The Family Shopping Ban: What was I Thinking?

Do you ever feel like you are drowning in stuff? I do. All the time. Some days it feels like we live in a giant pile of stuff, not a home. We are just navigating our way around piles of toys, video games, and “important papers” no one has looked at (let alone read) in months…or maybe years? Sometimes I try to organize the “stuff”, but I quickly realize I’ll never be able to tame or control it, because there is just too much of it. No amount of cute bins or dollar store organizers can fix the fact that we just have too much stuff.jan 05{This picture has nothing to do with this post – just me & Mr T goofing around!}

My husband has heard those words thousands of times over the last year “we have too much stuff.” When the laundry gets out of control, when we had to eat on the living room floor because the dining table was occupied with those important papers we talked about, and pretty much every Sunday when I walk around the house trying to find a home for stray books, toys, and other kid related items. Sometimes I get so overwhelmed that I think we’ll end up on that A&E show where they have to dig people out from under their stuff. {Although Mr. T assures me regularly that we aren’t hoarders.} The worst is; I can’t shake the feeling, it follows me from room to room making me dislike my home.

Some of my friends and family have told me that it’s just my anxious personality that makes me stress so much about our clutter problem – apparently everyone else has “too much stuff” too, and no one else is freaking out about it! The irony is; hearing that other people are struggling with too much, actually makes me feel worse. I don’t think that our house is messy because I’m a bad housekeeper or we don’t know how to put things away, the problem is; we haven’t put limits on how much stuff can come into our house.

jan 05 3{I was almost as excited about purging as I was about this sandwich. Sorry – I really didn’t have any pictures to go with this post. Blogger fail.}

I spent the week before Christmas doing a power purge – which basically involved me running around the house and throwing things into bins and bags, and then making multiple trips to my local thrift store. At first I was all “check me out, I donated 4 trunk loads of stuff!”, but then my heart sank as I realized, I donated 4 trunk loads of stuff, and we still have too much. After all, how much stuff does one family need? Do I really need 23 choices of nail polish shades, and does Mr. T actually wear his  20 pithy ironic t-shirts? Oh and the kids; obviously they need 30+ video games and what feels like 100 Polly Pocket figurines. When did we become these people that are collecting things not memories?

I don’t know how this happened, or how we didn’t notice how fixated we’d become on new shiny objects, but I know it’s time for a change. I’ve actually been doing some reading on the minimalistic lifestyle, and although I know I’m not quite there yet, it’s very inspiring. I like the idea of taking away what we don’t need to create space in our life for the things we actually love.

So as I mentioned in the title of this post, we are on self-imposed (or shall I say Mom imposed) family shopping ban from January 1 – March 31, 2015. These are our rules:

  • Don’t buy anything that you don’t absolutely need or is replacing something else. Restricted items include; toys, video games, clothes, books, post-it notes, pens, gum, and pretty much anything else we usually mindlessly buy at the till. (Full disclosure; I bought two kindle books on the 1st because I forgot about the ban.)
  • Doughnut trips and fancy coffees are limited to one per week. I spend a lot of money on Starbucks, and Mr. T and the kids go to Tim Hortons way too often so we added these to the list.
  • For everything we buy in the next 3 months, we have to throw something away.
  • Experiences don’t count. We can still go to the movies or the aquarium, or similar activities. (Hopefully this clause will keep us out of the mall!)

This is quite possibly the craziest thing I’ve ever made my family to. Wish me luck!



  1. January 5, 2015 / 10:51 pm

    Good luck. Noble challenge. I hope you make it.

  2. January 7, 2015 / 8:02 am

    I always do a no buy for Lent, and it’s amazing how much money you save. I love reading so I never deny myself a new book for my Kindle.I do, however, like the one in, one out philosophy. I just started my project management list for 2015, and I am getting serious about purging my closet. I just need to get real about getting rid of things.

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