How to STAY Organized: Stop Shopping

How to stop shopping


Debt, Savings

The following is a blog post from Alicia Kaye’s Blog that I collaborated on:

When I organize a space for someone, I am always thinking about maintenance. How easy is this going to be for them to maintain? I’m always balancing aesthetic with function. To able to make these decisions I need to be informed. For me to be informed, I need to ask the right questions of my clients and most importantly, I need their honesty. I ask a number of questions in my contact form, phone consultation, questionnaire and in home assessment that help guide me towards the right organizational solutions for each individual client. However, organizational systems do not maintain themselves. If old habits resurface then it’s possible for a thoughtful, informed organizational system to fall apart.

Think of staying organized like following a diet. To maintain an ideal weight, you must eat with intention. You may even decide to add a few new behaviors to support your new diet, like adding exercise to your daily routines or avoid going to certain restaurants. To maintain an organizational system, you have to do simple daily tasks with intention; these daily tasks eventually turn into habits. You and your family must consciously decide to respect the organizational system, it requires your support.

The most common way a beautifully organized space falls apart is by adding too much stuff back into the space. Just about every project we do requires some type of decluttering. Once an ideal number of possessions is established for the space, it needs to be respected.

Respect for you.

You deserve to live in a peaceful, clutter free home.

Respect for your home.

Your house should be a home and not a storage unit.

Respect for the item and it’s intended purpose.

All items in your home should be serving their intended purpose.

I work very hard in the organizational process to ensure my clients understand how much they own so they can have a better idea of how much “inventory” they have. We group and categorize everything and, in most cases, people are shocked by how much they own. Do we really NEED all this stuff? The answer in almost all cases is no, we don’t. The reason we over purchase is because:

1) We don’t know what we have because we have too much.

2) Buying things because it makes us feel good.


But in reality, we are wasting money and literally buying future clutter. We are CONSTANTLY being advertised to, and so are your kids. We are made to feel like we don’t have enough, even when we do. It is no secret that shopping can make some people feel really good, and that buying something new for themselves can provide a short-lived rush of happiness. For some people this can escalate into more serious conditions like emotional spending, compulsive shopping and even shopping addiction. My friend Cyndia Rivera is a Certified Professional Financial Coach and helps people get control of their finances. A part of that process is getting very clear picture of the spending habits of her clients. Cyndia explains how serious emotional spending can become:


An emotional spender is someone who maxes out their credit cards, shops when they are in a bad mood, buys things then hides them, regrets their purchases, and makes frequent returns, feels a sense of fulfillment or control after spending and shops when they are lonely or bored. Emotional spending may feel good, but can lead to massive debt, the inability to save money, poor credit and more.


Emotional spenders can not only have a detrimental financial impact on their household because they are spending so much money but they also have an emotional impact. I’ve been to homes of emotional spenders where rooms and closets are filled with brand new items; these items can take over people’s homes and negatively affect their quality of life. Cyndia further explains, “It can also cause relationship problems. Resentment and frustration can grow if one feels helpless in the face of the other’s habits or if one feels that the other is spending all the money with no thought for the future.”

Cyndia and I put together a list of tips to help prevent unnecessary purchases:


1) Put yourself on a budget and set aside money for the things you want.

2) Be aware of your triggers (i.e. the feelings that make you want to buy!) and have a plan of action for when you are triggered.

3) Do not go shopping without a specific intention. Go shopping with a list and stick to it!

5) Delay unplanned purchases for 24 hours before you decide it is necessary.

6) Have an accountability partner who you can talk to when you have the desire to spend.

7) Make long term financial goals for yourself; a financial coach and/ or financial advisor can assist tremendously in this process.

Emotional spending is very common. I realized I was making small impulse purchases when I went into stores like Target or Home Goods. While these items made me feel happy in the short term, I I realized that I was literally buying clutter. The emotional spending occurred when I was physically in stores, so I consciously made the decision to stop shopping. You have to be honest with yourself about when and why emotional spending is happening. There also has to be a motivation to change the behavior: I set retirement and savings goals for myself with the help of my financial advisor, who also happens to be my husband! Having a clearer understanding of my financial goals in the long term makes it easier for me to make informed decisions about spending rather than letting my emotions do the spending for me.

A healthy relationship with your finances and shopping habits is a key component to staying organized due its direct relationship with clutter accumulation. If you’d like to learn more about organizing your home, contact Alicia Kaye of Try Organizing. 

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