So you've decluttered your home and KonMari'd your way into a more minimalist lifestyle. Congratulations! You probably feel much lighter as you survey your suddenly spacious digs and revel in how fresh and clean everything feels. Soon enough though, that sense of elation begins to fade. You might find yourself eyeing shiny new things in your favourite stores or the sale newsletters filling up your email inbox. And hey, that's normal. I should know because I've experienced that temptation myself after our KonMari tidying marathon.
One year after the fact, I'm proud to say we haven't rebounded to our previous state of clutter. (In fact, if anything we've gotten rid of even more possessions.) Part of this stems from the desire to maintain the new level of tidiness we've attained, but part of this is due to the three simple tricks I've adopted to shop much, much less. If you're trying to do the same—whether it's because you want to save more money or live a simpler lifestyle—I hope these tricks help you too!
1. I write down everything I buy that's not a consumable.
What do I mean by a "consumable"? Anything that's a trifle or an unnecessary purchase that's not meant to be consumed or used up; in other words, it's something I don't strictly need that's going to stick around for a long time. Groceries, toilet paper, AA batteries, shampoo, or a green juice from Whole Foods don't count. A lipstick, a fancy scented candle, furniture, or a T-shirt do count.
Now that I have my Design Love Co. planner I've been writing purchases down in the Bills & Expenses section at the beginning of each month. (Most of my bills are set up for auto-payment so it's pointless to write them down.) I jot down the item and the cost for every non-consumable, and at the end of the month I add up the total. I track the cumulative total from month to month, and whenever I start a new month, I'll note the previous total as the first line item.
Tracking my purchases has been an enlightening exercise to say the least. First off, I realized with a shock how much I actually spend on stuff. 2016's tally is already hovering around the $800 mark, which is pretty surprising considering we're barely three months into the new year. It's also helped deter any purchases that I don't need or won't use. Plus, whenever I want to shop I'll look at the list of what I've bought to remind me of how much I have already and that I really don't need any more things.
So where did $800 go? I replaced bras that didn't fit properly (and bras can cost a pretty penny!); bought some basic T-shirts that I now wear at least once a week; and picked up new workout wear (justified considering Shop Less Trick #2). Other purchases include e-books, fancy hand lotion, new sneakers, and a marble cheese board I now use as a backdrop for beauty product photos.
2. I go to more Bar Method classes.
Bar Method has been a huge influence for good in my life in more ways than one. When it comes to avoiding shopping, I figure I'm already paying for my monthly Bar Method membership anyway, so why not sign up for extra classes? Each hour I spend at Bar Method is one less hour I'm at the mall or browsing shopping sites online. What's more, usually after a class I'm endorphin-high and craving a meal or water or quiet, restful time at home, which also means less shopping time. Feeling happier, stronger, and fitter—that's just icing on the cake.
The only downside of all this extra exercise is I've actually bought more workout gear. At my laziest, I know I'll look for any excuse to not exercise including "I have no clean sports bras," so I've stocked up on just enough clothes for one week's worth of workouts plus a spare outfit—just in case.
3. I spend money on an experience instead.
Experts believe that spending money on experiences instead of things makes you happier in the long run and I agree. Experiences are something you can share with loved ones; they create memories that you can relive and revel in. As far as expenditures go, they're much more emotionally generous than an object that only you can use and enjoy.
Some of my favourite experiences with price tags large and small:
- A massage (during one particularly stressful week last fall, I booked reflexology massages for the both of us)
- A facial (Collective Skin Care is the best)
- Tickets to the ballet or a play or musical
- Seeing a movie (loved Zootopia)
- Trying a new restaurant (Savio Volpe is a must!)
- Going to a museum or art gallery exhibit
- Spending a Sunday afternoon on Granville Island
Have you been trying to declutter, minimize, or shop less? What works for you?