A Professional Organizer’s Top Tip for Cutting Back on Shopping (and Clutter!) for Good

How many times a week do you shop? (And yes, Amazon Prime totally counts.) If it’s a lot more than you’d like to admit, Lucy Milligan Wahl, the professional organizer behind LMW Edits, shared a fix in Intuition’s virtual variety show that could wind up saving you a lot of money.

“I’d like to talk about what might be a surprising source of clutter: shopping. And no, I’m not talking about the fun kind of shopping, like browsing boutiques on vacation,” she says. “I’m talking about the everyday garden variety kind of shopping. The Amazon orders, random stuff from Target or Lowe’s, and the online sale browsing. That also means gadgets, electronics, and tools.”

Every time you shop, you’re bringing more things into your home. And if your home is unorganized, you probably don’t put those things away in the correct places, which only creates more clutter and makes it really hard to find the things you bought in the first place. “When you misplace something you need, your instinct is to buy a new or better one of that thing,” she says. “Then you’re back to shopping, and the cycle begins again.”

To control your shopping habits, she says the key is disrupting the clutter feedback loop. And there’s a hard and easy way to do this.

The hard way is to simply stop shopping. “People go on a no-buy for a certain period of time, but stopping something you do all the time involves an enormous amount of willpower,” she says. “That’s why I don’t recommend going cold-turkey on shopping.”

Instead, she tells her clients to disrupt the clutter feedback loop in the storage step. “The next time you bring in an Amazon order or a shopping bag from Target, I challenge you to find a permanent home for each item,” she says. “Find a storage location for each object that really makes sense.”

By doing this, you’re making it easier to find the item you bought. “Then you’ll be much less likely to feel the need to place another order,” she says. Not too hard, right? Your home will be better organized, and your bank account will be a lot less empty. It’s a win-win.

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