Thursday, September 29, 2011

Clutter Bug Boogie

So I have been absent from the blogging world for several weeks.  I apologize...I have been taken over by a fall cleaning frenzy--some have their day in the spring, for me it is in the fall.  As windows get shut-up with the cooler weather, I feel like that is the time to start the thorough cleaning--the removing of spring/summer dust and grime.  In the spring you are opening up the windows and in flies the outdoors-- dust and all.  To each his (or her) spring or fall it really is up to you.

I was motivated even more this year to declutter as I clean.  Generous family members allowed us to inherit their stuff (some of this was appreciated...some of it not so much).  While these gifts are well-intentioned, my own mantra is "clutter is no gift."

But something else had happened to my house over the years--I was so good at finding bargains or free items they started to take up my living spaces. My frugality, while a friend on most days, was not a friend when it encumbered my day-to-day living spaces (or better yet, my day-to-day living experiences).  And so I have began the slow process of clearing out the clutter.  Somedays have been major overhauls of a room-- but on most days, I set a timer and see if I can clear out and replace within the 15-minutes I have set aside. The frustrating part of this is I'm losing money in my clearing out.  Even if these things were purchased for a quarter at a garage sale that is still a quarter I wasted.  Thankfully, there are items that were free and so no loss (except for the time wasted finding a home for this stuff and later removing it).

Still, my plight to clear out represents a common problem when a person gets the "frugal" bug.  "Sale, reduced for  quick sale, half-off, going-out-of business" are all statements that can suck in the most frugal-minded folks and bring us to buy things we don't need or really want.

There are several tactics to avoiding overbuying even when it is a "good deal."

Wait 24 hours--chances are it will still be there tomorrow and once the fever has wore off you may decide you don't need it.  If you fear it will be gone you can buy it (make sure it can be returned) and keep it in your car for the next 24 hours--then decide should it come in the house or go back.

Ask yourself, "Will this improve my life substantially, is it necessary, will it be more work to take care of this item in the long run?"  Usually your answers will be--No! No! and Yes!

Have a running "needs" list of things you do need--so if you do catch a "good deal," a garage sale, etc. you can use the list.  Just as your grocery shopping list saves you from making rash purchases so does this "needs" list. I make a "needs" list every year during garage sale season (usually it involves figuring out what clothes my children have grown out of) and this helps me avoid buying what I don't need.

If you do purchase something, know that you will have to remove something else out of your house to make room for it.  I purchased a pair of PJ's and out went an old rag-tag pair (and so my drawers still close easily).

Hopefully if you stop and reflect before you buy--you won't have to do the clutter bug boogie very often.

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