Take It Back

Have you ever gone shopping, purchased something, then taken it home and felt an uneasy sinking in the pit of your stomach that says you shouldn't have bought it?

I have. For sure. Ugh, it feels pretty crappy!


Have you then taken the steps to pack that item up and return it to the store?

if you're like most Americans, you likely haven't. And as a result, pieces you don't wear pile up in your closet or your junk drawer type space and increase your level of disorganization and frustration with your wardrobe.

We're going back to Joshua Becker at Becoming Minimalist again for his take on the buy-and-return phenomenon: How Refund Policies Encourage Spending (And Reduce Returning). Why? After all, Becker, as usual, takes a pretty extreme view of consumption in general. But I think you, as I did, will see a bit of yourself in aspects of his description of the purchase and return (or not!) cycle.

I know many of my clients struggle with returns, finding it hard to make decisions on returning and keep track of the things that need to go back. The way I see it, there are two ways to ensure that items you don't really want don't become part of your life: the push and the pull.

  • Push: be more careful about purchasing in the first place. Before you buy, ask yourself, do I LOVE this? Not could I use this, does it work, do I need something like this. Those questions don't lead to pieces you turn to time and time again and feel great in.
  • Pull: make your returns immediately. Don't allow unwanted pieces to find their way into a closet or drawer. If you ordered online, print the return label, box everything up, and put the package ready to mail by your keys so that it goes with you next time you leave the house. If you purchased in a store, fold the item back up in the bag it came in and again, put it by your keys so that it doesn't stay at home. 

Above all, when in doubt, never be afraid to just take it back!