How to Win the “Battle” of Stuff
By Vicki DeLuzio
SpouseLink Guest Blogger
I am far from a minimalist, but once the new year begins, I always try to start up with a “cleaning of the goods”. After I put the Christmas decorations away, I have to remove some other things that have found their home in the sacred storage areas.
It’s a hard feeling as a mom who likes to get a good deal; one that is always awaiting a sick child who might be consoled with an old toy, or a good rainy (or hot Phoenix) day project.
But the stuff gets in the way of progress.
I move the items I bought on clearance five years ago from one place to another, promising I’ll remember before I buy more of it.
I take the presents I received for my bridal shower, 10 years ago, and move them to another nook-because I’d feel bad getting rid of something someone lovingly purchased for me.
I take the pictures, the cards my kids received at their baptisms and every birthday card they received for their first three years of life, and hide it under clothes I bought them on clearance that they might fit into in two years. Maybe they will want to take a look at it when they are older-how could I deprive them of those memories?!
Much of the stuff I had in high school is now long gone because I have gone into epic trashing fits every few years. Do I really need the memory box from my junior prom that has a flower in it? A broken candle? My Letter Jacket? Nope-gone gone gone. And, I think about the money I have spent buying those things. They didn’t help create memories, they took up space and took time to clean, plus the pressure to figure out if I should toss it or keep it (and keep moving it).
I think about my work as a manager at Target when I was 22 years old. I had a ton of time to look at all the items at the store, move them, store them, move them again and see them go on sale. SALE! Ahh, those tricky words that have encouraged me to get more elusive “stuff” that I might need some day. After leaving Target at 25, with three years of management under my belt and a ton of stuff, I had relatively no savings. NONE! Being around “pretty stuff” all day encouraged me to buy and discouraged me from savings.
My will power over the years has increased. I don’t go shopping unless I absolutely, positively need something for the house. I’ve learned a few tips along the way:
- Purchase used. It helps save you money and you are more likely to really look at the items for quality. Usually!
- Pass down and pass around. I have a great group of friends that has younger and older children. There are no assumptions anyone will pass anything down or around, but we know of the needs of others and offer what we are done with.
- Use online groups like Facebook, offer up, and craigslist carefully-but sell things that you can’t or won’t use anymore. Consignment stores for children’s clothing and goods are also excellent places to get items for your children
- Choose the right time. Don’t go shopping when you are bored and don’t go shopping with your kids!
- Say no to people selling you things because they want you to buy if you don’t need it! This is one of the hardest ones with all the direct sellers out there. But, just say no and stick to your budget!
If people ask what you would like for your kids (for presents) or yourself, suggest memberships to museums or anything that is an experience! Plus, you can have thousands of digital pictures that take up only “virtual” room!
About Vicki DeLuzio:
Vicki is a mom of three kids five and under. After graduating college in Connecticut with a major in Psychology and minors in Early Childhood Education and Communication, she tried her hand at retail management at Target. Then, while working at the Juvenile Court, she met her web designing (and Army Vet) husband through mutual friends. Wanting a change of pace, cheaper taxes and warmer temperatures, they sold their home and relocated across the country in Surprise, Arizona. Vicki now blogs about all the places they go with reviews about the amenities in Surprise. She is also a licensed Real Estate Agent and loves helping people find homes in the area. You can find her at http://www.surpriseazmom.com.
Got a few tricks up your sleeve for clearing out clutter? Let us know in the comments, or share your story.