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For the home: By-and-by, you’ll regret buy-and-buy

As a professional organizer, I am constantly reminded of what happens when people buy too much stuff without first thinking through what they’re buying.

Initially, they feel good about their purchases, because they got a good deal, they thought the items would simplify their lives or because they just had to have it. But within a couple of days, weeks or months, when they realize they have no use for certain items, have nowhere to put them and don’t have the energy to get rid of them, the clutter begins to close in. Recognize this scenario? Here are some tips to avoid it:

1. Never buy something just because it’s on sale

We have been programmed to think that sales are opportunities. If we fail to take advantage of a sale, we have missed out. Rationally, we know that the money we’re saving is relatively insignificant and yet, the temptation to buy something on sale is alluring. Before you take the plunge, ask yourself whether you need it, whether you will you use it and most important, whether you would buy it if it weren’t on sale?

2. Don’t buy for the future.

I am totally in favor of planning for the future, but buying things now that you may need, or want, a couple of years from now is unnecessary. The amount of work it will take to store the item, remember you have it and eventually put it to use, whether you actually need it or not, outweighs any benefit to getting a good deal now.

3. Take inventory.

Do you know what’s in your closet or kitchen cabinets? Most of us think we do, but when we take a closer look, we always find something we’ve forgotten. If you’re headed out to the store, take five minutes to do a quick inventory.

4. Measure first. Shop second.

Buying things that you think will fit without knowing if they actually will is a bad idea. Don’t buy a tablecloth that you think will fit your dining room table without knowing what size you need; don’t buy curtains if you don’t know the length .

5. Beware of fancy gadgets.

It’s not that it’s not fun to make your own delicious bread, ice cream or juice. It’s just that, more often than not, it’s easier to buy the products at the store, so we opt for convenience. Try borrowing a friend’s specialty appliance before you decide to buy one. If you love it and have adequate space to store it, go for it.

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