Avoid Clutter: Evaluating Your Buying Habits

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Avoid Clutter: Evaluating Your Buying Habits

Avoid Clutter: Evaluating Your Buying Habits

There was a time when I bought camping gear just because it was cool or new. It wasn’t long, though, before my stuff was taking over and I was running out of space. Every new gadget that came along I had to have it. I didn’t take the time to evaluate whether it was necessary.

Related Read: My 10 Favorite, Must-Have Gadgets for Full Timers

Some years ago I knew a set of twins. They had grown up in the city and had led fairly sheltered lives. One year they decided to visit their older brother in Wyoming and go elk hunting. They had never hunted- or camped. They had no idea what they needed.

This was before internet so they pulled out the Sears catalog and flipped to the outdoor section. From there, they made their list then went and bought all the stuff that they had circled. They had way more than they needed. But they did shoot an elk – which they proceeded to roll down the side of the mountain because that was the only solution they had for getting such a large animal back to camp. Their brother was upset.

My point is, it is important to have a sound rationale when making any purchases, especially when you are dealing with the limited space in an RV. When you have a system it will help keep you from collecting items that you will use only once – or never at all.

Related Read: Downsizing

These are my tips for buying smart.

First, ask yourself these questions:
  • Is it practical?
  • Is it sensible?
  • Is it durable?
  • Is it actually useful?
  • Can it serve more than one purpose?
  • Is it easy to store?
  • Can I find the same thing that takes up less space, has more uses, costs less, etc.?
When I see something that I want, especially if it is on the expensive side, I give myself 24 hours. This means I walk away from it, go home, put some distance between myself and the item. If in 24 hours I still want it, I go ahead and buy it. However, you would be surprised at how many things I no longer want after 24 hours.

I am a huge list maker. I make lists of the things that I need or would like to have, such as a sauté pan or bookends. I keep this list on my phone so that it is with me all the time. Then when I am out and see a good sale or some cool item, I check to see if it is on my list. If it isn’t then I do the 24-hour thing. If it is on my list then I evaluate the price and other attributes to determine whether or not it will fit well in our home.

RVs are small and it doesn’t take much for our stuff to take over. If you are an impulse buyer you can get into trouble pretty quickly. The next time you feel compelled to buy something on impulse, take a step back and evaluate your motives. Do you really need it? Or is it just another cool, shiny thing that will take up space?

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Stephanie A. Mayberry


Stephanie A. Mayberry

Stephanie A. Mayberry escaped the hustle and bustle of city life in Washington, D.C. where she worked as an analyst, FOIA officer, and technical writer for the U.S. federal government to pursue her first love, freelance writing, full time. She has been a writer, author, public speaker, and photographer for more than 25 years; now she, her husband, and little dog Gizmo enjoy the laid back lifestyle as RV full-timers going wherever the wind takes them. Learn more about Stephanie at stephaniemayberry.com

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