Inside Out (Australia)
5. bargain shopping
The five types of clutter The final instalment of Peter’s series concerns possibly the most difficult form of clutter of all to conquer. Who can resist a great deal, or three? But you’ve come this far. Don’t let it all slip away
QHi Peter, I have a problem. I love to shop and I’m really good at it. I love the search for a bargain and the thrill of the buy, and I’ve saved a lot of money over the years. But my house is filling up, including with things that I plan to use one day but don’t have room for. What should I do? Jane, Cheltenham, Vic
AShopping is fun! Actually, it’s more than just fun. Shopping a sale can be a smart thing to do, as long as you’re shopping for something you and your family need now or in the very near future.
Shopping for things that you imagine you will need some time in the next few months or years is where I draw the line.
Jane, your house needs to breathe. If it’s weighed down by excess that you don’t need, like bargain-priced bottles of pasta sauce or can’t-pass-up specials, you may be denying yourself room to grow in your home. Here’s how to deal with ‘Bargain Shopping Clutter’. 1. Price isn’t everything. We love to buy on sale and do it for a sense of control. Are you the type who thinks if you buy extra boxes of sale pasta now, you’ll save money in the long run, because the family will surely use it one day? We crave that feeling of preparedness. It is smart to some degree, but it can get you in trouble if there’s too much of it. As I always tell clients – if the price is the best thing about an item, don’t buy it. Ever! We’re also made to believe that if we buy the right thing, we’ll be closer to the elusive ‘happiness’ we seek. This is especially strong when we’re told that we’d be silly to not buy it and miss a deal. 2. Break the chain. Look at why and when you shop. For many, shopping is recreational, and often people do it because they’re bored. Spending an afternoon in air-conditioned comfort seems free, and the promise of seeing new things can be hard to pass up. Sound like you? Instead, think about the hobbies you’ve always wanted to take up and enrich your life that way, rather than accumulating more stuff. These small steps can change your attitude quickly. 3. You can’t buy happiness. Have you ever gone shopping and not seen the ‘SALE’ signs? Realise that if you miss today’s stocktake sale, end-of-season sale, going-outof-business sale or too-good-to-pass-up sale, there will be another one very soon. Retailers will tell you that you’re smart if you buy their stuff – and especially smart if you do it while it’s on sale. They go to great lengths to ensure you ‘happily’ give them your money for that latest item. But ultimately, shopping won’t make you happy – and you’re smarter than the stores. Concentrate on what you can do to improve your life and your happiness. You don’t need to buy something to feel good about yourself. Turn into the person who feels sorry for those friends who can’t help themselves and buy way more things than they need. You’re no longer that person. Your days of shopping for shopping’s sake are over.