The link between shopping habits and disorganization

We focus a lot on discarding and decluttering when it comes to organizing. The truth is there are three main components of organization: consumption patterns, keeping habits, efficient storage.  Once a purge is complete, we need to look toward the primary source of clutter to avoid disorganization: our shopping habits.

A closer look at our consumption patterns reveals these behaviors that contribute to disorganization:

  1. buying things not needed or used
  2. making repeat purchases of the same type of goods
  3. buying trendy or low-quality goods that don’t stand the test of time
  4. buying in bulk or large quantities that don’t get consumed
  5. purchases related to stock piling or collecting

We don’t have to be a victim of mindless habits. There are some key strategies to reducing overall consumption–and in effect, preventing disorganization.

First, take stock. Make lists of things that are running low or depleted, and be deliberate about purchasing only what is on your list.

Second, limit the amount of time spent in stores. For example, if you like to shop a lot for clothes, challenge yourself to go to your favorite clothing store no more than one time a month. Understand what influences you to make “feel good” purchases, and try to avoid those shopping atmospheres or go only on special occasions.

Some shopping is necessary such as running errands. But frequently running errands is not a good way to manage time or reduce purchases. Plan your errand exercises and dedicate only one time a week to errand shopping. Recognize that the time it takes to commute to a store, shop, and stand in line takes away precious time from our personal lives. Make the connection that less shopping equals more personal time and fewer mindless purchases.

And finally, if shopping is considered a fun pastime, consider branching out and trying other activities for entertainment. It is a new year after all, a great time to explore new likes!

When it comes to having less stuff to organize, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of things discarded!







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Birdie Brennan Professional Organizers has been simplifying people’s lives since 2001. Birdie is a member of NAPO, a founding member of NAPO Ohio, in the Inaugural class of Certified Professional Organizers, a Golden Circle member and a member of ICD. It is our love for organization and design that led us to designing and installing closets.

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