Before I had my babies, I must have gone to at least a dozen baby showers. 

Every time I browsed the registry to choose a gift, I was surprised at the enormous amount of gear they wanted!  Okay, I obviously understand the need for a crib.  But she also wants a bassinet, and a pack n’ play, and a portable mini-crib?  It sounded excessive.

I figured I just didn’t understand because I hadn’t had a baby yet. However, as the months and years passed, almost every one of my new-mommy friends had begun complaining.  The house was over-run by baby gear, it kept getting in the way, and it made staying organized practically impossible.  

Clearly, there is a tipping point.

Sure, each piece of gear was helpful for specific situations in specific baby phases.  But there comes a point where the inconvenience of the extra stuff outweighs the convenience of each item.

When I found out I was pregnant with our first child, I resolved to only register for what I really needed.  Easier said than done!

I know I don’t need a bouncy seat and a Bumbo and a sit-me-up, and that curved pillow thing.  But which one should I get?  One friend swore the Bumbo was a life saver and the bouncy seat was a waste of money.  But the next friend said just the opposite!  How on earth could I know what would work for me when I hadn’t even had the baby yet?

I needed a way to draw a clear line between the items that really would truly make my life easier, and the unnecessary stuff that would just get in the way.  

That is when I cam up with The Rule of Three.

Here’s how it works . . . 

I was doing dishes in the kitchen with my baby daughter strapped to me.  She was getting heavy and I found myself thinking, “I wish I had something on the counter to put her down in.  A bouncy seat would be nice.”

That was one valid moment of desire.

I wasn’t being tempted by a commercial, or hearing of someone else’s experience.  In that moment, in my own house, with my own baby, if I had a bouncy seat, I would have used it and appreciated it. 

But . . . was that just a fluke?  A one-time whim?  Not sure yet . . . so I waited.

As it turned out, the very next day, I had a similar moment of desire.  And two days later I had another.  Three valid moments of desire in less than a week?  Clearly, a bouncy seat would be a wise purchase for me.  So I bought one.  

I used that bouncy seat almost every day with both of my babies.  Best $30 I ever spent!

Here is another example . . . 

One evening, my husband and I had taken our baby girl to a restaurant, which had unfortunately run out of high chairs.  I had to hold my daughter in my lap while I ate – not fun.  I saw another family using a travel high chair that hooked onto the table.  Well, that would have been helpful!

In that moment, I wanted to jump online and buy one, but I’m glad I waited.

Because that evening turned out to be the only moment of desire for a travel high-chair I ever had!  If I had bought one, it would have sat around unused, taking up space, getting in the way, reminding me that I wasted my money.

When we use The Rule of Three, we make better choices. 

WE TAKE BACK CONTROL

When we rush to buy things, we become swayed by every suggestion, recommendation, sale, advertisement, and impulse.  Our decisions are not our own. 

By contrast, there is something about waiting that gives us power.  We take control of our shopping choices.  “I will decide what I really need, thank you very much.”  Freedom!

WE BUILD OUR CONFIDENCE

Tonight is the third time this year I’ve wanted to wear that dress, but can’t because I don’t have the right shoes.  So yes, I feel good about buying a pair heels.  I might wait for them to go on sale, but I’m not buying them because they’re on sale. 

I will never look at those shoes and wonder if they were an impulse buy, because I bought them with confidence.  Freedom!

WE AVOID FUTURE CLUTTER

If all of our purchases were thoughtful, intentional, and wise, think of all the hassle we could avoid!.  Sure, there will always be a little decluttering to do as life-phases change and things get worn out or used up.  But never again will we agonize over boxes and bags of unused clutter and excess.  Freedom!

The next time you feel the desire to buy something, wait.

Wait for those second and third valid moments of desire.  Wait for confidence.  Apply The Rule of Three, take back control of your shopping choices, and enjoy the freedom of living on less!

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