Shop Therapy – Alternate Ideas

Do you love to shop? Is your love of shopping starting to create clutter in your home? Is your love of shopping causing financial stress? Most individuals who love to shop say it’s like therapy. It gives them a needed dopamine fix which, at the time releases stress, creates excitement and even feel joy. Unfortunately, for some this high has some serious lows. Too much shopping can actually increase stress – both financially and physically. Their spaces become cluttered with items they “had to have”, but once they have them, they don’t actually use or need them. Guilty feelings take over when trying to declutter, because all that is seen is the money spent. For some, the dopamine high is just too good to stop the shopping, so is there a way to still be able to shop, but not actually acquire any more unneeded things? The answer is yes!

If you are someone who just loves to shop, but don’t really need or want anything, maybe try these ideas;

  1. Shop WITH a friend/relative- go along with a friend when they have errands to run. Ask them to give you a few items on their list to look for.
  2. Shop FOR a friend/relative – maybe you know someone in your life that is not able to get out and shop. By offering to go shopping for them, you are both being helped.
  3. Thrill of the hunt – love the thrill of finding that hard to find item or lowest price? Let your friends/family know that you are willing to the leg work (or on line research) to find an item(s) they are struggling to find. Or find the best deal on more expensive products.
  4. Did you know some people will pay to have you shop for them? Consider a career (full or part time) as a personal shopper.
  5. Contact a local community group – like the Humane Society, or Family/Women’s/Men’s Shelter -and find out if they have things they need that you could volunteer your time to go and get. Find out if there are items they have been trying to find that you can maybe assist in tracking down.

The key is to remember, you are NOT shopping for you! It will be tricky at first, so feel free to set some rules for yourself. For example;

  1. Don’t take any of your own bank cards or credit cards when you go shopping with/for someone else. If you see something you think you really need, then it will be worth the drive home and back to get your own money. Often times, by the time you get home, you have lost the rush to attain the item and don’t go back to get it.
  2. If you put an item in an on-line cart, it has to stay there for a min of 48hrs before you process the payment.
  3. If you love on line auction sites – don’t have the reminders set up to come to your phone or email. If you are truly interested, you will take the time to find the current auctions themselves. Set a bidding budget and stay with in it. Set your max bid and don’t go back until the auction has ended. If you had to buy more than you wanted in a lot, drop off anything you did not want at a local donation centre on they way home from picking it up.

You can still shop for yourself or others (holidays or birthdays), but be reasonable. Set a timeline and budget and stick to it. Remember, anything you buy needs to have a home in your space (Read: Don’t Put It Down, Put it Away). So, if you absolutely NEED to buy something, be prepared you may need to get rid of something you already own.

Be kind to yourself, but don’t be afraid to be a little tough. You may surprise yourself with the dopamine rush you get from shopping AND helping others.

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About Pauline

Pauline Hoffman, CPO® founded Just In Time Solutions in November of 2001. Her clients feel comfortable and at ease as they make important, and sometimes daunting decisions about their space and belongings. Clients often comment how much easier their lives have become, which allows them to maintain a more independent lifestyle, regardless of age and/or ability.

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