Friday, February 20, 2009

A New Way to "Shop for Free" in Catalogs

I love catalogs.

I think it goes back to my childhood when my brother and I would earmark every page we liked from the fat Sears Roebuck catalog that came out before Christmas every year, hoping someone would get the hint. I'd even give myself an imaginary spending limit and spend hours using up that money, over and over...but that's another story...and set of issues...

But nowadays, Santa is not bringing us our wishlist, and even fantasizing about doing any shopping seems masochistic or dangerous.

So should we throw away the catalogs and stay off the internet?

Not necessarily. Not if you can train yourself to use catalogs in a completely different way.

I still pour over catalogs and magazines, tearing out pages and circling my favorites- but never with the intent of spending a dime. I use them to help me put together outfits, furniture arrangements, and decorating focal points using the things I already own.

Here are some special secrets I've found to making it easy, fun, and instantly gratifying:
  • In furniture catalogs, look at what's on the furniture rather than the furniture itself - it's what makes the peice look so great to begin with! The "merchandising" done by the catalog's designers can quickly and easily be copied using what you already own. Your creation doesn't have to match exactly- the main thing is to use items that are the same scale as the ones in the picture.

  • If you're dying to update your wardrobe, tear out 5 pictures of great outfits (not individual dresses- that won't work for this) and tape them around the periphery of your bedroom mirror. Next time you have an extra minute to get dressed, try to find that ensemble in your closet. I bet it's there.

  • Concentrate on how models and movie stars are wearing their clothes, not what they are wearing. Are jeans inside or outside the boots? Are bags over the shoulder or worn diagonal? Belts high or low? What colors are being thrown together this year? All of this can be mimicked instantly.

  • Look for pictures of things you already own - then study why they look good. Do you need to add a belt? Put a plant on that table? Rearrange the chairs? Change the shoes? If it's good enough for a magazine, it can look great on you or in your house.

Catalogs and magazines can truly be wonderful resources in giving you the "fix" you're craving when it's impossible (or at least unwise) to go on a shopping spree. AND, if you follow this formula, you may find out that you like, and use, the stuff you already have a lot more than you did before.


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