Simple Saturday ~ Share your experience on resisting temptation

I received a post request from Jane some time ago and was hoping you, her fellow 365ers, might share with her  your personal experience with this issue.

Here is Jane’s subject for you…

Resisting temptation. How others handle trying not to drag home more stuff like knick-knacks & clothing, etc. What are their proven methods for curbing the buying urge?

The Weekend’s Mini Missions

Saturday – Declutter your patio, deck or porch.

Sunday – Declutter items that have accumulated on your coffee or lamp tables in your living room.

“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

It matters not how fast I go, I hurry faster when I’m slow

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About Colleen Madsen

Colleen is the founder of 365 Less Things and lives in Newcastle, Australia.


  1. What works best for me is to stay out of the stores! I know, it’s pretty obvious but not always easy. I had a habit of going out at lunch and browsing – all too often I’d find some deal or other on some desireable item. If I just walk on the street or in a park I avoid temptation all together.

    The other thing I try to practice is the ‘one in one out’ rule. If I must have something new, then I have to cull something old.

    • Northmoon, I for sure do the one in – one out rule as well. But I sure would like to go a decent length of time without having to do either. Just enjoy what I got right here, right now if that makes any sense.
      I have been limiting the stores I visit. I rarely go to a mall. Can’t stand Target. Stay out of boutiques. Rarely if ever visit thrift stores (except to donate). But somehow, I still manage to drag home stuff from somewhere! argh!

  2. Well, my method is far from perfect, but it works for me. I simply pick one type of “freebie” (other than food), and refuse to take anything other than that type. Mine is clothing, which I love and wear regularly. I alter freebie tshirts into dresses, tunics, tanks, and more, and then wear them again to similar things (engineering shirts get turned into mini-dresses and then worn with leggings to the next gathering, chemistry shirts are made into tunics, and “others” are usually made into tank tops). Then, as I accumulate too many clothes for my closet, unused or unworn ones get turned into rags or go to the thrift store. I never end up with knick-knacks or “useful goodies” this way, and I have a method for using what I do get. The same is true for sale items. I’ll let myself slip up a little with clothing, but not for other things (again, except food, which I’m good about using – the only thing that’s spoiled in the last few months was the last serving of leftovers from my leftover soup, which was made of leftovers of leftovers, so I don’t feel too bad)

    • Oh, I just realised it was about buying things specifically – I just avoid most stores, like Northmoon does. But when I’m in a place like Fred Meyers that has both, I use the method above – don’t even touch it unless it’s clothing, and then seriously consider it before buying it (It helps that I don’t like spending money).

    • Amanda, I’m with ya on the love of clothing. THe sad part is I tend to wear the same things day in, day out despite the variety of items I have in my current wardrobe. While I have culled out any & all “aspirational” items – which accounted for the bulk of my wardrobe at one point in time, I am guilty of buying multiples of the same items I do wear. I wear a lot of fitted t-shirts from the same clothier. I bet I have close to 50 t-shirts from them. Of that, most are exact duplicates.
      Putting this all out (airing my dirty t-shirts if you will) is for sure doing something to my brain chemistry & has me re-thinking about the way I do things & how insane some of that now seems to me.

      • I know kind of how you feel Jane. Summer job right now means I’m wearing similar stuff Monday-Friday, and only have the weekends to play with other outfit choices. Once the school year is back in session I’ll go back to wearing almost eveything (I am guilty of a single box of T-shirts in my possession that I don’t wear). Of the things not in that box, there’s 2 swimsuits that I haven’t worn in a year, but everything else I can remember wearing over the last school year. Clothing isn’t everyone’s though. If you aren’t the kind who wears everything, go ahead and get rid of some of them.

        (And I wear one type of shorts almost exclusively, but I own them in all different colors. I should get rid of the black pair at the end of summer though, I don’t like the way they fit and only wear them once in a while)

  3. First time commenter, long time lurker. 🙂

    I was very proud of myself last night. A friend and I went to Target and Goodwill after dinner cuz we were just hanging out and that’s where we usually end up when we don’t want to hang out at home with our husbands. I bought a comb at Target because my dog had chewed my old one up a bit. (Threw the old away as soon as I got the new one, no “what if I need it later”!) I had originally picked up a frame at Goodwill because we are still working on decorating our house. It was a beautiful frame but I decided to put it back because it was not made of wood. I decided to stick to my picky criteria.

    So in the end I only purchased something I needed to replace something that was defective. And I did not keep the defective item! I’m slowly working through drawers and cupboards and seeing (and throwing) stuff that should never have been moved to the new house anyway. Haven’t utilized craigslist or ebay yet so the stuff I haven’t thrown but don’t want is piling up a bit in the garage, but I’ll get there. We did donate a lot to a friends garage sale a while ago to help that family sell and make a little more money to assist family that had their apartment burn. So that felt good to get the stuff out of there for a good cause.

    Haven’t quite curbed the habit of purchasing beautiful vintage scarves and glassware but I’m working on it by not going to the tempting antique stores much. Much. lol

    • And to answer the original question (oops) I have criteria that an item must meet. Is it something that I currently need? Is it made of natural material? Is it beautiful?

      I have to stop myself these days from “rescuing” beautiful items from the thrift store. I have too much. I need to get rid of stuff. I need to stop accumulating more. I have to tell myself these things when I find something wonderful that doesn’t even suit me, but I want it because it’s inexpensive.

      • Most of the clutter that has left my home could come under the bargains to good to resist category so beware of that one for sure.

      • Sara, if there has been one area of purchasing that I’ve thankfully not succombed to is the buying in order to rescue beautiful things. I can see how that would be a task with no end ever in sight if not careful. It’s commendable that you can recognize that in yourself & can put the brakes on it. Bravo to you sister!
        Thrift shops in genral have never been my thing. Typically, I only find myself at the drop-off entrance of our local thrift stores & have not ventured into the retail part of them more than once or twice. Thankfully I tend to get over-whelmed with stores that are too full of stuff or require me to hunt or search for my prey (TJMaxx, thrift stores, et al). I have friends that can see the forest for the trees when it comes to shopping thrift stores….but me, it feels like I’ve just walked off a carnival tilt-a-whirl ride & my marbles are all strewn about!

    • Hi Sara and welcome to 365 Less Things. When I first started this declutter mission back in 2010 it was obvious that buying stuff was going to sabotage my efforts so I soon slowed down on the buying. Like you, at times there were things that still made it through my don’t buy barrier ~in fact some of those things have since been decluttered ~ but as time has worn on my desire to minimise nearly always wins out over any desire to buy stuff. In fact I hate it when stuff comes in even if we need it. My 21 year old son buys camera gear occasionally ~ for his future career ~ and other technology items seem also to sneak through the cracks but there isn’t much else. The only clothing I buy these days is to replace worn out items. You will find as time goes on that your desire to get more and more decluttered will override your desire to buy things.

  4. Rebecca B. A. R.

    With clothing,unless it is something I absolutely need for work or really special event, I rarely buy anything that is over $3.00US–that is either new or from the thrift store. When my jean wear out, I usually have to spend $5.00US on them, but sometimes I can get lucky and get them for $3.00US. I also wear all my clothes until they are so worn out then can’t be fixed anymore. With knick-knacks, I only buy what I absolutely love and know I will display, and that is only after waiting to think it over for a month or two. I also try to only get things that are used, fair trade goods, or made in the USA, especially locally. With hygiene, makeup, and cleaning supplies, I’ve limited myself to only natural or organic products–and I don’t spend much money on any of them, except for my SPF face lotion that I wear everyday that is $15.00US for 4 fl.oz. I use the website to see what the toxicity levels are in hygiene and makeup products. We’ve only been living on $300-$350US per week for a while now, so I don’t have much to spend anyway–especially since it is me, my husband, 2 dogs and 10 cats!

    • Rebecca, I’m not a knick-knack person for sure. I recently sold off just about 75% of the odd knick-knacks that we once had as we found we like the lack of viewable clutter in our home decor. Plus it sure makes house cleaning a mere breeze!
      We are out on the boat often & I do “invest” in good sunscreen. I don’t mind spending money on that either. Lord knows I’ve fried my skin (on purpose at tanning salons when I was younger & obviously more of a putz), so I try now to redeem the errors of my ways with a good quality sunscreen.
      Thanks for the website link – I am impressed with their advice!

  5. I do a few things to resist the urge to drag home more trophies.

    1. Avoid the shops.
    Pretty obvious. But worth mentioning again. On my way to school (a busride), there are two stops where I change busline (one to get into town, the second to go to school). I can either pick the one which is in the middle of the center (shops!), or the other which is in walking distance from the city center. I usually opt for the other busstop.

    2. Avoid advertising.
    Yesterday (& today) I was tempted to buy a yoga and meditation DVD (it was actually two DVD’s) because I saw an add for it. The desire was only created because of that add. Today I realized that even if I wanted visual help, I can go to youbtube and find it. Heck, I’m already subcribed to a youtube channel. I’m very proud to say I didn’t buy those DVD’s today.

    3. 30 days list.
    Follow up on tip 2. If you want something so badly, then put it on a list. I found that usually I forget the item and end up not buying it.

    4. Make a grocery list.
    If you do get into town, make a ‘shopping list’ of the items you need. So far, on my list are utilities like deodorant. Make the list beforehand, review the list a day later (or two or so) and cross anything out that you won’t need, but want.

    5. Rules, rules, rules
    If you are caught in the middle of temptation, imagine the rules you’ve set before. Like for instance, no ‘knick-knacks’, no printed books (only e-books for me now). Or, set up a space for, for instance, your books. Once the limit of the space is reached, something has got to go.

    6. Imagine the worst case scenario.
    I’m not going to share my worst case scenario, but it helped me not buying items. For instance, imagine your house totally cluttered, like the people on ‘Hoarders’ or something similiar.

    These are my tips. I hope they give you some inpsiration. 🙂

    • Advertising has been a tough one….I like to look through magazines and such then before you know it your at the store buying more than you need. Today I was able to return a pair of kids shoes and they gave me cash back. 🙂

      • I know, I’m becoming immune to it though. Like, ‘oh, I already have this one’, or ‘I can do without.’

        Cash back is always good. I really hate places where you only get a voucher back.

    • Nurchamiel, oh yep – advertising. I seem to be on some free magazine list. While I have nearly stopped all catalogs (aside from the ones I get addressed to my neighbor but mailed to my address), I somehow got selected to receive free magazines. Lots of free magazines. At last count I believe I am receiving 18 different mags. They just show up every month & I have no idea why. I don’t actively subscribe to them that’s for sure. Well except for the Real Simple mag – that one I do subscribe to on purpose. Otherwise I get a bunch of fashion mags, business/financial mags, cat mag (we don’t even have a cat due to allergies), home decor, etc.
      I’ve tried to request they stop sending them to me..thus far, it’s only worked in stopping 2 mags. It’s just so crazy that I keep receiving these.

      I also like your “worst case scenario” suggestion. While I’m far from being a hoarder…I am more a buyer….then a regretter…..then a serial returner. Which equals a huge time waster!

      • Wow, that’s frustrating. Most places I’ve dealt with have canceled their magazines/catalogs when I’ve called and asked, though sometimes I’ve had to do it every couple of years. I’ve also signed up for all the do not call/do not mail lists I can find, but that only works if the people on the other end follow the rules.

        I still get weekly sales ads in the mail. When I get the mail I separate out all the ads, catalogs and junk mail, and except for the things that need to be shreded, put them straight into the recycling. Not having them floating around the house means less cleaning and less temptation.

  6. I know some of these have already been mentioned, but that might be because they are important or because they are helpful to a range of people. Good luck, Jane!

    – do not go to the stores or the mall without a purpose – don’t browse or window-shop
    – decide before buying where you will put it at home – perhaps you need to get rid of an item whenever you bring a new one home
    – delay the actual purchase – go home, think about the item for awhile. It’s surprising how imagining you possess an item reduces its “newness” and if the attraction was the novelty of something “new”, this helps to make it less attractive
    – clothing – either it is on a list that you have made at home of pieces you need to fill in your wardrobe, OR if it’s a piece not on the list, you can think of several ways to wear it, & be sure to try on at home to make sure all look okay
    – keep receipt in case you need to return it
    – put it in your cart and do the rest of your shopping, but stop in a quiet place before checking out, and re-visit each item:
    1. do a “gut check” – how do you feel when you look at the item? do you get a sinking feeling or a little guilt that you don’t need this item yet here you are ready to buy it?
    2. keep your goals in mind and ask whether this item puts you closer to your goal or further away; the goal can be to have an uncluttered house, a healthier bank account, debts paid off, sending children to college, saving for retirement, a large purchase to save towards such as repair on your home, a car, or a trip
    – if you need certain items but not immediately, save the shopping for a day when you will enjoy doing it and take your time making the decision

    • I just wanted to add, these are ALL things I do, not just theoretical ideas. Even though I have always been careful with my money, these helped me to reduce the LONGING for things. And I think that is the key to the problem.

      • On goals: make them specific. When I was young and worked in an office in the city, my co-workers were always broke because they spent their lunch hours shopping. My paycheck went directly into my travel fund and soon I was backpacking around Europe and Asia (while they continued to work, and shop – and complain!). Later, when we were preparing to retire, I again set specific savings goals. We knew how much we needed to save to retire by our chosen date and we focused on that. Giving yourself defined goals (pay off debts by THIS DATE, study Spanish in Mexico in 20**…) makes it much easier to keep focused and resist temptation.

        • Wendy, having very very specific goals works well for me. To hear folks say “I want to lose weight” or “I want to save more money” doesn’t sit well with me as it just seems to vague & not quantifiable. I much prefer the “I want to lose 8 lbs” and “I want to have xx amount in savings by xx date” instead.
          I need to take a closer look at my goal list (Cindy, if you are reading this – I know you also love anytime you can make a new list too), and make a specific goal with my spending habits.

    • Jo, this one quote of yours “put it in your cart and do the rest of your shopping, but stop in a quiet place before checking out, and re-visit each item” is an excellent idea especially when it comes to impulse grocery items.
      I tend to put impulse items or any item that was not on my grocery list in the little top section of the shopping cart/buggy to keep those item(s) separate from my original grocery list items so I can think it over before I make it tot he check-out line. More often than not do I find myself back-tracking through the store to put those items back in their original spot & man oh man do I feel like all eyes are on me when I put something back….but at least I put it back where it belongs & not leave frozen potatoes in the shampoo aisle!

      • Oh Jane, we’re kindered spirits – You’re wonderful for returning things to the right place – can you imagine the looks I got when I placed back all the paint samples after I’d painted (and crafted with some leftovers!). You have some great advice so far, and I’ve only read this far! So I’ll leave it to the others!

        • Snosie, this reminds me of a quote that says something to the effect of “pay no mind to the critics. A statue has never been erected in honor of a critic”.

  7. Hi Jane!

    I’m struggling sometimes as well, but there are some strategies which I use and which keep me good most of the time:

    1.) know what you need. It may be obvious, but it is a worthwile thing to know that coffee or shampoo is about to run out at home while there is an overabundance of unread books. (I will come to that later)

    2.) delay shopping. Usually, I just “look” for something but don’t buy it right then but go home again and think about whether I really need it.

    3.) if you’re an emotional shopper, try to stay off the shops in that mood that makes you most likely to buy. Go for an alternative activity like a walk or cuddling up with a favourite movie/book at home. If you buy something just for the sake of buying, it will most likely be clutter in no time.

    4.) if you know you shouldn’t be in the shops but are still there browsing around and feeling the urge to get something cute for your home return to your “necessities” I mentioned in 1.) . It’s okay to take an hour browsing through each and every tea shop and come home with even a luxury brand you wouldn’t normally buy, if you will use that tea within the next few weeks. Much better than adding the 104th book to your pile of unread books.

    5.) if you bought something nonetheless, then by all means: enjoy it right away. If you felt like buying a book than probably because you wanted to read it – so make yourself read it the very same day. (and think about if you can declutter an alike item from your stack) If you realize immediately that you aren’t going to need or enjoy it any time soon, go back to the store and return that item.

    • Sanna, your quote about “3.) if you’re an emotional shopper, try to stay off the shops in that mood that makes you most likely to buy. Go for an alternative activity” is a great idea!
      I shop out of boredom I think. I am working from home now mostly & it’s insanely easy now to just click open a new webpage & see all the new pretty things!
      Instead of doing that, I need to get away from the computer & walk around the outside of the house a few laps or walk the dog out back – anything to break the constant habit of “just looking” online to see what’s new.
      s far as returning items to the store…I bet not a week goes by that I don’t return things to a store or mail them back to where ever I ordered them from. It’s throwing good money after bad when I take into account the time, travel, return shipping fees, parking garage fees, etc. I’m actually quite glad to be thinking about these things actually as it’s been quite an eye-opener for me.

      • I’m happy that I’m under control in terms of online-shopping. I live in (and walk through daily) a lovely European city center with all sorts of stores and shops. I for sure know “comfort shopping”, as often enough when I’m about to return home – tired, but not quite satisfied with the outcomes of the day, I will browse through the shops. I guess often enough it’s just boredom as well and the want for some glitter and shine.
        I know though, that I will buy nothing but clutter in that mood AND feel even more irritated afterwards, so I try my best to avoid that altogether or lead it to some better results by shopping for necessities and cooking a nice meal at home.

  8. These are all excellent suggestions! Avoiding shops and ads, the 30-day list, anf “gut check” really work for me. I will just add this: Think about yourself, a few months from now, de-cluttering the said item. Can you see it happening? Yeah, thought so. Now put it back and sigh with relief for dodging a bullet 😉

    • CatsMeow, boy oh boy does this happen more often than I can or will admit to! I HAVE to have something only to donate or trash or sell or return said item a few weeks or months later.
      I’m going to keep myself a little logbook (yah more lists! My fav thing!!) of all these type purchases & what becomes of them. I think seeing it on paper in black & white will go a long way at reminding me of the errors of my ways & probably will help thwart future missteps (dodging a bullet is a great analogy) just knowing that more often than not – I end up returning & regretting the purchase to begin with!

  9. If this is a challenge for you, then make the consequences higher. For every item you bring in, you have to get rid of 10 items, for example. Shop with a purpose and always use cash. Leave the credit card at home. Don’t go into any debt to buy something new. Maybe you can tell yourself you have to sell stuff before you can buy anything else. With the money you get from selling what you have, you can buy whatever you want. You have to figure out what works for you. Different things work for different people.

    • Spendwisemom, OooOoooh great suggestion about making the consequences higher. I like the idea of having to sell more stuff in exchange for buying something new. It pains me so to have to futz with eBay, but if I knew I had to mess with eBay anymore than I already do is enough motivation to not bring in more useless stuff! Nice suggestions!

  10. I am a catalog girl. Love the catalogs but don’t usually buy much. What I do is tear out the page with the item and tuck it into the envelope/order form and put it in the bag I carry back and forth to work. I think I will order it but by the time I get around to it, I either don’t want it anymore, don’t have the money for it, or it just plain gets lost. I have been wanting to buy some new tops but keep telling myself I already have enough. So, this weekend, I am going to reorganize my closet and put all the slacks, blouses/tops, etc together. Once I see what is there, I’ll be able to purchase what I need not what I want.

    • Maggie, oh what a neat technique about keeping the torn out page with you & giving yourself time to think it over a bit. My problem is not so much snail mail ordering as it is the quick clickity-click of my computer mouse ordering. I can go from not needing or wanting an item to quickhurrybuyitnowdone! in less time it takes to blink!
      Funny thing, a few years ago when the husband & I were paying off all our debts…I used to right click & save the photo of whatever item I thought I needed to have or wanted to buy & keep it in a “things I want to buy” folder. I’d swoon over that folder at first, but a few hours or days later – I’d find myself deleting the items in that folder as I no longer wanted to even consider buying them.
      It’s becoming crystal clear I need to return to this old tried & true method as it worked when I put it to work!

  11. Well, I avoid the stores; however, since that is not always ‘avoidable’ within itself (LOL!), I just DON’T TOUCH. I pretend I am in an art gallery, and how pretty things are to look at, but Don’t Touch!!!

    • Annabelle, I recently read an article that said people are more inclined to purchase something once they physically touched the item. The act of tactile touching in itself was enough to trigger some ownership response in people & they in turn were more likely to buy the item than folks who “looked but didn’t touch”.
      I wonder how I can implement this for online purchases? Hmmm, something to think about.

      • Jane,

        Wow, that on-line don’t touch stuff is a tough one. Keep me posted on your progress!!! 🙂

        • Annabelle, oy! The obvious is rarely the path I take for some wackadoo reason!
          Hrmmm, having said that ….it might just be a good time to try out that path – seeing how it’s the one less taken.

      • Years ago I was in sales and they taught us that customers are much more likely to buy something once they touch it.
        I think we buy online (touch free) because we’re so well trained to buy, buy, buy!

  12. This is a hard one, since temptation, for most of us, is not very far from us everywhere we turn. Definitely, if you can, stay away from shops that will tempt you. If I need something and I have to go to the mall for it, I go to a specific shop for a specific item and I do not allow myself to visit any other places. Sometimes in life, though, it is not always an option and if you feel tempted, ask yourself if you really need the item or is it just an impulse decision to get an item. Many times I have purchased items and later found that I when I got it home, I was not as pleased with it as I was when I laid eyes on it initially. Don’t shop with anyone who will deter you from your goal either. I have a friend who loves to shop for clothes and I have to really watch myself when I am shopping with her or I will come home with something I don’t really need. Another thing that I would suggest that you do is, leave the item that you are thinking of buying at the shop and usually after a few days you won’t even think about it anymore. If you do get something, resolve to get rid of an item you already have, set limits. Finding balance can be difficult, but if you have a goal of something specific you want to do (like saving for a trip or paying off a bill, etc.) carry a reminder (a photo or something) of that item with you so when you are tempted you can look at it. Finally, being able to come daily to this website and finding helpful hints and ideas on it, keeps me motivated.

    • Jen, oh yep I have learned to never shop with other people!
      I like the suggestion about carrying with me a reminder of a goal to help snap me back to my senses.
      The endless cycle of buying, returning, buying, returning, buying, reselling, donating, buying, trashing, reselling, etc is wearing thin with me. My dear husband is a good sport…but I know he would prefer I thought purchases through before I purchased them.
      I do tend to shoot first then ask questions later & it occurs to me that that isn’t the most effective way of doing things.

  13. Wow! All very helpful & fantastic advice! I’m saving all these comments in my little list of favorite things! Good advice to keep & carry around with me!

    My “weak” areas are not household goods or knick-knacks, but clothing I read a lot of fashion & style blogs – which then sets in motion me opening up a new webpage & ordering stuff right then & there. Funny thing is that I end up returning close to 90-95% of the stuff. But I lose money in shipping & returning fees along with the time involved in returning everything.

    As I sit here & read this, does it finally dawn on me that I need to stop viewing fashion & style blogs. So I just did the drastic & unsub’ed & deleted from my RSS reader literally all the fashion/style blogs. There were quite a few – well, more like a whole lot! I never realized that til now either.

    I’m feeling a little queazy about it all…. but Lord knows I got enough clothes & like I said – I end up returning most things anyways. I’m also feeling kinda relieved as well. Sad but relieved. Actually….. Not so much sad, but a whole
    lot of relieved!

    • Jane, it sounds like you’ve got the solution!

    • Hi Jane – don’t tell me you want to buy a stuffed gorilla! ha ha ha just joking. All the advice here is good and sounds like you have identified your “lure zone”.

      • Moni, I happened to cut down an odd aisle in the local WalMart the other day & what did I happen to walk by? Yup, a pink (& purple) stuffed monkey. It only occurred to me after I left the store that I should have snapped a quick picture!
        I do believe the pink gorilla will be my new mascot!

    • Oh, excellent solution, Jane! Isn’t it funny how things become clear sometimes!

    • Jane,
      Your on the right path!!! Yay for you! You go girl!!! 🙂

      I’m proud of you. Through this you have figured out the root cause and made an attempt to deal with it. I also love fashion mags and even worse, household decor mags!!!! Funny thing is, I love to look at minimally designed house photos, so every now and then I google minimal design and when the photos come up I enjoy browsing through them, then logging off. Just my ‘fix’ w/ a great cuppa! 🙂

      Hang in there, AND DECLUTTER YOUR CLOSET. You are more than what you wear!

      • Annabelle, I swear I’ve decluttering my closet 50 times this year alone. Apparently my clothing is spun from rabbit hair & thus keeps multiplying at excessive rates!

        • LOL!!! Jane, You are just too darling!!!

          CLothing spun from rabbit hair!!! 🙂

          You are my hero! 🙂

  14. One more thing that has helped me. I don’t really shop much in stores, so no temptation there, but I still like to shop online. If I think I need something, I put it into the online shopping cart at Amazon, for example. Then I leave it there for days or weeks before I actually purchase anything. Usually, by the time I look at the item again, I’ve decided I can live without it.

    • Anita, I really like that idea. I usually have a few items I put in my Amazon wish list & it amazes me how soon I forget about those items & many times I can’t remember why I put them in my wish list to begin with!

  15. Another problem solved by being shared. I love this. Thank you.

    • Wendy F, I hate to drag others down with me..but I do hope that I’m not the only yahoo out there who buys too much stuff & seems to keep the circle of spending & decluttering going like a cat chasing it’s own tail!
      I do hope to put an end to the vicious cycle. I’ll still probably be a yahoo though! LOL

      • Oh Jane, I love to see the responses that everyone gives! I am so glad you ask the questions.
        You are not alone in this cluttered world! I think it is great when everyone can write down what they do, it helps me too to read other peoples strategies. There are so many helpful ideas listed today. Mine is, when you sit at the computer tomorrow, have the dog’s lead on your lap. If your dog sees this he/she will go nuts until you take them for a walk, thus limiting your time to browse online. Walking is a free exercise that makes you feel great! Cheers

        • Wendy, wow, interesting that you mention our dog seeing his lead leash.

          My husand & I have come to realize that today truly marks the exact day that our little 14 year old 8lb Shih-Tzu has completely lost what remaining sight he had. He’s been blind in 1 eye for some time now & has been making do with his other “good eye” despite macular degeneration with that one. Today though has been his worst day ever with his vision & it’s obvious that his “good eye” has succombed as well to blindness.
          We knew this day was coming, but no matter how much advice from our ocular vet, reading & home preparation we have been doing – we still couldn’t completely shield our little dog from the obvious fear & scaryness he seems to be encountering. Breaks my heart – he’s such a sweet little moppet.
          I have to admit that a lot of the decluttering we’ve been doing when it comes to household items has been to remove wayward obstacles from the path of our little dog in order to make it easier on him. We even have installed little padded foam pieces on the edges of furniture he may run into. We just bought a lot of foam & cut it to fit each scenario he may encounter. Some of the foam we fashioned into a channel of sorts to keep him centered down our odd-shaped hallway as that area seems to give him quite a fit. Otherwise, we set up dog bed “rest stations” through the house as he tires so easily “finding his way”.
          Just wish I could figure out how to get him to his water bowl without him knocking it over.

          • Oh Jane, as a fellow dog owner I truly feel your pain. Hoping the best for you and your sweet Shi Tzu. 🙂

  16. All good advice above. Here is another one that came from a friend of mine who is a therapist. You know how you shouldn’t go grocery shopping on an empty stomach? Don’t go shopping or browsing if something has happened, if you’re unhappy or stressed. Its called comfort shopping, sort of like comfort eating.

    • I think it’s a bit of boredom. Last year I stopped working full time (after nearly 20 years in the healthcare business) & started my own little business in a completely different field..but I’m home waaaay more than I have ever been & sitting in front of the computer waaaay more than I have ever been & next thing you know – I’ve bought yet another skirt, dress, top etc that I neither need nor want & now have to return. Yup, it’s boredom.

      • You may also want to consider if you are shopping because you aren’t getting enough social interaction. A switch from working outside the home to inside certainly has the potential to drastically decrease “face time” with other people.

        • Whisper, oh yep….this has indeed crossed my mind. I went from working in a smallish office of 6 folks, but we saw close to 40 if not more patients a day. Last summer I resigned from the job & I relished in the silence & the knowledge that I didn’t have to be hovering over patients all day invading everyone’s comfort zone.
          It’s been over a year now & honestly…I still don’t miss that job! LOL
          While I do spend more time at home with my business, it’s now switching over to where I’m out at the marina’s about half the day – which if you’ve ever dealt with boat folks – they are a healthy blend of independent mixed with the gift of gab!
          Still, the time I’m in front of the computer is enough time to do some shopping damage if you will. Well, WAS enough time. But after reading all these great suggestions – I am challenged to amend my evil shopping cycle ways.

  17. Oh my,
    I will probably be of no help but all of the ‘aboves’ makes sense. One thing I do think of when I’m out is – apart from all the obvious little things – I try to imagine where I’ll wear it or use it!!! 9/10 times I realise that by wandering through my mind I find I already have it – had it – or I’m about to get rid of something similar! That being said after doing the 333 Project, I tossed out so much ‘stuff’ and have only replaced what I know I really, really, really need to replace!

    The biggest help to me was putting a no junk mail sign on the letterbox. We have had a few slip through the cracks but I re-cycle them straight away. If I am in need of something, then I check my neighbours catalogue incase it’s half price.

    I wish you well in avoiding the road to ‘Temptation’ 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • Hi Dizzy – I put up a no junk mail sign on the letter box too – and yes I agree – out of sight, out of mind – I stockpiled all the free newspapers and advertising that came in the letter box and in a month it filled an entire rubbish bin – crazy!

      And yes Project 333 definately changed my wardrobe habbits. I am well under my 33 items and still have items I could get rid of but the wardrobe would be looking a bit too bare and I’m waiting for Spring lines to come out and have a cull then.

    • I’ve joined the Catalog Choice site that helps reduce postal mailing clutter & I’ve also directly contacted retailers requesting to be removed from their mailing list & it’s made a huge difference in the number of unsolicited & unnecessary catalogs that make it to my mailbox. However, one of my neighbors signed up for some catalog & wrote the wrong address (she put mine instead of hers) – so now I get her catalogs & tons of other mailings that spawned off from that. She’s in no hurry to “fix” the situation as I just hand over the catalogs to her & thus it’s no sweat off her back to do nothing.
      Driving me nuts though!

      • It is rather rude of your neighbor to not correct this issue. Maybe you can ask her (again) to correct the mistake, and if she hems and haws and doesn’t do it, correct it yourself (and in the meantime, stop handing over the stuff to her). When she wonders what happened, you can tell her since she didn’t correct the situation, you did. End of story.

        This all, of course, depends on your relationship with your neighbor. However, in my opinion the neighbor is not being very neighborly with this situation, so you’ve got to step up to the plate and take charge.

        • Annabelle, This particular neighbor is friendly enough…but one best kept at arms length. She gives me the heebie jeebies.
          My husband said we should sign her up for some catalogs that are of the “adult nature” type. While that sounds funny at first, I’m just not sinister. But still, sounds like fun!

      • Hi Jane,
        A good quick fix for that would be to bin the lot, when she gets around to noticing that you’re not handing over her catalogues she might think twice about changing the address. As it is in your address then it is your perogative to decide it’s fate. You are actually doing her a favour by handing it on. As painful as it may be, picking it all out of your mail and such, just bin it and see what happens. Call it your own little experiment in the dynamics of a shopoholic neighbour. See how long it takes before she has a meltdown because she’s missing her catalogue fix hahahaha ooohhhh my wicked streak is emerging!!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • I keep toying with the Project 333 idea. It’s very very intriguing as I know deep down that 33 items is probably waaaay more than what I actually wear now! Despite the number of items I have in my wardrobe.
      Recently Mohamed over at Midway Simplicity had a post that included a little blurb about how many items he actually does use on one particular day & I believe the number was 14. I’ve been rolling that post around in my head for a few days letting it sink in. It sure touched a nerve with me if it’s been this many days later & I’m still thinking about it hard.

      • Hi Jane – I did 333 and allowed myself all sorts of ‘off-ramps’ in case I was caught short or drastic weather changes or royalty came for dinner – I didn’t need them. Very interesting exercise.

        • Moni, do you still follow the rules more or less of that project? If not, why?

          • Hi Jane – Project 333 – yes I still have less than 33 items although I use far fewer on a weekly basis. Some of the 33 items ended up on trademe as I realised that being on 333 still hadn’t forced me to wear them so obviously I had some sort of block about the item, and there are two outfits that I still haven’t worn (new with tags still on) – one might end up being sold, the other I will probably start wearing now that the weather is improving here.

            All in all, it hasn’t been difficult at all. If I was really stuck I could have gone to the suitcase up in the ceiling storage and gotten something out, but I didn’t, and I’m probably going to ditch what is in that suitcase. The odd thing is that no one noticed my limited range of clothing, in fact most people thought I’d bought new things – I attribute that to wearing different combinations of clothes than what I would have normally.

            I have had the same 33 items now since 1st April and I admit I am looking forward changing some items for Spring. I have become more ‘stingy’ about spending money on clothes, I’m not sure why exactly, but probably because I’ve gotten out of the habit of spending on clothes. I have noticed a few items starting to show some wear and tear but they weren’t new items when I began 333 and I can definately say I’ve got my money’s worth out of them.

      • Oh man try it, nothing tells you louder, that you don’t need that neon, lame’ throw around your body thingee that is too tight and sooooo 80’s like Project 333 hahahaha. Seriously I used to have wardrobes full or clothing thanks to working in a ‘You must dress to impress environment’. Man I had multiples of everything, my knicker drawer/drawers alone were ridiculous, I reckon I even had knicks for the ‘incase I get hit by a bus scenario’!!!! Shoes, don’t get me started on that fat shoebox, not to mention that I kept the shoebox ‘Just in case’ although they are handy!! Shhhhh!!! Over the years I have culled, sold, donated, re-cycled and just plain dumped to get myself down to what I love to wear and what (hopefully) looks good on me. I get to dress up crazy through dance so no more lame’ for the disco heehee, actually no more disco fullstop, I think I’ve let that bus pass for good reason hahahaha!!!

        Give it a try, if nothing else, it will get you into the focus zone of what you have and who knows, you may find you do wear 80% of your clothes 80% of the time, but I will say this – to date I haven’t met or heard of anyone that currently does that with their ‘stuff’!!! The 20/80 rule has proved true in every room in my home. 🙂 🙂 🙂

        • Dizzy, you are a hoot and a half! After I read your comment, I quick ran & turned on some Abba music in honor of the gold lame dance image now stuck in my mind!

          • Hey Jane,
            We recently did a parody of Abba and I played the brunette Frida, I was resplendent in a very short pr of silver shorts with a huge cat on the front of the Long top or short Dress. The Diamante encrusted boots were the best hahaha NOT!!!! Not sure if I still have it in the costume rack but if I do I will get a photo of it and send it Colleen, to remind everyone you should not have this pc in your wardrobe hahahaha. I actually am very fond of my ‘TimeWarp’ outfit. Dance costumes come in handy for Fancy Dress parties. My Kath & Kim g-string leotard is still winner hahaha!!

            Have a great day 🙂 🙂 🙂

  18. Great tips everybody! This is what I did (and in some cases still do 🙂 )

    1. Identify your weakness
    2. catalogue all the items of that weakness you allready own by taking pictures. for example I took photographs of all clothing items I owned (its a horrible wake up call as you get to count them the same time) and then put that in my (back then ) several handbags. Everytime I was in a shop and I wanted a piece if clothing I would look through my visual list and see if I allready owned somthing like it or if it would match several other clothing items/occasions. By doing this I first of all was allredy feeling cluttered as my handbags we’re full of paper stuff, which put me in a non buying mood. Second it kept me from bying doubles and non coordinating items. I still do this sometimes, especially if I go shopping with someone else as I then have proof with me that this and this item does not coordinate or I own something similar allready. I still find it hard to say no when somebody says an item in the shops looks good on me. Luckily I managed to slowly reduce my wardrobe contents by so much now that I have no problem remembering what I own. The list is just there to prove I don’t need it to pushy people (aka my mum).

    • Hunter_xs, holy cow is this a brilliant idea! I am so going to do this! Even though I’ve parred down my wardrobe to less than 2/3’s of what it once was..there is still more than enough things in that closet. I think having a visual reference to that information in the form of photo’s of what I do have will be a good solid wake-up call/reminder of what I do have already & thus what I don’t need!
      I’m a sucker for buying doubles. I find a color or style I like..then freak out that I’ll ruin that item somehow & end up buying it again in duplicate “just in case”. I know, I know, makes no sense to anyone but me, but now that I type this “outloud” does the insanity of this come to light in my own eyes.

  19. 1. avoid temptation (tons of sound advice on that already here)

    2. deconstruct temptation (why do I want this? Is it a need or only a want? And if there is a need or a want is it for this specific item or for something else? If an ugly wall colour in your living room bothers you, new through pillows aren’t the solution. Don’t buy the the xth top to cover you bum if the real problem is ill-fitting trousers. And of course don’t buy anything if the answer to what you really want is having a better day, a clue, a hug or an uncluttered, easy life.)

    3. become a snob (okay, not towards other people but towards the things you let into your life. At first this might feel VERY weird, but you’ll come to terms with not buying a pullover because it’s polyester while you are wearing (out) an old polyester piece yourself. One should never buy something “nicer”, but only something truly nice. After all we need to remember that if we don’t go naked, sleep or sit on the bare floor or have no dishes or mugs to put our food/drink in, there’s little that we need so urgently that we should go for “it’s okay”, “but it’s a bargain”, for temporary solutions or anything along those lines.)

    4. indulge (Sanna put it nicely: if you fall for temptation after all the effort not to, enjoy it thoroughly. If you can’t enjoy it and are ridden by a bad conscience, return the item immediately.)

    5. make up for it (if the milk has been spilt and there is no turning back of an maybe unwise decision made, declutter or sell a similar item or the item you bought or even something totally unrelated to not move further away from your decluttering goals but at least stay constant)

    • Ideealistin, I LOVE the “become a snob” suggestion – very clever! I also love the deconstruct temptation suggestion. It’s amazing how quick I go from seeing a new pretty to buying a new pretty – mere seconds if I click the mouse quick enough. Then a minute or so later (after I’ve purchased the items) do I then start back-peddling & realize I really didn’t need or want the items. It’s only AFTER I buy something do I then ask questions like…do I need this? Do I even want this? Where am I gonna use/wear this?
      I need to make a list of questions to ask myself BEFORE I start clicking away to purchase an item or am standing in front of said item at the store.

    • Oh I just love the number 3; ‘become a snob (to things)’. That is an awesome solution!!!!

      LOOK AT YOU YOU SILLY SWEATER, YOU ARE NOT GOOD ENOUGH FOR ME! HA HA HA. I shall walk on by (out to the car and leave the entire shopping complex and DON’T GO back in there again!).

      Now if you REALLY need something, try a thrift store. You might have to ‘hunt’, but if you find something, great, and if not, then maybe the ‘need’ for it to begin with will pass and you’ll still have the money in your bank account and lovely things ALREADY hanging in your CLOSET! 🙂

      • Annabelle, I am SOOOOO gonna walk up to a sweater & snub my nose at it as soon as possible! I think the hilarity of that idea is too fun an idea to not pass up!

  20. Hey Jane,
    For me, it has been best just to stay out of stores I used to love “browsing”. But an easier way to avoid extra and impulse purchases if there is something you have to buy (groceries, cleaning products, underwear) is just not to bring any extra money. Only carry enough to get what is on your list. This way you automatically give yourself time to reconsider a purchase if you do find yourself in a tempting situation.

    Good Luck!

    • Kimberly, you know, when the husband & I paid off all our debts a few years ago – I stuck to a seriously rigid sum of money for groceries, sundries, etc.
      It was a bit awkward at first, but I kept a detailed price list of what items cost at my local grocery store. When I made my weekly grocery list, I tallied up the items before I even left for the store & thus knew approximately what I was about to spend & if I was over my weekly budget – then I changed my grocery list around to fit. I usually was within 1 US dollar of accuracy once I did go grocery shopping.
      I need to do this again. It sure kept impulse purchases down to next to nothing & we actually found we ate better overall & didn’t waste food near as much.

      • Oh that is awesome. I just did that two days ago, and figured the bill to within .48 (US) cents!!!! It was so fun to pay cash AND empty some of the ‘heavy’ change (not that much) out of my wallet!

  21. Just a quick note – I’ll respond to everyone’s posts – but I’m out of time right now as we have a BBQ to attend today!

  22. My deterrant is to divide the number of times I have to do a routine but unpleasant task in my working life as a nurse into my daily wage. ($15) I give this factor a rude but memorable name which I won’t share with you lovely ladies. When I shop I use this factor as part of my decision making process. For instance, sandwich and coffee would cost the same as the unpleasant task. If I don’t buy it then that will be one less time I will have to do this task in my life.

    • Hi Kathy,
      This made me laugh, but I then choked, you wrote $15 is that what you earn daily? If so I think you should give your boss a rude but memorable name!!! I’m currently helping a friend (who runs a cleaning business) prepare OR’s at a hospital and sometimes I do the wards. It’s a great here and there job but it does have some horrid moments but lets face it life is full of ‘IT’ sometimes. For this I get paid between $35 and $50 per hour. I get to wear funky scrubs and when I do a ‘Contamination room’ or the ‘Birthing Suite’ I just love my pink ‘chuckies’ and the extra pay hahaha.

      As for you being a nurse I commend you, as they say ‘Nurses, we can’t live without them’
      Have a beautiful day 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • Kathy, when I was working in healthcare – I too calculated what crummy job I would have to do x times in order to buy whatever new pretty I had my eye on at the time. I too would figure out how many hours of a particular work day would be worked soley for buying the item & it usually irked me to know that I just spent 4 hours hovering over sickly folks so I could buy a new purse that I’ll probably tire of sooner rather than later!
      Man oh man, did that exercise work wonders for me in deterring errant purchases. But now I work mostly from home in my own business & that method doesn’t translate as well. But bravo to you for discovering that nifty little work/time/cost calculation. It served me very well when I worked for the “man”.

  23. Not long ago I drove by some furniture on the side of a lovely country road that had a sign that said “FREE”. I drove by once and felt it must me barn-clean-out junk. Then on the way back from my errand, a bureau drawer caught my eye. I had to stop. It was solid wood with dovetail joints and pretty millwork, complete with metal keyhole for the top drawer. BUT it needed some TLC, the top had some fairly decent waterstaining that would need a sanding, and the legs had been cut shorter… not a deal breaker for someone like me who loves the worked-over antiques. The reason I finally left it at the curb was the simple fact that I couldn’t think of where it would fit in my home. I WANTED it to fit, I really did, but the temptation to make it work was slightly weaker than my desire for empty space. That was a huge milestone for me.
    from “creativeme”

  24. Creative Me, bravo to you sister for thinking it through before just simply pouncing on a freebie. Everything has a price – if not on the front end, it will on the tail end.
    Case in point:
    Recently, my husband came home from work one day with a HUGE weight bench thing in the bed of his truck. Literally we had just sold the weight bench he had bought but never ever never never ever never used a week or so before. He said it was on the side of the road in front of a home that had recently been foreclosed on.
    Anyways, before he turned in the driveway, he texted me to “warn” me that he found something by the road & was bringing it home & no it wasn’t staying.
    He found a buyer the very same day (a coworker who was bummed he missed out on buying our other weight bench thing) & sold it to him for a few dollars.


    M husband & the guy who bought the weight bench dropped the thing when they were taking it out of the truck bed & dented the tailgate bad enough that it had to be completely REPLACED.

    Argh! Free weight bench sold for $50 minus new tailgate at $450 equals one miffed wife.
    The husband now admits that free doesn’t come without a price.

    • Dear Jane,
      You know what, after that happening above, go and buy yourself a nice scarf in a beautiful colour and fabric, then tell your hubby the next time he sees anything for free and he picks it up he may just get a slight ‘strangling’ with your beautiful, new very functional scarf.

      From one lovely lady who has a hubby that does similar things and yes gets a scarf flashed in front of his eyes on particular occassions heehee. I is so lovin’ my wicked streak right now!!!

      • Dizzy, the hound dog look on his face when he came back home from delivering that weight bench was penalty enough. Sad to say though, deep down, I was kinda glad the tailgate incident occurred as it will serve as a deterent for him to stop dragging stuff home as well.

  25. Jane, Just write on the label, “Refused – not at this address” and let them go back to the sender. After a while, your neighbor will be looking for them and can contact the company. Not your problem.

  26. Jane, Just saw a note about your puppy losing his sight. Our dear Dachshund had cataracts the last 3 years of her life and we called her the bumper car dog because she would gently bump into a wall or table and then back up and move a little one way or the other and then go forward again. We did this affectionately, of course. She was the love of our life and did pretty well finding her way around the house without vision. We, or course, never moved anything and she had a direct path to the kitchen for food and to the bathroom for water. She NEVER drank water anywhere but in the bathroom. We put the water bowl in a corner of the room and there was no way to spill it because it was up against two walls. Since it was on a tile floor, it didn’t matter if she spilled it but most often, she didn’t. She has gone to doggy heaven now, but as long as she was healthy, we adjusted her surroundings to her sight and she could function. Good luck with your baby, too.

    • Maggie, brilliant idea about snugging the water bowl into the corner! I told this to my husband & he fashioned a foam “cradle” for the water bowl to keep it in it’s exact location – which has been the same spot going on 10 years now. Thank you for inadvertantly solving the water bowl dilemma!

      What a great group of folks we have here on Colleen’s website!

  27. Have to share this – earlier this year I completed a drastic decluttering effort in my household. I let go of literally truckloads of stuff. I was putting my house up for rent and moving out of state to a place where I have very limited storage space. Releasing all this stuff took months and brought out my inner minimalist. I’m still so far into that mindset that I still only purchase food and necessities. I still admire things I see in stores, but bringing it home as my actual personal property is unthinkable. Don’t know how long this will last, but it’s a great relief while it does.

  28. Jane, So glad you found a solution. I got my baby when I found out I needed a transplant and she was my talisman. She would stay next to me whenever I was sick and my husband would have a devil of a time trying to feed her or take her out. After I had the transplant, I still had bouts of medical issues and she would lay next to me (bed or sofa) and stay with me the entire time. I miss her so much but don’t think we will get another dog. Our grandkids live in KY – a “fur piece” from here and it got pretty expensive hiring a sitter whenever we traveled. So, for now, the grandkids take precedence. Things may change. 🙂
    Enjoy your sweet darlin’. Their little lives are short. Our Zenzi lived for 14 years and we cherished every one.

  29. One thing I’ve read that has helped a lot of people (according to the blog where I read it) was this:
    First, find a dream. It could be buying a car, a down payment on a house, that dream vacation, etc. Find a picture of that item or a picture of something that represents that item.
    Most people tend to buy things (impulse items) with a card…debit or credit. In that pocket, space, etc., put the above picture. Every time you pull out that card for whatever impulse item (on or off-line), you’ll be reminded of whatever you want to spend that hard earned funds on….instead of something you want “right now”.