Now I like to shop, I have always liked to shop. However, more recently I have started to question why I do shop as frequently as I do. Did you know that the average person only wears 20% of their wardrobe on a regular basis? That means 80% of those clothing items we simply couldn’t live without spend the majority of the time on a hanger, while we reach for the same well-loved jeans or top again and again. If you’ve ever looked in your wardrobe and thought, I have nothing to wear, that probably isn’t really true. Most likely, the more choices you have to make the harder it is to make a decision.
Sometimes, even a lot of the time, we buy for the wrong reasons. Beginning to shop like a minimalist, is about being honest with yourself about your motivation for wanting to buy something. We usually think very carefully about our bigger purchases before making them. But it’s often the little things we purchase here and there, that add up over time, both in monetary terms and in adding to our clutter. Minimalists are intentional about what they buy, carefully considering the value the item will add to their life. They are much less likely to buy things impulsively or without thought. Sometimes if they buy something new, they get rid of an item, one in, one out. Also, they only replace an item when it gets old or damaged. We don’t really need six of the same things, so I think that in theory this is a good thing to do. However, don’t use throw your unwanted stuff in the rubbish as that just adds to landfill, if you can find a better use.
Although the idea of minimalism is choosing to live with less in order to simplify your life, even minimalists have to go shopping sometimes, but they have shopping strategies and do their research first before buying. These strategies and questions are to help you become more deliberate and intentional with your buying behaviour;
Honestly, assess why you want to buy it in the first place?
Do you really need what you are buying?
Do you truly love the item you are buying?
Can I afford the item I am buying?
Are you just bored and want something new?
Are you trying to make yourself feel better by buying something new?
Are you buying it to impress someone else?
Am I addicted to shopping?
We all have clothing in our wardrobes with the tags still on. We buy highly reduced sale items, that don’t actually fit, but were just too good a bargain to miss! By making a list of what you intend to buy and then sticking to your list, it can help you to avoid impulse purchases! It can be all to easy to become addicted to shopping. If you have the urge to buy something new, look for an experience or something consumable to buy rather than a physical object. Flowers are inexpensive but are a real pick-me-up or a bath or body product that will make you feel and look better. This also curbs emotional spending after a bad day, for instance. It can be exciting to have something new, think about children wanting to put their new shoes on straight away. I do still feel like this, if I don’t then usually, it’s because I like rather than love the item, so I don’t purchase. Try not to settle for items less than perfect because you want or need to buy something. We tend as a society, to live beyond our means and you can change that by being more conscious about your spending habits and focusing on buying things that actually serve a real purpose. When you need to make a purchase, such as buying a gift, what about trying to find an experience rather than a physical thing or an item with health benefits.
If you have read my previous blog posts, then you have read about de-cluttering your home. So, I ‘m going to jump to the stage, after you have de-cluttered your wardrobe and can see everything you already have. (This helps eliminate duplicates). Once de-cluttered, you can start to identify and develop your personal style. This helps you to shop with a more intentional mindset. Your aim is a wardrobe that fits your lifestyle, and is filled with high-quality pieces you absolutely love that will, hopefully, last for many years. Shop for quality clothing items rather than buying in quantity. Over the last several years, clothing has changed from being something you invest in and hold onto for as long as possible as to being something as cheap and disposable as the food we buy. I read a great quote that said Your clothing should not cost less than your coffee. Buying less helps to reduce landfill which has to be a good reason. The end goal isn’t about getting your dresses or shoes down to single digits or about only wearing two colours. (Which would be very dull) it’s about wearing what you have, if you don’t use something, give it to someone that will!
True minimalists have capsule wardrobes, which is a compact wardrobe that only holds a bare minimum of pieces (less than 30) that all perfectly match each other. Now you don’t have to go to this extreme but the principal is a good one and will save you time, choosing what to wear.
Developing a wish list can stop you feeling overwhelmed when you’re shopping. It means you have a specific plan for what you looking for, which makes finding items that will work well with what you already have in your wardrobe much easier. When I travel, I always do this, if a piece of clothing cannot be worn several ways and with the other items packed it stays at home. Don’t feel you need to buy into branded, named designer fashion or the latest trends. If you have the basics in place with a little style, which I’m sure you have, you can still look on-trend. Websites like Pinterest show some great ways to update your look without spending more than you can afford. I hope this gives you some helpful shopping tips.