Have you noticed how easy it is to shop for anything these days? Food, clothes, medications, toys, gifts, furniture  — even a house can be scoped out on the web. You can easily spot the delivery trucks everywhere now too. All those white trucks delivering Amazon packages or brown UPS trucks and even colorful produce-images on grocery trucks.

Many people are not actually going to the stores, but we are all still shopping. I know people are buying more “stuff” than ever before because I see it at my job almost every day. The online retailers make it so simple, convenient and often more affordable. Even a very mature senior citizen can easily order off QVC. Online shopping is here to stay and can compound our clutter especially for women who are usually responsible for the household inventory of goods and purchases.

This concept is both a blessing and a curse. When I enter a client’s home I often see a whole lot of empty boxes with recent purchases. Even more concerning, I see boxes that need to be both opened and items that need to be returned. That’s when procrastination and time management become an issue.

I wouldn’t mind online shopping as long as my clients are following the “One In / One Out” rule which encourages a person to follow the decree that for every item that comes into their home, one item goes out. Often times just recycling the boxes and shipping back returns makes the house appear more decluttered! And, be especially scrutinizing of those automatic deliveries — such as fruit, toy or book “of the month.”

Live Off Your Current Inventory

I like to encourage people to utilize all their current inventory if they are uncomfortable with the amount of clutter in their abode.

  • Prepare meals with current foods in the pantry, freezer and fridge.
  • Shop your closets (and often attic or others areas where clothes might have been stashed) first before searching the net for a new outfit.
  • Redecorate or redesign with items in the house you’ve forgotten about but are meaningful to you.
  • Utilize your seasonal décor out of your shed, attic, garage and basement first for this season. Then if you feel it is “tired”, let it go after the current holiday and buy new either next year or if you have space, once it goes on sale.

5 Key Questions to Ask Before “Adding To Cart”

  1. Is this item a want or a need?
  2. What will the “life expectancy” be of this item if I purchase it?
  3. Where will it live when it arrives, where will I put it?
  4. How difficult would it be to return it if I don’t like it when I see it for real?
  5. If this purchase is an addition to my house, what subtraction will I let go of following POSSE’s, One In / One Out motto?

“Attack the Sack”

One thing we should try to do after we walk in our doors with boxes and shopping bags is put things away, right away while our momentum is there. Don’t even take off your coat! Put your purchases in their “homes” immediately. And if you bought something that doesn’t have a home, create one. For example, if I just bought a dog bed for my living room because I don’t want Maggie on our new couch, then I need to determine where exactly in my living room is this dog bed going to “live”? So now her new bed lives right next to the TV armoire.

Stop Shopping

Only shop for the necessities while getting your house in order. Re-purpose, reuse and reduce what you own. It’ll help your pocketbook, the environment and your residential landscape. When you have “less instead of more”, it is much easier to find things, use them and put them away again. Only buy what you need and would miss if your house burnt down.

WARNING: Be cognizant of the amount of shopping both online and at physical stores that you are doing if you are trying to get organized. The two are like an oxymoron, it’s a one step forward and one step back situation. Be disciplined and fight off the temptation of advertising and marketing! Your house will thank you.