In the world of online shopping and Amazon Prime, it’s so easy to fall into the mindset of, “we could really use xyz” and two clicks later it’s on your doorstep tomorrow. It’s an amazing tool but one that can really drive excess clutter, unnecessary spending and waste. Over the past few months I’ve been practicing mindfulness about the stuff coming into our home and working on resisting the impulse to buy, buy, buy.
Instead of jumping to purchase something the minute it pops into my head, I’m taking pause to weigh whether I really need it. Or if it’s simply the desire for something new.
I’m finding that this desire for newness is often a byproduct of something else. Maybe, feeling bored with my routine, a level of discontent about how I spend my free time, emotional triggers from social media, etc. Taking the time to identify where the behavior stems from has been key to curbing it.
The thing is, none of the items on my wish list are ever particularly expensive or take up that much space. Most are under $20 and would barely be noticed. But, it’s these purchases that clutter our home and are the pieces I gravitate toward tossing when we start our next Goodwill box.
In a world where we’ve been conditioned to be reflexive instead of resourceful, it felt like this spending impulse warranted an exercise in patience and pause.
In order to create the self-induced pause that I felt I needed, I did the following:
If something came up, instead of immediately buying it, I wrote it on a list I keep on my computer. If I found that the need continued to surface or I kept thinking about it well after the initial desire arose, I’d consider buying it. Sometimes the time between writing it down and purchase was weeks or months, other times, days.
For the most part, my want items tended to be kitchen gadgets:
- A small whisk
- Mini loaf pans
- New baking sheets to fit into our tiny oven
- A mini ice cream scoop
- Small ice cube trays
Looking at this list written out it kind of cracks me up. Everything on here is labeled small, mini or tiny! At least I’m only wanting for miniature things!
After contemplating and debating this list for a few weeks, I found:
- I could get by without the whisk. I have a full size one already and in tight spaces a fork works just fine.
- The loaf pans aren’t crucial to my everyday life. I just don’t bake that much. If I continue to feel the need I’ll keep an eye out for one at the second-hand stores.
- The baking sheets were becoming an issue. We ended up buying some on sale over the holidays.
- I purchased the mini ice cream scoop for cookie baking, maybe too impulsively, as I haven’t used it since. But hey, no one is perfect. 😉
- The ice cube trays? Well, they’ve become one of the most crucial purchases I’ve made in the past few months. They’ve become pivotal for reducing food waste which I’ll talk about more in another post.
I’m feeling pretty good about this system and plan to keep it up to see how it affects my purchasing habits in the new year. So far, it seems like the right step in reducing our footprint, making smarter choices and saving money we would have spent on more stuff we don’t necessarily need.
How do you make your purchasing decisions?