Once you have decluttered your home it can be all too easy to fall back into old patterns and habits. Before you know it, the mess is back, bigger and better than ever before.
Friends and clients alike often ask me where they went wrong. I let go of so many things, how is my home a mess again?
Mess doesn't create itself!
The answer is almost always that they did not change their shopping habits after decluttering. It was these shopping habits that likely contributed to the build up of clutter and mess the first time round.
I used to love shopping. Searching for a bargain gave me a rush like no other, but almost as soon as I got home with my bags of new finds, the buzz began to wear off.
When I started decluttering my home, it quickly became clear to me that to maintain my newly minimalist lifestyle, I would have to dramatically cut back on my shopping - or even stop altogether!
By late 2017 I was saving a small fortune each month but I had yet to stop shopping altogether. I decided that in 2018 I would commit to stopping shopping entirely. No new clothes, no books and no new hobbies. Certain things could only be bought when my existing supplies run out (toiletries, makeup, nail polish, stationery, etc.)
Now with a quarter of the year already gone, I can say with gladness that I don't miss shopping one bit. And, as it turns out, the buzz from looking at a healthy bank balance instead of an alarming credit card bill? Far more satisfying than shopping ever was.
How did I do it? Just how did I go from a shopaholic with credit card debt and overdraft woes, to a contented minimalist with growing savings in less than a year?
Today I'm sharing the top five tips I've learned to help me to shop less and less.
1. Find your motivation
Why are you reading this article? What makes you want to shop less? Understanding your motivation should be your first step when changing any habit or thought process.
It may be that you are drowning in debt, want to save for a house, live a more environmentally sustainable life or simply that you've ran out of space to put more stuff.
Focusing on your motivation can really help clarify what is worthwhile and what isn't.
For me, shopping less has relieved financial stress, kept my home calm and clutter free and most importantly, allowed me to focus on investing in my business. All far more valuable to me than a new top I would wear once or twice!
This really is a case of less is more. It may seem strange to recommend getting rid of possessions as a way to help stop buying but this was so effective for me. The more I decluttered my home, the more I learned about my buying habits.
Decluttering helps you to realise what you buy but don't use, what you buy but don't like and what you really value.
3. Shop your home
After decluttering you can go on a major shopping spree. Only one condition: you're shopping your home. Once you have undertaken a major declutter it can feel like rediscovering your favourite possessions all over again. Browsing your bookshelves you'll find books you forgot you even had, you may dig out beloved decor that you forgot about or find a totally new outfit.
Starting with things you already own is the first step. You'll be amazed at how much you can find in your home that you already love!
4. Weigh priorities with purchases
You don't have to never shop again. Instead, you can change your mindset while shopping to question just how much happiness a purchase would make. Compare this to the happiness that your motivations can achieve. Will that to-die-for dress make you happier than paying off a bit of your debt? Are those expensive high heels really worth more to you than the price of flights for your holiday?
Focusing on your motivating factors can really help make clear what amount of happiness any given purchase could bring. You'll be surprised how quickly you begin to realise that shopping won't make you happier.
5. One in, one out
When you do decide to buy that to-die-for dress, commit to letting go of another dress from your wardrobe. The rule is simple: for each thing brought into your life, one must leave. Is this new dress really better than the ones you already have? Would you be willing to sacrifice for it? If not, chances are you don't like it as much as you thought.
Bonus tip: if you are still in the decluttering process try adapting the one in, one out rule. You could commit to one in, two out, or as many as you find manageable!