Simplifying life is a learning experience. We learn to purge. We learn to think differently about stuff. We also learn to shop differently.
I had a successful shopping trip this weekend. I am now a minimalist with a thick camel sweater and a cream turtleneck. I have been working so hard to eliminate the excess in my life so I took specific measures to avoid making unnecessary purchases.
The most important part of my shopping trip happened at home. I laid out every shirt I had on my bed. I looked to see what went with my pants and skirts and what would allow me to get the most wear out of my wardrobe. When I had everything out I realized that I needed a white shirt and a versatile sweater to keep me warm. Armed with this information, I grabbed some coupons and headed to the store.
So how does a minimalist approach the shopping expedition?
Minimalists shop with purpose. Shopping is not a leisure activity; it’s an expedition. A minimalist knows what needs to be purchased and which stores or departments will be visited. She then sticks to those areas.
Minimalists have strict standards. Minimalists look for specific things. This past weekend I could only purchase items that met my predetermined criteria. My sweater had to be thick. I was purchasing a sweater for warmth, not the latest trend. A minimalist knows what needs need to be filled and focuses only on items that meet those needs. A minimalist will eliminate the rest, no matter how cute or how cheap.
Minimalists aren’t desperate. On my recent shopping mission I was prepared to come home empty-handed. If didn’t find exactly what I was looking for, I would not purchase anything less.
Minimalists are obsessed with quality. Minimalists have fewer items in their wardrobes, so every item is important. There is no room in our lives for clothes we don’t need or don’t love. The clothes we do have are used and washed more often so they need to be well made. Personally, I want them to last as long as possible so I focus on quality and ease of care.
Shopping as a minimalist is a whole different experience. Instead of trying to get as much as I can for as little as possible, I now seek to buy as little as possible. I try to meet all my needs with the fewest items. If I can do so inexpensively, even better.
While it doesn’t happen often, minimalists do need to shop. It’s ok. Minimalism isn’t about never buying anything again. But it is about not buying things you don’t need. It’s about shopping strategically rather than shopping mindlessly.
How do you approach shopping while living simply?