Stopping Shopping: Or How to Be a More Mindful Consumer

stopping-shopping

Over the last eighteen months I have gotten into the habit of just buying something if I liked it/ was bored/ was unhappy. Have a weekend without any plans? Go shopping!

All that this has really achieved is filling up my home with stuff, some fabulous, some poor quality and other items useless or hardly worn. Trends have always and will always change, vary, double back and start again.

I simply don’t need to have the latest of everything.

Is it coincidental that recently lots of trends are very me and I am in such a shopping mood? Or are the two things linked? Have there always been trends that suit me and I just haven’t felt the need to shop so much?

Yes, currently pink, or should I say ‘blush’, is having a major moment both in interiors and fashion but I have always worn pink even when it wasn’t fashionable to do so, and pink has always featured heavily in my home. Just because it is now fashionable does not mean I have to go overboard!

Recently during a conversation about furniture shopping, a friend made the point that our parents (baby boomers and early Gen X’s) and their parents alike would have deliberated, researched and saved for some time before decking out their homes with new furniture. They would have happily used the mismatched hand-me-down’s before making their purchases. We (late Gen X and beyond) happily replace our big ticket items when they’re no longer fashionable or, dare I say “Pinterest-worthy”. Now of course this doesn’t apply to everyone but it is not an unfair assumption… industries are built on it.

I think society’s obsession with image driven social media is a player in the rise of consumerism. I know personally I follow and watch bloggers and Youtubers “unbox” their latest “hauls” and ogle over their stylish flatlays featuring their newest “must have” acquisitions. Their six figure subscriber counts indicate I am not alone. Which really just leaves me asking myself “do I need any of this?”.

Let me give you an example, Anthropologie currently stocks a white and gold set of ceramic, hedgehog cup measures*. Whilst they are beautiful I have a very durable stainless steel set that have seen me through years of baking. Why do I want the hedgehogs? Well they’re 1. New, 2. Cute, 3. This seasons go-to metallic detail. Let’s be honest, stainless steel just doesn’t pull the Instagram likes the way gold does.

So what does this all mean?

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I have had the epiphany, I have fallen down the rabbit hole of Instant Gratification and am ready to get out (my brand new Kate Spade purse is relieved, and pink, but you knew that already…). Firstly I have, as is the tradition with these things, admitted I have a problem and by telling you am now accountable.

I have unsubscribed to shopping emails (Bando, I miss your emails already) and have plotted out a savings budget to see me through the year. I have put a temporary hold on my shopping habits and have entered a hiatus until June which marks the start of ‘Birthday Season’ in my family.

When I get the urge to shop or think of something I “need” I write it down in a Shopping List note on my phone. This list forces me to categorise items into Essential (think deodorant and probiotics), Non Essential (currently this includes a steam cleaner and a yoga mat), Saving Up (DSLR camera) and lastly Birthday Wish List (books, plants, Bando EVERYTHING). This system clearly highlights what I need (not much) and what I want (too much).

I have organised my wardrobe** and thanks to my recent shopaholic tendencies have a well-stocked collection of clothes including basics, workwear, fitness and fancy items as well as shoes and hats for all occasions. Unless those space suit ‘Outfits of the Future’ finally come into vogue I won’t need to shop for fashion this year.

I not only want to be a more mindful shopper for me, I want to be a more mindful giver as well. This year, instead of buying more and more stuff for my loved ones I am making a conscious effort to buy and make gifts that are meaningful such as photobooks of shared memories, potted plants or vouchers for experiences. Something they can enjoy which reveals I put more thought into it than a quick trip to the local Westfield.

Now I quite possibly will slip up and find myself amongst the white walls and curated shelves of my local Country Road*** petting the pretty silk blouses and drooling over the stack of striped tees and that’s ok, I am only human. I WILL however, learn from my mistakes and carry on.

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I am hoping these changes will lift my mindset out of this “Must Have” lifestyle I have wandered into. Of course I will continue reading and be inspired by interior design magazines and lifestyle blogs and I will no doubt still spend far too much time on Instagram and Pinterest.

But if I learn nothing else I hope it is to not let greed cloud inspiration, creativity and my personal style.

Please let me know if you have set yourself a similar goal or have attempted a similar change in your lifestyle. I would love to hear other perspectives!

Alicia

* In a recent trip to Anthropologie I carried these babies around for a good 10 minutes before putting them back. I was VERY proud of myself.

**I realise this is all sounding very Marie Kondo and must note I haven’t read her semi-religious tome. As of now I am unable to purchase it so it will either go onto the Birthday Wish List or perhaps I will get all 80’s and borrow it from the library.

***My absolute favourite store where in 2016 I proudly moved up the loyalty scheme ranks because of my exorbitant spending. Seriously 60% of my wardrobe is Country Road and I can’t tell if I’m happy or ashamed about that (awkward face emoji).

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