Hey Red! I love books and retail therapy. How do I stay clutter-free?

Hey Red! I love books and retail therapy. How do I stay clutter-free? - A Side of Fabulous Blog

Hey Red!

I love to buy books, and there are second-hand shops everywhere in my town which sell great books for less than 50 cents each! So much cheaper than ebooks! And when I'm depressed I buy things to cheer myself up, new clothes, books and homewares. How do I stay clutter-free with all of this stuff?

Buried in Books

Dear Buried,

I love books too. Hell, I write them! However, prevention is the best way to stay clutter-free.

Before purchasing a book, think about whether you’re really interested in and will read the book. Then, MOST IMPORTANTLY, does the book have a place where it will live?

After all, just because you can buy the book doesn't mean you have to buy the book. Make sure you have a place for it to live neatly.

As for the retail therapy: yes, buying things provides an immediate boost. But how do you feel about that item after a week, month, or year? If you don't love it or will feel bad about it later, don't buy it now. No immediate high is worth 1) feeling bad about it later and 2) stuffing your space unnecessarily.

Depression and clutter compound upon each other. Clutter is draining and worsens depression. Then the depression makes you not want to jack around with the clutter. Which makes the clutter worse because it's not being tended to while more things come into the house. Which then worsens the depression. So on and so forth.

As you unravel the clutter and create fresh space, you should feel lighter emotionally as well. I've watched SO many clients' depression lift and personalities lighten and brighten as we clear out their space. It can happen for you too!

To help stave off retail therapy while clearing your clutter, make a list of things that make you happy (without bringing more items into the house.)

Going out to eat. Cooking a lovely meal. Watching your favorite movie or tv show. Having a nice cocktail. Going for a walk. Slowly making and sipping a cup of tea. Playing in a coloring book. Plant flowers or a garden. Listening to uplifting music and dancing around the house. Doing yoga. Going for a run. Writing down your worries, and setting the paper on fire. (Safely, of course.) Whatever lifts your spirits.  

Put this list somewhere handy and the next time you want to needlessly shop, return to this happiness list, and do something from it instead.

It’s OK to shop, and like things, and especially to love books. However all of this needs to fit within the goals of what you want for your home, and how you want your home to support you.

If the clutter is bothering you, then it’s time for some tough love and to decide which is more important: fewer books and a home you love, or lots of books you may or may not love and a home that doesn’t support you?

Then act based upon your answer.

Do you use retail therapy to cheer yourself up? What are some clutter-free activiites that also make you happy? Share with us in the comments!

Melinda Massie - A Side of Fabulous

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