Decluttering is Only Half the Battle – Shopping is the Other Half

Soulful simplicity (1)

Do you go shopping as a reward for getting through a bad day?

Or maybe you look at it as more of a sport, a challenge, a social activity?

I have been reading Courtney Carver’s new book Soulful Simplicity. A lot of her lessons really resonate with me and I’d like to suggest to you that you consider this…

If you want to live with less stuff, decluttering is only half the battle. The rest depends on what you bring home, and for those of us who have a habit of shopping, this is often the harder part. I had to stop shopping for a while to really understand how destructive it was in my life. For a really long time, I thought I deserved nice things, new things, anything I wanted. The truth is I deserved so much more than stuff.

Do you shop as a reward for getting through a bad day? Or maybe you look at it as more of a sport, a challenge, a social activity? What if you just called it what it was consuming… consuming more and more and more. I recently wrote about some distressing clothing trends that lay it out pretty clearly. If you want to change how you shop, look at it as just that a (bad) habit that is causing you frustration. If you are unhappy with the amount of clutter in your home, consider that you brought it all into the house, and now is the time to take control to get it out. We applaud your every step.

...being green starts at the beginning of the process. When you purchase an item, the process begins... Click To Tweet

We often work with people who are very concerned with donating and recycling everything that they decide can go. That’s great. Protect the environment. But we suggest that being green starts at the beginning of the process. When you purchase an item, the process begins. If all consumers purchased less, less would be manufactured and there would just be less stuff. Less stuff to fill our homes, less stuff to recycle, less stuff to end up in the landfills.

If it’s not enhancing your life, making you happy, move it out of your life. But you must first consider how you will “Curb Your Enthusiasm” for acquiring more things.

I recently begin composting my family’s kitchen waste. It’s been surprising to me how much in the way of banana peels, vegetable trimmings, eggshells, etc. that we were tossing. It has also made me think about what I am putting in my kitchen trash can. Is there any more waste that I could recycle? My composing experiment has helped me change my habits.

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Janet Schiesl

Janet has been organizing since 2005. She is a Certified Professional Organizer and the owner of Basic Organization.

She loves using her background as a space planner to challenge her clients to look at their space differently. She leads the team in large projects and works one-on-one with clients to help the process move quickly and comfortably. Call her crazy, but she loves to work with paper, to purge what is not needed and to create filing systems that work for each individual client.

Janet is a Past President of the Washington DC Chapter of the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO) and was voted 2016 Organizer of the Year by the Washington DC Chapter of NAPO.

Janet Schiesl

Janet has been organizing since 2005. She is a Certified Professional Organizer and the owner of Basic Organization.

She loves using her background as a space planner to challenge her clients to look at their space differently. She leads the team in large projects and works one-on-one with clients to help the process move quickly and comfortably. Call her crazy, but she loves to work with paper, to purge what is not needed and to create filing systems that work for each individual client.

Janet is a Past President of the Washington DC Chapter of the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO) and was voted 2016 Organizer of the Year by the Washington DC Chapter of NAPO.

9 Comments

  1. Janet Barclay on April 20, 2018 at 3:29 pm

    This is really important stuff to think about!

    And if you do NEED something, does it have to be a new one, in the package? Or can you get a gently used one somewhere?

    • Janet Schiesl on April 21, 2018 at 6:41 am

      I agree Janet. I love to shop thrifty stores. At least in my area the quality of items is high, so it’s worth it.

      • Janet Barclay on June 25, 2019 at 12:38 pm

        There are now two secondhand clothing stores near me; one is a consignment shop and the other one buys items directly from you. Between the two, I hardly ever by new anymore (except for shoes, socks and underwear, of course).

  2. Linda Samuels on June 24, 2019 at 4:48 pm

    The music on your video sounded “Harry Potteresque.” How fun! Your point is important. The clutter we have comes from somewhere, and most often it’s from the things that we purchase or collect. Those come into our homes, and without systems for routing and routinely editing our stuff, the intake can become clutter.

    While consumerism is alive and well, it’s possible that the younger generations are less interested in things- in owning, collecting, and having. Over time, I think the trend will change how much we consume.

    • Janet Schiesl on June 24, 2019 at 5:38 pm

      I am hopeful that the trend is changing.

  3. Sue West on July 15, 2020 at 1:41 pm

    I could see a “shopping detox” could be so useful like our digital detours. I love this idea.

    • Janet Schiesl on July 15, 2020 at 8:16 pm

      Thanks Sue. Sometimes stepping away from what we normally do, can help to make big changes.

  4. Meaghan Jackson on July 17, 2020 at 9:45 pm

    I find that having a list when I go shopping really helps me to avoid buying things just because I’m in the store.

    • Janet Schiesl on July 18, 2020 at 7:57 am

      Yes, a list is key. It really does help you focus and get through the store faster too.

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