Clutter is often the result of buying now rather than wisely. This can apply to all sorts of products for various reasons. Here are two common reasons for purchasing this way. The first being that the item has bargain price you’d would be mad to pass it up. And second, the item may not be available later so you would be mad not to grab it now while you have the chance, avoiding future regret. Sound familiar?
Here are some examples…
Scenario ~ Sally was at the thrift store and saw a microwave oven plate that exactly matched the one for her oven and it was only $2. She had recently broken her plate and it had cost $25 to replace. She would be mad not to buy this one now at such a bargain price just in case the same misfortune reoccured.
Argument ~ Sally is thinking only of the pain of having just spend $25 on the replacement she bought while this plate is only $2. She is not taking into account that this is the first time she has broken a plate in 25 years of owning and using a microwave oven. Don’t buy it Sally or it could be cluttering up your kitchen for the next 10 years and that would be mad.
Scenario ~ When my family was leaving America to return to Australia our daughter was to be going off to college in another city soon after our return. Because we assumed household items were less expensive in the US we bought a selection of items for her to take when she moved out. We would have been mad to pay Australian prices right?
Argument ~ She moved to another city alright but lived with her grandparents because it made economical sense. She is still with her grandparents almost five years later. Meanwhile I am still storing two large plastic containers of household items in my garage. I am sure I could buy the same items at much the same prices now right here is Australia and not have wasted space in my garage for years.
Scenario ~ I used to do a lot of papercraft and I worked in a large craft store. It was so easy to stay up to date with all the latest trends and I got to see all the new stock as it arrived at the store. Paper in particular was hard to resist as the patterns changed all the time and it would have been crazy not to purchase the ones I liked while they were available, right?
Argument ~ Wrong! I was mad to stock up so much on supplies when I had no idea how life would change down the line and leave me with less time and less enthusiasm for the craft. Especially since I have a track record of switching from one interest to another. Not to mention all the storage systems I had to purchase to organise it all that I am now also decluttering.
Scenario ~ At the end of the season you would be mad not to stock up on clothing the next size up for your child for the coming year. At 50 – 75% off it is a bargain too good to refuse.
Argument ~ What if ~ 1. Your child has an unusual growth spurt and is too big for the clothes when next year comes around. 2. Your child’s growth pattern slows and is too small for the clothes when next year comes around and then too big the year after. That’s two years of storing these clothes for nothing. 3. Fashion trends change and the clothes would have your child looking and feeling out of place. 4. The child develops their own style and refuses to where the clothes you chose. 5. Next year you could have had an unexpected move to a different climate zone and then the clothes may not fit when needed. I will leave it at that although there are many more reasons why this could be a bad idea.
The potential for future clutter also exists when you purchase something on sale you only think you might enjoy or get use out of. I have photographic proof of endless garage sale bargains, over enthusiastic craft purchases, use it up decluttering missions on toiletry items, must have half price gadgets and regretful purchases of substitute items that were almost right but a lot cheaper than the items I really needed…for all to see here on my blog. So trust me, I speak from experience. Luckily I have also learned from the experience
The one thing I have discovered over the years is there is always another bargain around the corner so if you don’t need the item now it will probably be on sale again by the time you actually need to make the purchase. So stop cluttering up your cupboards with backups, regrets and wasted money and only purchase what is necessary when it is necessary. Thats not to say you can’t enjoy a frivolous purchase every now and again just not every time you see something you think you would be mad not to snap up.
Today’s Declutter Item
Here is a perfect example of buying in advance because they were a bargain too good to refuse. Of course I thought at the time “I will use them one day” and at 75% off what did I have to lose? I’ll tell you, about $6 and space in my craft room for five years. I am giving them away to an artist friend of my son.
Something I Am Grateful For Today
No less than six of the items I donated to the thrift store yesterday were sold before my shift there was done. I love that I have decluttered, the store has made money and the customer is happy. Although I do wonder if they have just fallen for one of the scenarios I have mentioned above.
“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