Becoming Minimalist: The Case for Shopping Slow

It happens almost every week. 

I come across an item that I feel like I can't live without, and I'll obsess over it to a ridiculous degree. Maybe it's a pair of shoes or a new bag, or a dress. Whatever it is, the item of the week will dominate my thoughts in a pointless but addictive way, as only the desire for material items can.

(Good job, modern world. Nicely done, self.)

In a former life, I would shop quickly, without giving my purchases much thought. Assuming the item of the week was something fashion related (it always is), I would imagine myself wearing it a few different ways, then grab it and bag it.

Purchase complete.

But now, my shopping habits look a bit different. If you've been following this blog, then you'll know that after multiple, dusty moves throughout my 20s, I made a commitment to focus on the "fewer, but better" mindset that's become so on-trend these days. Quality over quantity, less is best, etc.

Perhaps the most prominent  aspect of my new preference for minimalism is my approach towards shopping. Rather than shopping the way I once did – thoughtfully, but quickly – I now shop slow. Very slow. Slow to the point that I analyze every purchase and give it a lot of thought before I spend my money.

It can be overwhelming to embrace the concept of shopping slow, but I assure you that it can be done. And once you begin, you might be surprised at how easy it is to change those overpowering, quick-to-buy habits of yours. This is how it's done:

 

1. Shop online only

Shopping in a brick and mortar store can be a better experience for a lot of reasons – especially if we're talking about an amazingly curated local boutique. But if the item you're longing for can easily be purchased almost anywhere – like, let's say, Tevas, my item of obsession this week – then you should make your purchase online. Shopping online allows you to take your time and think about a purchase rather than making a rushed, impulse decision in a store.

Furthermore, consider shopping at local, independent boutiques. Aside from the fact that you'll support a small business owner, you're also far less likely to encounter the overpowering marketing strategies, not to mention crazy loud Rihanna soundtrack and fluorescent lighting, that you might find at a chain store. A chain store's overstimulating atmosphere can make it hard to think straight – much less to think thoughtfully. 

 

2. Wait a week before you buy (or at least a few days)

Before you commit to a purchase, set a self-imposed waiting limit of three days. If you can do a week, then that's even better. Chances are that no matter how much you want something, you might change your mind a few days later when an unexpected bill comes up – or when you see something you want even more.

 

3. Review your wardrobe

I know – sorry. This one sucks, because it's all about facing reality aka not fun. This step is usually where shopping dreams come to die. But listen here: Before you make a purchase, look hard at what you already own. If you want to buy a new pair of black sandals but already have three pairs, consider how often you will realistically wear the new pair. Don't ignore reality and try to justify your purchase. Instead, imagine your new shoes in your closet and think about when you would actually wear them. 

The Pursuits of Happiness necklace, ACADEMY bangle, jujumade earrings

Shopping slow ain't for everyone, that's for sure, and there are downsides to shopping this way.

Giving a lot of thought to every purchase can lead to guilt for having spent money once you do finally make a purchase, and OCD-level obsessions about even the tiniest of product details.

No matter. In the end, your bank account and your closet will thank you for it. And aside from all of that very but mommm!-esque information, the good news is this: When you shop slow, everything you buy feels like a treasure.

And before you know it, everything in your closet will be something you truly love and are glad you purchased. Case closed.