Let's Revisit the Goals
On January 2nd of this year I made a new goal for myself. A shopping hiatus. No more new consumer purchases that could be avoided, with the goal of saving money but also expanding my horizons, spending more in the local economy instead, and being grateful for what I have.
NOT ALLOWED TO BUY:
SPECIFIC EXCEPTIONS for MUST HAVES:
Wow. That's pretty shocking. Out of six "must haves", only one was!
Examining My Habits
I never thought I was a shopper.
"Shoppers," I thought, are women who get all dressed up to go to the mall, who have fifteen pairs of high heels and credit card debt. Shoppers are people who ENJOY going to stores, who love the browse, to try things on and see what's out there.
Shopping gives me anxiety. I go in for something and the sheer content of the store overwhelms me. As someone who thinks outside the box, I not only see an item, I see the alternative use for an item. IKEA is like a sea of ideas, furniture and decor bobbing in the waves. The mall is - forget it. My shoulders get tight just thinking about it. That's not me, so I'm not a shopper...right?
I don't enjoy the act of shopping. But it turns out I do enjoy...having shopped. (eeeeek)
It turns out that I enjoy:
It turns out that I enjoy having exactly what I need, getting a good deal, showing off that good deal and admiring it as a puzzle piece - whether it's to complete a room or to complete an outfit.
I like the feeling of completion when it's done.
As a result, I am not a woman who could make a Christmas or birthday list easily because I always just bought myself what I wanted, "within reason". But "within reason" is not reasonable if I don't need it! Within reason adds up, and takes resources (time and money) away from other experiences.
The hunt might make me anxious, but...
I am Marlane Deanne and I am a shopper!
The Moment of Truth
Now, post "No Shop" I have moments when I want to buy something and I listen to myself give a million good reasons why. This reckoning I am calling The Moment of Truth. I am learning to look at myself and say, Oh really miss? Is there not a work-around for this? You just HAVE to go to the store to get the thing?
(I've noticed I say I have to "get" or "pick up" or "find" something, but I rarely use the more accurate word, BUY.)
Fail fail fail and fail some more...learn?
Im not perfect, let's have a parade! I've bought some off-limits things these past six months! Some of them, I returned them out of guilt. What a waste of time. I have also bought things I simply MUST HAVE and I clutched them like Gollum. I'm not going to lie - this part has been a little fun and a little terrible.
So what's the damage, Heather. (Marlane)
Amazing New Habits
Even with all these so called failures, I have been learning a lot, and managing not to buy a lot and also...
I have started making ART.
In the six months that I have been attempting not to shop, I have given art as gifts instead. In order to facilitate this, I have added ART SUPPLIES to the list of approved purchases.
This has been such a huge step for me. It means I am drawing more than ever, actually using my art supplies, and learning new techniques, like watercolor. It's also soothing for my brain, it makes me feel good, it makes my friends feel special to get something made for them, and it's FREE. Well, the frames and art supplies are not, but seeing how many pieces of art I can make with one set of supplies, it is negligible. Here are a few more of the pieces!
Sure, not everyone wants a drawing. I have bought consumer presents from Amazon for my dad and brothers. They live far away, it's just easier!
Amazing New Gifts to ME
Because of this challenge, I have an improved relationship to receiving gifts. I am now VERY excited to receive something new. New things! New Things! AND I have gotten some art in return!
This is an illustration by Sally Nixon, from my home state of Arkansas, that I got from a friend for my birthday. I allowed myself to buy a matte and frame for it :)
My friend Angela also gave me a pair of boots just because!
Happy to Make a Return!
I was already pretty good about not accepting anything less than joy from my purchases since I did The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up with Ms. Marie Kondo. But NOW? If something is not PERFECT it is going BACK because I cannot even with that now.
I realized that working on my home - finding the perfect rug or the perfect chair or arranging the who-jima-gadget has been my idea of active fun. Next on the list is coming up with a perfect outfit! It's quiet time I have with myself where I get to turn off my brain from serious concerns and spend an afternoon exploring and at the end of it, I have something to show. It's a way to exert a little bit of control over the material world, which is comforting when so much of life is, frankly, out of control.
Don't even get me started on the political outlook rn amright.
But I don't want so much of my fun and calm to come from interactions with the material/consumer world. It's totally unnecessary and I'm missing out!
Workarounds I Have Found So Far
Some of this is stuff I was already doing, but have leaned into. Some of it is totally new!
I don't want to get cheesy on you, but being grateful for my home and belongings - just the way they are - has helped me a lot from feeling like I need to buy something new. Look what I've already done! In the last six months I've just enjoyed what is there and it has been a wonderful reset of the hedonic treadmill, that keeps us wanting always more!
I would love your suggestions!
Do you have fun ways of avoiding consumer expenses when it comes to fun? Have you tried a "no buy" situation yourself? Comment here, or on our Instagram @tidyfairyla or on our Facebook page! We also respond to email at email@example.com