Stop the Sabotage


It occurred to me recently that many people are constantly sabotaging their own decluttering efforts.


They are hauling garbags of ‘stuff’ to the op shop, filling the rubbish bin each week and trying to find time list items on eBay in a vain attempt to claw back some of the money they have spent on unwanted items.  Yet, these same people are often using every strategy possible to score a good deal on clothes, shoes, bedding, magazines, cosmetics and anything else that comes their way.  It is only a bargain if you truly need it.

Overflowing wardrobe

I feel that cheap or bargain-priced items are the nemesis of decluttering and minimalism.  If you need to outlay a significant amount of money on an item you are more likely to stop and think twice about whether it is really worthy of a place in your home.

Utensil drawer

So, how do you resist the plethora of bargains?

Top drawer

  • Unsubscribe from all of the emails from shops and shopping sites – this is a continuous process and you need to be vigilant
  • Make sure you have a ‘No Junk Mail’ sticker on your letterbox
  • Do not buy magazines
  • Do not buy newspapers
  • Limit viewing of commercial television
  • Deactivate your eBay account
  • Set financial goals that require you to limit your discretionary spending in order to achieve them
  • Remember that shopping malls are not entertainment venues
  • Take things to the op shop – do not bring more stuff home
  • Shop with a list (and stick to it)
  • Send someone else to do your essential shopping
  • Buy 1 or 2 good quality items instead of 10 cheap versions – t-shirts are a perfect example

Op shops

Do you have any other ideas for keeping the clutter at bay and the money in the wallet?


15 thoughts on “Stop the Sabotage

  1. Fairy very interesting post indeed and you are so right. Another thing I would add to your list is try living without (Un) Social Media. There is life after FaceBook and Twitter etc etc etc. It never ceases to amaze me and my huz how many TV ads we see that start with ‘Want to save money?’ We all do want to save money but you cannot save and spend on useless-to-you items of which you already have at least one. Save for what you want and then get the best deal you can. I ‘shop like a guy’. I know what I want and I get in get it done and get out as quickly as possible.

    • Unsocial media – what a great term! I use Facebook (mostly to play Scrabble with my mother and a few others). I have created an immunity to advertisements (mostly) but am constantly surprised by the trash which masquerades as ads on Facebook.

      I shop like a guy, too. Even with groceries, I used to do a fortnightly grocery shop for a family of 4 in 15 minutes. I have better things to do with my time than shop.

  2. I have a sister who loves the dollar stores. She will eagerly tell you all about her latest finds. The thing is she has no need for them. She buys things shows them off while telling you how cheap it was then bags them back up to store in her attic for when she may need a gift or some use for the items. Then she forgets about them. Her attic is overflowing with this dollar store stuff and she has no idea what is up there. To make things worse she has put herself into debt living like this, but tells me I am crazy to live in a studio apartment and not have stuff for when I “may” need it.

  3. I just this moment looked in a plastic bag, the next one I am decluttering. In it is a check that needs to be shredded or burned, dated June 2012. My hint: deal with the clutter NOW. I have taken two 30 gallon garbage bags to the trash can outdoors full of this kind of stuff, just paper i did not deal with at the moment it needed a nudge out the door. These little bags came from my purse where I cleaned out my purse and needed to just deal with it later.

  4. Ooops, did not mean to post.

    More to the idea of goods coming into the house:I buy quality pieces and get rid of lesser quality things. Serving dishes is an example. I continually upgrade when I see something I like better and is better quality. I buy on sale only or at a thrift shop. The lesser pieces get donated since most of them are not of good value if I am willing to get rid of them.

    • Love the name – although when I first saw it I thought it was spam. The Duke suggested ‘Elf’ for your screen name. 🙂

      Regardless of budget, secondhand can be a better option all round – usually better quality and definitely planet-saving.

  5. Some very good advise. Some of which I already do and some I need to adopt as I want to do some serious decluttering this year.

    • Good luck with getting into the decluttering. It is probably best to add just one new strategy at a time until it becomes a habit. This way you are less likely to fail.

  6. I haven’t set foot in a shopping mall in over ten years, and I have no desire to go.

    I know a lot of people that like to shop “recreationally”, but I got cured of that habit a long time ago.

    Now that I don’t do recreational shopping, I “shop like a guy” too–in and out with just the necessary item.

    It’s actually a less-stress way to live. I enjoy it.

  7. This really resonated with me, even the picture of all the cats at the top! I’m very good at sabotaging my efforts, so I have made all sorts of changes to my life, including not going shopping, which has been the most successful. I’m not intending to change it, and when I do go to the shops, I enjoy it but quickly get what I need and leave again. That way I have less of a chance of the clutter attaching itself to me and finding its way home with me!!!

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