Keep the Clutter Away: Easy Ways to Shop with Intention

“I can’t let it get like this again…how do I keep the clutter from coming back?” 

As a Professional Organizer, there are certain nuggets of wisdom I share with my clients over and over like: if you don’t want the clutter to come back, be mindful about what you buy.

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I usually get a raised eyebrow emojii reaction followed by “Catherine, I can’t just stop shopping!” No, you can't, but you can curb mindless shopping. There’s no denying that the ease with which we can “add to cart” and order right from our phone can be life-saving in a pinch (hello sick mom stuck at home with sick kids). It also makes it far too easy to overbuy and accumulate at a rapid rate. Challenging this habit is not easy. I acknowledge that. In fact, I had to remove Amazon Prime from my phone because it was just too easy to order something on the fly without giving myself the time to think through a purchase.

Here are some easy things you can do to get yourself on the path to more mindful shopping:

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Make a list and stick to it.

Target receipt: 10% what I came for; 90% what Target told me I needed. Or, “I love this but I have no idea where I am going to put it or how I am going to use it but I am going to buy it anyway because it’s pretty.” It’s pretty until it sits in a pile with other “waiting to be used” items in the middle of your office floor. This will not only save you money but time and stress.

Ask yourself: “Is it worth the money AND the space?”

You continue to pay for everything you buy with space in your home. What is more valuable: that necessary, important, and treasured items get lost in the too-much-stuff shuffle or that these items have proper place in your home?


Keep it in the cart for a day or two and see if you still feel the same way you did when you initially added it. Even a small amount of time can lead to a change of heart. When shopping in a store, stop and review your list against what’s in your cart before heading to the checkout line. 

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Unsubscribe from promotional emails.

Would you have purchased this item if it was not on sale? Would you have even gone on this website today if you weren’t alerted to the sale? What you don’t know can’t hurt you. In an Instagram age, this may mean “muting” store accounts. 

Bonus tip: Don’t save your credit card details. This makes impulse buying that much easier. 

Match buying and saving 1:1

I recently came across this amazing tip and have to share it here. You HAVE to have the latest cut of Hudson jeans to complete your fall wardrobe. Make it a rule that, if you buy the jeans, you’ll put $200 into savings. As Kristin Wong, author of Get Money: Live the Life You Want not Just the Life You Can Afford points out, tying buying to saving can help curb spending. Even if you give into the impulse, you’re still doing something good for your finances. 

Leave FOMO behind.

There will always, always be beautiful things. Remember, less is more.