Stop before you shop


There is more to simplifying your home than just decluttering and better organisation. It’s also important to avoid the build-up of clutter by being more aware of your purchasing behaviour and what new items you bring into your home. To help you with this, Tracy from Blissfully Organised is going to share some of her top tips for organising your home – and keeping it that way.

Firstly, it’s helpful to know what you already have in your home; be clear on what you really need and create effective storage so that everything has a place. Being aware of what you already have will help you avoid purchasing duplicate or unnecessary items. You want to be able to easily find what you need, when you need it.

One way to approach your home organisation is to put each item in one of the following categories as you review it:

  1. Essential items – used daily
  2. Regularly used items – you don’t use it every day but regularly i.e. once a week or once a month
  3. Desired but not needed items – these are items that you purchased as you wanted them rather than needed them
  4. Archive items – these are items that you do not use regularly and need to be stored in a less accessible space in your home such as a loft i.e. items from your life which you want to keep.

Items in category three are usually the easiest to declutter as they’ve been purchased out of want rather than need.

When you’re decluttering your home, consider ways of doing so sustainably. This reduces the environmental impact as you keep stuff in circulation, rather than simply storing and not using it in your own home. Consider reselling or donating items that you have purchased but do not need.

If you have time you could also calculate how much you have spent on items that you don’t need. Once you are aware of how much you are spending on unnecessary items, try to adjust your spending habits and redirect this money to something that you need to save for or plan a weekend away, trip to the theatre etc.

How can I stop buying things that I do not need?

The key to changing your future purchasing behaviour is to be mindful of the inflow of stuff into your home. It’s ok to buy a few things that you like but remind yourself that extra stuff requires space and needs to be managed. If you feel that you’re regularly buying items on impulse that you do not really need, here are some suggestions to help change your purchasing behaviour.

  1. Keep an inventory: an inventory of the things that you own will help you avoid unnecessary/impulse/duplicate purchases.
  2. What is really important? Take time to think about what’s important to you in your home. You may have a hobby or collect specific items but be aware of wants versus need.
  3. Create a purchase list: this should include replacement items and new items that you need. When you go shopping you can focus on the items on your need list. Remember that if you purchase a new item, remove the original item that you are replacing from your home (in a sustainable way wherever possible).
  4. Avoid temptations: if you know that you can’t resist purchasing items on a shopping trip or whilst browsing online you may want to take a break from shopping trips into town or online shopping. Only go shopping if you have a list of what you need.
  5. Delay a purchase for 5 days: avoiding an immediate purchase will give you time to think about if you really need it and where it will be stored in your home.

Having less stuff in your home means that you have less to manage. Try to be mindful of the inflow into your house and take the time to consider whether you really need something before you buy it.

Thanks so much to Tracy for sharing her decluttering and purchasing behaviour tips. If you need help organising your home, you can visit the Blissfully Organised website or email

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