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Resisting the Urge to Buy When You Don't Know What You Have

Updated: Aug 19, 2020

My adorable mat.
This was my mat. Isn't it adorable?! I am very proud to say that I resisted and did not buy it!

Last weekend, I did something that felt ‘normal’ by pre-COVID standards.  My family and I masked-up and took a drive to an adorable West Virginia town and did some shopping and sight-seeing (ok, there might have been some brownie eating in there, too, totally worth it BTW). It was lovely, really, and felt so good to do something normal, for a change.

My daughter and I went into a large antique/gift shop where, of course, they were all about fall décor. It was wonderful to see beautiful pumpkins, smell cinnamon and cloves and just get excited about fall. I, like many of you, LOVE fall décor – it’s just so cozy. And for a split-second, I didn’t feel the 90 degrees plus humidity that Mother Earth had gifted us that day.

As we were mozeying through the store, I fell upon this sweet door mat. It had everything I needed in that moment – pumpkins in bright fall colors and a reasonable price to boot. IT. GOT. ME – almost. You see, because I do what I do for a living and because I’ve been ‘gotten’ plenty of times by other ‘metaphorical mats,’ I was able to catch myself and consider which fall mats I already had. Believe it or not, I came to the conclusion that I actually didn’t know. I literally could not picture any of my fall mats that are surely sitting in my garage waiting to be placed at any of the three doors of my home where I need them. I certainly had some and I’m sure I loved them at some point as much as I loved this beauty right in front of me; however, I just couldn’t picture any of them at that exact moment. All I could see was this one in front of me and I liked the way it made me feel. Weird, but not really.

Then, I thought a bit further - of the three fall mats that are surely sitting in my garage waiting to be put out, it’s likely that one is probably fairly worn. Then, I thought, “Is it worth dropping 30 bucks to replace a ‘probably fairly’ worn mat when in reality, if I do need a new one I can either come back to this store and get it (along with another brownie, TBH) or get another somewhere else that I’m likely to love just as much?” I came to the conclusion that nope, it was not worth it.

And this, my friends, is where retailers can get us. They show us all of these gorgeous things that create a need in us – literally, an emotional drive to purchase something. A conclusion that comes within us saying, “My life will be better if I buy this object.” To complicate matters, this store was owned by an older couple, whose business had clearly been hit hard by the pandemic and I wanted to support them. And, yes, eventually, this sweet mat would certainly get used in my home, even if it weren’t for a few years, but did I, also the owner of a small business who was equally hard hit by the pandemic, need to drop 30 bucks right at that moment on something I might not even need? Sadly, no.

Fall and even Christmas decorating season is upon us, friends, and the retailers have our numbers. Yes, these decorations are awesome in a thousand ways and they generate all kinds of great feeling. But, first, we need to take stock of what we have.

My advice: Decorate with what you have first. Then, go shopping for what’s missing.

​There are always exceptions to this rule, like if you remember you need something for that ‘one space’ in your home or if something is truly irresistible for any number of reasons (price, inability to return to the store, you’re a millionaire and a $30 mat won’t break the bank, you’re going back for the brownies anyway, etc.). However, when you’re deciding to make the purchase, be sure that one of these exceptions applies. Otherwise, you’re doing yourself more harm than good.

Aubrei Krummert is a Certified Professional Organizer in Athens, Ohio. She specializes in Home Productivity and works with clients across the United States, doing on-site and virtual sessions. Contact her now.

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