Hello all! My name is Pelin and it’s my first post here on BayArt. I have a blog mostly on minimalism and the mental side to it (https://minimalistgunluk.wordpress.com/), go ahead and check it out if interested! I believe mindfulness is a solution to everything, and today I will talk about the act of buying.
Decluttering seems to be the only starting point to be a minimalist. While some find it exhilarating, some others find it very exhausting. I personally found it very easy to declutter clothes and accessories, yet it is still hard for me to let go of sentimental stuff (especially things my husband and I collected from travels). So if you find it difficult to let go of stuff in a certain category, don’t start by decluttering, start by mindful shopping!
How often do we go to a mall and return home with items that are fully irrelevant? How conscious are we while shopping? What was the last time you came home having bought a tank top knowing that you will never, ever wear it? Or how many times have you thrown away produce because simply you bought too much to eat in a week? It is time we shopped consciously and break the addiction.
Mindful shopping means to me:
i. considering the value this item will add to my life:
If it is a packaged food item, for instance, I examine the ingredients. I stay away from high fructose corn syrup, palm oil, colorants and saturated fats. What to do when you see nearly everything in a packet includes these ingredients? Do I really need Nutella to add value to my mornings? What about homemade jam or high quality honey as a replacement? You start to consider alternatives when you read labels and realize what packaged foods do to your body.
Apply it to everything. When you just touch and examine an object to buy, you might get the intuition whether this will add value to your life or not.
Even if you only apply this first step, you will see how it changes your life. Awareness alone is curative (as told by Leo Gura).
ii. considering the cost vs. quality
I have my husband to thank for this. He is quite frugal, at the same time he only buys the highest quality, be it food, clothes, electronics, appliances. He does his research well and sometimes waits for months. It has helped us save a lot of money and prevented impulsive shopping.
We live in a throwaway society, and I really feel sorry for all the items that are tossed after a few uses, and of course feel sorry that the beautiful Earth has to go through this phase. If we are a little more conscious in buying, we contribute less to the throwaway society.
iii. examining the need vs. urge to buy
Oh, the impulsive shopping. It’s like doing drugs. Especially when you go shopping (for no matter what) on a hungry stomach, you don’t remember what went on inside you that made all those purchases.
Three steps I follow: 1. decide precisely what you are going to buy before you go shopping. Do not buy anything that isn’t in the list.
- Slow down. Do not make sudden decisions. You can leave the item there and come back later to see if you still want it. If you are online shopping, you can leave it in your cart and sleep on it. It really prevents impulsive purchases.
- If the two steps above did not work, do not lose your receipt so you can return the item. I was too shy to return things at first, now I am ruthless! Why keep something I bought mindlessly?
iv.considering the aesthetics and timeless fashion
Oh, this year’s trend is neon colors! Let’s go buy a ton of tops in yellow, green, pink!
Only to discover next year it looks ugly as hell.
When buying clothes, shoes, bags, or furniture and appliances even, consider the aesthetics regardless of fashion. Discover your own timeless personal style. This helps us answer a part of the big question “Who am I?” as well.
With the help of mindfulness and self-inquiry, you will not make unconscious purchases ever again, and this will save lots of time and money, which you can use to spend on things that matter.
What is your #1 tip when it comes to shopping mindfully?