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Strategize Organize LLC
Newsletter Volume 4, Issue 4

Shopping on Overdrive


Some people say that shopping is something that makes them happy.  Others say that they can’t resist certain stores – once they get inside their shopping self takes over.  The frustration hits when the credit card bill comes or when the shopping bags clutter the floor and there is no room for the new purchases. 
In September 2011, I attended the Institute for Challenging Disorganization conference – “Acquiring Minds: How We Think - Act - Feel about Possessions”.  One of the notable speakers was psychologist April Lane Benson, who specializes in the treatment of compulsive buying.


According to Dr. Benson, more than 18 million Americans are shopaholics. In her book “To Buy Or Not To Buy: Why We Overshop and How to Stop” Dr. Benson discusses 11 reasons why people might overshop.  Here are the five that I found most interesting. 

Do you overshop
1. to avoid dealing with something important?
2. to use it as a weapon to express anger or seek revenge? 
3. to soothe yourself or repair you mood?
4. to respond to stress, loss, or trauma?
5. because it is the lesser evil? 


An aspect of Dr. Benson's website that I find very useful is a free online self-assessment tool. It is available at:
To use it go to the top left hand corner of the page and find the button “download our free self assessment”.  If you click on this you will be taken to a page where you enter your name and e-mail. Then you click on “download now”.  The assessment includes three different ways of getting at the question of “Are you an overshopper?”.  After each set of questions you can tabulate your score.


I devoted a newsletter to this topic because I think that this issue is very important when thinking about organization.  I focused on Dr. Benson because she is the first person I have come across that has devoted her research to shopping.  I am impressed with her commitment to her work and also her openness to dialogue with professional organizers. 

Hope this is helpful or interesting,

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Copyright (C) 2008 Susan Hunsberger Professional Organizer All rights reserved.
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