Back to school shopping and the change of seasons means that it’s time to re-evaluate what is in our closets. Maybe the kids have grown over the summer and need more clothes for back to school. Or maybe you need a few more items for the fall wardrobe and cooler weather.
No matter what time of year it is, it can be hard to stop the habit of buying compulsively and move to becoming an intentional consumer. Take some steps towards becoming intentional about purchases, and create minimalist shopping habits. Here are some steps to evaluate what is in your closet, and decide what you really need before going out to shop. If you’re someone who struggles with making impulse purchases, these steps can help you become more mindful of shopping habits and help you make shopping more simple.
1. Purge Items.
Get rid of anything that doesn’t fit or is too worn. And de-clutter any unneeded and unused clothing items from the previous summer season. If you didn’t wear it this season, perhaps you don’t need it at all. And if you didn’t like it enough to wear it this year, you probably won’t want to wear it next year either. If you need some guidelines for this section, The Kon Mari method is great for discovering what items you actually get joy out of wearing.
2. Take Inventory.
Go through the closet and make note of what you have: how many shirts, pants, etc are in the closet. Maybe you have too many of one item, and not enough of another. Discover what you have enough of already so that you can avoid making unneeded purchases of repeat items.
3. Make A Shopping List.
Now that you’ve made a list and become conscious of what you already have, make a list of any items that you need. Fill in any gaps that are in your wardrobe. This way the list becomes very intentional and consists of real needs and not just going out to shop without a purpose in mind. Shopping with a set list in mind helps to curb unnecessary shopping, and it also creates the habit of seeing what you already own before going out to buy more.
4. Become A Conscious Shopper.
The other great thing about knowing what you really need is being able to plan ahead; you’ll be able to keep an eye out for what you need. Slowing down can result in taking the time to invest in an item, or buy good quality and fairly made clothes rather than making impulse purchases on fast-fashion items. Another great option is looking for items second hand. It’s less cost, helps recycle, and cuts down on the rampant consumerism of buying cheaply made clothing.
5. Avoid ‘Retail Therapy’.
Try to become mindful of when or why you go shopping. Are you someone who wants to go shopping when you feel sad? Or perhaps there’s an impulse to shop the day that the paycheck comes in? Noticing when and why you go shopping can help to identify feelings associated with it, and makes it easier to identify when we use shopping as ‘retail therapy’. If you’re tempted to shop only because of emotions, try to find a different outlet and wait until the feeling passes.
6. Follow The 24 Hour Rule.
Implementing a 24 hour wait time on purchases has helped our family curb spending habits a lot. There have been many times when just waiting to make the purchase gives us time to realize that we don’t need it anyway. It starts off as a ‘rule’ for large items, but then turns into a habit of not making purchases unless it’s necessary. Sometimes smaller goals (such as waiting one day) can end up changing spending habits in a big way.
Hopefully these tips can help shopping become more intentional and simple. Our happiness doesn’t depend on having excess in our closets or more material things, and our shopping habits can come to reflect this too.