” You know what you want to buy for your home and you have the money required. You carefully prepare a list of the articles needed and this seems to you to be all the preparation for your shopping expedition any one could ask. But the professional decorator will tell you that there are in this ‘game’ certain rules which if followed give the buyer double the value for money spent. We would give as the first and most important rule for shopping the careful preparation of your lists and as the second rule a conscientious sticking to your list until the articles on it have been bought. It is by observing this second rules that the expert shopper saves time and money.
If you are buying cretonnes, chintzes, or brocades for your rooms wear imaginary ‘blinders’ and keep on walking past the counters which show table linen. First get those things you came for; that is good ‘technique,’ there is something clean cut about this method. If you still have time lift you can return to the linen counter, or making a note of what you saw in passing, you can add line to the next day’s list. You may remind us that the lovely things not seized on the spot is lost; that someone else gets is the moment you have left! This sometimes does happen but on the other hand, stop and think how many times the ‘bargain’ snatch up, the article bought in haste and not on our lists, turn out to be a “white elephant” which goes with nothing else we own.
If one gets the habit of carefully thought out lists and sticking to them when shopping, it is not long before the mind works this way. It is then that you can claim to have mastered the art of shopping! And it is no exaggeration to say that you have doubled the value of your allowance for house decoration or any other needs.
We give as another rule to follow when shopping; that you should concentrate on the purchase of the moment. By this we do not mean to dawdle over your decisions for this method wastes your time and the time of the salesman or woman. Any shop encourages the patronage of those who know how to shop because goods sold to them is pretty certain not to be return or exchanged.
Master the technique of shopping and your room, flat or house will look immeasurably more attractive than the home of the man or woman who buys at random, the attractive but unrelated treasures which beset the path of the one who has time and money to use carelessly. As you gain in experience you will be able to visualize your rooms (see them in your mind) and soon you will shop with confidence and few mistakes. That shopping for others has become a profession that the truth of our claim, that this human effort, like all others can become of economic value.
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Be Your One Decorator by Emily Burbank. 1922