It’s clear by now that I’m a big fan of the minimal lifestyle. I fundamentally believe that owning less makes cleaning/organizing less of a chore, which can make life happy. Additionally, having less to maintain and keep up with forces you to be intentional about what you own. Minimalism causes you to create an environment full of things that you love, which also makes life happy!
But what happens when you understand and believe those things to be true, but you just really like shopping?
I’m not gonna lie, Mamas…I have a real problem with this. I have always been a shopaholic, and embracing a minimalist lifestyle didn’t zap those urges out of me. I have wrestled with the idea that being a minimalist should mean that I am content with what I own 100% of the time, and little splurges shouldn’t make me happy anymore. I’m a different woman now, right?
Ummm. No. Right now I have my sights set on these pants that I definitely don’t need, but they sure would make me happy. And honestly? I’m probably going to buy them. To me, minimalism doesn’t mean that I deprive myself of all of the things I’d like to have. But I don’t mindlessly buy things either. That defeats the point! Instead, I try to slow down when I’m craving a shopping trip, and ask myself a few questions.
The biggest question that I think needs to be asked when buying something is this one:
Does this add value to my life?
And by that, I don’t mean fleeting happiness that you get from buying something new just because it’s new. I always get kind of a rush when I buy something, haha. But there is a difference between things I am buying because there is an obvious need or place for that item in my life, and buying things because Target had a killer display of pastel dishes and I convinced myself that I probably can use them (not that I’ve ever done anything like that…)
So, asking yourself if something adds value to your life is a good place to start. But this question can be unpacked quite a bit. You can take this even deeper to ask yourself:
*Is this item an upgrade for something else that I already own?
If you’re out and you see something that speaks to you, but it’s similar to something else you already own, ask yourself if this item is better. Can you justify buying it and make the deal with yourself that you’ll donate or sell the old one? This keeps what you buy vs. what you give away at a 1:1 ratio, which keeps things in balance.
*Does this item fill a gap in my belongings?
Maybe the item that has caught your eye fills a need that you had. For example, my husband washed my plastic water bottle on the bottom rack of our dishwasher a few months back. It totally melted the lid, and I was without a water bottle for several weeks while I debated what type I wanted to replace it with. I used to own about 30 reusable water bottles, and I had just purged them to all but the one that was now melted! When I came across these pretty, glass Contigo water bottles, I really wanted one, and I could actually justify it! The trick for me is to not buy the next pretty water bottle that I see…or the next one. 🙂
*Is there a place for this in my life?
You can take this more than one way. First, is there a physical place for this item in your home? I’ve written before about the importance of giving everything its own spot to reduce clutter and messes. If you can’t think of where something will go right off the bat, you may want to reconsider buying it.
Second, does the thing you’re wanting to buy mesh well with the rest of your home/wardrobe/etc? It may be super cute, but is it going to stand out as the only thing of its kind that you have? Will it be difficult to make it work? If the answer is yes, you probably want to make sure if provides some specific purpose before buying it.
Soooo, back to those pants. I don’t need pants in the sense of not having any…that’s not true. But, I do own relatively few pairs of pants, and all of the ones that I have made the point to keep are very versatile. I’ve set my sights on a pair of joggers. I don’t have anything like them in my closet at the moment, so they do qualify as “filling a gap” in what I own. Also, when I picture them with other items in my closet, they match with multiple things, making them versatile. I know if I buy them that they won’t just sit in my closet taking up space, waiting for me to buy something to go with them.
Basically, this post is about how to be a shopaholic and claim to be a minimalist. 🙂
You can love to shop, give in to those indulgences every once in awhile, and not find yourself in a sea of clutter, needing to purge every week. All it takes is a little intention.
Shop on, Mamas.