Retail Therapy – It is a Real Thing!

You are driving by your favourite mall and you think to yourself…….“It’s been a hard day, I think I will just pop into this store and look around for a bit and see what I might find. I deserve to treat myself and a little retail therapy can’t hurt.”  Ever had this thought? Have you found yourself shopping when you didn’t plan on it. Before you know it you are walking out with bags of things you did not even know you needed.  Shopping can be a way that we soothe or numb our emotions.

Shopping can make us feel better or even high, however, afterwards we might be feeling overwhelmed, embarrassed, have regrets, wonder what to do with the items or worry about our bank accounts and getting the bills paid. Ugh!

I used to frequent garage sales, thrift stores and cute shops usually with friends and family. It was a fun pastime and something to do. I then found myself gathering up these treasures I had collected just to pack them up to donate. Once I went through that I started to feel like I didn’t really need or want anything and I was happy just window shopping. I am not saying I never bring home a trinket or some other odd treasure, I am just so much more discerning with what I choose to bring home. 

Of course there is nothing wrong with these activities.  Having an awareness of what we are doing with our time, our money and our actions and being conscious about what we are purchasing and why is the key. It is about being more aware of our emotions and taking care of ourselves. It can be helpful to check in with ourselves and ask: What was I thinking before this unplanned shopping trip? Is this item going to add value to my life?  Is this something I need or is it just something I want because I am looking at it now?  Does this fit into my budget? 

There are always going to be temptations out there which can make it challenging to change our habits. It is the job of retail businesses to make their merchandise look as appealing as possible in the hopes that we will be allured into purchasing. Think about three for the price of one deals, one day or limited sales, points cards, credit card discounts, free shipping if you spend more…….. Oh my! 

And what about shopping at Costco?  I admit we do have a membership.  however, I do not love it there.  (My partner loves it so I do go once in awhile)  The huge carts, huge aisles, shopping and food for giants and it is so busy there!

Amazon anyone? Online shopping has become a huge thing. We don’t even have to leave our homes. It can be too easy to get into this as a fun pastime and just “add to cart”. We can get something the next day in some cases. Talk about instant gratification.

Retail Therapy is a real thing!

If you are wanting to be more conscious of your spending I have a great little tool for you. It is a Non-Acquiring Help Card for Shoppers. Just print, cut it out and wrap it around your debit card. There is a space for your goals and why you are working on them as well as questions to ask yourself when you are having a weak moment. If you want to keep it simple just write your bank account balance on a piece of paper and wrap that around your card.

Can you make a conscious effort to pay attention to when and how often you find yourself shopping? How challenging is it for you not to acquire stuff or go shopping? Especially when you are feeling down or upset about something. Sometimes we need new activities to replace the feelings we get when shopping. When you need to nurture yourself, what can you do instead? It is difficult to change habits, so be kind to yourself and take one moment at a time.

Do you have a closet full of clothing and yet nothing to wear? You will love my new for Spring “Wardrobe Refresh“. It is chock full of the strategies and tools I use and share with my peeps to downsize and organize their clothing and get dressed with ease and style every day. And It’s free!

Hey, would you like to book a time with me? Lets chat! Here is my calendar. Can’t wait to work with you.

Happy Decluttering!

About Kim

I’m Kim, your go-to Professional Organizer and Virtual Coach! I’m beyond excited to embark on this clutter-free adventure with you. With a background in mental health and a passion for transforming spaces, I bring a holistic approach to decluttering. It’s not just about neatening up physical spaces; it’s about fostering a mindset shift that radiates throughout your life. I founded Space For You Clear the Clutter, Heal Your Life and have been working with individuals and groups for about 15 years. I've also trained with Professional Organizers of Canada and the Institute for Challenging Disorganization.
This entry was posted in acquiring items, Clutter, Collector, compulsive acquiring, downsizing, Organizing, retail therapy, shopping. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Retail Therapy – It is a Real Thing!

  1. This concept parallels with one mentioned by Terence Angafor on Your Organizing Business today! He suggests that refusing to acquire things we don’t really need will help prevent the accumulation of clutter. Similarly, refusing to spend money on items we don’t need will help prevent unwanted debt or being short of funds for more important things. Great post!

    • Kim says:

      Thank you so much Janet. It’s all about gaining an awareness of how much we are acquiring and how much we are spending on things we really don’t need. It’s also about the emotions that we are trying to soothe or avoid as well. There are all kinds of unhealthy ways we do this too.

  2. Someone very close to me struggles with a shopping addiction. It’s actually been awful. So damaging. Further tough is the fact that most of this person’s shopping is online. The “financing” is just readily available, and things like Klarna tempt you buy more than you can afford. Credit cards, same thing. You can freeze your credit, but you can also unfreeze it on the spot.

    I’m glad you are talking about this subject!!

    • Kim says:

      Thanks Seana – It really is so addicting and gives you such a high in the moment. That “add to cart” online is just too easy.

  3. Shopping addiction is real. One of my good friends and colleagues, no longer here, was an expert on this topic. Dr. April Lane Benson. She wrote, spoke, and helped many people navigate this. She used to say that it was harder to overcome than alcohol addiction because shopping was so much a part of our culture. People even joke about it and proudly say things like “shop til you drop.” In addition, our society constantly markets to buy more, buy newer, or buy with this great sale.

    Your ‘Non-Acquiring Help Card’ is a fantastic tool. It requires intention and commitment.

    • Kim says:

      Hi Linda, So interesting that it is harder to stop than alcohol but I get it. It can be an addiction after all. What an interesting field of work that would be if that was your focus. Shopping is a pastime and fun and I can picture people saying “shop til you drop”. My mom used to be able to shop all day but she didn’t always buy a lot.

  4. I totally relate to this. I love your suggestion about the Non-Acquiring Help Card—that is brilliant! We can all use a little reminder to stop and think when we are not in the right place.

    • Kim says:

      Yes, Sabrina, You could even just put a piece of paper around your card that has your bank balance on it. Someone I knew just wrote “you have no money” on her paper. A harsh reminder! Thanks for commenting!

  5. I LOVE the idea of the Non-Acquiring Help Card! For my clients who are really prone to acquisition to get that dopamine hit, I have them make a “contract” with me that for 30 days, they won’t buy anything that they can’t eat or use up (like gasoline, toilet paper, etc.), but should keep a notebook of whatever they are tempted to purchase — what it is, how much it costs, what the brand name is, and how they’re feeling (hungry, angry, bored) when they’re considering buying it.

    With the exception of a few clients who were eventually diagnosed with shopping addiction (and got treatment), almost everyone finds that being mindful takes the fun out of the acquisition and dissipates the shopping high, just like counting Weight Watchers takes a lot of the fun out of quickly-finished-off empty calories (vs. planned-for delights). I must admit, I love to go shopping when I’m bored or cranky, but I almost never buy anything. My mom calls it “taking inventory” — we experience the novelty of seeing and touching new things without the hit to the wallet!

    • Kim says:

      Thanks Julie – I love this idea of tracking our shopping excursions, acquisitions and our moods when we find ourselves doing this on auto pilot. Thats a great idea to give this exercise to clients who tend to be tempted as a way of soothing uncomfortable feelings, looking for that dopamine high, etc. Thank you for your thoughtful reply.

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