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? That’s what we’ll cover today.
Listen: How Do I Stop Shopping?
Watch: How Do I Stop Shopping?
Hey there, I’m Angela Brown, and this is Ask a House Cleaner. This is a show where you get to ask a house cleaning question, and I get to help you find an answer. You can find this and 400 other answered questions in this series on our YouTube channel.
How Do I Stop Shopping?
How do I stop shopping? Now, in my 30 years of working inside people’s homes and cleaning houses, I’ve discovered a lot of people who have hoarding tendencies, and I’ll share this with you. Most of the time, they are creative people. Those 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. Right? So to them, it brings joy to bring that into their home and to hang on to it.
Why Do You Buy Things You Don’t Need?
All right. So why are you buying things that you do not need, don’t want, don’t use, don’t have money for, and all that stuff? What it comes down to is this, there is consumption and a complete process. When you consume something, okay, that’s cool.
When you complete the process and you buy it, you bring it home, you find it on sale at the clearance rack or at the thrift store or a flea market, and you bring that home, which releases an endorphin or a dopamine high. That’s kind of like, “Whoa, check it out. I accomplished something.”
That’s a dopamine high inside your brain that says, “Yes.” Right? But as the stuff starts accumulating and collecting, it brings us down and it makes us depressed, sad, and overwhelmed because then we have to clean it all.
Instead of Consuming Something, Create Something
Now, what if you were to take that same exact process, but instead of consuming something, you created something and completed it. It’s the exact same dopamine high. And you say, “What?” It’s true. Check it out. A lot of our hoarding friends are also creatives. What that means is, you have a whole house full of stuff you can create.
What I’m saying is, start an Etsy store, start an eBay store, whatever it is, complete a project and sell it. Once you sell it, once you send it to market, you have completed it, and you get the same dopamine high.
Is it harder to do? Yes, until you get the process up and running. Once you get the process up and running, it starts happening quickly and you become proficient at it. Then all of a sudden, instead of you going out shopping every day to try to get that same dopamine high, you’re creating something every day to get the same dopamine high. As you create it, it goes back to the universe, and it doesn’t necessarily take up space in your home.
Try Getting a Canva or Shutterstock Membership Instead
Here’s how it works. Let’s say, for example, that instead of buying stuff off the clearance rack, that you bought a membership to something like Canva or Shutterstock, where you had access to photos. Shutterstock is stock images. And then the Canva is where you put them all together and you make fancy online digital creations.
Here’s a quick win for you. Jump into the digital landscape and you could create what I would call them insta-packs. The insta-packs are Instagram size images that say something, and they can be targeted to a specific industry. But instead of you going out and buying stuff which is the consumption, you’re creating something and you’re completing that.
Instead of Buying 20 Things, Create 20 Things
So instead of buying 20 items on sale, you create 20 insta-packs. And the 20 insta-packs you sell on Fiverr to people like me who need them for my business to help run the social media part of my business, because I don’t actually have time to do that myself. And so what happens is you start creating something and you see it all the way through to fruition.
Even just one fancy, the cool decorative image that you put your heart and soul into is that same dopamine high once you complete it. You get the exact same dopamine high, instead of consumption and completion, from creation and completion.
People Consumed More During the COVID Era
Here’s how it works. During the COVID era, everybody was required to stay at home during the stay-at-home issues where you can’t go out and we couldn’t socialize. Everybody went to their safe place, and the safe place is people who do more of who they really are and what makes them comfortable.
There were a lot of people that were consuming whatever. We weren’t supposed to go to the stores, so now they’re consuming television. They’re consuming because that’s what they do. They consume. And they were hoarding stuff. TV shows, books, online stuff.
They were buying stuff and having it come to their house. Then there were other people that we’re creating things like mad because that was their safe, happy place. It’s the same dopamine high.
Our Company Started to Create More
But for my company, for example, one of the things that we decided to do is, what is our safe, happy place? Our safe, happy place is the creation and completion. 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. We created a cool design. We went in search of something cool. We need something cool and funny that says cleaning, that celebrates house cleaners and maids.
That was the hunt. That was like going to the clearance rack, looking for the deal, looking for the discount. We need something cool and funny that celebrates house cleaners. That’s the graphic design.
We Started Creating Funny Cleaning Shirts
Now we have to come home. We’ve got to put that together in an image, and then we have to create a t-shirt out of it and we have to get it to market. Our goal was, do one of those per day. And then in order to celebrate that, we decided to give it away for free. Giving it away for free forced us to finish it every single day.
What happened is, we had a whole team of people now, instead of being at home and being sorry and sad and feeling like they wanted to just keep buying stuff off Amazon. The thrill was in finding a cool design that celebrated house cleaners that was funny, that made you go, “Haha, that’s so cool,” and then creating it and getting it to market.
That is the creation and the completion process. Create, complete, create complete, create, complete. That was the dopamine high every single day.
Now We Improved Our Business Skills
But what happened as a result of it was we did learn 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. We also started running Facebook ads so we could reach more house cleaners and people who hire house cleaners to win these free, funny cleaning shirts because we give away one per day. What happened was, we then learned how to run Facebook ads.
Then we announced the winners via email, so we had to learn the email marketing program that sends out emails every single day. So we were learning lots of new business skills during this downtime where everyone was trying to consume and complete. But instead, we were creating and completing.
Stop Shopping and Start Creating Instead
What I’m suggesting to you is, if you are a hoarder, and if you have stuff, and you keep shopping and buying things, and you’re consuming and completing, stop buying and create and complete instead. Because the world needs your talent. You’re probably super creative. You are probably amazing at being artistic and whatever.
Every small business needs someone like you on their team. And so, if you have just a second, stop where you are and 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 that very quickly to someone like myself, who has a business where we go through lots of social media posts every single day. Instead of consuming and completing, create and complete.
Canva Graphic Design – https://partner.canva.com/qRKzO
Fiverr – Talent Marketplace – https://fvrr.co/3z712Aa
Shutterstock – Licensed Stock Photography – https://shutterstock.com
Lettering for Absolute Beginners Workbook – https://amzn.to/3vO4kWP
The Copywriter’s Handbook: A Step-By-Step Guide To Writing Copy That Sells – https://amzn.to/2RXHnC2
Graphic Design For Everyone – https://amzn.to/2RUVc49
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