Do you love to shop, hunt for bargains, and practice retail therapy? If so, you are not alone. For many, shopping is their favorite pastime. It’s easy to get caught up in a buying frenzy with friends. It’s thrilling to find great deals, and see how much we’ve saved. It’s fun to purchase gifts, and surprise loved ones. It’s so convenient to shop online and have things delivered right to our door. But how often do we stop and think before buying something? Do we really need a life-time-supply of dog chews? How much extra are we spending each year to get the “free shipping”? Is it worth getting two free if we can’t even use up one before it goes bad? How much of what we buy is extra, surplus, or wasted?
I’ve found a successful way to help me stop and think before I buy. I’ve compiled a list of gatekeeper questions that allow me to pause and ask myself, “Why buy this?”. These questions are called gatekeeper questions because we control the gates to our properties. We all have the power to prevent a purchase from entering our homes. When shopping ask these questions (to the item) before committing to buy.
- Why are we buying you? Need? Want? Impulse? Obligation? Fundraiser?
- What value will you add to our household?
- Are you a practical, useful item or are you just for show?
- Do we already own something just like you? If so, why do we need another?
- Are you a replacement purchase? If so, what will we do with the old item?
- Will you make life easier or are you going to be more trouble than you’re worth?
- Where do we have a place for you?
- Are you well made and worth your price tag?
- Will you make our space feel crowded, cluttered, or overstuffed?
- Will we want to keep you forever or at least a very long time? If not, how hard will it be to get rid of you?
- Are you a gift for someone? Will you be a pleasure to them or a burden to them?
- What will happen if we don’t buy you today?
- How will we feel if we don’t buy you?
- How often will we think about you, if we don’t buy you today?
This gatekeeper system requires some practice and discipline, but it helps me feel more prepared to make a mindful purchasing decision. Hopefully you will find it helpful as well. Try it and let me know what you think?
©June 2018 Janine Cavanaugh, Certified Professional Organizer® All Rights Reserved