I have a recurring problem I really hope you can help me with. Every time I need a new whatever - new sheets, towels, toaster, lamp, or a new color for my walls, I go to a store or a website, and I can't decide. This happens with my clothes, too. I spend hours in the store and don't buy anything. What is wrong with me?

- M.A.
A: We are fortunate to live in a culture where this is even possible. With so many choices out there, it really is easy to become overwhelmed during your decision-making process and overthink.

Try these ideas next time you need to decide on something. I'll use a toaster as an example because you mentioned one, but it could be anything - your paint colors, throw pillows, even clothing. Accept that you won't be making a wrong decision, because all the toasters (or whatever) out there these days are pretty good. Also, accept that there is no ideal, perfect toaster.

Set an appropriate time limit for your process. You need to do some research for features, trends you like, etc., so spend just 15 minutes or so online. Of course, bigger-ticket items, such as furniture and large appliances, might need extra time.

Figure out generally the features you want on your new toaster, how much you might spend, and where to shop. Choose a specific manufacturer and model but have some alternatives, too.

Leave yourself room for inspiration, and listen to your gut feelings. A toaster might not be a big deal. But if your item is a new bedding set, for example, you might start out with a particular color in mind. Then, when you get to the store or a website, you fall in love with another color. If it's in your budget range, grab it!

A lot of times, the first thing we choose is our favorite, but it's easy to question our decision and get frustrated. Perhaps, unless the old toaster is completely unusable, keep it until you know for sure you like the new one.

I really hope this helps. Let me know how it goes.


Jennifer Adams is a designer, author, and TV personality.