Wednesday, May 5, 2010

tips to avoid "yard sale" clutter

I’m willing to bet, since you’re reading this blog, that creating and maintaining an organized home is tops on your priority list. If your goal is to live in an organized and clutter-free home, it’s important to recognize that one of the best ways to control clutter is to keep it out of your home in the first place. And one of the best ways to do that is by becoming a clutter-free shopper.

This is usually somewhat easy when you’re shopping for groceries or other perishable items. But when you’re shopping at flea markets and yard sales that sell one-of-a-kind things, making smart purchase decisions can be quite a bit trickier. For this type of shopping, you need a simple plan of attack that will help you distinguish the shopping treasures from tomorrow’s would-be trash. Here are a few tips to get you started.

Tip 1: Make a List
The first step to avoiding regrettable purchases (and the clutter that follows) is to make a list of things you want and need for your home.

Tip 2: Take Measurements
To make sure the items you purchase will fit in your home, take accurate measurements of your spaces ahead of time.

Tip 3: Ask, Do I LOVE It?
Think about an item in your home that you absolutely love. Got it? The important thing while shopping is to tune into your true feelings about the items by remembering what you do when you truly love an item. For me, when I rationalize a purchase is when I get in trouble and create tomorrow’s clutter. But when I truly love an item at first sight—this feeling lasts for years.

Tip 4: Ask, Is This in My Budget?
Now it’s time to get rational. Ask yourself if the item is in your budget and if not (and you truly love it), see if there’s a way to rearrange your budget differently to make this item yours. If it’s just too far out of your budget, let it go.

Tip 5: Ask, Am I Willing to Make Space for It?
If you determine a must-have item won’t fit in the space you intended, consider other uses for the item. Could you let go of an item you already own to make room for the treasure in your hand?

Tip 6: Ask, Can I Use It As Is?
Unfinished projects can easily become clutter, so be aware of how many projects are already on your to-do list before bringing home another project. Ask yourself “Can I use this as it is?” or, “Do I realistically have the time to make it usable?” If the answer is no...pass it by.

I do a lot of “shopping” on Craigslist and at various thrift stores and yard sales so I regularly put these tips into practice. Also, since I purchase a large amount of furniture (and only use it for short periods of time), I always consider whether or not I can resell the item for at least as much as the purchase price. If I think it would be easy to sell, then I buy it; if not, I pass it by. It's a fun little hobby and a great way to keep things flowing into and out of my home, without letting clutter build up. If you’re out shopping and you’re on the fence about an item, ask yourself if it would be easy for you to get rid of later, if you find it doesn’t work for you.

With these tips in hand, all that’s left to do is head out there and find some treasures. Happy hunting!



Blogger Tony said...

How do you sell items? Do you use online sources, i.e. craig's list? Or do you mostly sell to clients?

May 6, 2010 at 8:47 AM  
Blogger Andrea Dekker said...

Tony, I usually sell my items on Craig's Lists. I have had a few clients who ask me to look for something specific for them...or paint/fix a piece of furniture they currently own; and I'll do that.

Mostly, it is just a hobby that I love to do. I buy cheaply, fix it up, use it in my house for a few months, and then sell it again!

May 6, 2010 at 8:56 AM  

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