I hate getting rid of stuff. You might not believe that a minimalist would say that but it’s true. Every time I get rid of something because I didn’t use it I feel a wrenching pain in my heart. I know that everything I buy took not only my time and money to buy, but also the time and money of many people to create. I also know it doesn’t disappear the moment I let it go. That’s why I endeavor to build good shopping habits so that I don’t buy stuff I won’t need or use. To do that I ask myself questions before I buy anything. What questions should you ask before you buy?
Why Should You Ask Questions Before You Buy?
I learned my minimalist shopping habits through a real-life crash course. I moved into a 400 square foot studio apartment with a bunch of wedding presents! Even though I had almost everything I needed, I still wanted to do the girl thing and “nest”. I learned that if I was going to buy anything it was going to have to be something I really needed and loved because there simply wasn’t room for anything else.
To be a minimalist you have to have very intentional shopping habits because you don’t want to have clutter piling up after all the work you’ve put into decluttering. Another reason minimalists build intentional shopping habits is that they are retraining their way of thinking. They want to get their mind off of things and become more focused on exeriences.
When you ask intentional questions before you buy anything you will benefit in a lot of different ways! You can save tons of time and money! You can also save a lot of frustration and regret created by letting go of things that you didn’t need to buy in the first place. Now that you know why you want to learn to build minimalist shopping habits ask questions before you buy anything let’s talk about how to do it!
Read this article for help with decluttering when you feel overwhelmed.
Before You Buy Ask: Do I NEED to Shop?
Before you ever set foot in a store you need to ask yourself why you are going. Are you going to the store for entertainment? Is shopping just a habit to fill a hole? Do you really need to go shopping or are you just looking for something pretty to make you happy?
Remember that no matter how many pretty things you buy they can only give you temporary happiness. True joy comes from what you do, not what you have.
Before You Check Out Ask: Do I really need this item?
We need very little for the basic things we do in our life. That’s why it’s important to reexamine our shopping habits. Are you buying things that won’t honestly serve you in your life? Are you buying things that help you achieve your big-picture goals?
Minimalists are very intentional with their shopping habits. They stop and think about what they already have and weigh the necessity of more.
That’s not to say we never buy anything. Our lives are multi-faceted and some of the experiences we want to have require that we buy the things needed to do them.
For example, if you want to go camping you will need a tent, a cooler, some blankets, etc. But do you need every camping gadget ever invented? No. Get only the absolute essentials and after you actually go camping add only what you feel will actually be necessary and useful.
You can apply this rule to crafts, clothing, sporting equipment, kitchen tools, or anything else that you love to do! Be creative and resourceful instead of making every new activity an excuse for lavish consumerism!
Another option you may want to explore before purchasing hobby items and tools is perhaps borrowing or renting them until you see whether or not you will be truly invested in the new activity.
Before You Buy ANYTHING Ask: Is this the right thing?
I am telling you to build intentional shopping habits and ask questions before you buy anything. What I’m really telling you is to BE PICKY! When you buy an item you are not only letting go of your hard-earned money. You are giving it a place in your home and giving it your time and energy to use and maintain it.
The first time I read Marie Kondo’s book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, I let go of everything that didn’t spark joy. After that, when I went shopping, I didn’t want to buy anything that wouldn’t spark joy later. That is when I truly started to be an intentional shopper.
If you are going to stop buying the wrong things you have to start being really picky. You are going to have to do your research before you buy anything.
One way you can do your research is to check reviews. love to look at Amazon reviews for most items. I have even looked up an item I’m standing in front of at the store to check the reviews.
Other items, like clothing, I am super picky about. I think about whether any piece of clothing will truly flatter me and be comfortable, versatile, and long-lasting before I purchase it.
For most of us girls, shopping for clothing is the most tempting! Check out my friend Somrita’s blog about shopping in your own closet! It will help you to avoid buying more clothes when you don’t need to! I also wrote about how to create a colorful minimalist wardrobe if you are tired of bland capsule wardrobe ideas!
Before You Buy Anything Ask: Can I Afford It?
If you want to shop like a minimalist you might want to buy just a few really nice things. But if you are like me, you are a frugal (broke) minimalist and you need to consider your budget! There is no need to break the bank to fit the minimalist aesthetic.
Minimalists save tons of money with their good shopping habits. They ask lots of questions and they only buy things that truly thrill them! Shop within your budget and shop less often. You may even find that you can invest in nicer things down the road because you are shopping a lot less! Instead of buying 4 really cheap shirts, you could buy 1 high-quality, ethically, and sustainably made shirt that will serve you and the world much better.
Remember that everything you own used to be money and every item in the store could be yours or you could keep the money in your pocket.
Is this a Trend or Fad?
Minimalists are known for classic styles and simple tastes. That doesn’t mean you can’t be yourself! I am a creative boho girl who LOVES color! Just be sure that you don’t fall for trends that don’t represent your true self. Before you buy anything ask yourself; “Is this a trend or fad that will be out of style in six months or a year?” If your buying it because it’s popular right now remember that it’s shine will wear off fast!
When you avoid trends and fads you don’t need to change out your wardrobe or home décor every year! You also won’t waste tons of money buying the latest gadgets and toys just to keep up with the Joneses.
Only buy things that represent your timeless personal style and big-picture life goals!
Am I Buying This Just Because It’s a “Great Deal?”
Minimalist shopping habits are based on only buying what you really need and want. The purpose of a sale is to make us buy things we might not normally buy. Often, sales trick us into buying several items to get the deal. Sometimes sales are “limited time” offers. This makes us grab up things we didn’t want before because we have a fear of missing out on a great deal.
Don’t fall for this! How can you avoid being tricked by great prices?
First of all, you may want to unsubscribe to stores that send you several marketing e-mails a week. These are designed to pull you in when you weren’t even thinking about shopping.
You may also want to resist the temptation to go shopping just because a big sale is going on. Before you go shopping during a big sale think about whether or not you really need anything that you can buy in that sale. If you do have a genuine need then enter the store intentionally and be determined not to look at other items that you do not need.
Before you buy anything remember to ask yourself: Would I buy this if it wasn’t on sale?
You are not saving money if you wouldn’t have bought it anyway. If it isn’t something you needed in the first place you don’t need it because it’s cheap!
Before You Buy Anything Ask: Am I Ready to Get Rid of Something Else?
No matter where you live, you only have so much space. If you have already done the hard work of decluttering you don’t want your home to get cluttered again. That’s why you will need to consistently let go of things if you are still accumulating new things.
The best way to do this is to remember while you are shopping that if you are getting something new you may have to let go of something at home. Before you buy something new ask yourself if you are willing to let go of an old item. For example, if you are buying new tennis shoes are the old ones ready for the trash? If you are buying a new gadget is the old one past use? When you want a new shirt are you willing to let go of the one that you already own?
This isn’t to say that getting rid of things is an easy ticket to buying more stuff. You shouldn’t let go of perfectly good items just because you want to buy more stuff. You should buy less stuff and only get rid of stuff when it is worn out or no longer serves you.
Where Will I Put it?
One of the most important minimalist shopping habits is to ask yourself where you will something before you buy it. If you don’t know where you will put it or how you will use it you definitely don’t need it.
On this note, some people are addicted to buying organizational solutions to store all the things they want to buy. Don’t do that! If you are out of space you are out of space. Buying cute baskets and tubs won’t solve your clutter problem. In fact, it will actually add to it. If you want to stay organized you are going to have to limit your belongings and curb bad shopping habits.
When you find your home feeling disorganized and cluttered resist the urge to buy more boxes, drawers, and shelves. Decide on set spaces and storage solutions for your items and when those items no longer fit in those set spaces it is time to let go of something. Do not buy more to organize what you don’t need. Too much stuff will not be fixed by more stuff!
When You Ask Questions Before You Buy Anything You Will Love Everything You Own!
Now that you know how to build minimalist shopping habits and ask why before you buy you will start enjoying the benefits of buying less. You will save lots of time you’ve been wasting in the store. Money will pile up in your savings account. And your home will only contain things that you need, use, and love!
Learn How to Be A Minimalist Today!
There is really no reason not to start enjoying simple living! Now is the time to try the minimalist lifestyle! Learn why minimalism is good for your mental health and relationships, how it can transform your finances, so you can start having more energy and time for the things that matter!
But what if simplifying your life sounds like an overwhelming task?
If you want to simplify your life but the big bad word MINIMALISM scares you let me help! I wrote Doable Simplicity (Minimalism For Normal People) to help you get the inspiration you need to simplify your life and then take solid steps that make simple living doable for you!
Do you want to learn more about Minimalism?
Check out: Why Live a Minimalist Lifestyle?
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