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Buy Wisely

Organizing tipBuy what you need and use what you buy. This is a simple straight forward directive, but can be challenging to do. I use shopping guidelines and gatekeeper questions to help me buy wisely.

one dollar bills

No One Needs a Lifetime Supply of Anything!

Helpful Organizer BlogWhen I heard this phrase, “No one needs a lifetime supply of anything!” I laughed. I understand that the phrase is an exaggeration, but it is also true. Excessive shopping and stockpiling can create real issues. There is value in having a well stocked pantry, and it’s important to be prepared for emergencies, but when do we have enough? We are constantly being encouraged to buy, and the message that more is better is pushed on us. It is often difficult to know when we have enough and when we have too much.

When I asked a group of business women the question, “What does more stuff equal?” I was thinking they would answer that more stuff equals more to organize and maintain, but the resounding answer was, “More Stress!” These women clearly understood that more is not always better, but do they live that way? The average American household has 300,000 things in it. How many of those things get used regularly or frequently? How much time is wasted taking care of all the things we own?

I’d like to propose an experiment. In order to become more mindful consumers, establish a self imposed shopping ban for one month. Buy only essentials, such as food, medications, and toiletries for a month. Purchase what is needed, but no surplus, excess, or impulse buys. If you’re up for a tougher challenge, extend your shopping ban to include take-out food and eating out for the month. Notice what happens. How does it feel? Is it difficult or easy to shop less and spend less? Please share your experience with me.

My husband and I imposed the tough shopping ban for one month and found that shopping less was fairly easy, but we are lazy cooks. When we’re tired or our pantry is bare, we succumb to the temptation to eat out or get take out. We decided to work on this. We are trying new recipes, experimenting with new food and ingredients, and visiting the grocery store more often. We’re still working on this, but I’m happy with our progress so far.

Here are some additional ideas on how we can become more mindful consumers.

  • Buy multi-use and multi-purpose items. Examples: all purpose cleaners, multi-season jacket, furniture that serves a dual purpose.
  • Value quality over quantity to prevent the need for frequent replacement. (Example: better quality clothing, furniture, footwear, kitchen items)
  • Be a “cart” user when shopping on-line. Put items in cart and let them sit for a minimum of 2 weeks and then reevaluate before purchasing.
  • Be resourceful and use what we have. (Example: Use something completely to prevent waste. Eat left overs. Re-purpose items.)
  • Use up items from the pantry or fridge to show one empty shelf before replenishing.
  • Experiment with the power of ONE – Only one of each item and only one product open at a time. No back up items or duplicates.
  • Practice 1 in 1 out guideline.
  • Use gatekeeper questions.
  • Establish shopping guidelines.

©December 2018  Janine Cavanaugh, Certified Professional Organizer®  All Rights Reserved

one dollar bills

Shopping Guidelines

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Celebrating
10 years in business
in 2018!
 
 
I apologize for not sending out a newsletter in July. I was traveling and the summer just flew by. However, I did write some blog articles that you may find inspiring and interesting. Please see below.   
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Question:  Have you ever experimented with minimalism? Please share.
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Hi  ,
      How are you? Can you believe it is already the end of October? Summer has come and gone, and once again we are gearing up for a cold, snowy New England winter. Time marches on and with winter comes the gift-giving-season. Are you ready? Would you like to do things a bit differently this year? If so, I have a few organizer friendly shopping guidelines.
  1. Make a list and check it twice (like Santa).
  2. Set limits on number of gifts to give each person and dollars to spend per person.
  3. Always shop with your list and have a specific purpose for each purchase.
  4. Buy gifts that get used up instead of things that take up space. A few examples are bubble bath, art and craft supplies, and sweet treats.
  5. Use technology as a gift-giving inspiration and acquire downloads of books, movies, and games.
  6. Purchase gifts of experience like movie passes, sporting event tickets, zoo memberships, concert tickets, and ice cream shoppe gift cards.
  7. Check out my list of clutter-free gift giving ideas.
  8. Store gifts in one spot, so you can easily see what has been purchased.
  9. Update your list each time you make a purchase.
  10. Schedule time to wrap gifts so you don’t have to stay up till 3:00AM the night before the big holiday.
 If you have other shopping guidelines that have worked for you in the past, please share them with me.

Giving Resources

Looking to clear out some stuff before adding more during the holidays?

Here are a few giving options for toys:

  1. Cradles to Crayons helps families and children in need.
  2. Project Smile works with police and fire departments
  3. Daycare centers
  4. Domestic and homeless shelters
  5. Children’s Homes
  6. Social Services
  7. Hospitals and doctor’s offices
Here are two on-line giving communities:
  1. FreeCycle
  2. Buy Nothing

Happy 2018!
I’m truly grateful for you and your support of me and my business. Thanks for helping me make it to my ten year anniversary. Wishing you all the best in the final two months of 2018 and a happy and safe holiday season!
From,

Janine Cavanaugh, CPO®
(508)-699-6652
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If you’ve worked with me in any capacity, I’d be grateful for a review.  Simply click on this link and answer 3 questions.  Thank you and happy organizing!