Tips & Tricks

5 Facts About Why We Can’t Stop Shopping

Woman shopping

We are frequently told that we have a problem with consumerism in this country. We are told we need to stop shopping. We need to simplify, minimize, and trade stuff for experiences. That is easier said than done. Even those of us who consider ourselves minimalists, can’t resist all of the time. (Sometimes I surprise myself by how quickly I toss some wonderful bargain of an item I wasn’t shopping for, or even thought about, into my cart at Costco. $16.99 for a set of cute king size sheets? Are you kidding me Costco?)

Why is it so hard to resist shopping, to NOT buy??

Those Genius Marketers

For one thing, our economy relies on consumer spending. Companies employ genius marketers

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You Have the Power to Prevent Clutter!

prevent clutter

To prevent clutter, take tiny, deliberate steps, one after another!

 

“There is always a step small enough from where we are to get us to where we want to be. If we take that small step, there’s always another we can take, and eventually a goal thought to be too far to reach becomes achievable. “-Ellen Langer, Harvard University Psychology Professor

 

Consider the following scenarios:

Maybe your goal is to remodel your kitchen, but right now your kitchen cabinets are cluttered and bursting at the seams. Your counter space (where there is any) is used by your children for studying. The kitchen is the hub of your home, where you pay your bills, make school lunches and entertain. You can’t even imagine how you could get rid of all the clutter and get ready for a remodel and then live without a kitchen for weeks on end. Feeling overwhelmed, you put the remodel on indefinite hold.

Maybe you’d like to catch up on laundry-permanently, but you have an enormous pile of dirty laundry

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Someday, When I Have Some Time, I Will…

stack of magazines

We talk about how busy we are all-the-time. We talk about how we can’t get everything done. We talk about needing to slow down and do less. Simultaneously, we talk about what we will finish “someday,” when we have extra time. We earmark “projects” for this mythical “someday in the future,” but then (not surprisingly) that time never comes!

Here is a common list of “someday” activities:

  • Someday, I will read through those old magazines in the office and under the coffee table. I might want to try the recipes in those old magazines I’ve been saving. Someday, I would like to look through this catalog to see if there is anything I like.
  • Someday, I will finish those elaborate baby scrapbooks
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Taking Back the Time I Waste on Social Media

social media

We love social media. Some of us admit to being downright addicted to checking our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts many, many times a day. I’ve come to realize all my social media “checking” comes at a big cost. This cost is time, energy, stress, and anxiety.

Josh and Ryan, aka “The Minimalists,” spoke at The Neptune theater in Seattle recently, and told their story of how they rescued their lives from debt and consumerism to a huge captive audience. It was an instructional evening in many ways, but my main take away

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My Personal Definition of Minimalism

An uncluttered family room, minimalism

Many years ago, when I first heard the term “minimalism,” I pictured a loft style space with high ceilings, tall bare windows, stark white walls and sparse white leather furniture. Surely, no one with children could lead a minimalist lifestyle. Families and minimalism were mutually exclusive in my mind. I firmly believed that you couldn’t be a Costco shopper and a minimalist at the same time. I was wrong. Minimalism isn’t a harsh decorating style or a strict lifestyle regime.  It’s a big picture value system

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Part 2 – Does the Thought of Tax Preparation Make You Panic?  You Are Not Alone

Organize your paperwork

Unless you are an accountant, for many of us, filing our tax returns ranks on the list of fun activities right next to root canals. Some of us get through this yearly chore one way or another and file our taxes by the deadline.

For others, it is not so easy. Many Americans who struggle with this deadline may end up paying hefty penalties for filing their taxes late or not at all. There could be many potential reasons for filing late, but for some, the reason is simply disorganization.

All over the United States families struggle with the volume of paper coming into the home. Catalogues, magazines, kids’ schoolwork and projects, work papers, receipts, oh and – mail, enter our homes daily.

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Five Reasons to Get Started on Your Taxes Today

Don't delay, file your taxes today!
The deadline to file your 2016 taxes is on April 18, 2017. That may feel like a long time from now, but the time to file is now. According to the IRS, 20-25% of Americans wait until right before the deadline to prepare their documents and file. By then, they may be looking at extensions, or worse expensive penalties.

 

Here are five reasons to get started on your taxes today:

  1. By the end of February most financial institutions have mailed out their
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Keep Your Home Protected When on Vacation

Upcoming school breaks allow PNW families to hit the slopes or get away to some warm and sunny locale. Use these guidelines to keep your home protected so you will not return home to anything unexpected.

 

  • Lock all the doors and windows. Secure sliding glass doors with a sliding glass door security bar .
  • Turn on the home security system. It is a good idea for a trusted friend or neighbor to have the alarm code in case a worker needs to enter the house or if the alarm is set off by accident. Place valuables in a home safe or in a safe deposit box.
  • Pet sitters are awesome for two reasons. Your pets
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Why Decluttering your Kitchen Will Help you Eat Healthier

Eat Healthier
It’s the month of January and many of us are trying to eat healthier and make better food choices. We know that clutter causes stress, anxiety and a sense of feeling overwhelmed. Not many realize that a cluttered environment can also keep us from being successful in making good food choices. What if our home environment, specifically our kitchens are sabotaging our dieting efforts?

 

Tired and hungry after a long day, you may be confronted with all the clutter and to-do’s in your kitchen. In that moment, your stress level may go up, but it is unlikely you will want to declutter! Your brain will seek something pleasurable instead, and you might want to reach for the bag of chips on the counter.
Research shows that if we unclutter the kitchen counters and pantry cupboards we may eat fewer snacks. Brian Wansink, PhD., Cornell Food Psychologist, author of the book Slim by Design states that according to research, people who live in cluttered environments eat 44% more snacks

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Do You Need a Clutter Diet?

One in four gifts may go unused. Sparefoot.com study says.

What to do With Unwanted Gifts

Once the holidays are over, “on average, more than 1 in 4 gifts go unused.” “79% of Americans admit they never use some of their gifts,” found a recent study by Sparefoot.com. That means in a family of five receiving 4 gifts each, every holiday season 5 items would go unused. If these unwanted and unused items remain in the home over 10 years this would be 50 items. 50 boxes taking up space needed for other things. This number is very conservative – many more gifts are given in a typical family. This statistic also doesn’t include gifts received for birthdays and other special days as well. All these potentially unwanted gifts contribute to our clutter, our overstuffed closets, cupboards, and toy chests.

Why do we keep unwanted items?

Folks will often tell us: “We should keep it because it was a gift. We may use it one day. We can’t give it away it is brand new. The gift has value. Maybe we’ll re-gift it. Maybe someone in the family will use it.”

Clutter causes anxiety

When we keep unwanted items eventually our homes become cluttered and this clutter creates stress and anxiety. If the closets are full then it becomes difficult to retrieve what we need. We lose track of where things are. Toys take over several rooms in the house because there is no more space in the children’s bedrooms or playroom. Kitchen counters disappear under unused appliances and gadgets making meal preparation and cleaning difficult. Garages fill up with bins and boxes and cars no longer fit. The home stops being a restful place.  Anxiety and stress impacts how the family functions.

Gift Obligation

Once the receiver thanks the giver warmly, the receiver has no further obligation to the giver. If your children receive a new board game from grandma and show little interest in playing it, snap a picture of the kids playing the game and let it go. If you receive a duplicate on something you already own, consider donating one of the items.

Clutter Diet

Clutter in our homes has also been linked to poor diet choices. Cluttered kitchens have been linked to increased snacking. Many Americans will make New Year’s Resolutions to eat better or to begin a diet. Many agree that in addition to a food diet they also need a clutter diet.

One in One Out

To keep clutter from growing, utilize the one in one out policy. If you received a holiday gift of a kitchen gadget you are excited about, donate a kitchen gadget from your cupboards that you no longer use. Love your new Nespresso coffee machine? Donate your old coffee maker. This way you will create space for your new gift without increasing the volume of stuff in your home. Utilize this strategy in every room of your home.

 
Much like eating healthfully, keeping a home clutter free is an ongoing challenge. Both require tenacity. To be successful, sometimes we seek the assistance of a nutritionist and sometimes we seek the support of a professional home organizer! Are you ready to begin your clutter diet in 2017?

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