How to get your shop­ping habit un­der con­trol, ac­cord­ing to Peter Walsh

We all love the adren­a­line of find­ing a bar­gain but is the urge to buy re­sult­ing in too much stuff? Peter weighs in on what is ac­tu­ally of value out of all the clut­ter at your place

Inside Out (Australia) - - Contents - WORDS PETER WALSH Peter Walsh, the ‘get your whole life or­gan­ised guy’, is an Aussie cur­rently based in Los An­ge­les.

QHi Peter, I love to shop but I find that once I get home with my bag of good­ies, the joy only lasts for a short amount of time. I want to stop mak­ing this mis­take – help! Amy, via email

AHi Amy. Let’s talk about shop­ping for a minute. When you en­ter the store, your shop­ping ex­pe­ri­ence be­gins. Per­fectly con­trolled air tem­per­a­tures, sooth­ing mu­sic, lovely light­ing and friendly staff (OK, some­times) make your shop­ping trip en­joy­able. As you’re look­ing for that new pair of shoes, other things mag­i­cally end up di­rectly in your path. And, oh, wow, look at that! It’s on sale! What a bar­gain! I must own it! Now!

I find that most peo­ple who have is­sues with too much clut­ter in their homes have a prob­lem with what I call dif­fer­en­ti­at­ing be­tween the ‘prod­uct’ and the ‘prom­ise’. We know we’re buy­ing a prod­uct, but it’s easy to over­look the prom­ise that we’re in­vest­ing in. The idea of ev­ery­one gath­er­ing for an amaz­ing fam­ily meal where all will share your great cook­ing and have a won­der­ful evening may be the ‘prom­ise’ be­hind your hav­ing re­cently pur­chased a new set of cook­ware. If the clut­ter in your home makes you sad or de­pressed, you’ll iden­tify with this. Not only is the house a mess, it’s a col­lec­tion of prod­ucts – from cloth­ing to cook­ware and beyond – rep­re­sent­ing a se­ries of un­ful­filled prom­ises that you’ve made to your­self. If this is you, take heart – I see it time and time again. Peo­ple think buy­ing things will make them hap­pier or smarter when the truth is, for many, an over-ac­cu­mu­la­tion of stuff is the most de­press­ing thing they could do to them­selves. From the be­gin­ning of your life, we’re told that more is bet­ter. Look, with things like ed­u­ca­tion or deep friend­ships, it def­i­nitely is, but when it comes to ma­te­rial items, I’m doubt­ful. So, if you’re at a point where you feel like you’re just not get­ting that much joy from the stuff you own, do your­self a favour and stop buy­ing any­thing that’s not es­sen­tial. There are all sorts of tricks you can do to help you break free of the shop­ping habit – leave your wal­let in the car when you go into a shop for in­stance or, even bet­ter, plan ac­tiv­i­ties for your week­ends so you don’t hap­pen to end up at the shops. I’m not sug­gest­ing that this hold on buy­ing new things should be for­ever, but a break from the end­less cy­cle of chas­ing hap­pi­ness through re­tail ther­apy might just sur­prise you. Go a lit­tle fur­ther and start de­clut­ter­ing your home of valu­able things that aren’t bring­ing you per­sonal joy. Sell them, do­nate them, give them to friends. I prom­ise that you’ll feel a true sense of hap­pi­ness when you re­alise some­one is get­ting some plea­sure out of some­thing that you no longer re­ally need. And, that’s how you end up in a much hap­pier place.

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