“The odds of going to the store for a loaf of bread and coming out with only a loaf of bread are three billion to one.” - Erma Bombeck
Shopping should be done in small doses, and sober-minded. It is not for play, but utility. What NOT to do? Mindless, non-specific browsing, also known as leisurely shopping.
When did buying things become a hobby?
I get it. Sometimes you just want somethin' new and shiny. Often, this craving signifies something deeper. But if you really think it’s time to make that purchase, keep these steps in mind...
- Figure out exactly what it is you feel you want or need. Some things to consider here: Is it actually a thing you are desiring? Often times it’s a feeling, or an experience. Much better alternatives to more stuff.
- Think on it for a while. How often will you use this item? Will it improve your quality of life? Does it add something special, or just clutter? Ask yourself these questions, and more.
- Be picky. Figure out exactly what style, brand, color, type you want. (Quality, quality.) What is your price limit? Stick to it. Peruse Pinterest, blogs, and reviews to narrow in on details. And don’t settle for something that doesn’t fully satisfy you, or ya won’t use it. And that’s just silly.
- Can this be purchased used (read: previously loved) or borrowed? Scan Craigslist, Ebay, and Freecycle. Borrow or buy from a friend. Ask around, post about it on Facebook.
But just because you know exactly what you want doesn’t mean you should buy it. Here are a bunch of loving reminders about your relationship to stuff.
- When you have free time, go to the woods. Go to the mountains. Go to the ocean. To the city streets. The coffee shop. The library. The yoga mat. Do NOT go to the mall.
- Opt out of allowing advertising to control your desires.
- Pay attention to what’s going on inside. My shopping cravings surface when I’m dealing with (or avoiding) an emotional issue. Be awake to everything about you.
- Focus on people and experiences rather than things. (Timeless secret: No fashion statement, sweet piece of gear, or decorative rug can match the aesthetic beauty of a sunrise, the feeling of belly laughs, or the taste of tomatoes fresh-picked from the garden.)
- Be more than your stuff. Don’t let your belongings define you.
- And, always: "The answer is less." (cc Courtney Carver & her lovely blog Be More With Less)
Will you be making a purchase soon? Have you taken a step back to see if it's really necessary? Share in the comments below.
PS: Many thanks to Unsplash for the awesome, free, do-whatever-you-want-with high-res photos. Loving this service. Good business.