Today let’s talk about how we can still treat ourselves when we feel like shopping, without adding clutter to our homes. And I’ve even included 15 easy clutter-free ways to treat yourself instead!
When you’re working to declutter and simplify your life, clearing the clutter is an important part. But an equally important part is significantly slowing down the inflow of new stuff coming into your home. No matter how much you declutter, if you don’t stop adding more to your home, you’ll never get to experience the full benefits of simplifying and minimalism.
But the struggle for a lot of us (myself included!) is that we all get the urge to buy something new once in a while. It’s fun to treat ourselves to something new. And making a purchase can be exciting and give us a lift. For many of us, shopping even becomes a past time when we’re bored or looking for something to do.
But when we buy things to treat ourselves or give ourselves a lift too often, or without intention, the problem is it can easily result in clutter. Along with causing us to spend more than we want or intend to on “stuff” that’s not really adding any value to our lives.
Finding clutter-free ways to treat yourself
One important way to combat this is to train yourself to shop more intentionally, only buying things after careful consideration. And only buying things you know you either need or will use. However, what do you do when you feel like you want to treat yourself to something new or feel like shopping out of boredom, but don’t want to add unnecessary clutter to your home?
There are two great and easy ways to avoid this. The first is to focus on doing instead of accumulating. Enjoy and treat yourself to an experience, an activity or an adventure instead of buying something. And the second is treating yourself to something consumable that will be enjoyed but used up, avoiding adding any clutter to your home.
Both of these alternatives still let you treat yourself and enjoy something fun. But won’t result in clutter you regret buying that ends up stealing your time, space and freedom from you. And the best part is, you can treat yourself to an experience or consumable “treat” on any budget. Even without spending any money at all in some cases! It’s about shifting your perspective and finding new clutter-free ways to treat yourself with things that won’t end up causing clutter in your home or draining your bank account!
Examples of clutter-free ways to treat yourself
The next time you find yourself itching to buy something new just for fun, to treat yourself or because you’re bored, check out this list of simple clutter-free ways to treat yourself instead. Decide what works for your budget – there are plenty of options even if your budget is $0! – and treat yourself in a way that won’t end up adding clutter you’ll later regret!
Examples of doing instead of accumulating
First, let’s talk about activities or experiences you can enjoy instead of buying and accumulating more “stuff”.
- Go for a walk, hike or run – enjoy your neighbourhood, explore a new neighbourhood, find a new hiking trail, stroll through your favourite park, etc.
- Go for coffee or out for a meal – bring a book, meet a friend, etc.
- Attend a yoga class, a meditation class, an exercise class or another program you enjoy
- Go to the library and borrow a book instead of buying one
- Explore your city – check out your local museums, galleries, a new neighbourhood, restaurants, cafes, etc.
- Go to a movie and enjoy a big bag of popcorn
- Go bowling, golfing, mini golfing, skiing or do another activity you enjoy
- Treat yourself to a manicure, pedicure, massage, etc.
- Go fishing, birdwatching, or just go to a park and people watch!
- Get creative with a hobby you enjoy – try painting, photography, sewing, knitting, gardening, write in your journal, etc. The possibilities are endless! Just be cautious about using a hobby as an excuse to buy and accumulate more “stuff” in the name of supplies. Be careful and intentional to only buy what you need and will use.
Examples of consumable clutter-free ways to treat yourself
Aside from the activities or experiences you can treat yourself with, consumable treats are great too! Think about things you don’t usually buy for yourself or ways you can indulge a little bit! Treating yourself to something consumable is a great way to avoid clutter while still treating yourself.
- Buy a special wine, coffee or tea you don’t usually splurge on
- Pick up the ingredients to bake or cook something you love, then spend some time preparing and enjoying it. Or invite friends over to share it with!
- Buy yourself a special treat you don’t usually buy – a smoothie, a tea, a latte, an ice cream, the fancy salad dressing, nice chocolate, etc.
- Buy a bouquet of fresh flowers
- Treat yourself a nicer version of a personal care item you need to replace anyway (i.e. makeup items, lotion, bubble bath, etc.). Just be sure you actually need and will use the item!
Minimalism isn’t about deprivation
Minimalism isn’t about depriving yourself of things you enjoy. Instead, it’s about not letting the stuff you own take over your time and your space. Simplifying and embracing minimalism doesn’t mean you can never buy things, spend money or treat yourself. It simply means you are more intentional about how you spend your money and what you buy.
Minimalism doesn’t mean you can’t buy things you need or will use. Making careful and intentional purchases are fine – we all need to buy “things” sometimes. But finding alternatives to buying things just for the fun of getting something new is a great way to avoid adding unnecessary clutter to your home. Not to mention helping you learn to spend your money more intentionally.
Instead of looking to “stuff” to make you feel good or give yourself a lift, find clutter-free ways to treat yourself. Focus on doing instead of accumulating or enjoying a consumable treat. You still get to treat yourself to something fun or exciting. But avoid adding clutter to your home and unnecessary items that will only cause you stress and take up your time and space in the long run.
Minimalism gives you more chances to treat yourself
In fact, embracing minimalism and making more intentional purchases actually gives you more opportunities to treat yourself to experiences or consumable fun!
Buying and owning less means you have more time for fun experiences and adventures. Simply because you spend less time managing and taking care of all your stuff (i.e. cleaning, organizing, repairing, reorganizing, etc.).
It also gives you more money and financial freedom. When you buy fewer “things” and shop more intentionally, you have more money available to spend on experiences and adventures.
And you also have more freedom, in general, to explore new hobbies or activities. Choosing minimalism means you aren’t weighed down and burdened by so much “stuff”. Or the responsibilities that come with everything you own.
Get creative to find clutter-free ways to treat yourself
Get creative and do something that’s a treat for you, makes you feel good and gives you that lift you’re looking for. But doesn’t add more “stuff” to your home and your life.
When you feel yourself itching to buy something new, take a moment to stop first and think about what you really want. We all like to do things that are fun and special for ourselves every once in a while. But do you want to buy another “thing” that will likely end up as clutter adding stress to your life? Or would you rather treat yourself to something you’ll enjoy without adding any stress to your life later one?
Shift the money you would have spent buying yourself something new, and use it to treat yourself to an experience or consumable something instead. Here’s a great example to think about. The same $50 would likely be better spent on an activity you’ll enjoy and create memories from, as opposed to another shirt you likely don’t need or might not even wear.
This mentality is especially great if you have no budget for extras or luxuries, but still want to treat yourself. Find experiences and activities that bring you joy and light you up, without spending a dime. It’s not only great for your own well being, it’s also great for your pocketbook. And certainly better than accumulating debt treating yourself to things you can’t afford or don’t even need! With a little creativity and planning, it is possible to treat yourself without accumulating clutter or debt!
And a bonus idea to try if you feel like shopping, but don’t want to buy more “stuff” that’ll just end up as clutter, is to do some decluttering instead of shopping! Spend the time you would have spent shopping, decluttering an area of your home. Not only will it help you make some decluttering progress, but it’s also a great way to remind yourself of how much you already have. Often once you notice and appreciate all you already have, it’s easier to stop the urge to buy more!
What are your favourite clutter-free ways to treat yourself? Leave a comment and let me know!