My Latest Downfall

I had good intentions, I really did. I went to Sephora a few days ago to pick up some foundation for my aunt. How nice of me, right?

Of course, once I crossed the threshold of the store, I felt a sense of euphoria. It had been a while since my last trip, and there were so many new things. Yes, I was there for my aunt, but it would be harmless to look around, right? After all, I thought, I’m a minimalist. I won’t buy anything. I’ll just look.

And look I did. Then, I tried on. Then, I’m ashamed to admit, I bought. I bought a lipstick and a lip gloss. And I wanted to buy more! If I had more money, I probably would have bought a bronzer, a blush, and a tube of mascara.

All the way home, I told myself how pathetic I was. I wouldn’t have felt so bad if I had only left with one thing, but I left Sephora with two things. I thought about all the lip products I have in my red bag at home. And I thought about the fact that I had fallen off the wagon. Again.

Once I stopped beating myself up, I found a more balanced perspective. I just ran out of my favorite lipstick, and I am about to use the last bit of the matching gloss. The shades that I bought are unlike anything I have. It really wasn’t a bad purchase. Minimalists do buy lipstick. It’s ok.

While it could have been worse, I also know that it could have been better. I don’t want to make unplanned purchases every time I go to the mall. So how can I avoid this kind of mistake in the future?

  • Never walk into a store casually. Know that stores are full of attractive things, and that those things are showcased so that you will buy them. The displays are intended to entice you to buy – as much as possible. Be aware of this walking in, and make a decision to resist.
  • Know your weaknesses. It’s important to know where you are most likely to slip. In my case, it’s makeup. Avoid the biggest temptations as much as possible.
  • Have a plan. Make a list. Set a budget. Stay on task.
  • Limit browsing. It was a mistake to go browsing in a store like Sephora – if you look long enough, you’re bound to find something you like. Don’t browse for fun. Don’t look at what you don’t need.

I’m hoping that my next trip to the mall is more successful. Though I did give in to temptation this time, I don’t consider myself a failure. I won’t consider myself a failure until I stop trying altogether.

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Sandal Season

Summer is sandal season. It’s that time of year where pedicures are essential (minimalist or not!) and cute sandals are everywhere. In all styles and colors. ‘Tis the season.

This afternoon, I escorted my grandmother to the mall. I decided to look at the shoes because I don’t have a pair of black comfort sandals. So I sought. And I found – a cute pair of black slippers with a low heel. They came in pink, too. Of course, I began to rationalize the purchase. I don’t have a basic black sandal, I told myself. Pink is my favorite color, I said, the pink shoes I have need to be replaced. And both of these things are true.

However, I do have seven pairs of sandals already. Surely, in the variety of sandals I already have, I can find something for every outfit. It might require a bit of creativity, but I can make my current shoe collection work this summer.

For me, minimalism isn’t just about having less stuff. It’s also about making better use of the stuff you have. It’s about doing more with less. It’s about realizing that what you already have is enough. It’s enough.

One Year of Minimalism

So much has happened since I started Minimalist Believer last April. In the last year, I have changed tremendously. I can see places where I still need to improve. I could stand to purge a little more. I still fall off the wagon from time to time. But I’m making progress, and that’s what it’s about at this point.

In the last year, I have examined my life and my relationship with stuff. I have a whole new perspective on consumerism, and I’ve come face to face with the overconsumption in my own life. I’ve learned that I don’t need as much as I thought.

While I still consider myself new to this, I am already enjoying the benefits of less:

  • Less stuff.I have fewer things than I had this time last year. I have thrown things away, given things away, and donated some of my things. The result is a lot less stuff to wash, dry, store, and clean.
  • Less shopping. I still shop – probably more than I should. Even so, I shop less than I did a year ago. At one time, it was normal for me to spend every Saturday at the mall. These days, it’s rare for me to go to the to the mall at all. I try to stay away from the mall so that I’m not tempted.
  • Less guilt and stress. Given my employment situation, I watch every penny. Because I want to use my money wisely, I often find myself choosing not to purchase. As a result, I have less of the guilt and stress associated with money.
  • Less stockpiling. I’ve written in a previous post about my tendency to stockpile, and how this habit is borne out of fear. I would stockpile soap, body products, food, and anything else I feared running out of. This past year of minimalism has helped me to break away from the habit of stockpiling (and the constant problem of finding places to keep all my crap).
  • Less deliberation. It doesn’t take long for me to decide what to wear each day. I don’t deliberate over which purse to carry, or which jacket to wear. There aren’t that many options. I know exactly what’s in my wardrobe, and which pieces work together. Gone are the days of trying on five different outfits, trying to figure out what fits and what looks good. I’ve streamlined to the point where I only have clothes that fit well and look good.
  • Less Pressure. I don’t feel like I need to rush out and fill my closet with the latest fashion trends. I don’t need to wear what everyone else is wearing. I don’t have to try to keep up with anybody or impress anybody. The pressure is off.

Though I am enjoying having less, I also feel that minimalism has helped to to enjoy more:

  • More time for things that feed the soul. Since I haven’t been spending as much time buying, cleaning, and organizing my stuff, I have more time. I have had more time to read, write, study, exercise, and spend time with my family.
  • More use of what I already have. In the last year, I have made several trips to my storage unit. I wear shoes and purses from previous years instead of buying new. I am using the soaps and lotions that I stockpiled in years past. I am using what I already have, and I’m finding that I have enough.
  • More awareness. Since my introduction to minimalism, I have learned a lot about myself and the culture in which I live. I am aware of my own struggles with materialism, fear, and destructive habits.

One year later I still feel that I made the right decision. My life is much simpler, and I have resisted complicating it with extra stuff and more commitments. My goals have changed. I feel like I have a much healthier relationship with stuff.

In the coming year(s) I hope to simplify even more. I think I’m on the right path, and I can’t wait to see where it leads.