Cindy’s Weekly Wisdom
The shopping is done. The wrapping paper is all recycled. You may have even packed away the ornaments until next year. (Were there any you decided to declutter?) But I bet there’s still one task you haven’t tackled, one that goes on all year long: Returns. Returns are a vital part of a well-organized and decluttered home.
You can return practically anything to practically anywhere. Even if you’re outside the store’s stated time limits for returns, you can still request a return. Speak to the manager. Really and truly, it doesn’t hurt to ask. (This is more applicable to the United States than it may be to other countries. Australia for one is much less flexible)
Surely you’ve looked on Craigslist or Ebay and seen a listing like these: “Bought for daughter but did not fit. Lost receipt, my loss your gain.” Or, “My loss is your gain. These are easily $70 at a store. If I had a receipt I would take it back, but I don’t.”
The first ad was for five pairs of Target brand jeans. I know that Target will take items back for 90 days, and that you don’t have to have your receipt to get a store credit, so why isn’t this mother returning the jeans? Placing an ad for clothing on Craigslist is way more inconvenient than any trip to Target could be and you will unlikely get the full cost you paid.
In the second case, why doesn’t this fellow ask where his $70 item came from? Even if we assume that he’s not asking because he fears hurting the feelings of the gift-giver, he can still try a return. While I don’t advocate intentionally returning something to the wrong store, many stores sell exactly the same merchandise, and especially after Christmas, will take back something that you’re not 100% sure came from there. Don’t feel bad; they stock ones exactly like it, and they’re going to resell it. If you feel uncomfortable, you can even say, “I got this from my sister. I don’t know if it came from here.” If it didn’t, they’ll tell you.
Buying online is a very popular option, but I am careful not to have something shipped to me if I’m not certain that I want it, particularly if return shipping is not included. Postage costs are very high, and I feel cheated if I pay for something to be shipped to me, then pay for it to be shipped back, and the only thing I have to show for my efforts is less money.
Big ticket items are the hardest to return but the most deserving of being returned. You’re only going to buy one TV this decade. If you get it home and don’t like it, it needs to go back. My girlfriend returned a gas stove once! Can you image how inconvenient that was? The thing was hooked up in her house and functioning, but she hated it and knew she did not want to live with it for the next 20 years. Any time you buy a big ticket item, make sure you understand the store’s return policy before you purchase. Sometimes furniture and art can be taken out “on approval” where the store charges your card but allows you to take it home for a day or two. The store won’t volunteer this; you have to ask.
When I buy something I’m not quite sure about, or something that won’t get used right away (which could translate to won’t get used … ever), I tape the receipt directly onto the item. Recently I was able to return house numbers that I’d had for almost 12 months because I still had the receipt. The store’s policy is that returns are only accepted within 90 days. First I called to assess if there might be a problem, but the clerk sounded pretty sure “we can work something out.” When I walked into the store, I checked to be sure that they still stocked the house numbers. They did, and as predicted, there was no problem getting a store credit, which I immediately used. (See Day 294 for my tips on managing your gift cards and merchandise credits.)
Especially as you’re decluttering, you will find brand new items that you could have, should have returned. Don’t fret! You probably still can.
Colleen – There is some good advice in this article and I like Cindy keep all receipts for items other than food for a certain length of time just in case. I keep my receipts in a coupon folder or in my file with warranty papers. I have had to retrieve such receipts many times over the years when…
- Things break during normal use within a short length of time or within the warranty period.
- When clothing shrinks, fades, goes out of shape/seams undo/ etc within the first few times of wearing and washing.
- When something doesn’t live up to what the advertising suggests it is capable of.
- When I have chosen and item because the sales person insists it is the right product for what I require and it turns out it isn’t.
Just remember to clean out old receipts on a regular basis. And like Cindy says be reasonable about what you expect to the retailer to accept. It never hurts to try though because the only stupid request is the one you are to shy to ask for. Please try to investigate big ticket products where possible before making your purchase and remember to be open minded. Investigating doesn’t mean to only try to justify the exact item you thought you wanted in the first place and not having an open mind that the trendy/cutest/smaller/larger/ faster… product may not the one that best suits your needs.
Today’s Declutter Item
This is the sweater Liam was wearing when he had his accident needless to say they had to get it off him quickly. It went in the trash today but we kept what once was his favourite T-shirt that is in much the same condition.
Things I am grateful for today
- Lunch with a friend again – I have been a bit spoiled the last couple of days.
- Listening to other peoples troubles and realising how lucky I am.
- More cherry tomatoes ripening on the plant in my garden that just popped up from one of last years seeds.
- Liam happily co-operating with me when I asked him to help declutter a couple of drawers in his bedroom today- eBay here we come.
- Friends that feel they can always be honest with me.
It matters not how fast I go, I hurry faster when I’m slow.