Avoid Clutter: How to Keep From Buying More “Stuff”

These days, the idea of decluttering is becoming more popular. Articles are popping up various places about new storage methods and being smart about reducing what you already have. Part of being savvy about decluttering, however, is not just getting rid of what you have—it’s being conscious about not accumulating more at the same time. It’s practically impossible to expect that you will never want to buy anything else, but it’s also possible to keep a balance that favors buying less stuff.

Most people already consider whether they need an item, but the answer just as commonly gets thrown out the window. There’s a simple way to avoid buying more when you’re staring at a potential new purchase, though: Just ask yourself two quick questions.

  1. Will you really truly use it? (a question people claim they think about but may not take as seriously as they should)
  2. Will you regret it if you don’t buy it? (a question that people rarely consider)

“Will you really truly use it?” Yes, that new sodamaker (or whatever) looks really cool, and you’ll be able to make soda whenever you want, and there are so many flavors to choose from. Think about this, though: Are you really going to take time for this as opposed to buying it at the store?

This question applies to just about anything: a new tablet (when you already have a laptop that does the same thing, if not more), a new chest of drawers (when you don’t really have anything to store in it, even though it’s really pretty)…the list goes on. For décor items, the question becomes “Will you really display it in your home, or does it just look nice in general?” Just because something catches your eye doesn’t mean that you want to display it permanently.

And for clothing, the question becomes “Will you really wear it? Seriously?” This depends a lot on whether it will really look good on you—because if it doesn’t, it’s going to end up being worn by a hanger in the closet. Consider whether the clothes really do look good on you—not whether they just fit you. Remember that a lot of clothes look good on a mannequin, but that has nothing to do with what they will look like on you. If you doubt this, consider the clothes you’ve bought in the past that go unworn, hanging in the closet 90 percent of the time.

“Will you regret it if you don’t buy it?” If the item passes the previous question, this a vital one to ask. The surprising thing is that a lot of the time, if you’re really honest, the answer will be no. If this is the case, you’ll never think of the item again and won’t miss it—and you’ll definitely never miss the problem of deciding whether to keep it when you’re sorting through possessions at a later time.

And if the answer happens to be yes, that you will regret it if you don’t buy it, then you know it’s probably going to be worth it. These items are less likely to become stereotypical clutter items that you want to get rid of in the end.

These two questions are quick and simple—but they can save a lot of time and hassle in the long run.