"Do I need this?" or: How I control my shopping habits
So, I've been looking into minimalism this past month and I must say the concept of it is starting to grow on me. Especially when it comes to buying new things, the minimalist approach is already being so helpful. Until recently, I wouldn't even think about whether I really needed a certain item or not. I always thought the question "Do I need this?" is stupid. Obviously, I wasn't buying something because I needed it, but because it looked nice. If I only bought things I needed, I would literally only buy groceries and maybe new underwear every 10 years.
So, if I didn't need it, why would I still buy it? Because it was "cute"?
Well, usually, I wanted something because I maybe saw a blogger wearing it or I saw something similar in a magazine or I liked the colors. Aesthetic reasons were a big one for me. Also, the need of belonging: certain things/brands would make me feel I'm one of the "cool kids". (Yes, I know, very kindergarteny. Don't blame me, 90% of all marketing campaigns aim to trigger that feeling. I totally made up this number, but you get my point.) So, even though I didn't need a particular item in a way I need clean water, it still satisfied a need I had. (Get it?)
So, anyway, what I now try is to:
Do I maybe already own something similar? Will I use this thing/wear this dress at least 30 times? Will I still love this in 5 years or is this only a trend?
If my little mind doesn't want to rationalize, I try to:
2. Find the reason behind my urge to buy:
Is it for aesthetic reasons? Well, maybe then I could just appreciate the fact that this item exists, but I don't have to own it. Would maybe flicking through a design book or going to an art exhibition satisfy my aesthetic hunger?
Or is it because this really cool YouTuber talked about it? ... Because I want to be a little bit like that person or because I want to be part of a certain lifestyle? In this case, I ask myself: Do I maybe already own similar things that I might be able to combine in a way that fits that lifestyle? (Needless to say that it is very very sad to only buy things because you want to fit in and construct a lifestyle that isn't even authentically yours. So, this shouldn't be even happening. However, as it was one of my main reasons for shopping this past year, I might as well address it. *goes into a corner and feels intense shame*)
If nothing helps...
I wait for 1 or 2 months and if I still want this thing (literally never happens), I might consider buying it. Also: could I get it second hand? Maybe on Ebay? Combining minimalism with other sustainable lifestyle approaches like "zero waste" helps me shop more responsibly.