When we get bored or stressed, some of us tend to head for the stores to look for something to do. Maybe we want a new book, a new CD, or a new movie. Maybe we want new clothes so we can jazz up our wardrobe. Maybe a new board or video game will do the trick. This quest for new stuff might alleviate the boredom or the stress for a while, but it can get expensive and lead to a lot of clutter in your house. The next time you feel the urge for something new, try going shopping in your own home, first.
What do I mean by shopping in your own home? Many of us (except the most disciplined of people) buy things that we never get around to using. We buy books and forget about them or don’t have time to read them. We buy CD’s and listen to that one great track and never listen to the rest. We buy movies and never get around to watching them. We buy board and video games but then never get around to playing them. We buy clothes, shoes, and housewares that we see on sale and then we put them away to be used when other stuff wears out. We receive gifts that we’re not sure what to do with so we stuff them in a closet. Wherever it comes from or whatever the reason it has been ignored, chances are you’ve got something hiding in your house that will be “new” to you.
Rather than going to the store and looking for something new, take some time and go through your closets and see what you’ve been missing. Look under your bed and in your entertainment center. Look in the basement and in the rec room. Check your book shelves. Look in your cabinets and utility closets. Chances are that you’ll be able to find at least one thing that’s “new” to you because you forgot you even had it. When you find it, take it out and use it. Read the book. Listen to the other ten tracks on the CD. Watch the movie or TV show. Play the game. Replace your old clothes with the “new” ones you find. Put the “new” dishes or towels into use and toss the old ones. Enjoy what you have on hand rather than adding to the clutter by buying more new stuff that you’ll forget about.
Maybe you’re super disciplined and you can’t find even one thing in the house that you’ve never used. If you just can’t find anything “new” in your house, try to find new ways to use some of your old stuff. Maybe you’ve got a video game that you’ve played many times solo, but you’ve never tried playing it online with others or in multi-player mode. Maybe you’ve got a board game that has an alternate set of rules that lets you play it in a different way. Maybe you’ve listened to that CD over and over, but have you ever tried making a video to go along with your favorite song or making a mash up of the best songs? If you’ve watched your favorite movie on DVD, have you also watched the bonus features? If not, get it out and watch those deleted scenes or watch the movie with the commentary track on. Try getting creative with your clothes. Maybe you can create new outfits with what you have or, if you have sewing skills, maybe you can alter something you own to make it different. Use your creativity to find new ways to use some of your older stuff before you head to the store to buy more.
Sure, there are times when you just need to head to the store for something new. And that’s okay, in moderation. Only resort to the store when you’ve thoroughly exhausted all of the unused and underutilized stuff in your own home. You’ll cut down on clutter and you’ll save a lot of money if you shop in your own home, first.