3 Essential Questions You Should Ask Yourself Before You Buy Anything

Happy Sunday and Happy Easter! I hope you are all enjoying a wonderful and meaningful day with those you love!

As promised, I'm back this week to share more of the steps I took to bring long-lasting peace and joy into my home, after years of being overwhelmed and overly stressed.  This was not an overnight transformation, it took months of persistent effort and determination to change the energy and feeling in my home and I am so excited to be sharing my journey with you all.

Mindfulness

I recently shared with you how the process of clearing space in my home and getting rid of clutter and unnecessary "stuff" had an amazing impact on how I felt mentally and emotionally. Not only was my home cleaner and less chaotic, my head and heart were also less burdened.  

In an effort to maintain that newfound feeling, I endeavored to become a totally "conscious consumer" and not bring anything into my home that might one day end up in the donation bin.  {For those of you who missed last week's post with the details of my 30-DAY SHOPPING CHALLENGE you can read it by clicking HERE.}

This week, I'm excited to share with you the 3 essential questions I believe you must ask yourself, before buying anything.

These questions are designed to help you determine if the things you are buying and bringing into your home will add to your overall sense of well being, or ultimately end up as more clutter.

{QUESTION 1}

"Do I really need to buy it TODAY?"

Okay, I know this may seem obvious, so please stick with me for a second here.  In last week's post, I described how I went on a "shopping fast" and only bought the absolute essentials for my family for 30 days.  This was an incredible learning experience, because it clarified just how many things I had been bringing into my home that were truly unnecessary and had ultimately become clutter.

Once I broke that habit of unconscious purchasing, the first question I asked myself before I bought ANYTHING was, "Do I REALLY need to buy this TODAY?"  The important word in that question is "TODAY", because:

If it's not a necessity RIGHT NOW, then it might be an impulse purchase and you should simply wait.  

Give yourself a day...or a week to think about it.  Ask the store to hold it for 24 hours or bookmark the page on your device and come back to it tomorrow. Just don't buy it immediately.

I cannot tell you how many times I was enchanted by some item I just had to have, or thought was so clever or would look so great in my kitchen or...or...or.  You know what I mean.  Each time that happened I stopped and asked myself, "Do I need to buy this TODAY?" and each time the answer was "No, I don't."  So I waited.

The surprising thing was, once I left the store (or website) I often never thought about that "thing I just had to have" again.  Impulse purchase averted!

But every now and then, I found myself still thinking about something after a day or even a week?

Maybe it wasn't a necessity, but something I just really loved or wanted... What then?

IF MORE THAN 24 HOURS HAD PASSED AND IT WAS STILL ON MY MIND I WOULD ASK: 

{QUESTION 2}

"Do I Have SPACE for it?"

I don't think we consider the question of space very often when we make a purchase or bring something into our homes.  Most of the time we can squeeze another coffee cup into the cupboard or another sweater on the shelf, so why bother to ask if there is space for something, especially if we’ve waited to purchase it and decided we still REALLY want it?

Delphinium

Because without asking that question, we will unconsciously fill the spaces in our home until we simply run out of room and that's how clutter and excess are created. Many of us can see this clearly in our clothes closets.  We buy something new and add it to our closet or drawers and before you know it you can no longer see what you have because it is all stuffed in.  This used to happen to me A LOT!  So my solution was to first ask if I had space for whatever I was buying and if the honest answer was no, but I still wanted it, I asked:

"What can I let go of to make space?"

In the case of my closet, there was always something I was no longer wearing or had just worn to death, so if I brought something new in, something had to go out.  It was a pretty simple trade.  (I now keep a small box in the bottom of my closet I call the "Out Box" and that's where the discards go.  When it's full, I donate it.) I applied this principal throughout my newly de-cluttered house and guess what!?  Almost three years later, I am still clutter free! YAY!

By asking these two simple questions before I buy anything, I have been able to maintain that happiness and peace of mind that comes, in part. from living in a home that is free of excess and clutter.  

To be honest, I could have stopped right there and I would have made tremendous progress in my ability to maintain a home that felt less chaotic and more peaceful, but I was looking for something more.  So I asked one additional question, one that turned my home from a place that just stored the things that we owned into a peaceful SANCTUARY that contains the things that our family loves.

{QUESTION 3}

"Is this something I will TREASURE?”

So why ask this question? I have found that the more I surround myself with only the things that I really treasure, the happier and more fulfilled I am.  I’m talking about the optional stuff.  The things that are not necessities but that you chose to have take up space in your life.  Whether it’s the artwork on your walls, the pillows on your couch, the photos on your shelves or the clothes in your closet.

This is definitely an example of the “less is more” adage.  Less stuff…more meaningful. 

Mindfulness

I know that when I have company over for dinner, I find great joy in using the simple cake plate that was my great-grandmothers, far more than any other dish I own.  I also know that when I reach for the necklace that my daughter bought for me with her savings, I will love wearing that more than any expensive piece of jewelry I own.  I’m also aware that the board covered with photos from our winter trip to Montana may not be the most aesthetically pleasing thing in my mud room from a design perspective, but it makes me so happy every time I pass it, that it doesn’t matter.

Asking this simple question, completely changed how I looked at my home and the things in it.   I would rather have one beautiful painting in my bedroom that my husband and I found in a little shop on our anniversary weekend together, than a wall full of art that I found online at a discount store.  I will always treasure that piece of art, but I could get rid of the discount artwork tomorrow and never miss it.  My daughter’s bedroom may be the best example of this in our house.  Her shelves are filled with her favorite books, the trinkets she has gotten on our family trips together and photos of the people she loves most.  She is surrounded by things that bring her joy. 

I also do not believe for one second that having “things’ equals being happy.

I spent many years of my life living mostly out of a suitcase with very little “stuff’, and I have also had the great fortune to have a beautiful home filled with many lovely things.  Neither circumstance completely determined my overall level of peace, joy or happiness.

What did impact my overall sense of well-being was when I made a conscious decision to be mindful about what our family was surrounded by on a daily basis.  When I got rid of the excess, cleaned up the clutter and became fully conscious about how and what I brought into my home, we all felt a greater peace of mind, less stress and more joy. 

I believe that our home feels warm and inviting, not because it is perfectly decorated but because it is a perfect expression of what we love and value.

So this week I would ask you to take a look around your home and find the things that you treasure.  What has real meaning to you and what could you live without?  And if you find yourself shopping this week, maybe ask those  3 questions before you make a final decision…try them on for size and see if you are able to identify where you are just filling space and where you are investing in something meaningful.

As always I love to hear form you all and have so enjoyed your comments and emails!  Please keep in touch! 

Have a beautiful week!

Karen