"Do I need this?" or: How I control my shopping habits

Do I need this - conscious shopping

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?)

Do I need this - conscious shopping

So, anyway, what I now try is to:

1. Rationalize:

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...


3. Compromise:

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.


I've been reading so much about minimalism, sustainable shopping and conscious consumer behavior, recently and really wanted to share the things that have been working for me. Maybe some of them will work for you, too. :)