Sunday, October 27, 2013

Day 27: Slow the Inflow

Yesterday, we talked about how creating some breathing room in your home and in your schedule makes life easier.

Today. we'll talk about one way to do that.

To stay organized, you have to create habits to return things to where they belong before you cross your clutter threshold. When you have some open space in your home it's easier to get the stuff you already have back into their homes, and it's easier to find places for new stuff that comes into your home, too.

One way to create space quickly is to slow the inflow of stuff into your home--and speed up the outflow. Today, I'll concentrate on ways you can slow the inflow.

  • Shop with a list.
    • A list helps you distinguish your wants from your needs. You make rational and intentional shopping decisions and fewer emotional and impulse purchases. If you are buying something like storage containers or curtains, take your measurements with you.
  • Scrutinize that shopping cart.
    • Everything you bring home has a cost--even when its free. It costs you time and effort. You have to find a home for it, get rid of the thing it is replacing, you have to care for it, and eventually, decide to get rid of it. Do you have a home for it? If you don't have a place for it, bringing it home moves you further away from your goal to stay organized, not closer. Is it worth it?
  • Cost.
    • Is it in the budget? Can you afford it?
  • Need.
    • Do you need this? Do you already have something similar? Leave the "wants" at the store.
  • Love.
    • Do you love it? Really? Will you love it 24 hours from now? A week? A year? If so, pull the trigger, and go for it. As Aby says, it's not about depriving yourself, it's about being intentional.
If impulse shopping is a challenge for you, put together a list of questions you can whip out and go over at the store, before you spend you money.

Another tactic is to delay your purchase. Try to leave it in the store for twenty four hours or more. My husband and I have evolved a practice where we never buy anything (any more) without leaving to discuss it-- even if it just for coffee --even if we need it right now. For example, our stove stopped working Monday while cooking dinner. It is now Sunday. I will be ordering our new range, today. (Hooray!). Yep, it's that one up there.

ETA: You can catch all the posts in the series here.

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