What Kind of Clutterer Are You?
Photo: Nigel Cox
Prides herself on clipping coupons and sourcing online promotion codes; keeps her kitchen, bedroom, and garage stocked with three years' worth of paper towels, mixed nuts, and orange Tic Tacs; spends $10 on gas speeding to three different megastores to save $10 on diapers for children not yet born; "is driven by the misguided notion that 'if I own it, I am better off, regardless of what it does to my space, my finances, or my relationships,'" as Walsh puts it.
Stay-at-home moms; retirees; anyone with a membership to Costco or Sam's Club.
Walsh's Three-Step Plan
1. Limit purchases you don't plan to use immediately.
"If you can't park your car in the garage because it's full of toilet paper, you may be out of control," says Walsh. He suggests designating just one area or shelf for bulk purchases; when it's full, stop buying.
2. Recognize that you're being had.
"In order to create a sense of urgency around bargains, retailers study and carefully design everything from lighting to floor texture to distance to the register," says Walsh. Feel like you're getting the steal of the year? That's probably by design, too.
3. Find a new hobby.
If you find yourself cruising Target or the grocery store on weekends while your husband is watching football, "maybe you should be more creative with your spare time," Walsh gently suggests. Play tourist in your own city; take a class; choose a local charity and donate your skills. Break your addiction to the cheap rush of bargains. "As my grandmother used to say," quips Walsh, "'you can go broke saving money.'"
Next: Spring cleaning that won't take over your life: 8 hours, start to finish