of friends, family, and neighbors first.
- Adapt a potluck lifestyle: You don’t need a house full of dishes, service pieces, platters, and the like. Have only dishes, cups, plates, and utensils you both love and utilize lately. When it’s time to entertain ask others to bring pieces from their homes with them. Being a gracious host sometimes means allowing others to be generous to you as well.
- Consider a Capsule Wardrobe: Sometimes pairing down your items capsule wardrobes, wardrobes consisting of under 37 pieces, allows users to laser focus on making the most out of the least amount of clothing options you already have on hand. You can wear your truths right on your sleeve. No credit cards needed!
- Conduct a household inventory: Before you shop look in your closet, check your pantry, check your fridge, look in cabinets and cupboards to make sure your not buying unnecessary duplicates. If you have enough shoes, dresses, electronics, dvd’s, food items to last you a season, just stop! You don’t need to buy another couple of outfits from Gymboree, a new purse, or another soon-to-be lost kitchen gadget.
- Carry a shopping list: Make a list of what you plan to buy and what you plan to spend on each item before you shop. Buy only from your list. This can greatly help eliminate unnecessary spending in-store.
- Put items that you want to buy on hold for one week: Put items that you want to buy “on hold” for one week. And at the end of the week you might find you really didn’t need it after all.
- Sales are for suckers: Not every sale is worth shopping. But it’s worth nothing that most sales, for nearly everything, are cyclical and will be back around in one seasons time. I tell myself there will be more sales.
- Bring cash: Leaving your credit cards at home and using only cash will help you see just what a true financial impact over spending can have on your budget and on the clutter coming into your home.
- Track what you spend: Face the dragon head-on. Don’t fudge the numbers. Track your spending by writing down everything that you bought this month. Put down the exact price. You need to see where your money is going. You may be shocked at what you see. You may be surprised to see how easy it will be to stop budget leaks too!
- Cut up your credit cards: If you’re in credit card debt, you don’t need to be tempted to spend more on credit. Use cash, checks or a debit card. Avoid trigger temptations. Avoid buying stuff.
- Purpose your time: In lieu of spending, use the time you would have been shopping to find ways to pay down credit card debt. Start by making a list of all of your credit cards, the balance due, minimum payment due and interest rate. Put the card with highest interest rate at the top. Plan to pay off that balance first. Talk to creditors about lowering the interest rate. You might need to liquidate stuff to pay off debt too!
So, those are my tips for ending stuffaholic ways. And just so you know, it’s not so much about stuff. It’s about subtracting the clutter to allow more joy into your life. And guess what? Those who live lean think about stuff as much as “stuffaholics” do. Only we think first about the “what” and the “why” of the things we have purposefully chosen for our homes, life, and families.
What it’s like to live lean is to live with more intention, less debt, and without the fear of the just-in-case prison we have created for ourselves. It’s like living for today. No more, no less.
I challenge you to put away the excuses. Stop the it’s impossible to do with children, minimalist style is cold, I couldn’t live with as little as I think you live with, one-channel thinking, obsessed with neatness notions. You have permission to pack away your stuffaholic notions in a drawer or closet. For it’s just not true. You can be debt-free. You can live with less. You can do without clutter and stuff. Think intentional creature comforts, not clutter.
You can live without the excess. You can have a home that has soul, space and tranquility – even with a toddler, even with pets, and anything else you hold near and dear. You may be thinking that living without being a stuffaholic may not be for everyone, but it’s something to think about.