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Creature Comforts (Part 3): Paring down: SHOPPING

Posted Oct 22 2008 4:26pm
Photo Ryan Smith ©

Continued from Paring Down, an introduction:

In regards to shopping and material possessions, how do we pare down without denying the happiness that can come with abundance?

I’m not going to deny it; sometimes money can provide happiness. As much as I am proud of my frugality and aptness at paring down, buying new things does provide a certain satisfaction when it comes to embracing and expressing my identity. But it is the simple enjoyment of each item I acquire that allows me to be mindful of when I have enough and when I just have too much.

I know a lot of people who buy something just because it is on sale. This is an easy way to quickly attain too much. I try to go shopping with a list of things I need (and “need” is subjective isn’t it?) and only buy those things. If something is on sale, great! If not, I usually base the level of need on the price and either take it or leave it. I try to be a selective and mindful shopper; as I hear my products beeping across the scanner at checkout, I pretend I am a kid in a candy store, ogling at what I am able to buy.

Ultimately, balance is the goal here: my $300 pair of cowgirl boots from Austin, Texas is one of my most prized material possessions. But though they sit on a shelf to be admired, I wear them (and dance in them) several times a week and have them repaired and cleaned often. Lesson: splurge when the time is right, but cherish the heck out of the purchase and admire it daily. Once you stop admiring or wearing an item, which often happens, give it away. This will de-clutter your mind and your closet, providing a new perspective on the wonderful things you still hold dear.

Also, take the time to go through that overflowing attic or that spare room full of stuff you’ve been meaning to sort through. Donate or recycle anything you no longer wear frequently, or that no longer serves an aesthetic or emotional purpose in your home. You will hopefully find that paring down is even more rewarding than filling up your shopping cart. Don’t save it for a rainy day! There’s no better time than now to initiate positive change in your life.

P.S. This also applies to buying gifts. Give fewer, more meaningful gifts – be excessive with warm complements and good cheer!

What are your most prized possessions and in what ways do you cherish them?What are your shopping habits and how do you pare down in regards to material possessions?

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