How do I stop shopping when I keep buying things that I don’t need and I can’t afford? What is creation vs. consumption? A lot of creative people become hoarders because of the thrill of consuming. But how do you get that same feeling from creating and completing projects? People are buying things they don’t have room or money for no more than ever. Let’s talk about how to stop that cycle.
Hoarders are Often Creative People
Now, in my 30 years of cleaning houses, I’ve discovered a lot of people who have hoarding tendencies. Most of the time, they are creative people. These are artists, they’re handymen, they are people that do arts and crafts.
They see something and they’re like, “Whoa, I could use that for this other project.” Although most people just see it as a jar of glitter, they see it as 20 different projects they could create. So, to them, it brings joy to bring that into their home and to hang on to it.
Consumption and Completion
So, why are you buying things that you do not need, want, use, or have the money for? What it comes down to is this: There is a consumption and a completion process.
When you consume something, okay, that’s cool. When you complete the process and you buy it, you bring it home, that releases endorphins or a dopamine high. That’s kind of like, “Whoa, check it out. I accomplished something.” And your brain gives you a thumbs up. But as the stuff starts accumulating, it overwhelms us because then we have to clean it all.
Create Using Your Stuff
Now, what if you were to take that same exact process, but create something instead of consuming it. Then you get the exact same dopamine high. Since a lot of our hoarding friends are also creatives, think about it as a project. You have a whole house full of stuff you can create.
Start an Etsy store, start an eBay store, whatever it is, then create a project and sell it. Once you sell it, you have completed something, and you get the same dopamine high as consuming.
Invest in Creating
Is it harder to do? Yes, until you get the process up and running. Once you get the process up and running, you become proficient at it. Suddenly, you’re creating something every day to get the same dopamine high as shopping. As you create, it goes back to the universe, and it doesn’t take up space in your home.
For example, instead of buying stuff off the clearance rack, buy design software. Shutterstock will give you access stock images. Then with Canva you can put them all together and make fancy online digital creations.
Here’s a quick win for you. Jump into the digital landscape, and you could create what I call insta-packs. The insta-packs are informational Instagram sized images that target a specific industry. Now, instead of going out looking for stuff and bringing it home, you can finish a project.
So, instead of buying 20 items on sale, you create 20 insta-packs. Then you sell the 20 insta-packs on Fiverr to people like me who need them for their business. It’s convenient for them because they don’t actually have time to do it themselves.
Consumption Went Up During Covid
During the COVID era, everybody had to stay at home. So, everybody went to their safe place instead where they focused on themselves. Everyone was doing what makes them comfortable.
We weren’t supposed to go to the stores, so now we’re consuming television. We’re consuming social media. We’re consuming online shopping. And everyone was hoarding this stuff. TV shows, books, online products. Everyone was buying stuff and having it come to their house.
Solving Our Sadness
Others created like mad because it was their safe, happy place. In my own company, we asked ourselves what is our safe happy place? We needed some quick wins.
Everybody in our company was sad. The whole world was sad. We need something that’s going to make us happy. What we did is, we turned our focus to funny cleaning shirts. This is not an ad. This is a solution to that sad problem of us wanting to consume and complete.
Creating T-Shirt Designs
So, we created a cool design. We knew we needed something cool and funny about cleaning. And we wanted to celebrate house cleaners and maids. That was the idea. In essence, we went to the clearance rack, looking for the deal.
So, we went home and created the graphic design. We’ve put that together in an image, and then we have to create a T-shirt out of it and get it to market. Our initial goal was to make one of those per day. To hold ourselves accountable, we gave one away for free every day. Now it had to get done.
The Thrill of Creating
Now, we have a whole team of people creating designs. So, instead of Amazon shopping at home, they find thrill in creating cool designs. That is the creation and the completion process. Create, complete, create, complete, create, complete. It was a dopamine high every single day.
Even better, we learned how to be funny. We also upped our graphic design game. Everybody on our team now has better skills than they did a year ago.
Our Business Expanded
Eventually, we learned how to run Facebook ads to reach a wider audience. Then, we learned email marketing to announce our daily T-shirt winners. In a short time, we learned tons of new business skills. Instead of consuming and completing, we were creating and completing.
Create and Complete
And so, if you have just a second, stop where you are say, “What can I create? What can I turn around and sell and complete that?” Like I said, an image pack you can do in a few minutes. Quick win, right? If you have a Fiverr account, you can sell to someone who has a need for a lot of social media posts every single day. Stop shopping, and create. Find something you love, and keep doing it.
Along with the creativity comes the ability to move this stuff out of your house. Then you can have a clean creative space to work. It’s a weird cycle that will start turning your life around and get you back on track. Now you’ll get the same dopamine high without all the overwhelming clutter.
Don’t Shop, Create Instead
I want you to check back with me and let me know what it is you’re creating. Then let’s spread the word to get it out to the people who need your stuff. It’s the same dopamine high, but in the end, you don’t have to store or inventory any of that stuff.
What I’m suggesting to you is, if you are a hoarder and you keep shopping and buying things, stop. Don’t consume and complete, create and complete instead. Because the world needs your talent. You’re super creative. You’re amazing at being artistic. Believe in yourself and your skills. Every small business needs someone like you on their team.
Support Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/hoardingworld
Reclaim Your Life From Hoarding: Practical Strategies for Decluttering Your Home – https://amzn.to/35R1zIU
Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things – https://amzn.to/2SXEeme
Buried in Treasures: Help for Compulsive Acquiring, Saving, and Hoarding – https://amzn.to/364zyxT
Treatment for Hoarding Disorder: Therapist Guide – https://amzn.to/3jdbUqn
Treatment for Hoarding Disorder: Workbook – https://amzn.to/3wUQse7