My dad famously tells a story about his first days in boot camp where the rule in the mess hall was take as much as you want but eat what you take. All of it. He said he observed fellow recruits being forced by drill sergeants to swallow down leftover pats of butter and salt packets. They learned a fast lesson. This analogy directly applies to our lives as consumers. Just take a walk through any dollar or discount store and you’ll see people wandering the aisles with shopping carts filled to the brim. If you were to stop and ask them which of the items in that cart did they really, truly need I think they would most likely say none of it.
As a professional organizer, I see the ramifications of unnecessary purchases all the time. Whether its seasonal items, food, clothing or craft supplies we’re all guilty of it! You see an awesome deal and stock up but a year later you still have that pile of Santa napkins in your closet so was it really a deal after all? Apply my dad’s boot camp mess hall story to your purchases. If you take it, will you really use it or will it sit in a cabinet?
Most people live in homes where they wish they had more storage space. Look at your kitchen cabinets and bedroom closets as prime real estate. Before going out to shop take an inventory of what you already have. Shop your cabinets and closets instead! It isn’t as thrilling as getting something new but to use what you have is great for your wallet and your sanity. Try to cook one meal from what you have on hand in your cupboard and/or freezer. Look at the clothes hanging in your closet with new eyes. Have you thought of pairing certain items together that you haven’t before? Be your own stylist and mix it up! Pull out your jewelry and scarves and see what else is lurking in there. You won’t spend a penny and may end up with a new look and a new recipe all at the same time.
Laura Richards is a Framingham resident, mother of four and owner of Organization Works, a professional organizing company. Her website is www.organizationworks.biz. She is currently booking clients.