My husband works most of the day on Saturday, so my toddler and I are usually on our own – cleaning the house, making up swim lessons, visiting the library, or running errands (the life a working mom). Sometimes we’ll head to Homegoods or Marshall’s (my favorite stores) if I’m on the lookout for something specific.
Every time we go to those particular stores, my toddler immediately asks for a snack. If you want to know where we’ve been in the store, just follow the line of Cheerios. Hansel and Gretel style. One eventful morning, she dropped an entire cup of goldfish crackers in front of a display at Homegoods. Not our finest moment. But we did find what I was looking for, and didn’t take home anything more than that (including the snacks we dropped all over the store).
The point is I have to enter these stores with a game plan and a certain frame of mind if I don’t want to walk out with more stuff than I actually need and that horrible feeling of buyer’s remorse.
The key is delayed gratification. That $10 I spend in the Target dollar section could be $10 into my kid’s college savings account. Or invested in a retirement account for my future.
Did you ever think of it that way?
You’re thinking, “Great. Now I feel guilty. But I still need help practicing that self-control.”
Here are some of the ways I’ve been able to curb the clutter shopping habit.
1. Stick to a list.
I keep a running list on my phone of things I’m keeping an eye out for, whether it’s a home decor item, a specific type of storage piece, or clothing. I can wander through every aisle and find something I would buy in an instant, but if it’s not something on the list it shouldn’t go in the cart.
2. No items without a place or a purpose.
Everything in your home must have a place to live and purpose to serve. Even though the Target dollar section has some super cute stuff, if you can’t think of where to put that turquoise vase after you’ve used it for the summer, maybe it isn’t worth bringing home to take up valuable real estate. Repurpose something you already have or just appreciate the space you’re saving by not bringing something home.
3. Don’t settle for inferior items.
Only bring home something you absolutely love. If you’ve been searching for this exact item forever, the choice is obvious. But if it’s not quite what you’re looking for, don’t buy it. Continue the search! There’s nothing worse than bringing something home knowing you bought something that doesn’t hit the ball out of the park. Sometimes it’s good to sit on it for a while by putting an item on hold while you go home and think it through. Many times it’s worth it to save the money for a higher priced, better quality piece that has all your specifications.
4. Be budget conscious.
Set a budget for when you go to those stores that really tempt you. Use cash only. If you still don’t trust yourself leave the credit card at home so you don’t have a choice. Take a month off from going to the places that make you want to burn dollars. It benefits your bank account while keeping clutter under control. It’s nice to appreciate what you have and reevaluate your space.
5. Shopping is not an “activity.”
Find a purposeful way to curb your boredom. Your kids will probably have more fun going on a hike, on a picnic, or some other activity that gets you spending time together. The best memories are made in experiences, not purchases.
What rules do you give yourself when it comes to shopping?