My husband and I bought mountain bikes, then we needed to buy helmets, a bike lock, a bike wrack, a better bike rack, water bottle holders, a pump, a tire repair kit, and a seat cover. That was all before we even used the bikes!
And guess what? We don’t use the bikes all the time. We don’t even use them once a week. Sometimes not even once a month. But we bought all the stuff.
Have you done the same? Have you ever noticed that your stuff needs stuff? How can you stop buying stuff that needs stuff? Is it even possible?
Stop Buying Stuff -It’s Impossible
First of all, I want to be honest with you. I don’t regret buying the bikes and the bike related things. We do like our bikes and ride them on the amazing trails behind our house often enough to be happy we have them.
Second, I want to be realistic. It’s not actually possible to stop buying stuff. At least not as long as you are a growing changing person that wants to do things and enjoy life. We will always need stuff. Why?
We need stuff because we are minimalists. That sounds crazy right? But it’s not. Minimalists are all about focusing their lives on experiences and experiences like mountain biking require mountain bikes.
If you want to play music you might need a guitar and if you want to paint you will need brushes, an easel, canvasses, and well, paint.
Stuff Needs Stuff
So we have to accept the fact that as long as we are living and doing we are going to be buying stuff. We can’t stop buying stuff entirely. But you know what get’s frustrating? When our stuff needs stuff.
Our bikes are not the only things that need accessories. When you buy a shirt you usually want to buy something cute to go with it. If you buy a home you are excited to buy new furniture and other things that are actually necessary like a mop. When you break down and get that cool new gaming system you are probably going to need to get some of the accessories that aren’t included and games to play on it!
As you can see, our stuff needs stuff. Isn’t that amazing? Just stop and think about it for a minute. That means that the inanimate stuff, that we are the masters of, has the ability to take charge and tell us what it needs. Interesting…
What Can We Do if We Can’t Stop Buying Stuff?
So now that we know this fundamental fact, that stuff needs stuff and that we can’t stop buying stuff, how can we get out of the consumer cycle of buying too much and then decluttering it?
Is it even possible to get out of this cycle if it’s impossible to stop buying stuff in the first place?
The good news is that while we may not be able to stop buying stuff completely, we can certainly slow down. We can become careful, thoughtful consumers, and that can keep us from buying stuff that needs stuff all the time.
Let’s discuss a couple of ways to take back control of our purchases and stop buying stuff so that we aren’t pummeled by a shopping avalanche every time we want to do something new in our lives.
If you are considering a big purchase, the kind that comes with all those accessories we have been talking about, the first thing you can do is experiment.
For example, if you are enamored by the idea of a Virtual Reality gaming system, do you have a friend that already has one? Could you maybe try theirs out? There is nothing wrong with telling your friend that you want to see how their cool new toy works. They would probably love to show you! Throw in some pizza and beer and they will love it even more.
You can experiment with almost anything, rent a kayak, borrow a bike, ask your painter friend to come over and show you how to paint something simple, or use your parent’s old camping equipment.
Before you have bought anything, experimenting will help you determine whether or not you are as excited about the given activity as you think you are. Will you do it often enough to invest in or is it better to just borrow or rent the items needed once in a while?
Experimenting will also help you see exactly what you will need if you choose to invest. How many accessories does this stuff need?
Stop buying stuff the second you get excited about it. Start looking for ways to experiment with an activity before you buy into it.
Ease Into It Slowly
Once you have decided that you really want to invest in something new like kayaking, painting, a new house, or a certain style of clothes you can avoid buying stuff that needs stuff in another way. You can ease into it slowly.
What do I mean by that? Well, let me ask you something. Have you ever gone on a massive shopping spree and bought all the things for something you are excited about? Did you buy out REI before a camping trip? Was the scrapbooking aisle of Hobby Lobby left barren in your wake?
You know who you are. Don’t deny it. That’s how you have been up until now. But now that you have minimalist superpowers you are going to go about things a little differently. You are going to stop buying stuff all at once.
Instead of buying all the things try to buy only the 3 things that are the most essential for you to start your new activity. For example, if you are going to kayak you need a kayak, paddles, and life jackets. Once you have those three essential items leave the store and try to do some actual kayaking before you buy anything else.
Now you may need bungees to strap the kayak to your roof and you may need sunscreen and perhaps you want beer and a cooler. You can buy those things if you find yourself needing them but you might not. Maybe you already have all that stuff at home.
I have found that when you ease into buying stuff for any new activity you find that you need a lot less than the stores would make you believe. And having less stuff actually helps you have fun. How? Because having less stuff means less packing, less cleaning, and less hauling. All that time goes directly back into having fun!
And the best part is, you can ease into anything. Start with the 3 most essential items. See what you need from there. Don’t buy anything until you see the real need for it. Your stuff may need stuff, but it doesn’t need ALL THE STUFF and neither do you.
Do Your Research
Once you have identified what you want to invest in purchasing and why you need it it’s time to do your research. Stop buying stuff without researching it first! That’s where clutter (stuff that doesn’t work) comes from.
Sometimes I feel silly about how much I research every little purchase but in the long run, I’m happy I didn’t waste my money on things that don’t really work.
I’m sure you are not new to Amazon reviews. They are a great way to see how a product works. You can even look them up when your standing in front of the item at a store. Check for bad reviews as they may point out the specific shortfalls in a product you will want to know about before you use it.
Another way to do your research when you are buying stuff for certain activities is to dig around the internet a bit. If you Google something like “best sewing machine for beginners” or “essentials for camping” you will easily find blogs dedicated to these subjects where you can get honest and comprehensive reviews on how well the product you are looking into works.
Sometimes you will also find that you can buy one really good item instead of many substandard single-use items.
Last but not least, when you do purchase something try to test it out right away. Return it if it doesn’t work just as you would like. This will save you money and prevent the clutter of unusable items from piling up in your house!
There’s one last way to stop buying stuff that is extra if it’s unneeded. You can be resourceful. Remember those bungee chords and the sunscreen you already had at home? That is not a rare occurrence. We often have what we need already.
Before you buy stuff, use stuff you already have. Take that extra minute to think about what you could use instead of buying something new. Could you avoid buying a camp stove by looking up some campfire tin foil recipes? Would a couple of blankets from the closet work just as well as a sleeping bag?
You can’t always avoid or stop buying stuff. It’s important to have what you need for specific activities. I’m not encouraging you to be ill-prepared. But just take a minute to see if you can be resourceful instead.
When You Stop Buying Stuff You Don’t Need Life Gets Fun!
As you continue to simplify your life I want you to remember this. You will buy stuff. Sometimes you will buy stuff for your stuff. Don’t feel guilty about that.
Remember that stuff you buy in order to have fun experiences with your friends and family is well worth it. You need it to build the beautiful memories and the vibrant life you want to have.
If you do your research, borrow and experiment, test your resourcefulness, and only buy what you really need you will find that the rest of your resources will go towards the fun you want to have! You will not regret making unnecessary purchases and you will be able to enjoy everything you want to do with less complication.
Now go out there and live a big simple life!
Stop Buying Stuff and Simplify Your Life!
Do you need to stop buying stuff to be a minimalist? Well, now you know the answer. You will not stop buying stuff as a minimalist. You will just be more careful about what you do buy.
But do you need help simplifying your life in the first place? Do you want to declutter your home and your schedule? Woudn’t it be nice to spend less time cleaning and running errands? Do you want to work towards your big goals or just have more time for your family and your hobbies?
If so, the minimalist lifestyle is just what you need! And it’s not as hard as it sounds! Check Doable Simplicity (minimalism for normal people) to get started today!
Learn More About the Minimalist Lifestyle!
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