How to Shop Smarter When Downsizing

A woman in a plaid shirt looking at a receipt over a shopping cart with a plastic bag in it.

Downsizing used to be just for empty nesters who no longer need a large home. Although a lot of older couples still choose to downsize after their children leave the nest, downsizing is becoming a popular choice for all kinds of people. Some are young families who want to live more simplistic and minimalist lifestyles. Others are couples who would rather live in a condo downtown than a large detached home in the suburbs. A benefit to downsizing is being able to go through your home and reevaluate each possession before bringing it to your new, smaller home. But even if you live in a large house, it's easy to feel overwhelmed by the amount of belongings you have.

If you don't want to downsize, you should learn how to shop smarter and save money that way instead. Here are some shopping tips to eliminate the clutter in your home, regardless of whether you're moving or not.

You Only Need One Set

A lot of people are guilty of acquiring multiple sets of the same thing. A great example of this are dish sets. For some reason, people feel like they need a different dish set for every occasion and season. And this causes way too much clutter. You don't need a special dish set that you only use for holidays or special occasions, and you certainly don't need a dish set for every season.

Dishes aren't the only thing we seem to gather multiple sets of. Cutlery, towels, sheets and comforters—these are all things that many families have too many of. While it's good to have extra, you don't need to hoard multiple sets. So don't go out and buy yet another set just because you like it. And if you do choose to buy a new set of something, donate an old set soon as you get home.

Avoid Sales

A store with red 50% off sale signs in the window.

Sales are great—when you actually need an item that's on sale. But the problem with sales is that a lot of people end up buying more than they need because they feel like they're saving money. If you don't need it, you aren't actually saving money. Which is why it's a good idea to avoid sales when you're trying to shop smarter.

Don't Make Shopping a Hobby

A lot of people go shopping when they don't need to. They view shopping as an activity, or even do it so often that it becomes a hobby of theirs. But shopping is not a hobby. Shopping should only be done when you actually need something—not because you're bored, lonely, or had a bad day. There are a lot of other ways to entertain yourself or make yourself feel better that don't cost money and clutter your home.

Keep a List

A shopping list on paper with a pen next to it.

Before heading to the mall for holiday or back-to-school shopping (or any time, really), it helps to create a shopping list. Figure out what it is you need to buy before you go out. Then, when you're out shopping make sure to stick to that list! Don't stray from it.

Ask Yourself, “Do I Need It?”

Of course there are going to be times when something jumps out at you that you just have to have! This happens, but when you're trying to shop smarter you have to learn when to ask yourself if you really need it. And if you don't need it, is it going to be something you love one day and don't care about the next? In my experience, impulse buys are usually those items that we are obsessed with for a short time and leave unloved shortly after.

Avoid Freebies

Freebies are great, right? Who doesn't love free stuff? But a lot of freebies come with a price, and we as consumers get too caught up in the word “free” to really think about that price. For example, consider BOGO sales. How many times have I bought more items than I needed just so I could get one for free? Too many. Which is why I try to avoid freebies when I go shopping.