We received the following comment from Snosie in response to one of Cindy’s archived posts I republished over the Christmas break. This post gave great advice about thinking twice before buying. Snosie has just bought her first home and is in the process of moving out of her parent’s house. She now has the task of furnishing and equipping her new home with the things she needs. A daunting task in which one could really get carried away but not Snosie she has it all worked out. Here is her comment…
Great post Cindy – and a lot of what I’m saying to myself (without even realizing). I won’t buy something til I know it fits where I want to put it. I have a notebook/journal in my handbag with measurements I think I’ll need – it’s not easy to find a ‘skinny’ drying rack. But then I know I can just lay things on a tea towel for now… Or put them in the (currently) unused dishwasher to ‘drain’.
It doesn’t even frustrate me that my shopping missions seldom results in many purchases. At least I know when I buy something, it’s right for me, and my house.
See how Snosie is improvising with what she has rather than rushing out and settling for second best. Compromising usually leads to dissatisfaction later on and then next thing you know you will be out at the shops again trying to find the item that best suited your needs in the first place. Adding to supply and demand and clutter to your home.
Too often we rush into purchase things because we “need” them but either don’t give enough consideration to what that need is or whether we really even need them in the first place. There are very few non-consumable items in the home with the possible exception of a refrigerator, some cooking and eating utensils and somewhere to sleep that are essential. Just about everything else is a luxury and even those first few items could be borrowed or hired until we make an educated decision on what will best suit our needs. A home usually comes with the other three essentials, a stove, a toilet and bathing facilities.
There is no item too small or seemingly insignificant that this principle doesn’t apply to. With the endless variety of items on the market there are decisions to me made as to your requirements before you even approach the stores. Even potato peelers come in several different shapes, sizes and ergonomic design. Do you need one? No, a knife would do the job but if you use one as often as I do it might be considered essential to your minimum requirements. So why not take your time to get the one that best suits you. Improvise with the knife in the meantime.
Step one is to work out what your requirements are. For instance, say I use a toaster on a regular basis, enough to warrant its existence in my home. My toaster breaks down and I need a replacement. Perhaps I toast muffins and bagels as well as bread in my toaster so I will need one with wide slots. Perhaps I keep my muffins and bagels in the freezer so I will need a defrost option on my toaster. I would like a four popup toaster because I sometimes have guests but I would like it to have a power saving setting where it only heats two elements when I am only catering to myself. These are the requirement I need to be aware of before I even consider shopping for the replacement.
The second step is to investigate the choices out there in the market place. Believe it or not there are many other features on toasters that I haven’t mentioned which I may opt to include once I see what is out there but the replacement must have those first three features I mentioned or I will soon be disappointed.
Perhaps your third step should be to seek out some product reviews to make sure your short list of choices has a history of living up to what is expected of them. You can’t take the word of the manufacturer, the sales person trying to earn his store commission or advertising hype, that a product is a good one.
Of course this is not an exact science and there is still an inevitable failure rate to everything no matter how hard you try to get it right. But by at least putting careful thought into your choices, before rushing out there to enjoy the thrill of buying something new, you are increasing your chances of success. Improvise in the meantime and you never know you might realise you really don’t need the item after all.
Today’s Declutter Item
Here is an item I bought on a whim about five years ago. It’s one of those purchases I thought I would get good use out of but never did. I thought that if I had a convenient way to listen to my music I would listen to it more often. Wrong! Luckily my son gets great use out of iPods and when his died from excessive use he commandeered mine since I wasn’t using it. He later found out that there had been a recall for faulty batteries on his old one and he got it replaced and no longer uses mine. We sold it on ebay for with the case & charging cord for $76.00.
“In daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy.” Brother David Steindl-Rast