Working with clients that hoard gave me a whole new perspective on buying things. Even those that do not have this disorder, but have a lot of clutter contributed to my new perspective. Clutter can happen quickly for many reasons, and in many ways. Buying things is the most prominent acquiring action that accumulates clutter that could end up as a hoard.
Buying basic things such as food, clothing & personal care items are requirements for living. The amount of each of these basic things that we buy, along with everything else, is an important consideration. Storing things that we buy, or organizing these things makes a difference as to the amount we buy, or should.
As I’ve written about previously, we all have a finite amount of living space. Our things need to be proportionate to our living space. When that balance becomes disproportionate, that’s when the clutter accumulates that causes issues for us.
Whenever I’m in a position of buying anything, I ask myself questions, lots of questions. Questions to help me make an informed decision about buying something. I’m mindful of how just one purchase can contribute to accumulation of clutter. It may seem excessive, but I really do understand how quickly clutter accumulates and can turn into a hoard.
The questions I contemplate are shown below. Each one has a lesson attached that explains why I think about buying something. If you have another question not mentioned here, I encourage you to post a comment below.
Do I have the space to store this?
Within our finite amount of space, a portion of that space can be used for storage. Each thing we buy has a requirement for storage; everything from tools that are kept in the garage cabinets, to perishable food that requires refrigeration. When you fill your fridge to capacity, you run the risk of food going bad because you cannot consume it fast enough. Lesson: Buying too much food is wasteful, in terms of throwing away food & the money I spent on excess that I didn’t consume. Food isn’t the only thing this applies to. Adequate storage is a must for everything I buy.
Do I already have this, or something similar?
We have so many things that we can’t possibly remember everything we have. We don’t check to see what we have before we go to a store. Everything doesn’t have an assigned home, and categories of like items are in different places. Because of these reasons, we end up buying multiples of things that we already have. Lesson: Assign everything a home, make a list, and check to see what I already have to avoid buying duplicates.
Do I really need this, or just want it?
Needs and wants are very different things. There’s nothing wrong with wanting things, if you will use it, love it and have the place to store it. Things that beautify our surroundings or ourselves is important, they make us happy. Lesson: Be mindful of my intentions. Feeling down and buying something that I don’t need, will use or love, or have room for, may lift my spirits temporarily. Long-term however, can cause clutter to accumulate which brings stress back.
Why do I want to buy this?
This is probably the first question I ask myself. It makes me stop to think about this purchase in practical terms. This question leads me to the other questions listed above. Sometimes we buy things without thinking about the consequences. Lesson: Every decision, or choice I make has a consequence, either good or bad. Think about the consequence of my buying decision.