Have you felt caught in an endless cycle of decluttering? 

You are not alone!  So many of my clients have expressed frustration because they are constantly getting rid of stuff, and yet their homes still feel crowded.  They work so hard decluttering and downsizing, only to see more stuff magically appear.  As busy as we are, the last thing we want to do is waste time and energy on projects that don’t help!

This is why Home On Purpose is not a decluttering program.

While deleting unnecessary items is certainly a wise thing to do, and is often a necessary step, it is not the goal in and of itself.  The ultimate goal is to develop the habit of making intentional and deliberate decisions that make your home easier to manage in the long run. 

When we consider the big picture, we can see that decluttering is not enough.  We also must prevent new clutter and new excess from taking its place.  

We have to train ourselves to shop on purpose.

Unfortunately, our culture makes impulsive shopping far too easy.  Target and Amazon are particularly skilled at getting our attention and tempting us.  These marketing departments are fiercely and actively drawing us into buying stuff we don’t need.  We have to fiercely and actively fight back. 

One of the most effective strategies for building intentional shopping habits is what I call a Spending Freeze.

What is a Spending Freeze?

For a finite period of time, the entire household resolves to only buy what is absolutely necessary.  You might have to buy mouthwash if you run out, but you can live without another shade of lipstick.  You’ll have to buy paper towels, but you don’t need a new coffee mug. 

The purpose of doing this is to develop the habit of pausing and thinking before we buy.  Since it takes 21 days to build a new habit, and we want this habit to be strong, I recommend a freeze last for 30 days. 

Scroll to the end to download your free Spending Freeze Tracker!

Print it out, put it on your fridge, and check off the days as you go to keep yourself focused and motivated.  The Tracker announces that the entire household promises to participate.  This is very important!  If Mom refuses to buy new toys, but the kids can run to Daddy, then the freeze loses its power.  

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A Spending Freeze naturally leads you through five stages.

Stage 1: Discovering Weak Spots

The first few days of a Spending Freeze are definitely the most difficult.  You will get to the check-out and have to hand the cashier a bunch of items and say, “I’ve changed my mind.”  Your children will be irritated that Mommy won’t buy them anything.  You will find yourself wandering certain aisles at Target out of mere habit.

But all of this is good!  You have to know where your weak-spots are.  My weak spot is absentminded browsing on my phone.  It was hard for me to realize how much money I had wasted on Amazon.  Acknowledging our shopping weaknesses is uncomfortable.  But the more willing we are to admit them, the more able we are to strengthen them!

Stage 2: Developing Prevention Tactics

Now that you know your personal weaknesses, take action to protect yourself.   I erased my debit card information and my address from my regular online shopping sites.  I cancelled all auto-ships and subscribe-and-save items.  Putting the friction back into the online shopping process was my best prevention tactic.

If you can’t walk through Target without buying extra stuff, don’t go there.  Transfer your prescriptions to the grocery store and stay away.  Whatever your personal weak spots are, find a way to deactivate the temptations.

Stage 3: Feeling the Freedom!

Once you get into a groove, you will notice something very interesting: You won’t regret the things you didn’t buy!  You might not even remember what tempted you, and you’ll wonder why it was so hard to refuse.

You won’t see mystery packages at the door.  You won’t bring nearly as many bags in from the car.  You won’t have to find places for the new stuff.  And when you check your bank account, you will really start to enjoy the freedom of living on less!

Stage 4: Building Confidence

After Day 21, pausing and thinking will have become a habit.  Now it is time to strengthen that habit.  Slowly begin to test yourself with small temptations.  Practice walking through Target and practice browsing online.  Feel how your old weak spots have grown stronger.

Stage 5: Reintroducing Shopping

After Day 30, when the Spending Freeze is lifted, you will reintroduce the freedom to shop with confidence.  You will feel the difference between a wise purchase and an impulse buy.  You will easily reject the unnecessary purchases.  The only items that enter your home from now on are ones you have intentionally chosen. 

It’s time to cut off clutter at its source and break the decluttering cycle!

Are you ready to take control of your shopping habits?  Then download the free Spending Freeze Tracker below, join the Home On Purpose Facebook Group, and let our encouraging community cheer you on!

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