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What is Aspirational Clutter?

What is Aspirational Clutter & 5 Ways to Stop It

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What is Aspirational Clutter?
Tom Grill / Getty Images
I thought long and hard as to what to call this type of clutter and "aspirational" is the best word to describe stacks and piles of things we buy to make us a better version of ourselves. I'm not talking about self help books, I'm talking about the golf club set you bought before you took a lesson, or the fancy dress that hangs in the closet you've never worn, or the expensive foodstuff sitting in your cabinet that's never been tasted. Think about the items taking up space in your home that you never use, but would like to someday. When is someday?

How to Stop Aspirational Clutter

  1. Don't spend money on a new hobby until you're actively engaged in it.

    What does "actively engaged" mean? Here's a good rule of thumb: Conventional wisdom is that it takes 3 months to form a new habit. Once you're at the 3 month mark, then go ahead and buy yourself the more expensive tennis racket. Until then, make do with your old racket, rent one, or borrow from a friend.
  2. Don't buy a piece of clothing unless you have a place to wear it.

    Let's say you come across the fantastic blue velvet cocktail dress that fits you perfectly. Now, a blue cocktail dress is great, but has a very narrow wear-ability scope. Do you have a winter wedding come up? Do you go that dressy for New Years? Don't buy the dress to just hang in your closet. It's a waste of money and valuable closet real estate.
  3. Don't buy a new spice jar unless you have a recipe in mind to use within the next week.

    Example: I recently read that turmeric is a proven cancer-fighter, so I bought some. Problem is, I hadn't taken the time to research any recipes or uses of turmeric so that bottle of spices sat in my kitchen cabinet for weeks un-touched.
  4. Do have a plan.

    It turns out you can sprinkle turmeric on lots of things I regularly cook -- something I found out after taking about 5 minutes to research it on the web.
  5. Bottom line for curbing aspirational clutter.

    Buying the expensive tennis racket will not make you a good tennis player, just owning the dress and never wearing it does not make you a blue-velvet-cocktail-dress-wearer and simply buying the turmeric didn't make me healthier. Don't let new "stuff" cross the threshold of your home unless you're going to actively use that stuff.

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