So despite me excitedly jumping onto the Minimalist bandwagon a week ago and dedicating a significant portion of my free time this week to decluttering, the last few days have not been great in that I’ve bought a lot of stuff (both online and offline) which I probably don’t need (a significant amount being clothes and decor).
I keep telling myself that as long as I LOVE it, it’s ok. But that’s a lie, its not ok especially when I LOVE everything.
What I realised today was that despite knowing and agreeing with everything about the idea of minimalism, actually putting into practice is another thing. There’s sooo many Youtube videos about how to start the journey to minimalism and “The 5/10/20 things I no longer buy”, however there isn’t many that talks about how to change your whole lifestyle rather than simply decluttering and not buying anymore. Obviously the decluttering does instigate a degree of change in your lifestyle, but for those of us who are shopping addicts, there is a danger that we’ll get rid of half the things we own and replace it within a week or month.
As I was thinking about this today I realised that in order for minimalism to work for me, even if I don’t replace the things I throw out, what I do need to replace are my habits. No matter how much stuff you get rid of, there will be a point where you can’t get rid of anymore, and then what? Also, the other side of minimalism is to create a more happy and meaningful life. This doesn’t come by just getting rid of stuff. So how does it work?
For me I think the best way to do this is to identify the times in my week where I’m prone to shop and then to make a list of things I enjoy doing other than shopping and replace those time slots.
So for me its a habit of mine to come home from a long day of work, have dinner while watching tv and then browsing the internet, which pretty much 100% of the time leads to me online shopping or at least online browsing. Another danger period is on weekends if I need to go buy something other than groceries. Because this usually means I have to go to a big shopping centre rather than the local shops down the road, it puts me in an environment where I’m surrounded by retail shops and its often hard to stay focused on the one thing that I need to buy rather than being distracted by all the pretty things around me.
In an attempt to change my habits, here are a list of alternatives I’m giving myself to replace that time with:
- Have a bath
- Give myself a manicure/pedicure
- Do a facial
- Read a book
- Read a blog and learn something new
- Go out with a friend
- Study a language
- Plan your next holiday
- Find a new hobby
- Go hiking
- Go to an event around the city
- Meetup with a friend
- Go kayaking
- Get a second job/freelance
- Create a website for your business
- Write a book
- Do a DIY project
So now I’m going to make a commitment to myself that if I ever feel the urge to shop for any reason, do one of the things above instead. Hopefully that will keep me from replacing everything I worked so hard to get rid of.