Buying Mindfully

I’ve never been one for lots of possessions. By the time I got my first job I was living at home in a single room big enough for a child with another adult. Space was non existent and it felt like the walls were closing in.

When I moved out I moved into a flat which was promptly filled to burst with someone else’s stuff. For 6 months I lived out of a rucksack but I was happy… mainly because the mess around me wasn’t mine to deal with or keep track of. Three flats and four years down the line I was moving out of another cramped flat filled with someone else’s belongings into my very own flat on my own. I barely filled three small cars with things, you couldn’t tell I’d moved out of the flat.

While I lived on my own I accumulated a few more things but they were mainly essentials like plates, cutlery and furniture. I finally had space to breathe and I didn’t want to give that up in exchange for piles of things I didn’t need. That’s not to say that I didn’t buy crap and I didn’t have too much stuff, I just wasn’t excessive.

I guess I’m fortunate that I’ve never seen the appeal of mindless consumerism and I’ve been content with what I’ve got but I know this isn’t the case for everyone.

So how do you go about purchasing mindfully rather than being influenced by marketing and societal pressure?

Only buy what you need
I always keep this in mind when I’m making a purchase. I like to spend my spare cash on holidays and experiences so do I really need another black dress or would I rather put the money aside for another day? Do I really have space to fill up with things I don’t need? Having lots of possessions not only takes up your space it also takes up your time and energy. They need maintenance and I would rather spend my time reading or experiencing something new than caring for possessions I just don’t need.

Buy mindfully
So many things are made to be disposable which is just a waste. Instead of repeatedly buying disposable products buy once and buy well.

Invest in an item that lasts you a long time, for example a good pair of boots rather than a cheap pair that you will wear out within a month and will need to be repeatedly replaced.

Choose multi purpose items. I’m a huge fan of an oversized black dress, it can be worn with harem pants for a super comfy weekend work outfit, wear it with leggings for a simple outfit and then add an oversized necklace for an evening look. One dress multiple uses.

Care for what you have
Take care of clothes with a simple needle and thread. Don’t throw something out just because it’s got a hole in it, it’s often quicker and easer to fix a fault than to go and buy a replacement. Alternatively if it can’t be fixed add more holes and turn it into a look.

Maintain furniture and electronics to give them the best chance of a long life. I’d love a new kitchen but the cost and upheaval of getting one is just too much. Instead we’re painting the cupboard doors, painting the walls and getting a new work top. With just one element being replaced it’s costing us a lot less in time, energy and money for a new kitchen.

If all else fails

Consider Alternatives
Buy lots of movies? Why not get a cinema card or try Netflix? You’ll have a library of films at your disposal without having to store any of them. Have a book addiction? Sign up to your local library. My local library even has a website for e-books and audio books so you can download them from home.

Wait a Month
If after a month you still really really want the item in question then go for it. Normally by the time a month has passed I’ve found that I either don’t need it or I’ve found something better. 

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