Updated: Nov 6, 2021
When you’re a professional organizer, you see a lot of different homes and a lot of different situations. No two homes are the same except in one area. People tend to own a lot of the same types of items. Like way more than they could ever need. Because we’ve seen so many of the same duplicate items in the homes of our clients, we wanted to share some tips on how to stop buying things you already have too much of.
Full disclosure: It’s not going to be easy! We live in a consumer culture. But if you take the necessary steps to avoid buying duplicate and triplicate items, your home is going to be more organized and clutter-free.
What are the steps you can take to stop buying duplicate items?
Buy quality, not quantity
One of the first things you can do to stop buying duplicate items is to buy quality, not quantity. There’s a quote we love that goes, “If you shop quality you cry once.” That’s because quality items are made to last. Yes, they’re more expensive, but you’re paying for a product that’s going to pay for itself. If buying a brand new quality piece is not within your budget, you can try finding the piece on second hand sites like Facebook Marketplace or Let It Go. Poshmark and thredUp are great places to find high-end brands at a fraction of the price.
Buy secondhand when possible
Thrifting and buying secondhand has grown in popularity. Through sources like Poshmark and thredUp, you can buy big-name brands for a quarter of the price. Facebook Marketplace and Let It Go have become go-to sources for people looking for furniture, gadgets, and gizmos at a lower rate. Buying second hand can be a great way to save money on things you need as well as make money off the things you no longer want.
Steer clear of sales and bargain bins
Stop buying something just because it’s on sale. There, we said it. Too often when you see something on sale, your brain focuses more on the bargain you’re getting than the item itself. You may already have three or more of the exact same product at home. But because you see the big red SALE sign, your logic is temporarily overshadowed by need. Don’t let that happen. Bargain bins are even worse. You dig through stuff you already have or don’t need to take advantage of the sale.
Keep a running list of things you need
The best way to avoid buying items you already have a ton of is to keep a list. This isn’t a grocery store list. It’s more a running list of items you know you need. Keep it on the fridge and let your family know anyone can add to it. Need new gardening shears? Add it to the list. Need some new cooking pots? Add it to the list. Make sure you don’t already have new ones stored away somewhere first. Contrary to what we said before, if items you actually need are on sale, go ahead and buy them.
Don’t get us wrong, we love to shop too. But there's a difference between shopping for things we need versus impulse shopping. If you like to shop, you still can, but make it a habit to switch things out regularly. You can do this by following the 1-in-1-out rule. We’ve talked about this before. Essentially, for every new item you bring into your home, you declutter one thing. It doesn’t have to be the same item. You can swap a shirt for a shirt. But you can also swap a shirt for a bag or a mug for a pair of shoes.
Find reputable repair shops
One of the best things you can do to stop buying duplicate items is to find reputable repair shops near you. We live in a culture that is so quick to throw things out when they no longer work. But many times they simply need to be fixed. Before you toss something, bring it to a repair shop and see what they can do. More often than not, it just needs a little love and it’s back to full working order. This solution is great if the cost of repairing it is far less than what a new product would cost you.
Accept warranties when offered
How many times have you purchased a new appliance or gadget and been asked if you want to buy a warranty? Now, how many times have you taken them up on that offer? While warranties do up the price of whatever it is you're buying, they’re worth the extra money. Why? Because if something goes wrong, you have the warranty in place to get it fixed or replaced. Adopt the mindset that you’re purchasing something for its usefulness. A warranty will expand the life of a product. Not to mention save you a lot of hassle. So next time you’re asked if you want a warranty, consider it.
What items do people tend to have too much of?
In the years since Dexterous Organizing has been in business, we’d seen our fair share of cluttered homes. Listed below is a general list of items we notice our clients have more than they need or could use.
Sheets, linens, and pillows
Bath towels and washcloths
Wine and drinking glasses
Plates and bowls
Bath and body products
Toilet paper and other paper products
Niche appliances (ice cream maker, popcorn maker, panini grill, avocado peeler, etc)
Toys and board games
Some ways you can limit the amount of these items include:
Throw pens that no longer work away.
Have a finite number of sheets for each person in the home.
Rethink how much food and drinkware you need for each member of the household.
Donate or sell niche appliances you never use.
Regift items you don’t want or need.
Get rid of photo duplicates and work to get the rest digitized.
Ask loved ones to buy experience gifts such as concert tickets, cooking lessons, and more to reduce physical objects coming into the home.
Get a library card for books.
Pare down your media collection.
Recycle chargers whose gadget you no longer own.
Rent tools needed for special projects from your local hardware store.
Throw away expired medications, makeup, and other products.
In order to stop buying items you have plenty of, you have to know what you have. Use the above list as a reference and take a look around your home. Notice any place you can pare down?
Sometimes you don’t realize how much you have until someone points it out. If you’re finding a lot of duplicate items in your home and don’t know where to start, contact us today. Tell us about your challenge in your free discovery call. We’d love to help you in whatever way we can.