If you want to avoid spending money on items you end up not using, then try to find a way to use something you already have to serve the same purpose (even if it is imperfect), so you can try it out before you make that purchase.
Here are two examples of how this might work.
Scenario One: You think it would be great to have a cool platter to hold your keys, phone, etc. on the counter as you enter your mud room. Instead of going out and buying a platter that matches perfectly, try using something similar for a while. That way, you can see if a certain size would be ideal, if one type of material does not work, or if it turns out that you really would not use something like that after all.
Scenario Two: You think having a white board on the wall will help you be organized and keep track of the kids’ activities. Try taping some paper up there and use that for a while (use the backside of other papers, so you are using what you already have). Again, you can see if a certain size might work best, if you really do or don’t use that sort of thing, etc., so when you do buy, you can be sure you are investing in something truly useful.
I know (oh, do I know!) that it can be so very tempting to go out and get nice, shiny, new supplies when you are stoked about an organizing project. But learn from my mistakes: better to use the old, ugly file folders for a while and be sure you will really use that system, than to buy a whole expensive system and end up donating it, selling it, or worse, having it clutter up your house, mocking you every time you see it.
If you follow this tip, there are several possible outcomes – all of which are better than the alternative. You could find out that you don’t need the item at all, you could find out that you already have something that works well or you could determine that it really is worth it to buy the item – and then you can make the purchase without buyer’s remorse and enjoy it each and every time you use it.
Be sure to check out our other great tips for getting organized on a budget.